Monday, June 3, 2013

Lychgate- "Lychgate" LP (Gilead Media)

So this album has been announced for a while now, yet I haven't had my review posted. Usually I'm pretty prompt with reviews, but usually albums aren't quite this overwhelming and massive. Lychgate's debut album is not something to be taken lightly. It's not uncommon for established musicians to start a new band which is all hype and minimal delivery. Lychgate does anything but that. To be honest, this album was able to sneak up on me in every sense and I'm delighted that it sounds even better than I'd hoped it would. Being the brainchild of members of Lunar Aurora, Esoteric, and Omega Centauri, one would expect something pretty chaotic and enjoyable, and indeed that is exactly what Lychgate has concocted.

The album opens with an appropriate hybrid of marches, and I'm unsure whether I'm witnessing a funeral or the initial onset of war, but I know that I'm in for something immense. What Lychgate follows up with is a bit of both. Perhaps it's the destruction of foes and the subsequent lamentation all at once, but this unique take on the black metal sound and style is just as much rooted in funeral doom as it is in classic black metal stylings. I hate referencing other bands, but I hear echoes of the grand orchestral fury of Septic Flesh and the majestic chaos of mid-period Arcturus in here alongside certain hints of Opethian melody and song structures. Lychgate spends so much time contorting around itself that I often find myself double checking to see if I'm listening to the same album, yet things are mostly cohesive and fluid. While it can be slightly disorienting as a listener, I feel like it's more of an attempt to fit many great ideas into one album that can only hold so much rather than any sort of identity crisis. If anything, Lychgate makes such a strong statement of intent on this album that I feel it should have been longer. That said, if the album's only true weakness is that its length betrays its sheer immensity, then perhaps future releases will allow Lychgate to expand within the appropriate space. I really feel like these guys are going to be a stellar live band, as every piece of the puzzle is already in place. I seriously hope this happens.

If you haven't already learned about this album from about a dozen other stellar metal blogs, now's your chance to head over to the Gilead Media website and place an order for your copy of this excellent debut. Share this slab of spiraling black madness with your friends and maybe we can garner enough interest for a US tour. Let's hope.

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