It is rare to encounter an artist or collective with as much creative prowess as Liturgy. Fronted by founding guitarist and vocalist Haela Hunt-Hendrix, Liturgy serves as a vehicle for some of the grandest and most well-orchestrated metal compositions of the modern age. Hunt-Hendrix describes the band’s style as “transcendent black metal”, which transforms the traditionally gritty, unpolished black metal style into a much more lush and grand experience, including experimentation with electronics, choir, bells, and other complex instrumental layerings. The band heavily incorporates heavenly themes, with Hunt-Hendrix even writing a manifesto about the extensive lore and central themes behind the band.
Liturgy’s latest offering comes in the form of “93696”, an hour and twenty-two minute culmination of the band’s sound up to this point. This album is an incredibly dense and sometimes exhausting listening experience, as the mythology and heavenly themes run deep, but overall it is incredibly gratifying to sit through the entire thing.
“93696” begins with the serene opening track “Daily Bread”, which showcases serenity in its purest form. This track begins the theme of soft transitional tracks throughout the album with creative choices of instrumentation, like “Angel of Sovereignty”, “Angel of Hierarchy”, “Red Crown II”, “Angel of Emancipation”, “Immortal Life II”, and my personal favorite, “Angel of Individuation”, which holds incredibly powerful orchestral sections that ebb and flow beautifully and cinematically. These tracks all serve as necessary space and contemplation between the main songs on this album, which are all multi-phased monsters of experimentation that can be taxing to listen to (in a good way).
The main songs, ranging from four and a half to nearly fifteen minutes, all have incredibly unique and captivating creative decisions and performances in each of them that makes them stand out from each other, and most music in general. “Djenneration” and “Caela” flow into each other perfectly and both contain an abundance of chaotic, unpredictable guitar passages over heavy and climactic drumming. Hunt-Hendrix’s screams intersperse moments of both hell and heaven, complemented by bells and synth accents. The centerpiece of this album presents itself as the title track, “93696”. Clocking in at almost fifteen minutes, this track contains everything that makes this album incredible in one way or another. Beautiful, transcendent guitar layerings, harrowing and heavy riffs over blasting drums, and incredibly emotional screams. Everything about this track comes together perfectly and demonstrates everything that Liturgy is doing so well to set themselves apart from any other modern metal act.
Overall, every track on this album falls into place to serve the grander themes of this album in the best way possible. Each song holds some impressive and unique quality, and while I can’t say that this album will be on regular rotation for me, I will surely come back to it occasionally and be blown away every time.
Final Rating: 9/10
Favorite Tracks: Djenneration, Caela, Before I Knew the Truth, Ananon, 93696, Angel of Individuation, Antigone II.
Least Faves: Red Crown II.
My name is Austin Lamb and I am a senior at Oswego High School. This is my third year with 42Fifty, and I can't wait to get back into writing and reviewing. I greatly enjoy playing and listening to music, as well as writing. I've always been interested in writing, especially about things that can be critiqued and looked at subjectively. I play the guitar in a band with my friends and primarily listen to metal music but enjoy and appreciate all genres. I hope that my editing abilities, writing knowledge, and leadership skills will pay off for the publications.