Monday, October 31, 2016

Liturgy is black metal's savior

Brooklyn's Liturgy approaches black metal truly individualistically. It's black metal, definitely--not speed, thrash, grind, hardcore, punk, or anything like that. This, to me, is black metal and no other genre. Yet, Liturgy's sound and visuals are not fully, rigidly black metal--there's just no other term available with which to compare them, because no other band sounds like Liturgy. It's why they're more famous than contemporaries who dwell in works of the past, in non-innovation and repetition of sound.

Liturgy represents growth, fury, defiance, and beauty--even hope. They're like a fine wine. They're like a crazy new friend who comes into your life. Sometimes they're a depiction of heaven--rare, wondrous, and breathtaking. They blend so much together so deftly, both within black metal confines, and breaking out of said confines, spilling over effortlessly. Black metal as a genre cannot hold the greatness that is Liturgy. They shine forth with a power none may restrain.

No other band sounds like Liturgy, so if nothing else, they're unique. That alone warrants further exploration.

So y'all know I love Zev Deans, and he of course has had his hands in some Liturgy videos, because he picks awesome bands with which to work. Here, watch some more of his stuff here at his website's music page, if you want. He's got a growing body of unique work, aided in large part by Ghost, one of my fave bands alive today.

Peep this video for "Returner," track 3 from Liturgy's 2011 album Aesthetica, directed by Deans. This'll give you and idea of how Liturgy started, which will lead into where they went.

So that's pretty black metal-heavy, right? But the religious and church and high-minded aspects are there. Aesthetica was Liturgy's second album; on 2015's The Ark Work, that religious aspect was heightened--the music alone exemplifies this. The visuals compliment the mood perfectly--the album art, and the way Ark's music videos look.

Liturgy definitely has a mind toward high heights, and they use concepts of God, angels, and an ever-expanding brightness as vessels of conveyance. It's nothing like what actual churchgoers would feel free to conjure. It took a backing away from religion and its ever-safe-tenets, to give us a real look at a possible God we do not understand, but could feel safe in the embrace of. It's about vulnerability. It's about accepting what is before you, and the brilliant warmth you feel when you realize it's not going to be anything but positive and enlightening. It's like the closest you can come to an acid trip without the acid.

This video for "Quetzacoatl," directed by Aujik, exemplifies this perfectly.

Two people, witnessing this swirling whirlwind of angels. Isn't it great? That the music is constantly going in unexpected directions amplifies the feeling of "this is new and amazing." You can't help but just fall into Liturgy's arms. You have no idea what to expect, but what they're giving you is beautiful.

A few days ago I listened to The Ark Work in its entirety, and I had this thought, near the middle-end of the album, where everything is really quiet, and solemn, and there's this wavering keyboard thing going, and the mood is really meditative, and accepting, and quieting, and it really made me feel at peace. It was like, a true peace. Not one that panders to our desires for sugar, it was a truly relaxing thing. It sounded religious too. Like a religion that wouldn't detest me. Like something I'd actually like to be a part of.

Then all of a sudden, the music blasts into this unbelievably positive and intense whirlwind of major-key, symphonic, fast-as-fuck black metal. But is it black metal at this point? There's nothing black about it. It's just Liturgy. It's a bright, shining future. I had this thought: "They're giving me heaven right now." They're just giving it away. It's recorded, it's there. I may consume it. It's a gorgeous depiction of heaven and it made me feel like I was floating, as I was standing there drying dishes. That it's not being played in huge cathedrals, but in homes and kitchens like mine, seems a waste.

Of course, Zev had to make more than just one Liturgy video. Peep this The Ark Work album trailer he directed, and feel your jaw drop at the sheer power of the visuals, combined with that shaking keyboard thing I mentioned above:

So okay, next watch this live video from 2015. I love the way this venue is set up. I want to be there, one of those kids walking out the door to smoke a cigarette; one of those kids watching the show; one of those kids playing the show. Liturgy is humble up there--not trying to wow you with theatrics, but with true musical innovation. The bassist and drummer are also hawt.

Here's the last thing, it's "Follow" from Ark, from 2015, played in a studio where you can hear everything perfectly. The bell guitar effect is so cool along with black metal rhythms. It's controlled chaos. The vocal processing is really cool too, I want to know how he does that live.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Soul Day

It's Soul Day here at Sound Revue, and to celebrate, we've hand-picked these excellent so nice videors for your. So, to enjoy. Help me. With giving a hand for these, my--pre-video explainiations. My explainies.

Megan says there's some douchey cover of this from someone like Rod Stewart--is she right? Yes. It's by Simply Red. Don't pay attention to that, listen to this one. I feel like black singers have to sing this song, I see a white guy singing it and I'm like, aah stealing the limelight from black folk again, are we? Harold and the blues sing it like I want to hear it, personally.

When I graduated from high school, I moved to a small town outside Philadelphia to work for a staging, lighting, and sound company, doing shows all over the East Coast, including one where Billy Paul played on a stage I helped build in a Philly neighborhood. And in the video below, from his heyday, he is the epitome of smooth.

My first show at that production company was for Kool and the Gang. So even though they're not soul necessarily, I'm a put them on here and you can enjoy. I had this song in my head today, and had to hear it.