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Liturgy: The Ark Work

Brooklyn’s art-metal provocateurs transcend listenability

With Deafheaven having taken the title of the most hipster-friendly, critically lauded and ‘but-mum-they’re-not-even-really-black-metal-whaaaa’ band around, ‘transcendental black metal’ (as chief creator Hunter Hunt-Hendrix calls it) troupe Liturgy have returned to reclaim perhaps the least-wanted crown in metal.

With The Ark Work it’s perhaps time to drop the ‘black metal’ distinction and admit that they’re simply a group who use elements of black metal to create their sound. Unfortunately, what they’ve created here is at times near-unlistenable.

Despite the Casio keyboard-sounding horns of opener Fanfare to the confusing, juddering mess of Kel Valhaal, Ark Work is not without its standout moments – the mid-paced, guitar-lead drive of Father Vorizen, the morose, harpsichord instrumental Haelegen in particular and, most startlingly, the electronic, almost breakbeat stomp of Vitriol./o:p