Oh black metal. How come we never really got along? Was it the screaming that put me, a shy, soul-loving indie boy, off of this whole world of music? I was a fairly eclectic child, getting my rocks off to everything from Nirvana to Elton John. So, how come I never really delved into the dark, deep realms of disturbing distortion, roaring tempos and shrieking singers? I am guessing it was fear. That and being a fan of vocals that swooned, swayed and soared rather than, you know, screamed. If I wanted something harder, I preferred a bluesy growl. Nonetheless, I am not hostile towards exploring new musical strands and definitely wish to expand my avenues of albums. Liturgy. are a foursome from Brooklyn who appear as if they could be any four young happening Brooklyn-ites in some rhythmic, indie band rather than musicians that pump forth pummelling piles of sonic battering rams, hounding and howling at your ears with a speed and consistency that quite simply stamps and stomps on and on and on and on, all evident in their latest release Aesthetica.

The opening track, 'High Gold', was the initial single to peak my interest, almost twinkling into existence as if departed from some collapsing star that has begun it's demise by letting star dust sparkle and fall to our world. Then, of course, the actual collapse is something far more destructive. Guitars burst in without any warning, rise or build, channelling waves of drumbeats along the same wavelength, allowing some similarly constructed screeching to grind itself into the whole sticky mess. Still, there's something melodically captivating in the way everything rolls together, stopping occasionally to pound out a new, break-taking beat, before forcing its way back into the streamlined careening path previously thumping away.

Sadly, the remainder of the record is an unfortunate combination of two things; either a similarly pitched, interesting take on metal using savvy melodic tone to lash out something remarkably unique or repetitive droning that fires a rocket into nothing, leaving the sour taste that repetition really can ruin art. Frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (a-what?!?) has called their music "transcendental ecstasy". I can certainly understand this term in certain moments in the record, as in the harmonic opening and quick cave-in on 'True Will', where (if you just allow it to) your mind can give way to the sound flooding in, floating off to places seemingly situated in the netherworld, all fuzz, buzz and volume. Yet, far too much meandering, needless wails and monotonous duplication of their own sound ignites a spark that fizzles and dies pretty rapidly, sound more like hell bound dirge as opposed to the previously cited heavenly elation. 'Generation' begins with a bang and a boom, using crashing percussion as a commanding cacophony that, thanks to a seven minute running time runs a course that gradually starts to gnaw away at your patience (and you try not reaching for that skip button pretty promptly).

Another term thrown at Liturgy is "hipster metal" and it's hard to disagree with this on certain elements, as they delve into call and answer retorts or odd electronic interludes (that start off with an "ooh" of interest and end with a whimper of "my god, stop it already"). I feel I have been overly critical here which isn't completely fair because, bar the long, winding roads to nowhere, there are some energetic bundles of intricate musicianship on display. A handful of riffs here are awe-inspiring, trembling and trundling along with the pace, power and vigour of a comet (it's just that when the comet has to stroll through light-years and light-years of time and space, thing start to get a bit dull). A very strong closing track in 'Harmonia' allows a pleasant finale for this sonic disintegration, harmonising wonderfully to begin with before charging its way to a swift and explosive conclusion. Just like that exploding star, Aesthetica has exhilarating moments of cosmic beauty, as celestial shrapnel shatters and separates amongst the void of space, and periods of horrifying annihilation, as pile-driving hunks of matter rain down relentlessly, destroying the nobility of the formerly beautiful voyage through the cosmos.

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