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Author Topic: LITURGY is fixing heavy metal, and there's nothing you can do to stop them  (Read 40449 times)

KvP

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Do you think metal is too staid? Too theatrical? Do you feel like you can't take it seriously? Are you waiting for a visionary band to arrive and turn that shit into art?

I have a band for you.

☠☠☠ ✞✞✞ Liturgy ✞✞✞ ☠☠☠



Fuck you, metal bands. Liturgy is playing on a whole different level.

Quote
Brooklyn based Liturgy is Hunter Hunt Hendrix, Greg Fox, Tyler Dusenbury, and Bernard Gann. Aesthethica, their second album and third release, shows the band exploring, in greater depth, themes initially touched on by their critically acclaimed debut album, Renihilation. The band used every instrument, literal or figurative, to produce meaning and intensity, disregarding the genre boundaries of black metal, hardcore and experimental music.
On Renihilation, Liturgy made use of simple song structures, and concentrated on sustaining a blindingly high intensity level from start to finish. Aesthethica, a more controlled and polyvalent effort, finds the band operating at multiple levels and using more varied forms. The music is both elaborately crafted and chaotically performed. Songs often begin in the form of a simple chant or hypnotic abstraction, then evolve into something dense and complex. A constant sensitivity to the states of attention that different musical patterns activate and foster, yields a paradoxical result: the more complex the music, the simpler the message. Cycling through the fundamental modes of being: stasis, chaos, repetition and entelechy, Aesthethica is a metaphorical exercise in affirmation.

The record is a unified whole. A major concern, sonically and lyrically, is the question of what it is to be meaningful, and how intensity relates to emotion or affect. Many of the songs activate and manipulate cliches relating to heroism, tragedy, hope, and so on by connecting black metal techniques to the spirit of film score writing (Vangelis, Badalamenti) and post-Romanticism (Scriabin, Sibelius). "High Gold" presents a vision of apocalypse, "Harmonia" presents a judgment on the meaning of life, and so on. The resulting collection of songs, at once, embodies and transcends these tropes. The music is supersaturated with lofty melodies and lyrics, bursting with frenzied execution, and builds to a boiling point of chaos, distorting all meaning and distilling to reveal the raw core of pure sonic joy. Liturgy surrounds these fractured islands of meaning with a sea of a-signifying ritual repetition and sound (Branca, Sleep, Lightning Bolt). Tear at the seams of the straitjacket of ordinary life, release the energy from the field of potentiality that it binds, enter the realm of the good and the beautiful, so commands Aesthethica.

Highly technical musicianship, poetico-mystical gesturing, and a minimal directness; all singular elements, whose interactions and reactions are contained in and bursting from a black metal framework. Revelatory contrasts presented in an intensely physical performance whose energy is palpable and whose abatement is as illuminating as its arrival.

The lead singer is named Hunter Hunt-Hendrix (after his father, Hunter Seeker-Malmsteen) and this dude is obviously the staggering genius that metal needs to become legitimate music.
Quote from: P4k interview, 2009
Pitchfork: When did you start recording Liturgy material? I heard about it years ago, but only heard more than a MySpace track or two when you contacted me a year or so ago. Did you start it as some kind of harsher outlet outside Birthday Boyz? How did you get into black metal?

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix: I began recording black metal in my bedroom as a teenager. The earliest stuff was all on 4-track, very harsh and dark; a lot like Ildjarn. I began calling the project Liturgy in 2004, and I made a cassette called The Paranoiac Miracle. After that was a long gestation period during which I was focusing mainly on other projects, but at some point something clicked and a very specific idea developed about what Liturgy should be. The Immortal Life EP was an initial foray into that.

Pitchfork: Liturgy's visual/graphic aesthetic is interesting to me. Instead of night skies, Immortal Life has a sunny cloudscape. Inquisition take photos in the sunlight, too, but you go further: With both your band name and the aforementioned Immortal Life, you evoke Catholic rites. Can you explain this some?

HHH: The album art is supposed to represent transcendence, which for us means an ecstatic encounter with the present; a violent, apocalyptic, cosmic joy. And a shattering of ego. But then there's also a certain impossibility of that encounter, like a withdrawing horizon.

