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An Antidote for the Glass Pill

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About.com Heavy Metal Read Close

Lychgate’s previous self-titled album was a potent brew of majesty and malevolence, grace and ground-shaking gloom full of tortured emotion, hate and disgust. Two years later, Lychgate have taken a large step forward with sophomore effort An Antidote for the Glass Pill, swelling into a much larger presence.

Greg Chandler’s raging, terror-inducing vocals still stun, but where guitars did most of the heavy lifting before, Antidote sees atmosphere dominate even more with haunting organs leading the avant-garde charge. The deeper approach and overwhelming use of organs give it a grander feel of ritual grimness, the extent of which was a surprise even given their liberal use previously. It’s a daring release, but fans of their more ceremonial tracks will be inspired.

Written by Matt Hinch.

Abysmal Hymns Read Close 9/10

I often complain that I don't like the same old blasting black metal bands pump out, so what about when they begin to abandon the concept of conventional blasting and they take a sharp turn into something different? That is what we are looking at with the second British black metal super group that boasts members from Esoteric, Macabre Omen, and Ancient Ascendant, are back with a second album. It starts of much different from the first album with enough dramatic build from the keyboards to sound like something from a King Diamond album....thinking "Conspiracy", though that might also be an Emperor influence creeping in. The first real song after the long winded intro, finds the drums hesitate to come in as they creep into the song rather than blast into it ...which I can respect. The first hint of a blast is under a weird synth like melody. Given the guitarist from Esoteric plays with these guys it makes sense that they would slow things down. It is so weird that I assume to like since I am not sure what to think of it. It's dark and has an odd malignant creepiness to it.

With a title like "I Am Contempt" you ready your self for some angry blasting. There is more than the first song. They hold on it for the first minute, before some shredded licks trickle over everything. The more conventional black metal sound gnashes it's teeth at the weirdness mocking it. Weirdness is not to suggest that that is something going on here that isn't metal. This album is very metal. The songs are not ten minutes, but very concise cramming many sounds and movements into compositions in the five minute range. The King Diamond keyboards return for "A Principle On Seclusion". It broods under the odd time signatures, hiding in the shadows as the demons whisper. By the end of the song it begins to run together with some of the other songs sonically.

They jerk you back and forth on the syncopation to certain sections of "Letter XIX", going into a blasty section around the four minute mark. At this point they are heading into crazy Sight territory and are now full blown prog metal. "Deus Te Videt" find the vocals going into an almost sung chant, before actually singing does come in which is very Emperor in its execution. Then they blast off like most black metal bands would, six songs in shows admirable restraint. The song ends abruptly before going into " An Illness Call Imagination" finds the vocals going into a more tortured black metal scream and the drummer embracing his more black metal side while the guitar takes a more angular route to offset this. The singing returns well. The growled vocals dip down lower for "An Acousmatic Guardian", that has more of a lumbering pound to it. The keyboardist is no joke , the song breaks down into a piano part which runs trills around the synth heavy build up.

It ends with the shred fest "My Fate to Burn Forever". On the song before The keyboardist show there chops and still served the song , here when it is shredding for the sake of masturbatory sacrament it can reach excess. It's hard to argue with results. They might have taken a different direction than where they were headed on the first album, but they are good at it so I will give this album a 9.

Written by Wil Lewellyn.

Angry Metal Guy Read Close

I vividly remember my first encounter with black metal (Burzum), a music so dissonant and evil-sounding that it left twelve-year-old me completely bewildered and flabbergasted. The scene of a metalhead couple that was enjoying this wicked ruckus in the middle of the cafeteria of a family-friendly ferry burned an indelible pentagram in my innocent mind (and I turned out great!). Only a few other virgin musical experiences such as Arnold Schönberg’s twelve-tone technique or Harsh Noise Wall impressed and confused me comparably. In metal, it was rare and legendary extremes like Gorguts that came close. Until recently, that is, when my ears were graced by the insanity that is Lychgate’s An Antidote for the Glass Pill.

Picture a monstrous, formless shadow, an organic black hole arisen from Victorian filth, hovering, absorbing, and devouring materia while millions of smaller entities buzz and lurch within its improbable darkness. That’s the dense, monolithic, and impenetrable sound of Lychgate. The incisive shrieks of K.J. Bowyer’s pipe organ reign triumphant, swallowing everything else and spurting monumentally harsh and aggressive phrases, as if riding the field on which all of humanity’s most gruesome battles took place at once. Beneath it, seesawing guitars, schizophrenic drums, propulsive bass, and nuanced inhuman growls all mesh into an impossible concoction, playing discordantly and chaotically, yet creating layers that sound cunningly composed and executed. In theory, the band plays symphonic black metal, but this music eschews categorizations, proving itself truly worthy of the “avant-garde” moniker.

The pipe organ, not the guitars, often acts as the primary building element in Lychgate’s convoluted approach and as the dominant creator of atmosphere. Take, for example, the twisted and tormented “A Principle of Seclusion” or “Deus Te Videt” with its haunting, droning choirs, which transform the genre into an altogether strange and unexpected organ-dominated form, but still, somehow, remain metal. On the other hand, “I Am Contempt” goes back to entertaining well-known black metal idioms. It shifts, deforms, and carves them into something unique – a tremolo of atonal screeches. Finally, scorchers like “Letter XIX” and “An Acousmatic Guardian” rise up as testaments to the creativity and programmatic diversity in the apparently disarrayed songwriting, making you believe that each sound in the great scheme of things was put there for a reason. Because, or in spite of all that controlled chaos, there’s nary a bad tune or lesser moment to be found.

While the Londoners’ 2013 eponymous début was a finely crafted and enjoyable piece of “avant-garde” black metal, An Antidote for the Glass Pill feels like a defining and groundbreaking moment. The musicians’ various streams of musical consciousness and influences, collected equally from 20th century composers and avant-acts such as Deathspell Omega, have gloriously coalesced with cryptic lyrical themes that revolve around existential motives and a rebellion against the acceptance of (post)modern society at face value. However you choose to interpret and experience this record, one thing is clear: it comes as a breath of fresh air in a genre rendered stale with pretentiousness and delusions of grandeur.

Tracks to check: “Letter XIX,” “An Acousmatic Guardian,” and “I Am Contempt”

Written by Roquentin.

Aux Portes Du Metal Read Close 16/20

french

La suite des aventures du projet Lychgate, fondé, pour mémoire, par Vortigern (The One) et devenu une espèce de supergroupe depuis.
Aran a quitté le projet et a été remplacé à la basse par le multi-instrumentiste Alan Webb (Ancient Ascendant, Navigator) et un certain S.D. Lindsley s’est ajouté au poste de guitariste. On note également la présence d’un pianiste et d’un organiste.

A l’écoute de ce second album, on reconnaît les traits de caractère (très prononcés) du premier album, les intros étant quasi similaires : un black metal dense et riche, avec des composantes atmosphériques, doom, mélodiques voire symphoniques, avec cette utilisation tout à fait inédite des claviers qui donne une ambiance surnaturelle, digne d’une musique de film d’épouvante gothique.

Le travail de composition s’est apparemment déroulé sur deux années complètes (2012 et 2013) et on ne peut que constater à quel point leur musique a encore progressé.
Même si ça n’apparaît pas à la première écoute – encore que… -, une étude plus approfondie révèle des arrangements plus poussés, une plus forte présence des claviers – en particulier de l’orgue.
De fait, Vortigern s’est encore un peu plus inspiré de la musique classique, ainsi que des musiques de films des années 60, mais également de la musique concrète et de la musique contemporaine. Malgré l’étonnante complexité à laquelle ce mélange a abouti, tout est orchestré de main de maître par les protagonistes, sans que cette évolution de taille dénature en quoi que ce soit l’essence de ce qu’était le groupe à son premier album.
Les arrangements et mélodies possèdent cette dualité entre une forme classique, dans tous les sens du terme, et cette dissonance propre au black metal évolué et moderne auquel Lychgate s’est voué. Et pour cet album, ils ont même osé chant clair et chœurs : c’est très réussi, bien assorti et ils n’en abusent pas.
La musique a donc clairement gagné en profondeur sans pour autant perdre sa clarté et sa ligne directrice initiales.
An Antidote… s’avère donc encore plus passionnant que son prédécesseur, encore plus ambitieux.
Lychgate rivalise sans problème avec les compositions les plus complexes d’un Emperor ou d’un Abigor.

Au niveau rythmique, Tom Vallely a aussi monté le niveau d’un cran, ce depuis qu’il joue également en tant que percussionniste dans un orchestre classique.

Un petit mot sur le concept de l’album : il s’inspire de la théorie de Jeremy Bentham du Panopticon, le modèle de prison dans laquelle une personne surveille tous les prisonniers sans que ceux-ci puissent se savoir observés ; concept qui a été extrapolé dans certains modèles sociétaux, comme c’est le cas dans le fameux livre de George Orwell, 1984.
Le titre de l’album et les paroles font même référence à deux dystopies, aussi inspirées du Panopticon : Nous de Yevgeny Zamyatin et Insatiabilité de Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz.

Même si je m’attendais clairement à quelque chose d’élaboré, je dois dire que je fus tout de même bluffé par ce disque, tant il représente un travail colossal à tout point de vue.
Derrière cette étiquette cache-misère d’avant-gardiste – que je n’aime guère mais qui est commode pour désigner ce genre de produit - se cache une musique d’une richesse et d’une ingéniosité peu communes, plus personnelle que jamais. Bien que ça reste du metal extrême autant dans l’intention que dans l’exécution, An Antidote… va bien au-delà et propose une brillante synthèse d’influences multiples et variées autant qu’elles sont bien assimilées.

Written by Azagtoth.

Ave Noctum Read Close 8.5/10

Now, who doesn’t appreciate a massive organ? Lychgate certainly do, as theirs takes centre stage for album number 2, ‘An Antidote for the Glass Pill’.

While not wanting to sound dismissive and flippant, when a particular instrument plays such a big role in a recording, it should get a mention straight off the bat. Of course, there was a church organ featured on the first Lychgate album, but that was more of a supporting role, rather than a lead part.

Here, it DOMINATES this conceptual work, but does so in a good way. This is no mere exercise in horror cheese (à la Ghost), it’s an integral componant to the baroque nature of the album, and its presence is sure to be appreciated by any fan of avant garde extremity.

Lychgate mainman Vortigern has constructed an album based metaphorically on British philosopher Jeremy Bentham, and his ideas of the Panopticon, an institutional building that allows a single watchman to observe all inmates without them being able to tell whether or not they are being watched. A physical impossibility, but a method of behavioural control via uncertainty. It also draws it’s framework of dystopia from two sources of literature, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s ‘We’ and Stanisław Witkiewicz’s ‘Insatiability’.

