by Gerry Mak in New Music on Saturday 11 June 2011

A lot of metal people rag on Liturgy (the NYC black metal band recently signed to Thrill Jockey) for being too hipster and false. They’re turned off by the lack of metalhead attire and frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s admittedly pretentious musings on what he calls ‘transcendental black metal.’

But you know, try as I might, I can’t bring myself to dislike their music. I’ve seen them live many times, once when drummer Greg Fox (one of the best drummers I know) was on tour with one of his other bands and Hunter had to play pre-recorded MIDI beats from an iPod in lieu of real drums and it actually kinda worked. I really think they’re a solid, absolutely ripping band who are doing really interesting things, musically. As a vocalist myself, I love the vocal layering they do, though I understand why some might find it grating.

I think if these guys were making watered-down, imitation black metal and selling their songs to Volkswagen, then that would be lame, but if you never heard of these guys and someone put on one of their records (Renihilation or their new one, Aesthetica), would you really think they were some pop band pretending to be metal? I’ll accept any criticism of the band’s actual music, but I can’t help but think the real and primary reason they’re so maligned is their choice of t-shirts and their arty approach. For me, I just don’t care how ‘trve’ a band is.

In the words of Natasha Lyonne’s character in Detroit Rock City, ‘As far as I’m concerned, good tunes is good tunes,’ and even if they’re hipsters, they’re not homophobes, misogynists, neo-nazis, or convicted murderers, like so many of the other bands we metalheads happily listen to. My two cents.