Liturgy ­­­­­­– The Ark Work

Album Review by Ross Watson | 04 Mar 2015
Album title: The Ark Work
Artist: Liturgy
Label: Thrill Jockey
Release date: 23 Mar

Liturgy faced both praise and ridicule back in 2011 with the publicity surrounding Aesthetica, an LP that strengthened the quartet's hyper-intense fusion of black metal and math rock, but also gave way to band founder Hunter Hunt-Hendrix's dubious philosophy of 'transcendental black metal'.

Now billing themselves as a "21st century total work of art," Liturgy return with a sonically muddled effort which tones down their Scandanavian influences in favour of an icier blueprint; Fanfare opens with a singular MIDI horn which mutates and multiplies, whereas Follow awkwardly juggles urgent tremolo-picked guitars and flat vocal chants – much more fit for purpose within the context of Survival, Hunt-Hendrix's other project.

The album hits its stride with an impressive couplet (Quetzalcoatl and Father Vorizen, both of which build through strong riffs and blissful repetition), but the intensity and raw power of previous releases is oddly absent. There's a notable lack of peaks here – odd for a band who once specialised in perpetual climax.