Pitchfork: Like other NYC black metal bands (Malkuth, Krallice), you guys don't don the corpse paint. If you did, what would Liturgy-style corpse paint look like? All white?

HHH: Heh, it's hard to say.

Pitchfork: What exactly is "Pure Transcendental Black Metal"?

HHH: That name isn't meant to specifically designate anything, but I hope that among other things it carries the connotation of something between a Romantic experience of the Sublime and the ecstatic experience of Oneness.

Pitchfork: Renihilation opens with a kind of chanted/droned beginning. You have these series of tracks simply titled "-". What's their place in the collection? Why didn't you opt to call them "Untitled" or something? It's somehow visually striking. Sonically, they're like weird prayers or exercises or something.

HHH: "Untitled" could have worked; I just thought the dashes looked pretty good. Basically, before the full band was formed I used to perform solo using voice, guitar, and loop pedals-- totally different from the solo recorded material. Once we pulled the band together I still wanted to make use of the live solo stuff somehow, and some of the pieces ended up fitting on the record perfectly, in a truncated form, as interludes.

Pitchfork: When we were talking about the Mirror Me exhibition you showed me your "Prophetic Vision style poem." I read it. It's fascinating stuff. Can you explain how it relates to the music? I think of Current 93 or Seldon Hunt's texts for Sunn O))) in some sense.

HHH: The poem isn't so different from the lyrics, just longer and more unified. I usually write lyrics after the music is all written and arranged, but this one just sort of stands on its own. The style is influenced by Nietzsche, William Blake's prophecies, and some of Aleister Crowley's writings. I think the comparison to Current 93 is pretty on point; David Tibet rules.

Pitchfork: On Renihilation it's hard for me to pin down what particular songs are about: "Arctica", "Beyond the Magic Forest", "Behind the Void". Is there a red thread through it all? Can you explain the lyrics some? I remember you saying they were different from what shows up in the poem.

HHH: They're all about different things, but a red thread might be the theme of tension between hope and critique, or between apocalypse and apostasy. I think something like this is at the heart of all black metal, which participates in nostalgia and nihilism simultaneously in an unresolved way. Or at least that's always been an attraction for me. I think in our day and age we are starved for meaning and also hostile towards meaning, and this interests me.

Pitchfork: What does Renihilation, the word and concept, mean to you?

HHH: I like the idea of a second nihilism or a double nihilism, a sort of annihilation of an annihiliation amounting to something altogether different from a return to what was originally destroyed. That's what renihiliation is.

Pitchfork: You went from a one-man bedroom project to a four-piece band who can play live, etc. How did that change the feel or dynamic of the band? For certain one-man black metal bands, a sort of solitary "loneliness" seems essential. For instance, I can't imagine Leviathan fronting a group. But you clearly incorporated it all on Renihilation. Can you discuss how you formed the full band and where you recorded, etc.? How was this different from past recordings?

HHH: Liturgy originally had a lot to do with loneliness and alienation, but once it started being about cosmic unity, it just naturally turned into a group project. I made a demo of Renihilation on my own, and knew I wanted to pull together a band at least for live performances. Tyler, Greg, and Bernard used to play in a few different bands together, and I've known Greg for a long time. It all fell into place easily. The live sound and the group dynamic really exceeded my expectations, and it was obvious soon that we should record as a group, too. (At this point I'd even say the live show is the "real thing"; there's an energy to it that can't be captured on a record.) Everything before Renihilation I recorded myself using either a 4-track or an MBox, but I knew it wouldn't do us justice to record the full band that way. We made Renihilation at the Thousand Caves of Menegroth with Colin Marston, who has recorded a lot of our friends' bands, and who is in a bunch of awesome bands himself. He did an amazing job, I think.

Pitchfork: What's with the White Metal tag?

HHH: I don't know where the "white metal" tag came from, but I hope it doesn't stick. To me it connotes either NSBM or something like "grey metal". Not really going for either of those things.

Quote from: The Village Voice
What is "Generation" about?
 - "Generation" is an adoration of the most primordial operations: concatenation, permutation, interpolation. ... The idea was to create a cross between Rhys Chatham and Meshuggah. Or a Meshuggah song with one note instead of two notes.

