Listen to this! – Liturgy

Rory Johnson

Staff Writer

Liturgy, an American metal band from Brooklyn, New York fuses genres like minimalism, black metal and electronica to achieve the unique experience of the 2011 album that is “Aesthethica.”

The album starts with the song “High Gold,” which sets a good tone for the album by starting with the key themes seen throughout each song.

“High Gold” has electronic percussive elements and subtle guitar riffs put in the background of the mix. 

If listeners try to hum along and guess the next note, then the audience may realize this metal song is being played in a major key. 

Most of this album features metal music, which tries to sound happy, but the timbre of the instruments almost prevents it from this effect.

As the opener fades out, “True Will” starts playing with a choir and reminds listeners of religious music before shifting back into black metal. 

“True Will,” is a dramatic song featuring two guitar parts, which makes the audience feel anxious as it is repeated until it comes to a screeching halt.

The mix of the album helps bolster how these guitar parts play into each other. One is being panned to the left ear and the other to the right ear.

The guitars are loud enough for the listener if paid attention to, and often on relistens, you’ll hear a new part being played. 

The guitars and vocals are both working more in the background to make the listener notice all parts instead of one melody.

 “The Returner,” is one of the more melodic songs on the album, and the melody gives off a sense of achievement. 

Being played in a 6/8-time signature drives the album forward with powerful bass and guitar breakdowns without distortion.

Toward the end of “The Returner,” it builds this tension between the guitar parts and relies on the drums to help
release it. 

As the drums play their lick, the guitars build up only to die before the next song.

“Generation,” is the first song on this album not featuring screaming vocals in the background, but ironically it, is one of the angriest songs.

It starts in multiple time signatures of 5/8+7/8, which is repeated twice, and then it enters a 5/8+6/8 once. 

During these measures, the song builds tension in the upbeat guitar parts being played.

Eventually, the time signature plays into something more familiar with 4/4 and the guitar plays into the bass
drum beat. 

The two parts work together to push the song forward and give a sense of urgency.

After going back and forth between these time signatures, “Generation” settles for 4/4. This section of the song features multiple guitar parts that add to the tension.

The first one the listener may notice comes in shortly after the two-minute mark panned to the left ear. 

The part leaves the listener wanting more, which comes in a minute later complimenting what was originally being played.

My personal favorite part comes in at 4:12 and gives off this feeling of a fight about to start. 

From there the song plays back into the original 4/4 section, which leaves the guitar parts flowing in and out.

“Sun of Light” is one of the more thematic songs of the album that broods. After the main part is put on display, it is quietly put in the background with a muted effect.

Drums keep a constant beat playing over the melody until the guitars are released to build into the vocals. 

Sun of Light’s guitars gives this airy feeling almost as if the listener is climbing to reach the sun.

“Helix Skull” is what many consider to be the first minimalist aspect of the album. 

The only instrument featured is a keyboard, and it goes throughout the song building tension without release.       

The song feels as if it is inspired by medieval themes and acts like someone is getting ready for a climactic final battle.

“Veins of God,” to me, is the song I can headbang the most to, and despite the maliciousness behind the song, it also doesn’t feature screaming.

The song starts with a drum part that seems like it is going to take off but instead makes the
listener wait. 

A heavily distorted bass comes in shortly after and gives off this menacing vibe of “I dare you to come close to me.”

When the guitars finally come in, the song hits this subtle groove where the parts all jam out together for a second. Afterward, the guitar plays an Indian-style riff, shifting the placement of the rhythms.

The guitar suddenly is by itself and providing all the anger of the song on its own. The other parts join in slowly, building on beat three in the first measure and beats three and four in the next.  

Adding in the parts on certain beats leaves the listener expecting a breakout point, which is delivered as the beginning part of the song comes back into play until the end.

“Glass Earth” is considered to be the second minimalist song of “Aesthethica” since it only features a repeated vocal part. 

Unlike “True Will,” this song does not feel like a religious choir and is moreso like a cult chant.

The vocals are added onto each other and new melodies are introduced as the song progresses. This song, to me, is the most dramatic on the album and feels like a resolution has to be made between two parties or not at all.

I think this is bolstered because it is one of the few songs that transitions into another, which brings me to the final song, “Harmonia.”

“Harmonia” is the resolution to this conflict and the chords tell a story of a compromise made between the two parties.

Unlike some key points of the album that rely on certain melodic lines to tell a story, “Harmonia” uses all the parts together to give the sense of a middle ground finally found. 

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