Metal Storm logo
Liturgy - 93696 review

Bandcamp music player

29 users:
Band: Liturgy
Album: 93696
Release date: March 2023

01. Daily Bread
02. Djennaration
03. Caela
04. Angel Of Sovereignty
05. Haelegen II
06. Before I Knew The Truth
07. Angel Of Hierarchy
08. Red Crown II
09. Daily Bread II
10. Angel Of Emancipation
11. Ananon
12. 93696
13. Haelegen II (Reprise)
14. Angel Of Individuation
15. Antigone II
16. Immortal Life II

We're pretty used to calling music "otherworldly" and usually in a good way. For Liturgy, it was such a twisted form of black metal whose glitches, blaring horns, convoluted lore and philosophy from Hunt-Hendrix's world made it feel quite incomprehensible for our world. 93696 is quite a colossus that encapsulates all that.

My relationship with Liturgy is quite odd. And just like with with my previous review, you were probably expecting someone else to cover this one specifically because of the largest score gap between reviews of consecutive albums of one band. And even back then I specifically pitched SSUS the H.A.Q.Q. review because I was expecting a similarly negative review. Well, that's not what happened, and that has lead me to re-evaluate a bit what I wanted out of Liturgy's music. To this day, even if I did warm up to their sound, my take on the sound of that album was and remains "we need more music like this, but not this" precisely because the execution feels more out there. In the review, SSUS dreaded the thought of returning to the maligned The Ark Work to compare the two albums precisely because he might warm up to it. I have re-checked The Ark Work in his stead, and I can confirm that although I have also warmed up to it, a lot of what makes Liturgy's current sound obnoxious is tenfold worse on The Ark Work.

Some of the obnoxious elements were toned down for The Origin Of The Alimonies, something that ironically made it have a lower review score than its predecessor. In the meantime I have managed to catch Liturgy live and see two of their sets, each focused on one of their most recent albums at the time, and the obnoxious elements were toned down a bit there as well, but sitting through an entire performance still felt like a bit too much for me, a person who warmed up to them, to take in. And definitely not for X-Ray Rod, who was visibly suffering next to me. I saw plenty of praise both for those albums and those live performances, so I tried to make sure I was not gaslighting myself into liking them purely because I predict that the reception to these albums will be even warmer retrospectively.

So I arrive at 93696 with the thought in the back of my mind that this forward thinking album is probably gonna be regarded as a classic in a few years, and that my process of warming up to Liturgy's sound might continue still and I shouldn't let my current progress so far be the be all end all of how I regard Liturgy, but I also shouldn't be dishonest in how their sound makes me feel. 93696 was preceded by last year's As The Blood Of God Bursts The Veins Of Time an EP that acted as a teaser for the album, with the album's title track being for some reason divided into three tracks on the EP, and with a pretty unnecessary bonus track appended, and that was definitely the most enjoyment I ever got out of a Liturgy release, which was still pretty unexpected.

The first thing that I should add is that 93696 is a huge album. It's 80-something minutes. It's about as long as H.A.Q.Q. and The Origin Of The Alimonies combined, and a lot of what made those albums better than The Ark Work, other than generally being better executions of the sound, is that they were also more concise. So having the next album go the complete reverse route is cause for concern, and I agree that 93696 would've worked better if it was a bit more concise, but if there was one Liturgy album that would work with such elongated runtimes, it's this one. Divided into four sections (which might explain the runtime), each section with its own "Angel track", one that's more of a mood-setting non-metal track, usually leaning towards ambient or modern classical.

Classical music has always been a part of Liturgy's sound, but I guess performing with an orchestra at Roadburn did have some effect on Ravenna, as this one makes the most use of its classical elements, from choral backdrops, to avant-garde methods like totalism, to just more straight-forward chamber music to add more nuance to the glitchy progressive black metal. As far as the glitches go, that was one of the elements of Liturgy's sound that I found most obnoxious, but they're used more sparingly and to greater effect here. As far as the metal elements go, these feel closer to H.A.Q.Q. than anything else, with all the burst beats and bright metalgaze explosions, but there's also a lot of moments on it where that sound feels so ironed out and polished that it no longer feels so alien. I'd like to think that it's not just me warming up to the sound but that the band is finally biting about as much as they can actually chew songwriting-wise.

Not all interludes really feel like they serve a purpose, and a lot of the longer tracks don't always feel like they justify their lengths. Some of the layering still feels overwhelming and not always in a good way. Her shrieks can get a bit monotonous. "Djenneration" is the track that sounds the most like it could've been on a previous record, and having it be the after-intro opener isn't leaving the best first taste. And that's not counting how silly that song name is, but that's kind of expected from an album whose title is a bunch of numbers that may or may not do with that supposed Nikola Tesla manifestation code.

A lot of what was already obnoxious about Liturgy's sound is still present on 93696, but with its negative impact very diminished. And a lot of what was exciting and forward-thinking about Liturgy's sound is still present on 93696, but more polished and refined. Maybe, Liturgy might end up actually making the music that's as great as it is daring.

Written on 02.04.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 85 users
02.04.2023 - 11:59
Rating: 9
endangered bird
I discovered the band with this album and I guess it's their best one. Although really long and not really well structured, but le sound is really marvellous. One element often changed during their discography is the way the singer sings, and it's a bit funny but nice here
2019 - 2020 - 2021
02.04.2023 - 17:49
Rating: 7
Meat and Potatos
I like the idea of this album. It kinda sounds like what Krallice did on their magnum opus, Dimensional Bleedthrough.

However I feel like the songwriting is lacking. With wankery that go for that long there should be something that draws the attention of the listener in order to engage him on the listen. While Krallice does that perfectly in that album, here that "something" is amiss, and so it gets pretty old pretty quickly.
Growing up is the worst. I hope I never do it.

Hits total: 868 | This month: 3