What does this song's sense of triumph and ecstasy represent for you? How do you feel when you play it?
 - This is my favorite song to play live because it has the most groove. Performing it presents the satisfaction of locking into a breakdown and the satisfaction of a gradual buildup, both at the same time.

You guys still have a focus on hypnosis and repetition, but it's increasingly more of a math-rock/Stravinsky vein. What records inspired this particular shift in sound?
 - I've always wanted to make a sort of black metal that has lots of explosions and jolts in it. On Renihilation we had the explosions, but they were more inexact and freewheeling, more part of the performance. For the new record the idea was to create the same effect but have it be composed out a little more carefully. The influences aren't really new. In fact it's mostly music that I no longer listen to much but loved really intensely at a time and am finally finding a way to digest and incorporate into our output. Meshuggah is an example. I like that you mention Stravinsky, actually. The kind of eddies of jolted repetition in Petrushka, The Rite [of Spring], Les Noces... those pieces really shaped the way I feel music, what I want and expect from it. He creates these moments of ecstatic frenzy that are strangely glitchy, these wild stabs, but composed out very carefully. Dionysiac experience created using Apollonian technique. Though my Stravinsky phase was years ago. Converge's Jane Doe is a similar influence. Anyway I don't think of it as a change in direction at all, just a development from embryo to fetus.

Now that you're dealing with more odd time-signatures, is there more anxiety that the song might fall apart?
No.

There was a little bit of hubbub about you guys being a metal band on Thrill Jockey. What's the most ridiculous reaction you've had to that move?
 - Man, there are people that despise our band. Within the black metal scene there have been plenty of seriously rabid haters from the start, people offended by the fact that we're situating black metal in a wider musical context. Or something. We've already heard it all before. I think those people really don't grasp how little their criticism means to us. I always expected it and I even kind of enjoy seeing it. But as for the label, I think if anything our joining up with Thrill Jockey has been a sigh of relief on all sides, because our musical project really makes more sense shoulder to shoulder with acts like Nobukazu Takemura, Dan Higgs, Boredoms, Lichens. And people who identify more broadly with experimental music tend to get what we're doing right away. I mean, it is really important to me that our music is black metal, but more and more I feel alienated by the bigotry that is a part of that scene. It's not really a community we ultimately want to have anything to do with, insofar as it really is a forum for reactionary politics and so on. The most interesting and ridiculous reaction from a hater that comes to mind is an unofficial music video to our new song that someone put up. Basically it's just scenes of men kissing, synced up to our song. Honestly I almost died laughing when I saw it, but it's also like, "Really?"

What's your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
 - I get the Hanna Jang sandwich from the Hanna Deli on Union and Metropolitan as often as I can.

Download their new song, and cry as you realize all of the so-called "metal" you listened to before today has been but the sound of toddlers banging on pots and pans and intermittently soiling themselves. Their second album is coming out on Thrill Jockey, which is super deeply meaningful because Thrill Jockey don't fuck with mere "metal". Can Liturgy finally bring beauty and discipline to this ugly excuse for music? Will metal fans finally be able to air their enthusiasm in public without shame and derision? Thrill Jockey is betting so! God bless you, Thrill Jockey. And God bless you, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix!


<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3

What is your favorite thing about Liturgy and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix? Haters stay out 8-) 8-) :police: 8-) 8-)

Watch the band in action!
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 16:11 by KvP »
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David_Dovey

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No my main problem with metal is that there weren't enough manifestoes up in
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SWOON! at My Gravitas

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siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh

I heard their new album last night coincidentally, they play with a remarkable amount of energy and their drummer is pretty great but Jesus ass-Christ I don't know if I've heard black metal that's any more pointlessly meandering in my life
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 16:05 by SWOON! at My Gravitas »
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David_Dovey

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Also bro applause for using yr 6666th post for this
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is there a unicode inverted cross
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KvP

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Not that I found :(

I heard their new album last night coincidentally, they play with a remarkable amount of energy and their drummer is pretty great but Jesus ass-Christ I don't know if I've heard black metal that's any more pointlessly meanderingbracingly transcendent in my life
ftfy

Just give it time. You'll be a real heavy metal fan before you know it!
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Finally a metal band for My Generation.

 :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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David_Dovey

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One of the problems with Liturgy is that (musically) there's nothing they do that isn't also done by many, many other bands who also, in addition to those things, do other, more interesting things as well, and without being laughably smug pseudo-intellectual hipster dipshits about it.

