Monday, April 6, 2015

Liturgy & Sannhet @ the Masquerade 2015.

Trying to make it a point to review all shows the following morning when my ears are still ringing. Last nights show at the Masquerade started off for me out back interviewing Sannhet, so I caught the tail end of the Horse Lords set. While he are a prog/ math rock band from Baltimore, that has more in common with the Secret Chiefs than they do ....insert any black metal band's name here... with two drummers one of whom makes frequent use of a sax, they had a bite , but the emphasis to their instrumental exploits was not heaviness.

Next up was Sannhet who seemed to have a bigger draw than Liturgy, not sure if people just didn't want to stay up until ten on a Sunday night. For those of you who know the multi- tiered venue, the Cro-mags were playing downstairs and I was tempted to catch a few of their songs since I have never seen them with the original singer, so that might have factored  in for others since the punk and metal scenes in Atlanta ride a blurred line with one another. Sannhet took the darkened stage with samples and feedback before hammering into their set of blackened post-rock. Two things were brought to my attention. One that the sound in what is the Masquerade's smallest room has vastly improved. Second that Sannhet is much more intense live. While due to volume alone this is true for most bands, they connected energetically in a way that I haven't felt from Russian Circles. The mellower sections of atmosphere were slightly glazed over that was one element, they must feel sit better on album than in the live setting.

Their drummer Chris Todd delivered the trio's most impressive attack of his instruments as his sticks were a blur, though bassist AJ made you wonder how the band ever existed without him. The audience remained engaged through out  the duration their set. This  crowd was by an large a metal crowd, though not of the denim jacket variety. The beards were somewhat limited, perhaps because this was an all ages show. Where I was standing every seemed to have worked at a college radio station, so that might give you an idea, there were no Burzum shirts anywhere to been seen. Nor did any of the bands ...Liturgy included have any pretense that they were black metal. Hot on the heels of their well recieved now album"the Revisionist" Sannhet came across as the darkest act of the night. Their light show coordinated by their bassist, consisted of well place strobes. There was a projection running but it sat on the stages black back drop not giving it the most visual impact, instead it looked as if the band was playing with a layer of static over them.

Liturgy took the stage promptly at ten and the crowd had thinned reminded me just how behind the times Atlanta is when it comes to black metal. They had fanfare of noise blaring through the p/a before punching into a set that stuck to their newest album "Ark Work". So Hunter did not utter one scream. The clean chanted or rapped vocals were normally low in the mix and he had a layer of chorus on them so thick that when he thanked every one at the end of the night no one could understand him. This offset the most common complaint I hear in regard to the new album, the lack of  the harsh black metal screams.The last time I saw Liturgy it was just the two guitarists Hendrix and Gann, playing to a drum machine after their bassist and drummer dropped off mid way into the tour. So it was good to see the full band intact.

It was a night for drummers as drummer Greg Fox stole the show until they hit the instrumentals that took on the thick mid paced chug and he would relax. Hunter's ringing bell like guitar tone sounded crisper than his previous visit and he  obviously seemed more confident with the full band behind him. The sharp ringing of the guitars that is an exercise in speedy yet angular math , made it clear that this is something that might been influence by the likes of Lighting Bolt and Swans these guys have created some that is very much them and not being replicated nor a carbon copy of what was done better  in Norway 20 years ago. Despite Liturgy's nay sayers this show reconfirmed my affinity for the band and also made me want to give Sannhet's new one a few more spins.

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