New Criticals

“The Ark Work”, is as eclectic as it is far reaching in its creative scope. The distant screaming on previous Liturgy albums has been replaced by a chanting vocal style. You’d be hard pressed to find that messy, reverb-drenched guitar distortion either. Most riffs, while still tremolo picked, are higher in register allowing the lower end of the sonic spectrum to be played on bass and the dynamics of the compositions to come from other sounds.

The record’s introduction “Fanfare”, features a cluster of triumphant horns, and reminded me of John Williams. “Kel Valhaal” also updates their formula. Where guitars would thrash, in its place are bells, horns and bagpipes, matching the unusual polyrythmns of Greg Fox’s propulsive drumming. “Follow”, and “Follow II”, start almost like the prog-rock film scores of Goblin but with the familiar adrenalized blast beats and dissonant crescendos. The appearance of intentionally obvious digital editing all over the record somehow makes it feel modern.

In the press, Hunt-Hendrix had also discussed incorporating a hip-hop influence. “Vitriol” is the most fleshed out expression of this which features triplet vocal patterns over chanting refrains and digital kick drums. The leadoff single “Quetzalcoatl”, which begins with uptempo 4-on-the-floor beats and synthesizers, ends up pushing towards far heavier emotional territory with the addition of the aforementioned new instruments.