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Thrill Jockey has reissued the debut album of Brooklyn black metallers Liturgy, Renihilation. At the time Liturgy seemed bent on being the ones to reshape the genre. Five years on and it's clearer than ever that nothing really needed reshaping, and without the reminder of a reissue this would remain firmly forgettable.

Throughout, Liturgy peppers ambient electronic intros, outro and intermissions here or there. Noisy riffs jump out from these sections with a promising jolt, but quickly descend into sounding like someone's jammed their favourite elements from BM and no wave together, ultimately falling as flat as the production – rather than capturing what's best about raw, no-mosh no-core, kvlt black metal, that is, vicious, unrelenting treble, the record just sounds muddied.

A problem with Liturgy's notion of transcendental black metal is that the best of it is just that anyway. Although black metal is sometimes perceived to be an ultra-conservative genre, it's really not: it came about as a reaction to the stale trappings of heavy and death metal. Since the days of even the earliest pioneers, decades ago now, plenty of bands have been orbiting the genre with strange, heady, progressive, new, interesting music. Bands like Deathspell Omega, Enslaved, Lifelover, all come to mind. Liturgy doesn't find itself among them.

Kudos should be given for attempting something a little different, but among these flecks of post-punk and no wave, what's really pervasive is genre-hallmark tremolo riffing and blastbeats that don't go anywhere, or even complement the former.

On the occasions when Renihilation works, it does work - as on parts of opener 'Pagan Dawn' or when the tempo occasionally slows. For the most part, though, Renihilation feels all too much like a record that's so self-conscious about striking out as unique it ends up being anything but. It was Marduk meets Times New Viking when it was released and it still is now.

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