Lychgate was formed in 2011 by Vortigern (guitars) with the collaboration of G. A. Chandler (vocals and guitars), Aran (Bass) and T. J. F. Vallely (drums). The debut album, self-titled, was recorded in 2012 and released in the first quarter of 2013. The debut album material was, however, old before it was recorded; based on pre-Lychgate material from between 2006 and 2010. The response from the press was nevertheless strong, with very positive reviews being common.
Between January 2012 and December 2013, Vortigern wrote material for the second album entitled An Antidote for the Glass Pill, which was almost entirely recorded at Priory Studios intermittently in the second half of 2014. After successful sessions it was then offered to the Finnish/USA label Blood Music (Emperor, Ihsahn, Perturbator, Sigh etc.) who released the work in August 2015. The main focus on this album was with the utilisation of the pipe organ as the backbone to all pieces, where formerly this instrument had only occasional parts to play. To achieve its grandeur and authenticity on recording the band invited Kevin Bowyer to perform the organ parts.
With the second album came a switch to a much more advanced approach to song-writing. The sound which was born represented the meeting of two worlds: the juxtaposition between “correct” harmony (traditional) and departures from it (current). Influences come from classical repertoire (particularly the early 20th century era), the musique concréte movement and 1950s–1970s-era cinema. These range from Art Zoyd and Autopsia, to J. S. Bach, Liszt and Messiaen, to classic names in the metal genre spectrum such as Bathory, Mayhem and Abigor.
In general, Lychgate’s music is often characterised by the dense layering of guitars, stacking together a rich combination of octaves and harmony, which morph with the organ performance, resulting in a unique texture and colour. The compositions often feature variations in tempo, meter and dynamics; sometimes overwhelming in nature such as the crescendo at the end of the track “Letter XIX”. Moods, although mainly atmospheric, range from subdued and reflective to brooding and aggressive. The press have already acknowledged avant-garde overtones in the music, which set the project apart from usual album releases. A European tour was conducted in November 2015 to coincide with the second album release.
The band features members who have been part of other projects such as Esoteric, The One, Macabre Omen, Acherontas, Lunar Aurora and Omega Centauri. The current live line-up features the following members:
G. A. Chandler — Vocals & Guitar
Vortigern — Guitar, Vocals & Piano
T. J. F. Vallely — Drums
S. D. Lindsley — Guitar
A. K. Webb — Bass