Welcome to the second installment of Bitter and Then Some, bringing you the falsest of false metal on a non-regular basis! This week we have an extended interview with the controversial Brooklyn-based black metallers Liturgy, who will be playing Kilby Court on July 13. We also have a very sparse rundown of metal events happening this week in Salt Lake and beyond, as well as a few blog exclusive reviews from SLUG’s own Dylan Chadwick. On with the show.
On Friday July 8, SLUG will be presenting Dwellers, Muckraker and Maraloka for this month’s installment of Localized at Urban Lounge (21+). The show starts at 10:00, and as always, $5 gets you in. Check out our interviews with Muckraker and Maraloka here.
On Saturday July 9, the Montreal based death metal crew Blackguard will be performing at The Complex with Freedom Before Dying. This show is 21+, and tickets are $10 in advance and $13 at the door.
If you find yourself in Provo on Sunday July 10 and are looking for something semi-heavy, My Iron Lung, Darasuum and The Bogarts play at the Death Star with support from locals Hitchhiker and Bomb Squid. The show is just $5 and starts at 6:00 PM.
Finally, on Wednesday July 13, Liturgy rolls into town with support from the mighty Eagle Twin at Kilby Court. Tickets are only $8 and the show begins at 7:00 PM.
For many, the realm of metal is a place of sanctuary. It is a dark place, but also safe. However, change is often challenged. Outisders who flock to the strangeness seeking understanding hypocritically expel those with ideas other than their own. Those who seek to evolve are accused of falseness. Hunter Hunt-Hendrix may be the most hated man in metal at the moment. His essay, Transcendental Black Metal, originally delivered at the 2009 Hideous Gnosis Black Metal Theory Symposium, has become the subject of muchcontroversy. It may be because of the intellectual tone of the essay or the “hipster” tag that is being affixed to many Brooklyn-based bands, but the mere existence of the essay and the attention being given to Hunt-Hendrix is seriously pissing off a whole lot of metalheads. To put the essay in simple terms, transcendental black metal is about the exploration of new musical ideas that are rooted in traditional black metal, but not an imitation of traditional black metal—many people hate this notion. However, Aesthethica, the second album from Hunt-Hendrix’s band Liturgy, has garnered just as many positive reviews from metal outsiders as it has negative reviews from the kvltest of the kvlt. Aesthethica is an adventurous collection of music that owes just as much to experimental noise rock groups Lightning Bolt and Boredoms as it does to black metal forebears Darkthrone and Burzum. I spoke with Hunt-Hendrix about the new album and how he’s dealing with all of the attention Liturgy has been receiving recently.
SLUG: I’ve read in other interviews that you’ve studied composition in school and learned how to play piano at a young age. How did you go from that background to developing an interest in aggressive music and metal?
Hunter Hunt-Hendrix: I was interested in aggressive music and metal before I studied composition. I’m not really classically trained, exactly. It’s kind of misleading to put it that way--it wasn’t like I went to a conservatory or something like that. I would listen to a lot of death metal and I would listen to a lot of Stravinsky and there’s sort of a similar kind of brutality between that particular genre and that particular composer. That was one of the first real crossovers that I explored in terms of classical music and metal.
SLUG: I’ve read in other interviews that you’re interested in philosophy and literature. What things beyond metal and even beyond music influence you and the music of Liturgy?
Hunt-Hendrix: Philosophy was the main thing I studied in school, actually. The genral view of using art to create an environment, for a brief moment, that is really true and moving in a way that is hard to describe definitely had a big influence.
SLUG: Going along with that, why do you think people are so upset with Transcendental Black Metal and you vocalizing the way you that you approach creating your music?
Hunt-Hendrix: I don’t actually check out blogs all that much, but people have been sending me links to a lot of this stuff so I just can’t help it. It’s super intense. The internet is confusing because it’s difficult to get a litmus test of how many people the haters are speaking for and whether or not someone who appreciates the idea of the music is as likely to write an intense comment about that. I would like to think there’s a silent majority of people who like Liturgy, but I’m not really sure. Maybe I come off as a jerk sometimes in interviews. There’s one interview on the internet that’s gone slightly viral, at least for the metal community. I actually look at the interview and think, “Man, that really did not go very well. That guy looks like a douchebag and that guy is me.” I don’t think that video was edited very generously--it seems like whoever edited it didn’t want to make us look good. I also think our attitude towards music is really at odds with people who really take black metal seriously and choose to see life and music in a certain way.