Why They’re Here: In an era of heavy-metal history where outside-the-box ideas are met with scorn and thinly veiled fear, Liturgy have subverted and inverted extreme metal by taking it into strange new realms, from spectral music to hip-hop. Stubbornly pretentious and unflaggingly ambitious, the young innovators — led by guitarist Hunter Hunt-Hendrix — never fail at rattling purists with every release they put out.
Why They’re Not Higher: Although it’s admirable that Liturgy swing for the fences every time, they’re only human, and will whiff every once in a while — like when they follow their avowed impulses toward Bone Thugs-n-Harmony-styled triplet flows.
Finest Moment: The glorious, 11-and-a-half-minute “Reign Array,” from 2015’s The Ark Work, sends basement kvltists scurrying with its audacious blend of black-metal tremolo picking and blastbeats. — ADRIEN BEGRAND