Lychgate was formed in 2011 by Vortigern (guitars) with the collaboration of Greg 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 the recording sessions it was then offered to the Finnish label Blood Music (Emperor, Perturbator, Maudlin of the Well, Sigh etc.) who released the work in August 2015. The main focus on this album was with the utilisation of 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 came 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 Emperor, Mayhem and Unholy.
What came to fascinate the press and public on this album was how the organ and guitars morphed together to create a rich texture and harmonic colour. Technically accomplished in its own right from the point of view of compositional methods, the songs were often intense and overwhelming, yet haunting in their unhinged and atmospheric qualities, ranging from subdued and reflective to brooding and aggressive. A European tour was conducted in November 2015 to coincide with the release. The following year the band performed the entire album with real organ at Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, the Netherlands.
In August 2017, Lychgate entered Orgone Studios with producer Jaime Gomez (Ulver, Sólstafir, Paradise Lost) to record their third album, 'The Contagion In Nine Steps'. This work continued to set them apart from their contemporaries in the metal scene, remaining as a unique entity. Tempos became generally slower, the mood more psychedelic and mind-altering, and a greater sense of tonality and melody became clear, creating a more dynamic and varied work overall. The album also encouraged more use of piano and mellotron, so that the organ so prominent on the previous album took more of a supporting role, rather than a leading one.
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 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
Thomas Leitner — Drums (Live)