By now, trailing jangly noise-pop darlings Sleigh Bells and dance DJ Diplo, one of Brooklyn’s most beloved and most despised bands is heading South toward Tallahassee. “Transcendental black metal” act Liturgy is one of the most polarizing bands to hit the blogosphere in years, and have become both an indie success and a half-starved whipping boy for extreme metal purists. Their music has gotten much less press than their pompous, elfin frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has, but when it comes down to it, that’s the important part, right?
Following the departure of drummer Greg Fox, whose talent behind the kit was both undeniably impressive and a major force behind Liturgy’s sound, many were wondering whether the project would collapse. Fox’s drumming was one of the major bright spots cited by even the most negative reviews, and his hummingbird-fast, so-called “burst beat” (a modified blastbeat) was one of the pillars of Hunt-Hendrix’s manifesto.
However, the band have elected to forge onwards, relying on programmed drums and a reinvented version of the “burst beat,” which as Hunt-Hendrix said in a recent interview, he and guitarist Bernard Gann will be “recreating it in the context of high-bpm hardcore techno.”
With that in mind, as well as the band’s hipster-heavy audience, and given the sonic tendencies of Sleigh Bells and, on some level, Diplo, this initially puzzling pairing begins to make a lot more sense. Liturgy’s grasp on the metal world was tenuous even in the beginning; by now, it’s damn near evaporated entirely. They’ve moved further and further toward an experimental, minimalist, noise-rock niche. The black metal elements remain in vestigial form, in Hunt-Hendrix’s fondness for tremolo picking and scratchy wail. But do not go to this show expecting to hear anything remotely close to Darkthrone or Blut Aus Nord. If you choose to attend, do so with an open mind, and, for your sake, a healthy appreciation for dancey electronic beats. And, er, plan on leaving your Mayhem shirt at home. (Just kidding, you definitely don’t have one if you’re going to a Sleigh Bells show.)
Sleigh Bells play with Liturgy and Jacuzzi Boys 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11, at Revolution (100 S.W. Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale). Tickets cost $15. Call 954-449-1025, or visit jointherevolution.net.
Sleigh Bells play with Diplo and Liturgy 9 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 14, at Grand Central (697 N. Miami Ave., Miami). Tickets cost $25. Call 305-377-2277, or visit grandcentralmiami.com.