Heavy themes, that provide inspiration for the album’s title, and musically translates as 10 tracks of doom-influenced black metal, with full pipe organ backing.

Immersive and unnerving, and quite cinematic in its scope, ‘An Antidote for the Glass Pill’ is best “enjoyed” with eyes closed, and mind open.

The ominous tolling bells and dramatic organ and keyboard swirls of ‘Unto My Tempest’ set the scene, while ‘Davamesque B2′ brings in the vocals from Esoteric’s Greg Chandler, which veer from rasp and scream to lower intonation throughout the album. The drumming is understated for the most part, but no less enthralling, and the guitars are not overly flashy, serving as an accompaniment to the majestic organ flurries. In fact, it’s during the stunning ‘Letter XIX’ that you realise how tight the playing is on this recording, as tempos shift from blasting to military march. Hell, on ‘The Illness Named Imagination’, we’re even into waltz time. The death chugs of ‘An Acousmatic Guardian’ prove pretty muscular, and ‘My Fate to Burn Forever’ shows a proggy side, that at times sounds a little bit like Italian soundtrack supremos Goblin, which is no bad thing.

The whole album is unified by some atmospheric soundscapes that are capable of sending shivers down the spine, and adds to the drama and tension of this rather unique-sounding record.

‘An Antidote for the Glass Pill’ is a heady brew for sure, but one that stridently deserves your time, respect, and appreciation.

Written by Stuart Caroll.

Brutalitopia Read Close

Black metal can be an enigmatic beast; from it's Norwegian origins to USBM to anywhere else in the world, it varies from band to band and continent to continent. Enter the UK's Lychgate and their 2nd full length, An Antidote For The Glass Pill; a thoroughly horrifying album in the best way possible. Organs are a major piece to this quintet's sound and they at times can sound like a more mysterious Mr. Bungle. The overarching atmosphere is that of say playing some of the original Resident Evil games without a strategy guide; never knowing what lurks around the corner.

Take for example the first track that showcases their style, 'Davamesque B2'; it swirls in and out of riffs and chords played through the organ as if it were a theme to a diabolical version of Clue. The feeling of impending doom is omnipresent and can be made real as the harsh vocals of Greg Chandler combines with the clean vocals and organ skills of Vortigern to scare the hell out of listeners. The more ominous and chilling sections feel like the bridge in an Opeth song and can inspire many of the same emotional reactions.

Drum fills pepper 'Letter XIX' and add a solid groundwork for the rest of the band to work with. Who would have thought that a black metal song would be built off of organs and drums? More traditional black metal song structures exist on 'Deus te Videt' with the slow plod of guitars feeding into the chanted vocals and of course giving way to the aforementioned pipe organ.

Traditional fans of black metal should flock to this album; why you may ask? Because it has all the hallmarks of being a black metal album musically and can be personified as a black metal Phantom of the Opera. This is by no means a traditional album, nor is it an easy listen; over time you pick up more and more pieces to this oh so intricate puzzle and it starts to take shape. Lychgate have promptly left you a piece of swirling evil that might make Portal or Mitochodrion blush (remember I said might). If you enjoy a bit of mystery and atmosphere to your metal listening look no further than An Antidote For The Glass Pill.

Written by Tom Campagna.

Chaos Vault Read Close 8/10

polish

O Panie ! Co za zacne cudo ukazało się na tym smutnym świecie. Drugi album angielskiego Lychgate to spory postęp w krótkiej historii zespołu i jednocześnie ciekawy dla słuchacza kierunek, który ów black metalowy akt obrał.

Dzisiejszy black metal to już zupełnie inna materia, mocno zakorzeniona w standardach ale czerpiąca garściami z całego ekosystemu muzyki metalowej, a nawet i wykraczającej daleko po za jego granice. Okay, niby nic odkrywczego, jednakże na swoim najnowszym dziele Lychgate zgrabnie łączy wszystkie te organizmy, które pozornie ze sobą nie powinny współgrać. Tutaj black metal ściera się z barokiem, wręcz z nim egzystuje współtworząc jeden, nieprzewidywalny w swym funkcjonowaniu nowy twór. Twór, czy raczej system emocji nasączonych szaleństwem i obłędem (“Letter XIX”), ale i miejscami bardziej spokojnych i mniej agresywnych, mających za zadanie stworzenie odpowiedniego klimatu (“Davamesque B2”), który będzie mógł sprawnie oddziaływać na słuchacza. I o ile na swoim pierwszym wydawnictwie Lychgate używało organów jako instrumentarium mającego podkreślić ową aurę, tak na “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” są one już instrumentem stojącym na równi z resztą orkiestry, a miejscami wręcz wychodzącym przed szereg (“My Fate to Burn Forever”). Dzięki temu właśnie muzyka anglików zyskuje charakteru. Narzuca przy tym odrobinę świeżości i polotu, jednocześnie nie tracąc nic na swojej muzycznej agresji. Tym samym Lychgate stara się odchodzić od skojarzeń z emperorowymi klimatami, które dało się odczuć na pierwszym wydawnictwie, a buduje w ich miejsce swoje własne fundamenty muzyczne o solidnej i jednocześnie ciekawej konstrukcji.

Bardzo dobry materiał, który obok innych po raz setny udowadnia, że black metal to bardzo pojemny gatunek, którego możliwości twórcze ograniczone są tylko i wyłącznie umysłem kompozytora.

Written by Łysy.

Cigareviews Read Close 17/20

Lychgate. First time I heard the name I was like “Ah, don’t tell me they made a metal band with World of Warcraft shit inside, héh?” and then, ONLY THEN, I realized I was thinking about the ‘Lich King‘. Then, I lowered my head down in shame and I booed myself. That’s how I work. Nice éh? Imagine living with it.

Anyway. When I looked a bit more, I realized that members of Esoteric, Sanctus Nex and fucking Omega Centauri are there. I read “black metal”, but I understood something completely different. Ladies and gentlemen, after one album in 2013, we have a long titled album which is an absolute mess of grand art. I mean it. I am honest, that’s my problem, and I’ve been working on this review for MONTHS now. And I can finally say it : this is a masterpiece of foken weir’ shi’ (that’s a British accent. Seriously brov’)

An Antidote for the Glass Pill. I don’t even know what it means but I don’t care much. What I can say is that, if you want a résumé of how I could describe this… this musical thing, it would be something like this :
‘On a nice day, several British musicians were bored. They decided to take a doom trip in Finland where they saw SKEPTICISM. They were all like “oh mate that’s dope! Let’s make a band with organs n shit!” and some other stuff. Yet, GREG CHANDLER was like “Ah man, I don’t wanna make doom, I already have the best avantgarde funeral doom band ever. Let’s make some black metal” and they started, slowly, to think about something BUT they eventually ended up in making avant garde extreme metal with organs all the way!’

And you got it. This album is a great, great, GRAND album. Mixing jazz elements, a fucking bigass organ, extreme metal mainly with a sick mood which sometimes reminds you of Spaulding‘s smile if you know who I’m talking about. I would like to put French for this band : “La Grandeur et la Folie“. Google it. Impressive.

I can’t say I like this track more than this one. I’ve been, on those past 3 days, listening only to this 50 min album and I don’t care about the titles. Not today (like Arya). Everything is absolutely fantastic. Incredible magick mood with some of the most elegant Gothic ones, EVEN SYMPHONIC ELEMENTS YOU KNOW but as well as some sick crazy dissonant moments and NO, NO I’M NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT DEFSPELOMEGAH BECAUSE THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT. LYCHGATE PREVAILS, FOFOKSEK!

This is chaos. Incredible chaos, put in order. You don’t know, nothing is dark, nothing is joyful, it’s all weird, all the way. But you always fall down on your feet and manage to be like “Blimey!” and voilà. Add some of the best clean voices which are giving a weirder mood, like “HEY WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE OF HORRIBLE SUFFERINGS BUT LET’S SING FIRST”. Sick. It’s sick. Seriously. I want more.

So yes. No. Okay. I like almost everything. I’d miss a bit more of the savagery, well dispersed on this album, maybe too much. Also sometimes I feel a sentiment of a lack of power, I don’t know if it’s the mix or maybe the habit of listening to this. But we cannot say anything against the musicians who are, let’s say it, absolute nutters. And it’s a pleasure, a grand pleasure, to hear Monsieur Chandler singing in harsh black metal. A very weird album which could be a mixture between Tim Burton‘s twisted mind, Resident Evil zombies, Spartan choirs, and the best from Dimmu Borgir. This is hard, man. And those rosbeefs wanted me to make a video out of it. I could just make a seizure and start to convulse : that would be even more helpful. Téh.

Fo’ing Bri’ishs.

Written by Déhà.

Cosmos Gaming Read Close

Lychgate’s sophomore effort An Antidote for the Glass Pill is an album I’ve had in my review queue for a while now, but it has taken some time to fully absorb everything that is happening throughout its ten songs. While the band’s 2013 self-titled debut had a distinguishable black metal base with avant-garde elements seeping in to give the record its own nuances, Lychgate has upped them even further this time around for a sound that’s no longer solely black metal but still captures that haunting, tense atmosphere. More progressive and avant-garde than ever before, it’s a rollercoaster ride of an effort that demands effort from the listener to fully make sense of, but those who choose to do so will discover that this British group has pushed beyond the normal genre boundaries and reached a sound that is all their own.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill is significantly longer than its predecessor, coming in at close to 50 minutes in length. Lychgate makes it clear from the very beginning that this record is going to head in drastically different directions while still maintaining that tense and otherworldly atmosphere they were able to create previously. The organ and keyboards are now front and center, driving the instrumentals forward on every single track, with the eerier melodies creating much fuller soundscapes that are as unsettling as they are theatrical in nature. Black metal still plays a role in the guitar tonality but the song structures are no longer oriented around that genre’s typical instrumentation, with quite a few sections coming in as slower dirges and twisting around to have more of a progressive/avant-garde feel. It can be a lot to take in right from the get-go, and while the prominence of the organ and keyboards makes each song on An Antidote for the Glass Pill fit together stylistically they all take a slightly different approach and have so much going on that it will likely take multiple listens to fully absorb. But give this one the time it needs and you’ll discover that Lychgate is able to reach absolutely stunning levels of thick atmosphere that once everything clicks into place you’ll find yourself returning to it again and again. It’s hard to think of another album in recent memory that sounds anywhere close to what the instrumentalists have put together here, as it’s half black metal and bleak, forlorn doom crossed with traditional church organs and some spacey keyboards that wouldn’t sound out of place on a progressive rock record.

