Hunter Hunt-Hendrix may be the voice of “transcendental black metal” band Liturgy, and given that he wrote an aesthetic manifesto for the group, he’s probably its brains too—but its heart was drummer Greg Fox. Well-known as one of the nicest guys in metal—and for his trademark “burst beats,” which formed Liturgy’s foundation—Fox left the band a while back to pursue even more experimental projects, including Zs
, GDFX, and Guardian Alien. Though each has its own particular charm, Guardian Alien is my favorite. Last year Thrill Jockey released See the World Given to a One Love Entity
, a 40-minute excursion into higher states of consciousness with Fox guiding the way from behind his kit, battering at the doors of perception with a relentless torrent of percussion—the burst beats have become looser and jazzier, the ambience more meditative. Accompanying Fox are flurries of droning synth, guitar noise, and chanting from a rotating cast of bandmates, but it’s obvious from the start that he’s the star of the show. Though the record’s Rasta-alien artwork may look like a joke, the music’s mind-opening potential is for real. After tonight’s ESS gig, Guardian Alien plays a late show at a DIY space; details aren’t hard to come by on the Internet. —Miles Raymer Zs headline; Guardian Alien opens.