(Full feature via PopMatters)
Few musicians have the power to send you to such dark realms as Lingua Ignota does. Lingua Ignota (Latin for "unknown language") channels personal experience—of violence, trauma, rape—to transmit all this darkness into our ears. CALIGULA, her challenging third album, spreads far and wide across the experimental music spectrum. Neoclassical inclinations of the artist's background give the work its winged, ethereal form, while extreme applications of harsh noise drag it to the pits of hell.
We enter her chthonic world with "FAITHFUL SERVANT FRIEND OF CHRIST", where clear vocals soar through the endless corridors. As we descend deeper, she bellows and screams through the blackened power electronics of "BUTCHER OF THE WORLD" and the funeral death-doom of "I AM THE BEAST". No matter what form Lingua Ignota takes, CALIGULA yields a sense of awe and wonder by connecting with the darkest of places. To listen is to stare straight into the abyss. - Spyros Stasis
The term "lingua ignota" was coined for the language constructed by Saint Hildegard of Bingen, believed initially to be used for mystical purposes but was actually used simply for secretive purposes. But the idea of an unknown language, one that exists but might not be understood, is a much deeper philosophical issue. Some concepts and ideas cannot be appropriately delivered through the spoken or written word. Kristin Hayter has always tempered with extreme subject matters, stories of abuse and violence. And while words and phrases can be used to detail all these terrifying situations, there needs to be an additional language to navigate these on an emotive level.
CALIGULA is an exemplary work of combining the lyrical with the extreme. Hayter draws upon her choral background and neo-classical influences, while at the same time sourcing all the energy of noise, power electronics, and dark ambient to construct the maze-like anatomy of her work. Beautiful vocal arrangements and distorted screams are laid upon majestic backgrounds and excruciating, razor-sharp synthesizers to produce one of the darkest works of this year. - Spyros Stasis