Greg Chandler once again delivers an intense performance, sticking towards the higher end of the spectrum with shrieks and screams that tower over the layered instrumentals. While the instrumentation may not always be focused on heaviness, the abrasive nature of Chandler’s vocals fill in those gaps and there are quite a few sections where his room filling screams fully merge with the organs and other melodies to create a truly terrifying and spine chilling sound. I do think that sticking with the harsher ranges for the entire 50 minutes could have potentially become repetitive, so it’s nice to see that there are moments where Lychgate transitions over to some chanting and other clean pitches that have an occult, ritualistic sound. While completely on the opposite side of the spectrum in style, they’re still just as ominous and powerful, allowing the performance to consistently overwhelm the listener’s senses.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill finds Lychgate shedding almost all of their traditional black metal elements in favor of something much more twisted and unpredictable. It has an unmistakable theatrical flair emanating from the organs and keyboards, but it’s used in a way that gives off a tense and unsettling feeling that’s just as dark and twisted as anything else you’ll hear in the black metal or doom realms this year. The emphasis on a more avant-garde and progressive approach to the writing makes it an album that will take some time to fully immerse yourself in, as there’s always something different happening on each song and quite often you’ll expect the band to be heading in one direction only for them to throw a complete curveball. But that’s what makes it such an exciting listen, especially once everything clicks into place, and these guys have managed to make an ambitious push beyond into the unknown. Turn the lights off and let all of the eerie and haunting tones fill your room, and you’ll start to get an idea of what Lychgate is capable of generating.

Written by Chris Dahlberg.

Cvlt Nation Read Close

As a grey mist descends upon the grime-encrusted banks of the Thames, a lonely church bell tolls amongst the myriad alleyways of historical London; five figures appear out of the gloom and close in with nefarious intent. A lonesome figure waits within, silhouetted against the dim infernal light, his hands perched feverishly over the rows of keys that adorn the immense pipe organ, the instrument of antiquity dominating the building’s interior with its looming visage.

As the quintet make their way through the sheltered churchyard entrance that has bequeathed them their name, the organ’s blasphemous cacophony penetrates walls, windows and doors as the once Christian sanctuary prepares to have its presupposed virtue deflowered eternally.

On the surface, An Antidote for the Glass Pill—the sophomore album of London-based black metallers Lychgate—is a gothic Victorian horror show. Delve a little deeper into its wonderfully elaborate concept, invest a little time with its fifty minutes of resplendent chaos, and what begins to surface is an wholly different entity that all but shuns such banal indulgences.

The central theme is based around Jeremy Bentham’s 18th century conceptual Panopticon construction, used here as a metaphor for critiquing postmodern society. This also ties in with the dystopian worlds introduced in Stanislaw Witkiewicz’s novel ‘Insatiability’ and Yevgeny Zamyatin’s influential 1920s work ‘We.’ The album title, song titles and lyrics all revolve around these themes, strengthening the idea — just as in Orwell’s more eminent opus 1984 — of authoritative figures using the illusion of permanent surveillance to instigate control and supremacy over society, and to instil discipline within the population.

The first noticeable—and potentially unique—aspect of the album is the disorienting whirlwind emanating from the church organ, with renowned organist Kevin Bowyer on board to deliver his flawless and insatiable contributions that boost the band beyond the realms of their exceptionally well received self-titled debut. Initially assumed to be a mere adornment to the compositions (as could be heard previously), it very soon becomes apparent that the bombastic, earthy timbre not only controls the music, but regularly takes precedence over the guitars to form the backbone of the album. The adjacency of euphony and atonality — especially noticeable through Bowyer’s contributions — is a key element within this remarkably well composed work; an element that becomes more and more dramatic as time progresses, resulting in colossal crescendos of tense, orchestral clamour and moments of sinister disquiet, laced around individual notes and chords.

The band’s manifold influences — from Emperor and Thorns through to Bach and Liszt — allows them to utilise both classical and contemporary styles and techniques; drummer and percussionist T.J.F. Vallely’s recent involvement with a number of classical ensembles further accentuates this sensation, as the likes of ‘Davamesque B2’ and ‘A Principle On Seclusion’ mix blast beats with doomier and more intricate tempos, the spiralling organ all the while clutching to the music like a possessive spirit and wrenching the rhythmic structure in any direction it chooses.

To top off such a high quality output, Esoteric’s Greg Chandler handles the vocals with ferocious efficiency, with ‘My Fate to Burn Forever’ and the striking ‘Letter XIX’ unveiling his full capabilities; the latter a maelstrom of avant-garde metal and scattered staccato bursts that opens up the more progressive aspect of Lychgate’s repertoire.

Despite the black metal element never truly diminishing, the album remains incredibly melodic throughout, and although bordering at times on the symphonic side of the genre, An Antidote for the Glass Pill finds itself on an entirely different level to what may be expected when using such adjectives. The multi-layered guitar work and the organ’s perpetual resonance are the primary source of this melody, so when the vocals occasionally venture into similar territory it becomes the icing on the cake for this superlative masterwork. ‘Deus te Videt’ and closing number ‘The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus’ introduce some outstanding harmonised chanting, while ‘The Illness Named Imagination’ provides a showcase for Vortigern’s impressive clean voice, sublime amidst the squall.

Elsewhere, the furious aural assault of ‘An Acousmatic Guardian’ gives way to a beautiful and unnerving piano piece before returning to the tumult once again. The meticulous detail and arrangement of the individual compositions is jaw-dropping, and coupled with the overall concept, it becomes startlingly clear that Lychgate have created something very special here. At once esoteric and flamboyant, An Antidote for the Glass Pill rises far above far above mere gothic hedonism and theatrical pomp – it is a stunningly ambitious release from a group of musicians whose grandiose vision has been fully realised, never to waver from its singular path.

Written by James Parry-Smith.

Dead Rhetoric Read Close 9.5/10

Now here’s some shit right here. UK black metal gloom merchants Lychgate made quite an impression on the world with their debut in 2013’s self-titled album. In a quick two years, they have returned to release An Antidote for the Glass Pill on Blood Music records. It seems that Finland’s Blood Music was wise to sign Lychgate for their sophomore release, as it’s really an album that stands far apart from the herd – it sure doesn’t sound like anything I’ve heard before, and deserves the accolades it is sure to garner.

Grand strokes of ominous tidings and foreboding madness, executed in highly original form, with impeccable musical prowess and vibes dark as night await the listener on AftGP. The first thing that creates the originality in the sound is the highly prominent church organ throughout the album. The band creates a palpable mood – odd and frightening, Lovecraftian themes meeting a Sherlock Holmes thriller, under the spell of progressive black metal. The whole affair evokes the feeling of being spellbound in a church graveyard and bearing witness to something very sinister, elaborate, and hypnotically consuming.

Twisted and jagged melodies laid out by guitars (there are three of them in the band) snake around diverse rhythms and furious vocals. Nifty fretboard play is on display as well, always remaining as a layer to help paint the picture, rather than a stand-alone (solo) display. And these guitars sound good, with rich, clean production values throughout the album. These songs are certainly not highly accessible to the casual listener, as repetition and catchiness of melody is not really in the cards. It doesn’t need to be, yet there is abundant and vibrant melody here, everywhere, including tastefully done clean vocals. The songs progress like thematic movements, really with a cinematic feel. The album plays like a top-notch musical might (if said musical were inspired by vintage horror, touches of early Mr. Bungle, and savage Norwegian black metal). I’d see that.

Antidote for the Glass Pill is an experience and quite an achievement. Without a doubt an album that requires a couple listens to digest all that is happening here, for it’s a lot. In the end, you still might not know just how you should feel, but understanding that you went on quite a trip…and won’t take another one like this anywhere else.

Written by Daniel Keating.

Deaf Sparrow Read Close 4.4/5

Gawd we really needed something new, something unique, something spectacularly bizarre. Open the curtains, lead us into a crypt musically, scribe before us with aural might a portrait of the macabre. We seek to be transported through dark corridors dripping in mildew, to smell the dried marrow of ages of death under our feet, oh lead us through melting cobwebs with the dusted shells of extinct insects, lead us farther, farther into the wastes below in the layers of filth. Such things we desire, for we tread in cemeteries long forgotten, overgrown with roots and ivy, where scarcely a name can be deciphered and it seems but a field of lonely, symmetrically placed stones, like some sort of ancient, heathen ritual ground. What better genre for such an experience than black metal, which thrives on loathing? What better aesthetic than black metal, which covers itself in tones of shadow? And what better country for such a performance than England, where centuries of history, spirits, and rain, have created the most fertile of ground, in the sense of vile? Well, Lychgate are the answer, there can be none other.

First, let us say that Blood Music is quickly becoming one of the most diverse of labels, something truly difficult these days. With everything from cyber metal to dark snythwave, there seems no clear theme to any of it, yet it all fits together somehow. Add to their roster Lychgate, returning after their much-lauded S/T from 2013, released by Mordgrimm, and you’ll get what they’re about, that being things which you can never anticipate. Now, having heard the band’s last one, it’s quite easy to consider it something close to a funeral, with its trudging presence, like a dark procession to a grave, complete with organs. This time around, however, they’ve done something much different, with such elements being merely part of an entire symphony of the grotesque.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill is one of the most difficult releases to fathom that we’ve ever seen. It confronts on so many levels the first listen is merely so you know something, in fact, does exist that can be called metal, in a sense. The spectacular thing is that Lychgate have essentially, and actually, created a symphonic presentation best considered a legitimate combination of classical and black metal. Not that usual type; superficial, tedious, transposed from the theater to the club via guitar, nor with redundant keyboard strings. There’s much more to be found here, perhaps a lifetime’s worth. Once you understand there’s practically nothing traditional anywhere, you realize it’s something like watching rotting curtains in a dilapidated theater opening, as an orchestra begins to perform with some hooded cretin channeling the tempo through a moldered bone arcing back and forth in the air, skeletal musicians following its lead. The musicianship here is absolutely marvelous, and the combination of such widely different musical aesthetics almost godly. Breakdowns with organ and shrieking? Piano sweeps that somehow fit without sounding ridiculous? How is it possible? Suffice to say it has been done. The grand performance Lychgate provides is almost overwhelming, but there is one thing to say in terms of criticism. For all the greatness here, and trust us there’s a ton, An Antidote for the Glass Pill can, quite often, come off as too theatrical. As such, it occasionally reaches the point of being difficult to take seriously, where the combination of vastly different genres ends up eliminating that which is critical to darker metal, specifically that enmity for humanity that bands with less style, and less production value, can pull off much easier. Thus, though this is a work of genius, we think it’s best to consider it somewhat transitional to further greatness. Completely worth every second of your life, but after several listens the likely feeling most will find rising to the surface is something closer to melodrama. Regardless, Lychgate deserve much praise for what they’ve done here, and probably an interview from us.

