Succeeding her self-released 2017 “All Bitches Die” opus (re-released by Profound Lore Records in 2018), “CALIGULA” sees Hayter design her most ambitious work to date, displaying the full force of her talent as a vocalist, composer, and storyteller. Vast in scope and multivalent in its influences, with delivery nothing short of demonic, “CALIGULA” is an outsider’s opera; magnificent, hideous, and raw. Eschewing and disavowing genre altogether, Hayter builds her own world. Here she fully embodies the moniker Lingua Ignota, from the German mystic Hildegard of Bingen, meaning “unknown language” — this music has no home, any precedent or comparison could only be uneasily given, and there is nothing else like it in our contemporary realm.
LINGUA IGNOTA has always taken a radical, unflinching approach to themes of violence and vengeance, and “CALIGULA” builds on the transformation of the survivor at the core of this narrative. “CALIGULA” embraces the darkness that closes in, sharpens itself with the cruelty it has been subjected to, betrays as it has been betrayed. It is wrath unleashed, scathing, a caustic blood-letting: “Let them hate me so long as they fear me,” Hayter snarls in a voice that ricochets from chilling raw power to agonizing vulnerability. Whilst “CALIGULA” is unapologetically personal and critically self-aware, there are broader themes explored; the decadence, corruption, depravity and senseless violence of emperor Caligula is well documented and yet still permeates today. Brimming with references and sly jabs, Hayter’s sardonic commentary on abuse of power and invalidation is deftly woven.
Working closely with Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets studio in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Hayter strips away much of the industrial and electronic elements of her previous work, approaching instead the corporeal intensity and intimate menace of her notorious live performances, achieved with unconventional recording techniques and sound sources, as well as a full arsenal of live instrumentation and collaborators including harsh noise master Sam McKinlay (THE RITA), visceral drummer Lee Buford (The Body) and frenetic percussionist Ted Byrnes (Cackle Car, Wood & Metal), with guest vocals from Dylan Walker (Full of Hell), Mike Berdan (Uniform), and Noraa Kaplan (Visibilities). “CALIGULA” is a massive work, a multi-layered epic that gives voice and space to that which has been silenced and cut out.