I followed a crushing guitar drone down to the blue stage to find black metal band Liturgy delivering a sonic drubbing to a crowd of rain-soaked fans. Drummer Greg Fox and bassist Tyler Dusenbury recently left the group, so guitarist/vocalist/black metal manifesto writer Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and guitarist Bernard Gann were going it alone today. The rain petered out a few songs into their set - a shame since this music would have made the perfect soundtrack to an epic downpour. Even in their reduced state, Liturgy proved they could still put the "transcendental" in transcendental black metal.
Hunt-Hendrix and Gann are masters of the slow build: HHH loops his shreiked vocals, then Gann buries them in layer upon layer of ferocious tremolo guitar. Hunt-Hendrix has cited avant-guard composers Alexander Scriabin and Iannis Xenakis as influences, but comparisons with minimalists Steve Reich and Philip Glass would be just as apt. As in Reich and Glass's music, the fun here is in detecting the minute changes in texture as these repetative guitar lines shift over and under one another. The audience is largely silent throughout. Is this just correct behavior when observing a satanic ritual? Or are they bored?