Written by Stanley Stepanic.

Decibel Magazine Read Close 8/10

In 2013, Lychgate dropped a stellar self-titled debut that stacked melodic funeral doom atop brooding avant-garde black metal. Considering that vocals were helmed by Greg Chandler from U.K. doom lords Esoteric (who also love themselves some epic prog-rock excursions), the growls were the perfect shining jewel in a crown of atmospheric bleakness. To get any idea of the weird and wild ride Antidote embarks on, one must keep that "avant-gard" tag in mind, because the amazing metamorphosis this band has undergone leaves them nearly unrecognizable - and damn near undefineable.

Collaborating with classically trained organist Kevin Bowyer, Lychgate actually craft their songs around the exalted wails and spiraling lines of a church organ, while guitars trail and shadow in plodding, sometimes jarring progressions. Notice how "riffs" were not mentioned there. That's because there really aren't any. The guitars have been regulated to another tool of atmosphere and, when needed, are brought in to bolster the batshit crazy fusion-rock drum rhythms. Chandler's apocalyptic howls imbibe paranoia and a wish for retaliation against the oppressor, but the shrieks are sometimes sprinkled with clean-singing passages that don't uplift so much as intensify the claustrophobic labyrinth.

"Claustrophobic" is the key word here, as the album's dystopian themes use the 18th century panopticon as a metaphor for modern-day psychological / emotional deterioration in the face of technologically enhanced and state-endorsed oppression. A listener most likely will not walk away humming - or really even remembering - specific songs or phrases, but the all-consuming mood of existential angst will stay with you, encouraging repeat listens even if the amorphous and hugely ambitious tunes don't.

Written by Shawn Bosler.

Diovim Read Close

lithuanian

Projekto branduolį sudaro vokalistas/gitaristas Greg Chandler (ESOTERIC), bosistas Aran (ex-TRIST, ex-LUNAR AURORA), gitaristas/klavišininkas/vargonininkas Vortigern (THE ONE, ex-SPEARHEAD, ex-ORPHEUS, ex-ARCHAICUS) ir perkusininkas/būgnininkas Thomas Vallely (ex-ORPHEUS, SANCTUS NEX, OMEGA CENTAURI). Tiesa sakant, pradžių pradžia buvo 2001 metais, kai Vortigern sukūrė projektą ARCHAICUS, kurio muzika galima pavadinti atmosferiniu juodmetaliu. Netrūkus prie jo prisijungė būgnininkas Herodian (2002-2003 metais), o paskui gitaristas Nephilim (2003-2006), nors visas vadžias laikė projekto įkūrėjas. Buvo išleistos kelios demo juostos, kurių žinomiausia buvo "Beneath the Horizon" (2003 m.). Sulaukta nemažai gerų atsiliepimų iš metalinių fanzinų, bet viskas taip ir būtų likę giliame pogrindyje, jei ne "didžioji pertvarka". Juk visiems įdomiau tapo, kai prisijungė ESOTERIC vokalistas. Perklausius debiutinį albumą užsiminiau, kad artėjant link pabaigos pamažu išblėso visa ta gaivališka energija, kuri pulsavo įrašo pradžioje. Įdomu, kas laukia naujame jų darbe.

Darbas išleistas vinilo (200 vnt.), CD (1000 vnt.) ir skaitmeniniu pavidalais. Norint pasiekti didesnio originalumo skambesyje, pakviestas profesionalus vargonininkas Kevin Bowyer.
Albumo koncepcijai grupė kaip savo šerdį paėmė Panoptikoną, kurį kadaise suprojektavo mąstytojas Jeremy Benthamas. Milžiniškas kalėjimas, kur visi vienas kitą stebi ir kontroliuoja: kad mažiau dykinėtų ir daugiau dirbtų, nevogtų ar nepriekabiautų prie kolegų. Egzistuoja keletas J. Benthamo Panoptikono versijų. Visoms joms būdingas ypatingas architektūrinis pavidalas – žiedo formos pastatas su stebėjimo bokštu centre. Kalėjimo prototipe apskritimo formos pastatas yra padalytas į daugybę vienučių, išsidėsčiusių per visą jo plotį ir turinčių po vieną langą išorinėje ir vidinėje pastato sienose, kad krintanti šviesa celę perskrostų kiaurai. Stebėjimo bokšte perimetru įrengiama stiklinė langų galerija, išeinanti į vidinę žiedo pusę. Bokšte sodinamas kalėjimo prižiūrėtojas, o kalėjimo vienutėse uždaroma po nusikaltėlį.

Kalėjimas turėjo būti pastatytas taip tiksliai, kad iš bet kurios prižiūrėtojo vietos būtų matomas visų celių plotas ir jose įkalintieji. Visi vienučių erdvės vienetai turėjo būti gerai įžiūrimi, jose negalėjo būti tokio kampo, į kurį nepatektų šviesa ir kuriame kalinys galėtų pasislėpti. Žiedinio pastato ir stebėjimo bokšto erdviniai santykiai turėjo užtikrinti tokį nuolatinį prižiūrėtojo matymą, kad kaliniai iš savo kamerų negalėtų žinoti, kada jie stebimi, o kada ne. Panoptikono projektas vadinamas idealaus kalėjimo prototipu dėl fenomenalaus stebėjimo proceso, nes prižiūrėtojui net ir nebūnant bokšte žmogus nuolat yra stebimas dėl pačios priežiūros galimybės. Prižiūrėtojas gali „tupėti“, bet gali ir „netupėti“ savo bokštelyje, tačiau prižiūrimasis suvokia, kad bet kurią akimirką jis gali būti stebimas. Vadinasi, priežiūros šaltiniu tampa ne prižiūrėtojas, o pats prižiūrimasis, kuris nuolatos verčiamas galvoti apie pačią priežiūros galimybę. Būdamas absoliutaus matymo lauke, prižiūrimasis nuolatos susiduria su stebėjimo bokšto reprezentacija, su nematomu prižiūrėtoju, ir tai žinodamas individas imasi prievartos prieš save patį. Beje, turbūt supratote, kad įgyvendinus tokį tobulo kalėjimo modelį prasmę praranda bet kokia prievartos mašinerija – grotos, grandinės ir spynos. Idealu.

Albumo koncepcijai papildyti, kaip įkvėpimo šaltinis ir post-modernios visuomenės neigiamų pusių pateikimui dar buvo paimti už pavyzdį Evgenijaus Zamiatino antiutopija "Mes" (pirmą kartą sutrumpinta versija buvo išleista 1927 m., ir sulaukė vietinių komunistų pykčio, bet prasiveržė į užsienį ir padarė įtaką A. Haksliui ir D. Orvelui) ir lenkų rašytojo, filosofo tapytojo Stanislavo Vitkievič 1930 m. pirmą kartą išleista novelė "Nepasotinamumas" (2000-ieji. Lenkiją užvaldė mongolų orda. Tautą kontroliuoja kinų lyderis Murti Bing. Jo pakalikai kiekvienam duoda tabletę "DAVAMESK B 2", kuri palaužia žmogaus valią ir kritinį mąstymą. Rytai ir Vakar susijungia į vieną branduolį, kurį maitina seksualiniai poreikiai.).
Sveikintinas pasirinkimas albumo koncepcijai ir tai lieka geriausia, kas susiję su šiuo įrašu. Kaip ir pirmo darbo, taip ir šio viršeliai yra ganėtinai neskoningi ir nesinori impulsyviai griebti CD į savo rankas. Muziką jau nebepriskirčiau juodmetaliui, ji artimesnė dark metal ir siaubo filmų garso takelių junginiui. Tarsi tolimas Arcturus albumo "La Masquerade Infernale" aidas, bet tamsesnis ir lėtesnis. Visame albume muzikinį pamatą sudaro vargonai, o visa kita tik malonus priedas. Drįsčiau pavadinti tokį stilių "organon metal". Rasta ganėtinai nebloga pusiausvyra tarp metalo muzikos ir klasikinės muzikos. Tai nėra naujas bandymas, nes juk iki šiol būdavo gausybę įrašų su įvairiais simfoniniais orkestrais, grupės įliedavo klasikinės muzikos "semplų", o savo klavišiniuose nustatydavo vargonų skambesio funkciją. Šis Lychgate albume anksčiau ar vėliau bus įrašytas į muzikos enciklopedijas, nes taip rimtai maža kas bandė suvienyti vargonų muziką su metaline. Kadangi albumas konceptualus, tai reikia nusiteikimo ir kantrybės norint jį perklausyti. Nenustebčiau, kad kai kuriuos žmonės jis galėtų užmigdyti.

Written by Rolandas.

Echoes Zine Read Close

czech

Rozohněná avantgarda Lychgate se po dvou letech vrací s novým pokračováním svého vznešeného pojetí black metalu. Greg Chandler a jeho věrní opět sestoupili do londýnského divadla, kam už běžní návštěvníci nepáchnou a normální jedinec má problémy jen projít kolem. Budova je už léta zavřená, dávný požár smetl její umělecké hodnoty. Přesto se její podzemní místnosti s oponou k něčemu hodí. Jsou to právě Lychgate, kteří tudy schází po schodech, náruživě komponují, živě gestikulují a přednášejí zde svůj aristokratický black metal.

Z hudby Lychgate jde snaha o jiný náhled, kdy je fascinace nedůvěrou v lepší zítřky prostoupena ponorem ve vlastní tmu a důrazem na majestátnost. Každý jsme tak velcí, jak nám rozum dovolí. Lychgate zprvu budí dojem, že se jen naparují a "skutek utek", ale jejich odkaz je přeci jen hlubší. Jejich hudba, to je přerušovaný tok filosofického přednesu zhýralých blackmetalových představ a pohnutek přetavený v neobvyklé kompozice, kde nehrají prim kytary a lesní špína včelínů. Na prvním místě je vznešenost a její temná recitace. A varhany! Muž s maskou se ukloní a jeho úkolem je nechat posluchače v němém úžasu, protože jeho atypický přednes by měl šokovat a nad jeho skrytým obličejem je nutné neustále dumat a mimicky vysílat nechápavé dotazy plné nejistoty. Popřípadě rovnou přehrávat šílenství a okatě se svíjet ve VIP salónku. Možná to tak mají Lychgate rádi a taky je dost možné, že je to vůbec nezajímá...

