Liturgy’s debut full-length, 2009’s Renihilation, is unrelenting and hyper-focused, an astonishing balance of pure chaos and meticulous composition, and never wavering in its dedication to its own conceptual core. Even as it introduced the band to the metal community at large, Renihilation established Liturgy as a group that refused to play by the same rules that had dictated black metal aesthetics up to that point, instead blazing their own white-hot path that used black metal as a means to express something much grander, and much more elusive. It simultaneously works within and against these pre-existing forms, and even five years after its initial release, seems completely alien and unparalleled. Following the 2008 release of the Immortal Life EP, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix expanded the lineup of his “transcendental black metal” project to include guitarist Bernard Gann, bassist Tyler Dusenbury, and drummer Greg Fox. These are the first recordings of this quartet lineup, laid to tape just several months after it coalesced. Renihilation is the work of a band pushing their limits physically and musically to organically realize music that was conceived completely in the abstract.
The term Renihilation is meant to signify the negation of a negation, producing affirmation and positivity, an ideology reflected in the music. Though it is perhaps the most aggressive album in the band’s discography, at times startling so, it is not weighed down by depressive tendencies. Colin Marston’s production expertly accents the brightness in their sound. From the vocal incantations that pepper the album, offering brief respites from the onslaught, to the ferocious explosions of “Pagan Dawn,” “Ecstatic Rite” and the title track, Renihilation is the first spectacular acheivement from a band that continues to reinvent itself and push the boundaries of what can be achieved in the context of extreme music.