#143 | Album Review | Liturgy – H.A.Q.Q.


Liturgy is an experimental black metal outfit from Brooklyn, New York. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, Liturgy was established sometime in 2005. Three years later came the project’s debut EP, Immortal Life, which featured Hunter on every instrument. And one year later came his first LP, Renihilation. However, instead of going it alone, he enlisted three other musicians to help execute his vision. In years subsequent, the same troupe persisted through Liturgy’s follow-up LPs Aesthetica (2011) and The Ark Work (2015), with Hunter leading vocal duties and guitars. Then all seemed to fall silent for several years until “God of Love”, a single off of their latest endeavor, surfaced in September 2019. A mere two months later dropped their fourth album, H.A.Q.Q., to the surprise of most as no formal announcements or hype-building preceded its release. It also marked a line-up change in the quartet, now featuring Leo Didkovsky on drums and Tia Vincent-Clark on bass.

To be frank and upfront, I have known of Liturgy’s existence for many years, but I never delved into their discography until H.A.Q.Q.‘s out of nowhere unveiling. Connor is even more aloof (surprise surprise) to Liturgy’s music, having never heard of them until I shot him the address to where this album resides. Though after both he and I spent several weeks with this record, we are in agreement that this is one of our favorite releases of 2019.

Swarming with a cavalcade of glitch tears and aural aberrations, H.A.Q.Q. unfurls like a transcendental awakening. Double kicks gallop amok as shrill yet soaring guitar leads permeate our bloodstreams with revelatory ecstasy. All the while we are soaked in incandescence from instruments rather foreign to extreme metal paradigms. Glockenspiel, vibraphone, hichiriki, ryuteki, harp, and a string ensemble flourish atop the bedrock of various compositions, rendering the atmosphere alien and, at times, off-kilter. Though their infusion with the feverish surges of angelic melodicism makes for an enlightening journey. Both Connor and I had a bunch to say about H.A.Q.Q. and we sincerely hope you enjoy our discussion of it. Thank you so much for tuning in.

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You can acquire a digital copy of H.A.Q.Q. via Liturgy’s Bandcamp page. There you can pre-order physical copies (LP, CD) of the record if that’s your thing. Follow the transcendental black metallers on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop about upcoming tour dates and new material.

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