“Quetzalcoatl”, the new single from Liturgy, off their forthcoming third album, The Ark Work, is as much of a trip to listen to as it is to pronounce. It’s a hundred genres in one. It’s a death march hymnal; a black Gregorian chant; it’s a metal opus; it’s a synthetic dream sequence. There is so much going on in this track. The opening drum-machine drone immediately suggests something in the darkwave/electronic realm. It also suggests at first that the band is still playing without drummer Greg Fox and bassist Tyler Dusenbury, as was announced last July—it’s not until around the 1:29 mark that a real drum is even hit, but its immediately made clear that the reaffirmed original lineup is doing something more innovative than anything they’ve previously recorded.
The song builds throughout, first with layered, erratic metal-picked guitar arpeggios over the selfsame thump, then with Hunter Hunt-Hendrix’s chant-like vocals and synthetic bass tones it culminates in a rather large bass shift and more synths, with Fox’s real drumming replacing the machine, showing their full force and color. It ebbs for a brief moment, but then returns with even wilder swells and drum fills, all while climbing a melodic mountain of a scale that leaves you exhausted by the time you’ve reached its peak, and then disappear into space. If this track speaks for the other nine songs on this record, it will make for one of the more intense listening experiences of 2015.
Liturgy’s The Ark Work will be available March 24 from Thrill Jockey. You can listen to “Quetzalcoatl” below.