'CALIGULA' on The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2019 // Treble

8. Lingua Ignota – Caligula 

Extreme metal is boundless, and yet it has limitations—a paradox that might be difficult to wrap one’s head around, much as my high school physics teacher’s similar statement about the shape of the known universe made my brain briefly malfunction. You can keep getting more and more extreme, but no matter how fast or loud the music is, the intensity has a ceiling. Which is why artists like Kristin Hayter, better known as Lingua Ignota, are all the more necessary in the realm of extreme music. Caligula isn’t in the strictest terms a metal album—it’s something more like industrial operatic darkwave, and the opening strings of “Faithful Servant Friend of Christ” are closer to Angel Olsen’s new album than Tomb Mold’s. But there is perhaps no listening experience more harrowing in 2019. A sprawling and ambitious depiction and examination of depravity, abuse and violence, Caligula contrasts its most wrenching extremes with beauty and grace, then pulls out the rug via fire-breathing screams and crunching moments of incendiary distortion. I’m not necessarily saying that an album of piano-driven avant garde dirges—if that even really gets at the heart of what Hayter accomplishes here—is the heaviest album of the year. But, well… 
Stream: Bandcamp

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