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Liturgy | 93696 (2023)


Liturgy transcends the traditional parameters of what constitutes a rock band. Founded by Ravenna Hunt- Hendrix, Liturgy is a part of a shared discipline of composition, art, and philosophy that thrives on exploring the spaces between. As an ever-evolving practice Hunt-Hendrix has incorporated elements of black metal, art rock, opera, and trap production into the musical language of Liturgy while engaging with transcendental, theological and eschatological theory through lectures series’ and art installations. A profound sense of yearning and emotional depth weaves through the Liturgy’s dense layers and anchors the project’s increasingly complex and innovative work. 93696 is the purest synthesis of the diversity of Liturgy, a sprawling and monumental double album exploring religion, cosmic love, the feminine, and metamorphosis while manifesting the ecstatic with breathtaking grandeur. Thrill Jockey Records

Liturgy: 93696

Audio CD:


93696 is a number derived from the religions of Christianity and Thelema, a numerological representation of heaven, or a new eon for civilization. H-H composed the album as an exploration of eschatological possibility divided by the four “laws” that govern her own interpretation of heaven, “Haelegen”: Sovereignty, Hierarchy, Emancipation, and Individuation. These laws constitute the four movements of 93696 which act as dramas all their own within the framework of the record. Throughout the movements Hunt- Hendrix invokes the album’s myriad of personal and conceptual themes through the ensemble’s sheer force of sound, her will and intent blossoming from each bombarding gale. Hunt-Hendrix’s keening voice sows passionate crescendos and imagist poetry into the elaborate arrangements. The meticulously crafted and nuanced compositions flex and stretch dexterously, bounding with an incalculable momentum that contorts and stutters at lightning speed. Hunt-Hendrix notes on the album’s recording process: “We recorded it to tape in a much more live way than usual, aiming to make it sound more punk-meets-classical than metal, which is the usual recording style reference for us.” Thrill Jockey Records

Ravenna Hunt-Hendrix cares little about what you think or feel about her or her work. This has been a constant since Liturgy‘s debut in 2008; the Immortal Life EP came emblazoned with the claim “PURE TRANSCENDENTAL BLACK METAL” in full caps. Amid circles of more rigid black metal fans, that statement alone stoked a wrathful fire. It brought to full blaze by Hunt-Hendrix’s 2009 paper, Transcendental Black Metal: A Vision of Apocalyptic Humanism which was essentially a call for the overthrow of (hyperborean) black metal’s existential despair in favor of a new form of (transcendental) black metal reveling in life’s energies.
It’s hardly surprising such a bold declaration would spark resistance from those who didn’t feel black metal needed to be toppled in a coup. Adding fuel to the flames, while Hunt-Hendrix’s paper was concise, well-expressed, and clear, she was also well-versed in the verbiage of academia, which sparked irritation from those sensitive to the appearance of being spoken down to by middle- and upper-class intellectuals.
Hunt-Hendrix refused to back down. Liturgy’s albums Renihilation (2009), Aesthetica (2011), and The Ark Work (2015) bore names, track titles, and lyrics referencing or representing her philosophy. That trait then went into overload with a self-created cosmic foundation myth explored across her solo album New Introductory Lectures on the System of Transcendental Qabala (2016), Liturgy’s H.A.Q.Q. (2019) — an acronym for “Haelegen Above Quality and Quantity” — and its successor, an opera, Origins of the Alimonies (2020.) New album, 93696, continues down that path with an album title “derived from the religions of Christianity and Thelema, a numerological representation of heaven, or a new eon for civilization….an exploration of eschatological possibility divided by the four ‘laws’ that govern her own interpretation of heaven, ‘Haelegen’”. I have three degrees from Cambridge University and reading this still inclines me to declare “what the fuck?” POP Matters

  • Daily Bread
  • Djennaration
  • Caela
  • Angel of Sovereignty
  • Haelegen II
  • Before I Knew the Truth
  • Angel of Hierarchy
  • Red Crown II
  • Angel of Emancipation
  • Ananon
  • 93696
  • Haelegen II (Reprise)
  • Angel of Individuation
  • Antigone II
  • Immortal Life II

Product Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 4.92 x 5.51 x 0.79 inches; 3.1 Ounces
Manufacturer ‏ : ‎ Thrill Jockey Records
Original Release Date ‏ : ‎ 2023
Label ‏ : ‎ Thrill Jockey Records
ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0BJ89HLS8
Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ USA
Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 2

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