The other problems are pretty self-evident so I don't feel the need to go into them here.
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David_Dovey

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Also:

I've noticed that a lot of people get really offended when I call them "hipsters" or imply that they might be hipsters ans that always baffled me a bit because I genuinely self-identify as a hipster and the term does not bother me in the slightest. Moreover I naturally assumed that a great deal of the people on here that I admire felt more or less the same, or at least pretty nonchalant about the whole thing, and it surprised me that there is actually a lot of really strong negative reaction to being labelled with the term.

To me the term "hipster" really only implied a strong and -whether pointedly or not- anti-mainstream aesthetic sense and an interest or natural inclination towards a worldview largely informed by post-modernist theory. It turns out I'm totally in the minority in holding this definition, and the reason that there were these crossed wires between me and the people who were genuinely offended at the label was because to them (and most), being a hipster implied, among several other distasteful traits, a casual appropriation of sub-cultural signifiers with no notice paid to underlying ideological or aesthetic context, and an extremely superficial and fickle engagement with matters of art and taste.

As it turns out, I've been completely wrong about what a hipster is and what it means to be a hipster. I'm not a hipster, Liturgy are hipsters. And although we may seemingly have a lot in common, based on shared interests, the difference lays entirely in motivation.

I'm sorry if I've called you a hipster, anybody. I now realise what an egregious thing that is to do, and it took Hunter Hunt-Hendrix to do it.

You are probably not a hipster! You probably like the things you like because you like them!
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Inlander

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I'll only accept it if you call me an angel-headed hipster.
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KvP

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At this point, in the wider world, the term "hipster" is more or less a more polite term for "fag". The only solid defining characteristics I can glean from its seemingly random use are negative - that is, hipsters are defined by what they're not. And generally, what they're not is typically masculine - thin, fashionable, given to unapolagetic outre tastes, listens to "sensitive music", went to college, doesn't have a real job. Might as well be a fag. There are better, potentially useful definitions - you have to have some sort of term for someone who seems unusually and insincerely preoccupied with affectations and social signifiers (ie the classic buddy-holly-glasses-sans-lenses and finger moustache tattoos [remember those?]) - but hardly anyone seems to use it outside of "geek who I don't like" contexts.

That said, it doesn't seem to me as though Hunt-Hendrix is insincere. Quite the contrary, he really truly believes his own hype, and the veracity / potency of his music as philosophical text. That's less hipsterism than it is good old-fashioned megalomania.
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1. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: White Metal.

2. As far as I know, there's only one room in this world for a dude with three alliterated names, and I highly doubt that Mr. Transcendental White Metal knows how to do a pedigree.
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Like when I first saw this video I thought this was the new project of the guitarist dude who quit Attack Attack!.
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KvP

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Heh, Oval's doing a split LP with these dudes for Record Store Day. Didn't think I could get more ambivalent about that dude.
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KvP

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Can you imagine how insufferable this guy will be in 20 years? God I hope he comes to his senses.
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HHH looks like Bill Hader.
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KvP

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Oh my God this guy
Quote from: NYTimes
“Transcendental Black Metal,” a lecture by Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, the young singer and guitarist of the Brooklyn band Liturgy, gave the Nordic black-metal tradition a stern challenge, and amounted to an artistic manifesto for his own band. He discussed how America represents “dignity, freedom, renewal and hybridization,” and suggested that these qualities could be represented in a new form of black metal. He proposed a new rhythm to replace the blast beat: the “burst beat,” by which rhythm can contract and expand in time, as in free jazz. He cited Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” and Ornette Coleman’s “Skies of America” as philosophical models, with their “joyful experience of the continuity of existence.” He talked of “life and hypertrophy” replacing “death and atrophy,” and in his own way he was as nonnegotiable as Ovskum: “Our affirmation is a refusal to deny.”

...

During a Q. and A. period Mr. Hunt-Hendrix was challenged by Scott Wilson, a professor from Lancaster University, who, like Mr. Scott, had traveled from England to attend the conference. Mr. Wilson wondered, skeptically, if transcendentalist black metal just boiled down to “all you need is love.”

