Lychgate
Lychgate
()

Organs swell. Drums stomp to life. Soaring single notes harmonize and add atmosphere. This is “The Inception.” This funeral march is leading us somewhere. Probably the graves of its victims, who are most likely every single other Doom-cum-Black Metal release this year. Lychgate’s self-titled 2013 debut is surprising, stirring, horrifying, and engrossing.

This frightening foursome features members of funeral doom stalwarts, and one of my personal favorites, Esoteric and now defunct Black Metal act Lunar Aurora. Imagine an amalgam of the two, with a little bit of the sickening atmosphere of Tyranny’s Bleak Vistae, and a touch of progressive that reminds of Ihsahn’s solo work, and you might be on your way. The result feels like a warped soundtrack of the surrealist Robert Wiene films of the 20’s like The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It’s an evil, off-kilter, swirling, vortex of ProgressiveDoomBlack Metal that keeps you on the absolute edge of your seat. It begs repeat listens because you’re afraid you’ve missed something.

The aforementioned opening track is a short glimpse of what’s to come. Second track “Resentment” is a mid-paced, malicious number that shows exactly what this album has to offer. Some blackened riffing, some slower Funeral Doom moments, and all the while the putrid vocals growl like vocalist Greg Chandler (Esoteric) eagerly awaits devouring your charred corpse at the end. Track 4, “In Self Ruin” is a standout not only for its quality, but its brevity and ferocity. At 3:30, it is the shortest and fastest number on the album. Vicious blast beats, furious tremolo grinding, haunting pipe organs, it’s all here and it’s unbelievable. If I had to complain about something, it would be that there isn’t another shredder like this on the album.

There are honestly many more moments like this that are masterfully injected into the slower songs on the album. They punctuate the Funeral Doom sensibilities and add just the right amount of barrage to keep this album from being labeled as anything else. “Sceptre To Control The World” exemplifies their ability to intermingle between genres without ever losing a step. It is slow, fast, grating, haunting, and more. “Triumphalism” is another of the speedier tracks on the album without falling into a complete assault. And finally we’re left with “When Scorn Can Scourge No More.” The 4 minute closer is mid tempo and melodic. The leads really soar in this one, with notes raining down through the vile atmosphere to bring with them tiny flashes of the light beyond the perpetual darkness.

This record doesn’t so much attack your senses as much as it slowly poisons them. Each song more sulfurous than the next. It one of those gems that sound both modern and timeless. Were this released 15 years ago, it would be a cult classic today in 2013. In 2028, I’ll bet people looking for “old school Black Metal classics” are going to get hip to this record by 50 year old curmudgeons like me who are yearning for the good old days.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick E
June 19th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Luke_22

    Welcome to the team Nick. Fine review, definitely sounds worth investigating.


  2. Commented by: Terp

    I’ve only heard one track so far, but this is promising.


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