Evidentně se ovšem snaží posunout černý kov nad rámec jeho běžných hodnot. Tak, jako se to už v minulosti pár vyvolených pokusilo a několik z nich to i dokázalo. Své zahleděnosti navzdory, doopravdy ale právě díky ní. Lychgate a jejich prazvláštní přístup k extrémní muzice její podstatu změní jen sotva a na vyšší vnímání ji jako celek také neposunou. Jsou ovšem schopni ji na chvíli vykolejit a nechat pokračovat mimo zajetou trasu. Vděčí za to svojské práci s kompozicí, uvnitř které je kladen důraz na vznešenost v kombinaci s divokou psychedelií a okultním podtextem. Mise Lychgate je temnou filosofií, zvláštní a rafinovanou. Pokud se podaří nahlédnout pod její podivínskou strukturu, kde vládne svět za maskou, bude vám hudba této kapely připadat honosná a zajímavá. V opačném případě vás ale při nahodilých pokusech ovládne nepochopení, zmatek a nedůvěra.

Sestavu Lychgate opustil basák Aran, jinak ex-člen dnes již legendárních lesníků Lunar Aurora. Nahradil jej novic A.K. Webb a osobně mne tahle skutečnost může mrzet jenom proto, že sílu Lunar Aurora jsem vždy uctíval a kapely, které si prošel Webb, vůbec neznám. Na funkci zaníceně filosofující jednotky Lychgate nemá ale tahle změna takřka žádný dopad. Druhá deska pokračuje v avantgardně servírované jízdě, při které si člověk sáhne na dno svých psychických sil, aby se na realitu podíval trochu z jiné stránky. Nedá se říci, že by poslech druhého alba Lychgate bolel a způsoboval by přilíšnou újmu na zdraví, ale jeho úloha je speciální a žádá si svůj speciální okamžik. Kapela posouvá své hranice ještě o kus dále a láká k obdivu specificky pojaté hudby. V prostředí jaké nabízí, je člověk odnesen zpět v čase, uvědomuje si hodnotu starých věcí a dotýká se termínů jako jsou jed, vášeň či rituál. Slyší staré nástěnné hodiny, slyší promlouvat duchy skrze zdi a některé i vidí. Je vystaven zámecké atmosféře a tajným schůzkám místní šlechty, v zájmu pokroku a černé magie.

Hudbu samotnou řídí varhany a jejich široký rejstřík. Kytary jsou pouhým doprovodem a hlas je přednášejícím ve vylidněném sále. Podstatné to pojmenování tvorby Lychgate, ale zopakujme si ještě jednou to nejdůležitější. Lychgate nemění dějiny, ale jsou schopni je nechat prožít. Nejsou těmi, kdo posune hranice žánru, ale jsou těmi, kdo na ně poukáže. Přes všechnu domnělou nesourodost a hroší kůži je "An Antidote For The Glass Pills" povedenou deskou, ke které je jen nutné najít správný klíč.

Written by Victimer.

Extreme Metal Voyager Read Close 9.5/10

“I could mention countless superlatives but what it all comes down to is the wide-angle approach to their music, the playful creativity that propels this album towards upper echelons of art.”

Approaching six months now and this album still gets played a lot by yours truly. There’s a reason why Lychgate’s latest output was my favorite album in 2015 (read short summary here). I could mention countless superlatives (and I will later on) but what it all comes down to is the wide-angle approach to their music, the playful creativity that propels this album towards upper echelons of art.

The band is based in London and is the artistic outlet for the pseudonym Vortigern, a philosophical figure wielding dramatic musical creativity and dystopian lyrical concepts. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” is the second album for this abstract formation; whereas the debut album was based on pre-Lychgate material, this one goes all out in establishing a classy sound universe.

What’s the method to all this mayhem then you might ask? Black Metal fused with classical music, experimental soundscapes recalling old cinema atmospheres, intricate percussive sections, smart, devilishly smart usage of pipe organs, dexterous guitar work and vocal layering sounding like the next pest that’s going to wipe out humanity. Emperor’s last album, an album which I’ve gone back to exploring after hearing this one, is a clear reference point musically, Dødheimsgard, Solefald, Manes, Ulver also spring to mind.

The album has a continuous flow because of its conceptual nature. Due to the avant-garde techniques at work, it might sound disjointed at first but the more I listened to it, the more it all came together into a fantastic piece of visionary songwriting. “I Am Contempt” is the closest you’ll hear of “traditional” song structures, the rest of the material will take more than just one spin to unravel. The drumming needs to be highlighted, this guy is outrageous doing delicate jazzy fills, foreboding percussive arrangements (a significant element to the album) and of course the more familiar extreme blasts, an aspiring performance to say the least.

The pipe organs are another eccentric ingredient to this work. They’re put to use in a canny manner into each track. There are passages when the organs are intensely heavy and other times they’ll be melodic in some oddball fashion. The guitar work is greatly complemented by the pianos and organs; the intricate dissonances created in for example “An Acousmatic Guardian” or “ A Principle On Seclusion” are displays of musical genius in my opinion. My current favorite track is “Deus Te Videt”, a track rooted in the complexity of classical music; combined with extreme metal, a beautiful cacophony is let loose immediately triggering Arcturus associations (also due to the clean vocals).
To end this review, I’d recommend this album to all the thinkers out there. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” sounds like freaked out philosophers coming together and having a profound chat about wisdom, addressing the state of logic, ethics, etc and eventually being even more puzzled at the end of the session. Outstanding album altogether!

Written by Fróði Tórálvsson Stenberg.

Forgotten Path Magazine Read Close

I think it goes without saying that it is difficult to remain completely impartial when something really exceptional makes a profound musical impact on you. And it is not quite appropriate to start a review with praises before thoroughly delving into an unbiased analysis of the work, but there are more than enough reasons that make “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” an outstanding work of art.

Lychgate is a name that is relatively well known within the underground Metal community by now mostly due to the fact that Greg Chandler of Esoteric performs vocal duties here (this how I came to know this enigmatic collective). Sloughed from the shell of Archaicus, which was the obscure solo project of Vortigern, Lychgate quickly became a fully consistent band with a new and fresh direction. The self-titled debut album was a pleasant discovery. It had melodic passages somewhat reminiscent of Setherial “Nord” era, it also had something of its own. It was varied, dynamic, but not quite something that would stand out from the rest of the crowd very much. However, there were some elements that barely hinted the things to come, but few could have guessed that the following work would reach a completely different level and surpass its predecessor by an enormous measure. Lychgate achieved a monumental album of a complex yet very organic fusion between real church organ and Metal, something to the extent that hasn’t been done before in this form of extreme music. Guitars and organ are blended in such a way that it results in a completely unique sound texture you wouldn’t hear from anyone else on this planet. Greg’s trademark vocal style doesn’t stretch too far from those of Esoteric and are occasionally accompanied by Vortigern, who, I believe, is responsible for the clean singing parts as well. The production perfectly complements the music and enthrals the listener with its heavy-gothic-cathedral like aura. The atmosphere is haunting, oppressive and disorienting. Dark in a genuine way though there is nothing occult or satanic about it (which is a plausible move given current worn-out tendencies). Instead this magnum opus is centred around the theme of “Panopticon”, an idea of a perfect prison, a pinnacle of dystopian society. This aspect curiously interacts with Lychgate’s music implying unusual interpretations and is yet another asset of true individualism here.

“An Antidote for the Glass Pill” is a rare album of academic proportions and I wouldn’t speak of it as anything less than an unparalleled colossus of musical proficiency. It is intricate, demanding and seems a bit too challenging to approach at times, but truly rewarding for those seeking beyond easily accessible and safe music. I honestly cannot pinpoint any negative or underdeveloped aspects here. It just shines with perfection and menace. Personally the most interesting and accomplished album of 2015.

Written by Saulius (Skol).

Free Williamsburg Read Close

UK black metal oddities Lychgate are bubbling up from London cobblestones today with their second twisted full length, An Antidote For The Glass Pill (Blood Music). Laced with chilling organ flourishes that could score a silent film about Jack the Ripper, Lychgate pinball from blackened blast beats to serial killer symphonies within the space of a measure or two, stitching it all together with the howls of funeral doom figurehead and Esoteric frontman, Greg Chandler. You might need more than a listen or two for this one to land, but trust me, once it does it’ll send your head bouncing off the down the block.

Written by Coleman Bentley.

French Metal Read Close 16/20

french

Lychgate avait fait bonne impression en 2013 avec son premier album mélangeant le black horrifique et le doom d'une façon bien à lui. A peine deux ans plus tard, voilà que le groupe revient à la charge avec "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" et les amateurs du premier opus devraient vite retrouver leurs marques.

En effet, "Unto My Tempest" qui ouvre l'album nous rebalance directement dans l'univers bien particulier de Lychgate à grands coups d'orgue et d'ambiance horrifiques et poisseuses, un instrumental qui annonce la couleur d'entrée de jeu une fois de plus. "Davamesque B2" présente en plus de tout ça un côté un peu plus dramatique, orchestral et une certaine folie qui nous ramène un peu vers Esoteric forcément avec le chant reconnaissable entre mille de Greg Chandler. La folie est d'ailleurs encore plus présente sur ce nouvel album que sur le précédent, cette fois Lychgate se lache et pète réellement les plombs. Les structures sont encore plus tordues, tous les morceaux sont à tiroirs et le groupe prend un malin plaisir à essayer de nous perdre dans un dédale de mélodies malsaines et de rythmes bizarres, le tout surplombé de nappes d'orgue totalement glauques ou barrées. De temps en temps, les blasts s'invitent encore par dessus tout ce bordel, ce qui n'arrangera rien à la santé mentale du malheureux qui aura laissé traîner ses oreilles par là. D'ailleurs, par rapport au premier album, le groupe prend le temps d'installer ses ambiances comme il faut, on passe donc de 38 à 50 minutes. Lychgate applique ici la formule Monsieur Plus, à savoir un album plus barré, plus dingue, plus malsain, bref encore plus flippant et tordu.

Une fois de plus, cet album va donc s'adresser aux esprits les plus ouverts, le groupe ne respecte aucune convention (est­-ce réellement étonnant ?) et va là où il veut, à l'auditeur de faire ce qu'il peut pour essayer de le suivre. Et forcément, techniquement, c'est assez hallucinant, notamment au niveau du jeu de batterie de T.J.F. Vallely que je vous invite à écouter attentivement tant il est à la fois technique et fin.

Et finalement, malgré la durée bien plus longue que pour le premier album, on ne s'ennuie pas une seule seconde, la musique de Lychgate étant assez variée et tarée pour nous tenir en haleine tout du long. En tout cas, c'est toujours compliqué de parler d'une musique pareille sans tomber dans les délires verbeux et pseudo littéraires, ce genre d'album demandant un investissement personnel de la part de l'auditeur.