“I’m not so interested in defending anything I say,” Mr. Hunt-Hendrix replied. “I only like to be judged on whether it’s interesting or not.”

Link
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 19:39 by KvP »
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“I’m not so interested in defending anything I say,” Mr. Hunt-Hendrix replied. “I only like to be judged on whether it’s interesting or not.”
Man, the kids who probably kicked the shit out of this guy as a child might have had a point.
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He discussed how America represents “dignity, freedom, renewal and hybridization,” and suggested that these qualities could be represented in a new form of black metal.
- I literally laughed out loud at that line.

OH MY GOD GUYS

GUYS WE HAVE TO ENSURE THAT THIS GUY NEVER READS AN AYN RAND NOVEL
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David_Dovey

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At this point, in the wider world, the term "hipster" is more or less a more polite term for "fag". The only solid defining characteristics I can glean from its seemingly random use are negative - that is, hipsters are defined by what they're not. And generally, what they're not is typically masculine - thin, fashionable, given to unapolagetic outre tastes, listens to "sensitive music", went to college, doesn't have a real job. Might as well be a fag. There are better, potentially useful definitions - you have to have some sort of term for someone who seems unusually and insincerely preoccupied with affectations and social signifiers (ie the classic buddy-holly-glasses-sans-lenses and finger moustache tattoos [remember those?]) - but hardly anyone seems to use it outside of "geek who I don't like" contexts.

I guess that depends on the extent to which your definition of "hipster" is influenced by your engagement with (people who might possibly be) hipsters or the outward expressions of hipsterism?

I mean, that brings up another interesting point about the recurring hipster conversation, that the term itself is a moving target that nobody can agree on at all. That's extremely dissatisfying and I was aware that it was gonna happen when I started writing that first post, but hey fuck it, it's something that's been occupying a lot of my brainspace lately and it's worth talking about if only to lend a little bit of depth to a regulation hate thread.

I guess my definition is basically a bit of inside baseball, as I said, largely informed by the fact that I share a lot of the stereotypical interests of hipsters but (I'd like to think) a different set of motivations. To the average mainstream-type person, definitions of hipsterism perhaps have a little less nuance, I imagine as a result not spending an awful lot of time thinking about the subject.

That said, it doesn't seem to me as though Hunt-Hendrix is insincere. Quite the contrary, he really truly believes his own hype, and the veracity / potency of his music as philosophical text. That's less hipsterism than it is good old-fashioned megalomania.

I don't think he's insincere with regards to his manifesto and his stupid lectures and interview soundbites, but what strikes me as particularly arch-hipster about HHH is the way in which he's appropriated the obvious aural tropes of second-wave black metal (tremolo riffs, lo-fi production, rasped vocals &c.) while abandoning a lot of the ideological underpinnings. I imagine Hunt-Hendrix sees this as a very clever juxtaposition or whatever but to me at least- if not to the wider community of actual metal fans- it comes off as simply missing the point of black metal completely, i.e; black metal sounds the way it does as a natural outgrowth of the worldview + visceral atmosphere black metal musicians are attempting to convey, as opposed to lyrics about death or decay or grimness or the wiping every trace of Christianity from the Earth simply sound good against a blast beat and a chainsaw-sounding guitar. Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is putting the cart in front of the horse.

This becomes especially problematic when you take into account the fact that when you boil it down, black metal IS its ideology. You can make black metal without buzzsaw guitars and shitty production and it's still black metal, but (arguably), you can't make black metal without covering some of the above-mentioned subject matter. Or at least being very grim.

It also doesn't hurt that Liturgy exists within a broader context of bands- almost all of them from Brooklyn, just by the way- playing at much the same kind of pantomime, as well as things like the Black Metal Symposium covered in that NYT article linked above -which took place in, surprise! Brooklyn!-. I have a feeling that Liturgy wouldn't come in for quite as much of a beating if they weren't seen by the wider metal community as being the most laughable and easy-to-mock example of a score of bands and artists who, in the eyes of said wider community, just don't get it. At all. Add to that the way that metalheads in general are a pretty insular lot who are very, very defensive about people they see as outsiders using the tools of metal music without a broader engagement in the associated lifestyle and worldview of the lifelong metalhead.
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Either way fuck this thread I'm gonna go listen to Ulver.
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i wonder if that argument's a bit specious though, dovey. it certainly strikes me as problematic that one must share x worldview to play y music. even something like straight-edge hardcore has heterogeneity in that regard, since some bands are decidedly more posi about it than others. some bands are christian! i don't see what makes black metal so special, other than its community is like somewhat notoriously curmudgeonly and resistant to basically any kind of change.

