White Hills, Liturgy, Great Society Mind Destroyers | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

White Hills, Liturgy, Great Society Mind Destroyers Critic's Choice Recommended Soundboard

When: Wed., March 23, 9:30 p.m. 2011

Three different drummers take turns behind the kit on the latest EP from New York's WHITE HILLS, Stolen Stars Left for No One (Thrill Jockey), including the band's current touring sticksman, Lee Hinshaw, but it has surprisingly little effect on the band's sound. No matter who's playing the metronomic, trance-inducing grooves, the music's focal point is guitarist David W.'s effects-damaged riffing and soloing—even the occasional chanted vocals are just another texture, secondary to the guitar work. On last year's self-titled opus, W. fills the trio's large sonic canvas with broad brushstrokes; whether performing ferocious rockers ("Three Quarters"), hypnotic, surging meditations ("Let the Right One In"), or extended, wide-open drones ("Glacial"), he uses his six-string spell casting to shape a compelling, modern spin on space-rock. White Hills have essentially been serving up the same few variations on a theme for five years, but that hardly matters when a band tears into its music with such gusto and slashing power. —Peter Margasak

Using an electric rock band as a tool to explore the nature of consciousness and its relationship to the universe went out of fashion with the Mahavishnu Orchestra. But if I'm reading them right, that's exactly what Brooklyn's LITURGY are up to. The group have chosen an interesting vehicle to guide their quest for satori: black metal, a punishing style traditionally guided by a relentlessly pessimistic perspective based on the premise that life is grim and can be made even grimmer with the right record collection. On their immense 2009 debut, Renihilation (20 Buck Spin), and their even better sophomore disc, Aesthetica (out in May on Thrill Jockey), they push black metal's pummeling sonic assault past the genre-standard minor-key tremolo-picked riffing and lockstep typewriter drumming, turning both its rhythms and its harmonies into something more complicated, elastic, and transcendent sounding. The result is, in strictly musical terms, pretty interesting, but not nearly as fascinating as the feeling you might get that the point of their endeavor is to pierce the veil of Maya using blastbeats. —Miles Raymer

Price: $8, free with RSVP to rsvp@emptybottle.com

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