Je vais tomber dans la facilité en disant que ceux qui ont aimé le premier album retrouveront leurs petits ici, pour ceux qui n'ont par contre jamais entendu une seule note de ce groupe, je ne peux que leur conseiller d'aller remédier à ça de suite. Pour le coup, ça fait un peu "chroniqueur qui se défile" mais il faut vraiment écouter ça pour savoir de quoi il en retourne, mes mots ne pourront vous donner qu'une vague idée de ce qui vous attend dans ce joyeux bordel (enfin, "joyeux", je me comprends).

Au final, un deuxième album qui confirme que Lychgate est un groupe à part, qui en profite au passage pour s'enfoncer encore plus loin dans les ténèbres et la folie. Âmes sensibles s'abstenir, les autres vont se régaler.

Written by MurderWorks.

Full Metal Hipster Read Close

Put This New LYCHGATE Album In Your Ears

I’ve been aware of the United Kingdom’s Lychgate since their 2013 self-titled debut. By “aware of,” I mean I knew the band existed. I’d never actually listened to them despite receiving promos for their first album as well as their sophomore release, An Antidote for the Glass Pill, that was just released. I can’t speak to the band’s first album, but Lychgate have really stumbled onto something special with An Antidote. On a whim, I decided to listen to it as I cleaned the bathroom last night, and it’s a genuinely unsettling record that I’ll definitely be revisiting many more times. The songs are organ driven. Like, an actual organ, not a keyboard that sounds like an organ. There are guitars present, but it seems like the songs were all written with the organ as the primary instrument. Prospective listeners will also be happy to know that “organ-driven” doesn’t mean clown-ass circus music in this case, either. I was blasting this album over headphones while I scrubbed a toilet, and there were sections of the music that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. This is a good album, y’all.

FFO: The nameless, crawling chaos at the center of the universe.

Written by Shayne Mathis.

Ghost Cult Magazine Read Close

“Uncanny Valley” is a phrase originally coined in the field of aesthetics to describe the feeling of revulsion caused by things which look and move almost but not exactly like natural beings, but has since been used to describe anything which familiar but different enough to be unsettling, creepy and… well… uncanny. The easiest way to describe Lychgate’s second album would be a combination of Symphonic Black Metal and Funeral Doom, but though that’s technically true fans of those two genres are likely to be a little creeped out by Lychgate’s approach to both.

One of the most audible ways in which Lychgate stand out is their use of keys, especially the near-omnipresent Church Organ. Nothing new itself, of course, but rather than simply garnishing riffs or creating “atmospheric” space-filler, Lychgate frequently use their organ (tee hee) as a lead instrument, creating a genuinely unsettling sense of otherness in those used to more conventional Metal songwriting. The production lends further weight to this impression, the guitars taking on a cold, clipped feeling that times calls to mind old Castlevania soundtracks.

Both of these things would be irrelevant, of course, without the song-writing to back them up, and Lychgate continue to buck both Black Metal and Doom orthodoxy with broken, nightmarish compositions that draw as much from Prog and psychedelia as from any Metal sub-genre. Greg Chandler (also of Esoteric) uses his distinctively damaged-sounding vocals to lend further emotional weight to an alternately bombastic and ghostly selection of songs.

This is Black Metal for people who like the idea of Black Metal more than the reality. Doom for people who want to go beyond stolen Sabbath riffs and feedback. Prog Metal for people who wish the term didn’t have anything to do with Opeth. Simultaneously familiar and genuinely unusual, An Antidote For The Glass Pill (Blood Music) is likely to be one of the most interesting and distinctive releases in three over-saturated genres this year.

Written by Richie HR.

Head-Banger Reviews Read Close

If there were ever an album that used a piano and organ to an amazing extent while combining it with black metal very well while also maintaining an interesting atmosphere and feel for it’s entirety, this is that album. “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” from Lychgate is an excellent sophomore album that has a haunting sound to say in the least as this album contains a piano and organ like I said, and they are used to their absolute maximum potential as they create an unsettling feel no matter where in the album they are while also bringing in a unique sound that isn’t pair often with black metal.

The whole album isn’t at a break neck pace either as Lychgate knows the virtue of knowing when to slow down and really create an atmosphere that cannot be made when everything is violent and fast. There’s nothing wrong with being slow and terrifying, nothing at all, and “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” makes it look easy. The guitars, vocals, and drums all also have a magnificent sound that varies from being fast and intense to a more calm and eerie sound (hopefully you’re noticing a pattern here). “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” is without a doubt the album for someone who wants an atmospheric album that isn’t too overbearing with the atmosphere while also having a nice balance of black metal. Lychgate is only getting started I’m sure, and I can only imagine what they’ll do with their third album.

Heathen Harvest Read Close 9.5/10

Whether you have heard the name Lychgate or heard their solid 2013 self-titled debut before (which is indeed very likely as it was the last album that I reviewed), I have no doubt that the coming months will see the extreme metal community gurgle with joy aplenty at the release of their second album, An Antidote for the Glass Pill. This album is an unlikely masterpiece, and I might have to look as far back as last year for an album that has chilled, spooked, and otherwise frightened me as much as this one. While I think that Thantifaxath‘s Sacred White Noise would perhaps be a good candidate, fear from a presumably ‘harmless’ medium like music can only be felt when a listener is experiencing something unfamiliar to them. That sense of confusion is the calling card of the avant-garde, and to meld that confusion with inherently dark styles like black or doom metal is to effectively weaponize it. I am no less provoked each time I listen to An Antidote for the Glass Pill. Lychgate have crafted a completely immersive experience with their second album, boldly realizing the vision they set out for themselves, with the substance to temper its madness and no cheap tricks used to satisfy their ends.

Though previously a one-man act known as Archaicus, the story of Lychgate didn’t start until the release of their self-titled full-length in 2013. Multi-instrumentalist Vortigern was joined by a host of well-travelled musicians, best known of all arguably being Greg Chandler, known for his resonant howls in the legendary Esoteric. While Lychgate is marketed foremost as a black metal band, the influence and association with (arguably) funeral doom’s most astounding monument informed the way the band carried their atmosphere on the debut, which otherwise tended to carry itself in a melodic (albeit extreme) light that was vaguely reminiscent of Dissection. While I really enjoyed what Lychgate did on their debut, my lasting impression was that they hadn’t yet realized their destined style, choosing instead to imply it via the smoke and mirrors of other less outlandish black metal bands that inspired them.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill takes the unique threads that were hinted at on the debut and have realized them completely. Lychgate’s style here is full-bodied and imposing; such as it is, it makes the excellent debut look underdeveloped in contrast. Lychgate’s teetering between black and doom metal has collapsed in favour of the latter. Much like Esoteric, they convey the unmistakable atmosphere of funeral doom at a variety of tempos. The discussion of genre in metal describes none but the most generic bands, but this confusion between two styles that aren’t commonly mixed should offer a vague indication, at least, that Lychgate are onto something strange if not unique with their style.

Undoubtedly, the most distinctive ingredient to Lychgate’s sound is their use of organ. Church pipes are a common sight in avant-garde metal, but I don’t think I’ve heard them take such a heavy role on a metal album before. On its own, it is possibly the most imposing instrument in the Western musical arsenal, and Lychgate make full use of this potential. Where most use of keyboards in metal is relegated to the role of auxiliary support, Lychgate’s organs are vast and thunderous, truly befitting the scope of classical composers, without necessarily drawing so close to any one of them as to betray the influence. Although the full extent of Lychgate’s atmosphere is only apparent after giving the album due patience, the effect of the organ is thick and immediate. There is an unprecedented weight to one’s music when you have centuries of musical tradition bellowing alongside you, and the organ’s ecclesiastical connotations mesh well, if hauntingly, with the band’s tormented atmosphere. If ever a portal to hell opens up amidst the pews of St Paul’s Cathedral, it’s a relief we’ll already have the perfect soundtrack ready for the occasion.

Lychgate’s penchant for the organ may have even pinned them as a gimmick had they not channelled that same uncompromising innovation into every other part of their style. The guitar riffs are equal parts playful and disquieting, and the way that they constantly tempt abstraction compliments the historic familiarity of the organs. One of the weirdest, most potentially divisive things about the album is actually the tone of the guitars. Although everything is played relatively ‘live’, it’s as if Lychgate went through the extra trouble of making their guitars share the cold voice of a MIDI file. This isn’t the sort of detail I noticed until a few listens in, after the indulgent organ display had grown familiar. There is an inhumanity to the way Lychgate’s guitars sound that makes one feel immediately uncomfortable, as if the ‘uncanny valley’ reaction towards androids or ‘fake humans’ may now apply to a musical instrument as well. This MIDI sound, paired with the unsettling horror-inspired atmosphere, actually had me thinking of classic 8-bit video game soundtracks more than once, namely the spooky sounds of Castlevania. Whether this was an intentional association or not, it adds even greater alien novelty to their sound, and Lychgate seem to enjoy the compositional chops that will allow that novelty to last for a long time. The way Blut Aus Nord took the drum machine from a budgetary setback to an integral artistic statement, I believe Lychgate have done the same for this weird guitar tone.

Greg Chandler’s howls are immediately distinctive, and all existing Esoteric fans will find a shred of welcome familiarity among this project’s more alien prospects. Clean vocals also make an appearance here, albeit occasionally, and sound reminiscent of other avant-metal like Age of Silence and Solefald. Lychgate’s vocals (clean and growled alike) are buried slightly below the mix, which means the human element bears little chance of tampering with their conjured insanity. It’s to Chandler’s credit, then, that his vocals, however quiet, manage to send chills down my spine throughout the album. Looking at the lyrics doesn’t bring one any closer to comfort. These lyrics are filled with expressionist imagery and mentions of obscure apocrypha. Whether there is a clear meaning to be taken from all of it is beside the point; most of the time, it reads like the chattering of a bona fide madman, caught in thought loops without resolution or development. Is there sense to be made of it? Cryptic mentions of a ‘We’ and ‘OneState’ hints their madness may be rooted in the individual’s struggle to distinguish himself from the collective, but interpretations will vary. The folly of insanity is that whatever revelations that are gleaned from such an uncommon frame of mind are made intangible through their lack of clarity. It’s conceivable that all minds behind Lychgate were in perfectly sound order while making the album, but the fact that they can liberate themselves from a need for proper meaning offers an opportunity for the listener’s mind to project their own neuroses upon it.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill should spark some controversy in the coming months, and I’d like to think it’ll become an album that only grows in reputation as time goes on. Lychgate have crafted a work of expressionist horror in the fleeting space where matters of genre become clouded and irrelevant. If I may leave any parting words on it, it’s that the album takes some time to grow, even for the most attentive set of ears. Where many overly frightening or avant-garde works get their point across in bold, loud ways, Lychgate’s dread grows with each listen. If they started out as a promising black metal band. they’ve now become the sort of act capable of crafting masterpieces in none but their own image.

Written by Conor Fynes.