i also think it's kind of silly to take off on this guy because he has the audacity to have thought about his music, or to have ideas about what he might be able to accomplish. call me crazy but i think the word for that isn't megalomania, it's ambition. it strikes me as kind of ridiculous to take offense at that.
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Hardcore and punk in general is a bit different because it's driving tenet is that anyone can regardless of talent can contribute to the scene.
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Johnny C

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Hardcore and punk in general is a bit different because it's driving tenet is that anyone can regardless of talent can contribute to the scene.

sure but that's why i localized it down to straight-edge hardcore, which in terms of having 1) extremely obvious stylistic markers and 2) an intense and tight-knit and frankly fairly insular community shares some elements with black metal. plus you have to be straight-edge, which like right off the bat even makes it more clearly ideologically defined than black metal. but there are different ideologies behind being straight-edge, is my point, and so even within that way more rigid guideline you won't see people knocking bands for not being "posi" enough or whatever, not at least without getting called out seriously. with black metal, and in this thread, that's reversed, and like i honestly can't think of another similar community so i can't think of anywhere else that happens. sorry, black metal music! you don't get or really honestly deserve special treatment in that regard. anyone can play you. they just have to not suck.
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tommydski

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Brooklyn based...

Could basically stop reading at this point.
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and i mean jd if we want to broaden it out to all of punk and hardcore then black metal loses there again because you won't find anyone saying that people "aren't a real hardcore band" if they're posi and don't hate the government and punk is like ridiculously broad along the ideological spectrum! the point is that anyone can play whatever music they want and if they have a different worldview than the conservative old guard then who cares whatever those guys are gonna eventually wind up on the losing side of history as being the guys who were resistant to change.
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KvP

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i also think it's kind of silly to take off on this guy because he has the audacity to have thought about his music, or to have ideas about what he might be able to accomplish. call me crazy but i think the word for that isn't megalomania, it's ambition. it strikes me as kind of ridiculous to take offense at that.
It's mainly the combination of the fact that (as Dovey pointed out) the aural elements of the band are not particularly revolutionary, and the fact that he'll write a fuckin' manifesto about the Classical significance of his music and will spout off about it at a moment's notice, but refuse to actually engage in any sort of dialog about it, saying "I’m not so interested in defending anything I say, I only like to be judged on whether it’s interesting or not." I don't care how "ambitious" he is, he's got the attitude of a monumentally precocious teenager (and one hopes will grow out of such nonsense, but the adulation he's getting may well delay it). You've been in a few philosophy classes, you remember that one guy who would always argue incoherently with the prof in the middle of class over some tangent and get defensive when called out? Well, that guy has a band now, and he wants to tell you all about how his music perfectly evokes what America means. He's written a manifesto! He's an important thinker! We have to take him seriously!

Plus from where I'm sitting it seems like this guy isn't trying to claim that he's making Black Metal, he's claiming to be improving Black Metal. He's salvaging it. He's inviting shit in that respect. The Black Metal tag is obvs beneath Liturgy. Hence the "transcendent metal" part. If you want to call that ambition, go ahead. I'll call it amazing, amazing hubris, and I'll root for the kid to get his comeuppance.
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 21:21 by KvP »
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JimmyJazz

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I mean c'mon, he calls his music "transcendental black metal" which is the most megalomaniacal genre-name I've ever heard
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KvP

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See, but does it black metal that is transcendental, or is it metal that transcends black? (You get what I mean there)

Ugh I need to be writing this paper but this guy is just too juicy a target

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and i mean jd if we want to broaden it out to all of punk and hardcore then black metal loses there again because you won't find anyone saying that people "aren't a real hardcore band" if they're posi and don't hate the government and punk is like ridiculously broad along the ideological spectrum! the point is that anyone can play whatever music they want and if they have a different worldview than the conservative old guard then who cares whatever those guys are gonna eventually wind up on the losing side of history as being the guys who were resistant to change.

