Album review: Lingua Ignota – SINNER GET READY
A stellar reinterpretation of religious music
The church is a little sensitive subject for many people. If you grew up in the United States, there’s a good chance you’ve been there, and even if you didn’t, you certainly know people who have attended it regularly at some point in their lives. The prevalence of outright Christianity has shaped the path of this country for years and in doing so has altered the music it produces among many artists who reside in the United States. like the rejection of gangster rap in the 90s and 2000s or the fear of metal during Tipper Gore’s era of satanic panic, it also shaped the musical landscape in modest ways. Artists like Julien Baker, King Woman and Lingua Ignota all owe their sound, and perhaps even their success, to church or religion at the very least. Of all these artists, none are as willing to face these complex feelings as Lingua Ignota does on their last outing, SINNER PREPARE.
The first and most notable influence of religion on the music of Lingua Ignota, beyond the name, is in the instrumentation throughout the album. When it doesn’t incorporate noise and dissonance into the song, many songs are structured around a hymn-like core. For example, “ME BENDING THE HAUTES GRASSES” is a vitriolic prayer to God in what appears to be an empty cathedral. The organ resonates as the voices become more and more desperate and jarring. The track turns into screams, pleas and pleas as the organ remains steady, making the matter even more unsettling.
This basic hymn tone is also found throughout the record in songs like “MANY HANDS” and “MAN IS LIKE A SPRING FLOWER”. What makes the record compelling is not that it incorporates religious music, as has been done by many artists before. No, that’s the force with which he reuses this style of music, mixing it with heavy metal. His interpretation of the hymn as a powerful tool for personal growth and the transmission of suffering is much closer to how hymns have been used throughout history. The complex emotions she can show us through advocacy and begging are exceptionally compelling and distinct, even among the experimental genre.
In many ways, SINNER PREPARE represents a massive change and a highlight for Lingua Ignota. The softer compositions allow harshness to resonate with greater efficiency, while unorthodox instrumentation piques curiosity more than dissonant statics. With the inclusion of this hymnal tone, people are being invited to wonder why this style of music has been chosen at every turn of this record. With this, people are encouraged to see the lyrics against the backdrop of this soundscape. This album will not be, and is not meant to be, for everyone. But then again, great albums rarely capture everyone’s heart the first time.