Heavy Pop Read Close

german

Man muss sich für die Behauptung wohl nicht allzuweit aus dem Fenster lehnen: Kaum eine andere Platte (ob nun aus der Metal-Schublade oder nicht) entwickelte einen derart verschrobenen, eigenwilligen Charakter wie ‚An Antidote for the Glass Pill‚. Sofern das überhaupt noch Black Metal ist, den die Engländer da zwischen Aventgarde und mutwilliger Dissonanz auf ihrem Zweitwerk zelebrieren, dann entwickelt er alleine dadurch ein absolutes Alleinstellungsmerkmal, weil Lychgate die theoretische Geschwindigkeit des Genres auf eine omnipräsente Orgel prallen lassen, mehr noch – das an sich sich so träge-schleppende Element das dem Instrument innewohnen kann vom ausgebreiteten Begleitutensil wird hier immer wieder zum Leitsymbol auserkoren. Das Ergebnis ist ein bisweilen nervöses, extrem mystisches und schlicht unergründlich vielschichtig hetzendes Ungetüm, das mittels anachronistischer Retro-Horrorszenarien eine eine wirklich beängstigende, verstörende und auch wahrhaftig anstrengende Bösartigkeit Dunkelheit walzt.

Der Entwicklungsschub der Band seit dem selbstbetitelten Debüt ist vielleicht damit zu erklären, dass neben der Kernbesetzung um Mastermind Vortigern nun unter anderem auch Esoteric-Zauberer Greg Chandler bei Lychgate mitmischt – und wie man Legendenbildung in der Nische betreibt, das weiß der 42 Jährige bekanntlich nur zu gut. Aber eben auch, wie man überragende Platten kreiert, die die Geister scheiden können, weil sie an keinerlei Konsens oder Konventionen interessiert sind.

Intravenous Magazine Read Close

Having only officially come into life in 2012, Lychgate are fast making a name for themselves as one of the most cerebral bands to emerge from the avant garde arm of the extreme metal scene. The band – which features a host of well-travelled veterans from acts such as Esoteric, The One, Macabre Omen, Luna Aurora, and Omega Centauri – distil a diverse range of styles and influences into a richly layered assault of decadence and malevolence. Melodic elements reminiscent of the likes of Dissection intersperse a primarily gothic-tinged black metal framework that draws on the likes of Emperor and Abigor while the dense dark atmosphere of funeral doom acts like Esoteric create a thick shroud around it.

The album ties each track together with the grandiose use of the pipe organ. Now this is something that can set alarm bells off due to the fact that there have been many acts that have used it poorly and relegated it to the cheesy gothic end of the spectrum. However, in the hands of Lychgate it takes on its full glory and is a perfect addition to the band's rich sound.

Songs such as 'Davamesque B2', 'I Am Contempt', 'Letter XIX', 'An Acousmatic Guardian', and 'My Fate To Burn Forever' show of the band's full glory as the avant garde song structures unveil blistering black metal, demonic vocals, and sumptuous melodies all in the same breath. The song writing is complex and intelligent, and the execution of each song is carried off with ease and grace.
In terms of the production, it is true that the album is dense, multi-layered, and full of little flourishes and embellishments. And while in the hands of less experienced musicians, the album would run the risk of sounding like a thick slab, Lychgate have instead kept the sense of space and distance between all the elements in the mix that are required to give it that cathedral like presence.

'An Antidote For The Glass Pill' is quite simply a must-have album for anyone that is a fan of acts such as Emperor, Ihsahn, Dimmu Borgir, Arcturus, and Esoteric, as well as anyone with a leaning towards avant garde metal. The album is a wonderfully thick and atmospheric, while at the same time unrelentingly brutal. Lychgate are definitely a name to watch if they can keep on creating masterpieces like this.

Written by Sean F. Palfrey.

Invisible Oranges Read Close

I can’t really say a metal album has piqued my musician’s interest quite like Lychgate’s An Antidote for The Glass Pill. I often approach metal which touts modern classical music as a primary influence with hesitance, the two often clashing in a circus of distasteful discordance and sounds reminiscent of John Wayne Gacy’s alter-ego, the frightening “Pogo the Clown,” and yet Lychgate’s powerful, intricate sound proves that i should behave otherwise. Like a metal counterpart to Olivier Messiaen’s “La Nativeté du Seigneur“, Lychgate’s pipe organ-centric (an ambitious addition to any band), carefully composed approach to metal engulfs the listener with a constant barrage of simultaneous beauty and fear, extreme polytonality, and bizarre, jarring rhythmic twists and turns in an undoubtedly overwhelming, hard to digest experience. I would have written An Antidote for the Glass Pill off as masturbatory drivel had I not been so completely enamored with compositional mastermind Vortigern’s tasteful arrangement of sound. Don’t get me wrong, Lychgate’s is a difficult listen, especially to those who preferred the much tamer, organum-based sound of their self-titled album, however, once it “clicks”—and it might take time for this to happen—An Antidote… will become a regular listen in most libraries. This is a true turning point in new extreme music.

Written by Jon Rosenthal.

La Grosse Radio Read Close 8/10

french

Le collectif anglais Lychgate sort son deuxième album An Antidote for the Glass Pill via le label Blood Music. Le lineup est ainsi composé: Greg Chandler (Esoteric) au chant et aux guitares, Alan K. Webb (Ancient Ascendant), Tom J.F. Vallely (Macabre Omen, Omega Centauri) et James « Vortigern » Young (The One).

Grosse intro, ambiance manoir et piano à l’étage mais personne n’ose monter les escaliers. A priori on n’est pas tout seul, les cloches au loin finissent par s’arrêter, perdues dans le brouillard anglais. Ainsi, dès les premières notes on s’imagine trouver un énième groupe de gothique vampiro metal mais on se rend rapidement compte que l’on a tord sur toute la ligne.

La musique est très organique, la voix gutturale, les synthés donnent le rythme. La musique de Lychgate est assez particulière, leur black metal se place entre l’ambiant et le post symphonique comme sur « Davamesque B2 » très orchestré.

Les synthés s’amusent sur « I Am Contempt » : musique difficilement classable tout comme la pochette, on a l’impression que chaque instrument fait sont business dans son coin sans vraiment se concerter avec les autres quant à savoir la direction à donner au morceau. Bon dans ces moments perdus, on va dire que c’est de l’avant-gardiste gothic symphonique, théatral et bruitiste.
La production tient bien la route. Heureusement car ce n’est pas une œuvre dans laquelle on rentre facilement. Changement de rythme, synthé omniprésent, voix pesante.

« Letter XIX » aussi a encore cette couleur particulière grâce à l’utilisation massive des orgues, passages majestueux, inquiétants, les guitares tiennent les seconds rôles. Nous sommes plus dans une œuvre structurée comme dans la musique classique, tourmentée, à part, avec un œil moderne.

« The Illness Named Imagination » me fait penser à des passages de Pierre Boulez en train de nous interpréter Béla Bartók sous acide dans la cave d’un hôpital psychiatrique désaffecté mais tout comme le compositeur et pianiste hongrois, « le mouvement mélodique », « le traitement sonore » et surtout « l’harmonie » ont leur importance et sont mis aux premiers rangs dans la genèse des morceaux.

Les titres ont l’air d’être structurer afin d’établir tout comme chez Bartók des rapports structurés et millimétrés pour équilibrer chaque partie de l’album. Tout en restant sur une idée de base, jouant sur toutes les tonalités via leur fonction (Tonique, Dominante ou Sous-dominante) les musiciens nous perturbent dans leurs recherches harmoniques comme savent le faire certains jazzmen.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill est une œuvre inclassable, moderne, déconcertante et stricte.

Written by Lionel / Born 666.

Last Rites Read Close

London’s Lychgate burst onto the black metal landscape in 2013 with their self-titled debut. It was a wild and fully-realized platter of dissonant weirdness that loved its keyboards and organs, but never to the extent that they got in the way of the heavily funeralized black metal. Even with some rather obvious connections – Negative Plane, certain forms of Blut Aus Nord – it was still fairly unique. It felt like being suddenly transported into an empty, dimly lit gothic cathedral, the music dominating all sounds, but not to the extent that your own fear was silenced.

From the very get-go, Lychgate knew how to craft a vibe. But if the expansion of their sound on An Antidote for the Glass Pill is any indication, sitting still was not an option. They knew their rabbit hole went far deeper, and that reaching the bottom required unchaining themselves from any remaining constraints. It was time to really get weird.

And weird they get. By increasing the use of the organ, going with less conventional song structures, upping the prog factor of the riffs, and pounding the album with all sorts of extra ingredients (tympani, chamber piano, chants), Lychgate has almost completely exited the realm of the ordinary. To put it simply, An Antidote for the Glass Pill is utterly confounding, but to the right ears, it is just as thrilling. It is an album for which it is difficult to think of a true stylistic parallel, both in terms of philosophy and execution, despite many of the individual elements existing for centuries.

But let’s step back for a second.

The pipe organ has existed in some form or another since Ancient Greece, evolving into instruments so gargantuan that they were the perfect backdrops for the megalomaniacal medieval church. The sound is unmistakable: thin, sustained tones, particularly useful for dissonance, and when employed to ultimate effect, imposing. This was the instrument of medieval priests forcing piety onto the peasantry, of the crusades being funded by selling plenary indulgences as tickets to heaven, and of course, of “Toccata and Fugue in D minor.”

Perhaps only Bach could have ever imagined that the instrument of his most famous work would be warped into something as unworldly as An Antidote for the Glass Pill. And more than any other of the numerous elements employed by Lychgate on the album, it is the pipe organ that dominates center stage, wrapping the album in a Baroque blanket. Without it, the drifting, maniacal song structures would seem needlessly random, while the moments of rather rocking guitar work would seem just that – rocking – as opposed being brief flashes of normality desperately calling out of the madness.

(It should go without saying that Lychgate probably isn’t transporting around some fully-sized, massive pipe organ, and that the sounds heard on An Antidote for the Glass Pill are likely produced by its more modern “church organ” offspring. Still, the sounds and vibe are the same, thankfully.)

In many ways, Lychgate has fully realized the “musical Baphomet” status to which their debut album pointed. An Antidote for the Glass Pill is both god and the devil; melodious and deeply discordant; lacking in aggression but strangely brutal; dramatic and theatrical and yet deadly serious; occasionally rockin’ but completely in opposition to such a mindset. Throughout all 50 minutes, these various dualities are at work, with each spin peeling away more of the countless layers.