Well if you're thinking about 70s or 80s hardcore you may have a point but punk's broadened a bit since the 90s. I don't know if it's the same for black metal since I don't listen to much metal pre 90s.
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I mean c'mon, he calls his music "transcendental black metal" which is the most megalomaniacal genre-name I've ever heard
One of the links Kveep posted called it metallic math rock which I think is a much better descriptor.
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David_Dovey

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i wonder if that argument's a bit specious though, dovey. it certainly strikes me as problematic that one must share x worldview to play y music.

Well it's not like every black metal musician has to actually believe what he's saying. I'm not sure what's controversial about saying that black metal is largely defined by non-musical concerns. I'm not theorising in the abstract here, this is based on the acknowledged corpus of works which are popularly defined as being "black metal", and which is defined more by lyrical content or admittedly more ephemeral things like "atmosphere" or "tone". In other words, you can completely omit all of the musical components which to the casual observer seem like the very cornerstones of black metal- lo-fi production, blast beats, tremolo riffs- and still be making black metal. It's not like it's even THAT specific. The acceptable parameters to be making black metal are pretty broad and well-trodden but what Liturgy are doing is not just outside of those bounds but quite pointedly and deliberately opposite to that.

Like, honestly I think maybe you misunderstand the extent to which I'm positing black metal has to be orthodox, or the narrowness of what is acceptable.

It's actually a lot closer to the example you give about xSxExHxCx, i.e;

you have to be grim... but there are different ideologies behind being grim
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KvP

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I mean c'mon, he calls his music "transcendental black metal" which is the most megalomaniacal genre-name I've ever heard
One of the links Kveep posted called it metallic math rock which I think is a much better descriptor.
But if you call it that, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix doesn't get to feel like the brilliant musical revolutionary he plainly is.

Personally I'd call it, I don't know, blackened prog metal?
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 21:30 by KvP »
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Johnny C

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I'm not sure what's controversial about saying that black metal is largely defined by non-musical concerns.

that it's a thing that basically makes black metal special and privileged? that it's a thing of exclusion that basically doesn't make any sense cause it has nothing to do with like the music itself? the idea that saying "you can only be grim to make it" is non-controversial should precisely be a thing of controversy because it implies that you can't challenge norms within it which is like total baloney.
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KvP

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Dude Johnny that's how music is now, because of the internet. really.

Quote
The point of this whole piece is that something new has happened here for the music world. We now live in a world where genres aren’t controlled by elite media writers or journalists who get to coin new music terms like they did in the past with weak names that we now use everyday such as Shoegaze, Grunge, etc. This may be a good thing… just maybe. In this case, this genre was spread virally starting with one person using tagging as a method to define a genre. Once it was tagged and others had found it, it was a matter of others accepting this genre as a reality and then it became a reality. Fake Genre or Real Genre?; there is no difference anymore.

Liturgy - The Salem of Transcendent Black Metal??
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Johnny C

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i have no idea what you're saying or how it like counters my point unless you're making an argument against genre???
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Johnny C

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or unless you're saying that average listeners define genre but like that's a whole different solipsistic & self-absorbed kettle of fish
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Johnny C

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also a lot of the argument against this dude's idea that he's making black metal boils down to a "no trve scotsman," you guys realize that right
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 21:48 by Johnny C »
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KvP

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I DON'T CARE IF HE'S MAKING BLACK METAL OR NOT

THE DUDE IS A GIANT WALKING TWAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND

A TWAT
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Johnny C

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sure but i don't much like your reasoning for why he's a twat because they seem to be that he's read a book once maybe
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KvP

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sure but i don't much like your reasoning for why he's a twat because they seem to be that he's thought he read a book once maybe
ftfy

Seriously is using big words all it takes to be considered a public intellectual

If so why haven't I been recognized yet
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Johnny C

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i mean "look at this american guy from brooklyn who spoke about his music in public at a symposium in academic terms" is basically the gist of it and you can probably guess the top three reasons at least that i'm uncomfortable with that being a problem with a musician
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KvP

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I am actually seriously astounded that you're calling me an anti-intellectual for making fun of this guy. I really am.
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David_Dovey

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And I mean it's established fact that metal is ridiculously exclusionary and insular and elitist which just comes along with the territory and I don't think we have to take it all that seriously in that respect. I try to be as aware of that as possible and I feel more than a little self-conscious at appearing to be falling into that whole trope of the "that shit's not metal, fag" guy on like such as metalsucks.net or Encyclopedia Metallum or whatever but in this case Hunt-Hendrix is actually being really loud + proud about the fact that he is subverting a lot of the basic identifying marks of black metal.

