Welcome back to Hipster Week. After the dull artiness of Sunbather, next I throw myself into something even fucking more jumbled and incoherent. The second of this batch of albums is the latest outing by Brooklyn, NY’s (*deep sigh*) Liturgy, titled The Ark Work. Liturgy is the band that rose to infamy with the release of, not one of their albums, but the manifesto written by singer Hunter Hunt-Hendrix called Transcendental Black Metal, about Black Metal viewed through the eyes of a pseudo-intellectual philosophy major with a degree you can’t do shit with besides use to wipe your ass or flip burgers, to which of course, was met with harsh criticism and ridicule by a majority of the Black Metal ”community”. Well, I chose this album because I wanted to hear exactly what Transcendental Black Metal is, and honestly, I went into it with my mind as open as can be. I gave it a fair shake and wondered if I would end up liking it. Well, obviously that’s not what happened.
This album, while it isn’t repetitive and insipid like Deafheaven’s pretty pink bore of an album, it isn’t anything creative and well put together either. The only way I can describe this band’s style is a weird mix of light-hearted Black Metal tremolo riffs, muddy blastbeats here and there, strange, auto-tuned vocals and a bunch of other noisy shit like artificial sounding synths, horns and keyboards all just thrown the fuck together for no apparent reason. It’s like a messy mix of Black Metal, Shoegaze, Electronica, Trip-Hop and whatever else these buffoons can pull out of their ass to throw into the mix and call ”creative” or ”experimental”. It starts off with Fanfare, which sounds like the intro to a newscast. Just a bunch of synths and horns galore. Then come Follow and Kel Valhaal, which are pretty much the same jumbled messes of tracks with tremolo riffs, blastbeats and all those extra elements just thrown together and topped off with those weird auto-tuned vocals spouting off some nonsense.
Now I will admit, there is one track that I liked; Quetzalcoatl, which has this pretty cool, almost Trip-Hop style beat to it that actually make the vocals and weird tremolos work. It had me jamming a little bit, so it wasn’t bad. There are also a few okay moments where this formula did work, like some of the pretty intros, like the ones to Follow II and Reign Array. Again, credit where it’s due, but the product as a whole just doesn’t do it for me. To me, it’s this weird, allover the place, Avant Garde, artsy mess of an album that I can’t even bring myself to even include Black Metal in my description of it. It’s loud, it’s annoying, it’s too sugary-sweet and optimistically-toned and it’s boring, with very few exceptions. Especially tracks like Vitriol, where the title is just repeated over and over again with some nonsensical banter in between.
(Most flattering picture of them I could find)
So, that was album number two of the five (maybe) for this special week. What a brutal ride it’s been so far. Just a couple more to go. I actually had some hope with this one that maybe i’d end up liking it, but again, much like Sunbather, it falls flat on it’s face. It’s more versatile and out there, unlike that album, sure, but not really in a good way. This album is a mess with way too much going on at once in every track and it’s both boring and annoying all at once. Sorry, but if this is what Transcendental “Black Metal” is, then i’m gonna have to pass on it. Hard.
This was day 2 of Hipster Week. Join me tomorrow as I review perhaps the most controversial album of the bunch by the most controversial artist of the Hipster Metal movement thus far. I’m sure you know who I mean.
Until next time.