The problem with this is how he thinks he is being revolutionary and, yes, improving or transcending the limits of what metal as currently constituted is capable of, but what he's actually doing is neutering metal's appeal and power. I think maybe he's not realising that the genre didn't come by it's conventions by accident? As I said before, second-wave black metal sounds the way it sounds for very deliberate reasons, because that is what the pioneering practitioners of the style felt was the most effective way of conveying what they wanted conveyed. And as the genre aged, other bands made music that shared very little of those stylistic markers (or none at all), but was still recognisably "black metal" based on a shared foundation and desire to evoke certain moods and responses. When Hunter Hunt-Hendrix plays desolate, grim, dark music and later intellectualises it as being about "life and hyperthrophy" or whatever his quote was, it just comes off as being pretty confused and conflicted and at cross-purposes to itself and yes, stupid and ripe for parody.

that it's a thing that basically makes black metal special and privileged? that it's a thing of exclusion that basically doesn't make any sense cause it has nothing to do with like the music itself? the idea that saying "you can only be grim to make it" is non-controversial should precisely be a thing of controversy because it implies that you can't challenge norms within it which is like total baloney.

This is a weird thing to say! Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't we just recently have the conversation about how punk rock can be an awful lot of things musically, from one acoustic guitar to the standard electric guitar-bass-drums thing to like a whole fucking gypsy klezmer ensemble but they're all united by an ethos or an attitude? Once again, my memory may be misleading me here but I seem to remember we were in agreement on that point. Black metal isn't privileged in this position at all.
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David_Dovey

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Hey fuck you guys for posting so fast, all my shit be redundant now fuck
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David_Dovey

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also a lot of the argument against this dude's idea that he's making black metal boils down to a "no trve scotsman," you guys realize that right

No you're totally correct and I feel a little ashamed that that's what the conversation degenerated to because it's tangential at best to the actual heart of this, which is as such: Hunter Hunt-Hendrix is an incredibly silly motherfucker and that is not because he is making music that he calls black metal but really isn't, but because he is making music which superficially resembles black metal music but lacks any of the heft which made black metal vital and interesting in the first place, and then proceeds to deliver lectures and manifestos about said hollow, overwrought pantomime in which he strongly implies that his method is actually the most valid expression of the form to date, and does so in language that is self-consciously "intellectual" and needlessly opaque in extremis, once again in direct juxtaposition to everything that is interesting about black metal. Like, he couldn't have missed the mark any more if he tried.

And that is fucking HILARIOUS
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 22:21 by David_Dovey »
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David_Dovey

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I'm sorry if this is incoherent, I feel like I'm being pretty incoherent. Thanks for hanging in there.
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David_Dovey

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One last thing (hopefully): I've been trying to come up with a good analogy for all this because I love analogies. What I've got so far still isn't even close to perfect but I'm gonna throw it out there and see if it sticks anyway.

Guys, remember in the early nineties, when there was a rash of factory-line major-label hip-hop dudes who rhymed about really safe subjects and just pretty much seemed anathema to everything that was interesting to hip-hop, particularly post-NWA and Public Enemy? Guys like Marky Mark and M.C. Hammer and whoever the fuck else?

I mean, they had old soul and funk samples in their songs and spoke rhythmically in rhyming couplets and wore gold chains and baggy pants, so they were nominally rap artists, but so much of what they were saying and their presentation seemed in direct opposition to everything that put rap in the center of culture in the first place.

Rap, more than the superficial stylistic indicators represents an organic and accessible form created by inner-city minorities to allow them to accurately express what they wanted to, and guys like Marky Mark represented something that, while sounding superficially similar to, say, Grandmaster Flash, ultimately represented a very suburban viewpoint.

Basically what I am saying is that Liturgy is the black metal Funky Bunch
« Last Edit: 06 Apr 2011, 22:23 by David_Dovey »
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JD

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Liturgy just takes the fun out of black metal?
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