“I Am Contempt” expands and contracts through both tonal techniques and masterful drumming (T. J. F. Vallely is a beast throughout), while moments of “still dissonance” are among the album’s most unsettling. “Letter XIX” is downright demented, becoming more so throughout before bludgeoning the listener with a unified hammering from all instruments, even after the jazzy, light-touch blasting eases you into a false sense of security. “Davamesque B2” re-emphasizes the band’s oft-doomy approach; “An Acousmatic Guardian” ups the bombast; “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus” ends the album in majestic splendor, echoing chants introduced in earlier tracks while offering touches of neoclassicism. This is a band that understands how to be outlandish by their very nature, and how to wield self-indulgence as a musical instrument.

Like vocalist/guitarist Greg Chandler’s long-running Esoteric, Lychgate also embraces the power of atmosphere. But where the funeral doom greats craft galactic spaces that go on for immeasurable distances, Lychgate’s atmosphere is finite, draped in an impenetrable shadow and amplified by the band’s mastery of the (near) emptiness. In a way similar to Deathspell Omega on Fas, Lychgate does not shy from this technique (“Play the rest,” your high school band director taught you). These moments are not so much respites from the maniacal bombardment as they are the band chewing on the suspense, and knowing the listener is held captive.

And deep down, when you are done dissecting all of the great riffs, surprise shred moments, deftly dancing instrumental interplay and great, varied vocals, something else kicks in: nostalgia. Not obnoxious, try-hard nostalgia, but a more indirect, likely even unintentional form. The tones and vibes throughout An Antidote for the Glass Pill will inevitably tickle the memories of certain listeners. The pipe organ is, after all, rather connected to the past in many ways. It might be that you’d once seen an old silent horror film, or that you once attended a Catholic Mass in a rather large, lavish American church. Maybe you just like wearing long robes and writing fan fiction about Vincent Price and Max von Sydow; that’s your business. Regardless, for many a listener, that extra layer will be quite active.

Of course, you don’t necessarily need to have had these experiences to enjoy the album. Nor do they ensure that you will like this bizarre, amorphous thing. But if it latches on in any way, it’s really a rather easy listen, even during its most jarring moments. That dichotomy might be what most defines the album: from its general lack of violent aggression to the odd song structures, An Antidote for the Glass Pill is usually not doing what you expect or even what you might think you want it to do. And yet, the whole thing is insanely satisfying, which is almost a mystery in and of itself.

Confounding in every possible way, Lychgate is not satisfied with merely finding the bottom of the rabbit hole. They came equipped with shovels.

•••••

If you're feeling churchy, the album is streaming in full at Decibel.

Written by Zach Duvall.

Marast Music Read Close 86/100

czech

Lychgate na druhé desce předvádí velmi suverénní, působivý a celkem osobitý pohled na sofistikovaný black metal, postavený zejména na dokonalém využití potenciálu varhan. Zatím nejzajímavější metalová deska letošního roku.

Londýnští Lychgate mě zaujali už na svém předloňském eponymním debutu. Ten byl dle hlavního skladatele a kapelníka Vortigerna především jakýmsi vypořádáním se s minulostí a jeho předešlou kapelou Archaicus, pro kterou tento materiál původně skládal a dlouhá léta mu „ležel v šuplíku“. Už debut byl poměrně zajímavým pohledem či variací na vyspělý black metal, který se hrál především (cca) v letech 1997-2003. Ve Vortigernově hudbě byla slyšet inspirace ve vrcholném období tvorby Emperor a částečně i Blut Aus Nord, nad tím vším se vznášel mlžný opar esoterického funerálna a filosofična, a také snahy jít vlastní cestou.

LychgateCo debut pouze naznačil, letošní album An Antidote for the Glass Pill rozvíjí v plné síle. Kompozice jsou mnohem propracovanější, nápaditější, osobitější a dotaženější, instrumentace vyloženě perfekcionistická. Varhany, které byly na debutu pouze občasným doplňkem, tu dostávají mnohem více prostoru, resp. jsou v mnoha pasážích vyloženě vedoucím instrumentem a kytary je někdy (ovšem velmi funkčně) jen doplňují, jindy spolu zase vedou plnohodnotný, polyfonický dialog. S výjimkou Skepticism (kteří narozdíl od Lychgate nepoužívají pravé kostelní varhany, ale jakousi klávesovou verzi) mě nenapadá jiná kapela, která by potenciál varhan využila tak dokonale. Vortigern prý nebyl spokojen s možnostmi skládání na kytaře a tak velkou část materiálu složil u piana, částečně i přímo na varhany. Zmiňovaný perfekcionismus se odráží i ve faktu, že přestože skládal partitury i pro tento nástroj, jeho instrumentaci při nahrávání moudře přenechal jistému Kevinu Bowyerovi, profesionálnímu varhaníkovi, který patří k současným nejlepším interpretům a mistrně zvládá i ty nejsložitější kousky z hudební historie. Varhany někdy doplňují, nebo nahrazují i vcelku vkusné klávesy (jo, pár chvil, kdy zní trošku zastarale až naivně tam je, ale většinou jsou jejich rejstříky zvoleny vhodně a sedí do celku dobře) a klavír, sem tam se ozvou i tympány.

Z inspiračních zdrojů sám mozek kapely zmiňuje mj. Bacha, Liszta, ale i skladatele 20. století - mj. Schnittkeho, nebo Duprého - úvodní „intro“ skladba Unto My Tempest je vlastně předělávkou Duprého skladby. Dále jmenuje prog/avant-rock/rio Art Zoyd, Univers Zero, ale i industrial/avantgardní SPK a Autopsia. Všechny tyto vlivy tam lze ve větší či menší míře slyšet, je tam baroko, romantismus 19. století, moderní kompozice a avantgarda, i špetka toho industrialu. K dobru přičítám i povedená (dark) ambientní intermezza, ve kterých se kromě zvuku kostelních zvonů často objevuje i různé klapání a tikání - snad nějakých velmi starých mechanismů.
Co se metalu týče, tak vliv Emperor (především Prometheus) je zde sice stále cítit, ale již v menší míře než na debutu, snad je tu i něco ze starších Solefald - tady bych zdůraznil, že pokud si z nich něco vzali, tak jen ty serióznější elementy, jemnou nadsázku lze slyšet snad jen v první části I Am Contempt (která mi ale spíš vzdáleně něčím připomíná Ihsahnovo The Grave Inversed). Pomalejší, doomové pasáže mohou připomenout Esoteric, což z velké části způsobuje specifický (a samozřejmě vynikající) řev, na vokálním postu zde působivšího Grega Chandlera, ale disponují i podobnou drásavostí a občas i podobně zvláštně a rozsekaně řešenou rytmikou. Překvapivé je, jak jsou všechny výše zmiňované vlivy umně, vkusně, s rozvahou promixovány a transformovány a kupodivu výsledek nepůsobí přeplácaně, skladby drží kompozičně pohromadě a nic se s ničím netříská. Zvrácené disharmonie/onance se tu vcelku plynule mísí a propojují se vznešenými melodiemi, šílenství a zuřivost se smířlivějšími a majestátními okamžiky – zmíním např. gradaci v Deus Te Videt s Ihsahnovsko/Lazareovskými čistými vokály (ty později zazní ještě ve dvou dalších skladbách) končící zničující sypačkou. Právě ona přirozená, až „aristokratická“ vznešenost (neplést s macho arogancí), kterou jsem měl rád u Emperor, mi tu dost imponuje. Zpočátku se ani nemusí zdát, jak moc dobrá tahle deska je, taková Davamesque B2 stále ještě jen pozvolna nastiňuje a připravuje posluchače na to, co ho v následujících minutách čeká. První pekla přicházejí až s I Am Contempt a A Principle of Seclusion a za trojitý vrchol bych označil až Letter XIX, The Illness Named Imagination a An Acousmatic Guardian.

Po atmosférické stránce může hudba Lychgate na první dojem evokovat prostředí chladného, temného gotického chrámu, podzemních krypt a zásvětní záležitosti vůbec (lych je ve staré anglosaštině označení pro mrtvolu, lychgate brána, kterou se vnášeli mrtví do kostela či na hřbitov). Ovšem textové, resp. konceptuální pozadí je přece jen zajímavější – prim zde hrají dystopie všeho druhu – dokonalé vězení Panopticon Jeremyho Benthama, skleněná budoucnost Zamyatinovy novely My, Witkiewiczovo Nenaplnění a také Kafkovy vize. Tedy především motivy všeprostupující kontroly, paranoie, manipulace s myslí, ovládání mas, mechanizace lidstva apod. I tato témata s hudbou korespondují velmi dobře.
Mírně problematickým bodem je zvuk - rytmičák u bicích je krapet umělejší, „pleskavější“, než by se mi líbilo, sice to ruší jen někde (a taky jsem si na něj časem docela zvyknul), především v pomalejších pasážích, kde bicí hodně vyčuhují, ale jinak jsem s prací bubeníka T. J. F. Vallelyho (mj. Omega Centauri, Macabre Omen) vesměs spokojen; se standardními i často nestandardními rytmickými vzorci si poradil velmi dobře, když má prostor, dobarvuje s činely, přechody, vířivými „průklepy“ na virbl apod. Ještě ke zvuku celkově - sem tam mám dojem, že by (až na ty varhany - ty zní opravdu skvěle) mohl být v něčem o něco málo lepší, snad o ždibec vyváženější, možná by kytary mohly sem tam víc tlačit, ale vlastně… problém je, že nevím, jak to přesně specifikovat a jde v podstatě jen o celkem drobnou výtku. Zvuk se mi jinak až na některé detaily líbí, ale asi by mohlo být ještě lépe. Doplním jen, že o mix a mastering se staral Greg Chandler v jeho Priory Recordings Studios.

Poslech nahrávky zabere delší čas ke zpracování - byly chvíle, když jsem z ní byl až nekriticky nadšen, občas mi zase vyloženě nesedla a nepřišla mi až tak skvělá a zajímavá. Netvrdím, že Lychgate dělají něco revolučního, pokud něco posunují, tak asi jen ono využití a zakomponování varhan v (black) metalovém kontextu. Předvádí ovšem velmi suverénní, působivý a i celkem osobitý pohled na tzv. „avantgardní black metal“ (vhodnější by asi byl výraz sofistikovaný). Nakonec jsem po mnoha posleších z aktuální desky Lychgate nadšen, ne sice zcela bezvýhradně, ale nadšen. Pro mě zatím nejzajímavější metalová deska letošního roku. V rámci black metalu nejlepší věc za poslední cca 3 roky.

Written by AddSatan.

Meat Mead Metal Read Close

LYCHGATE’S HORRIFIC NEW RECORD ‘AN ANTIDOTE FOR THE GLASS PILL’ MOURNS OUR SOCIETIES, PSYCHES

I’m completely convinced that there are forces everywhere who know what we’re doing at all time and can report anything undesirable back to whoever needs to know. Actually, I think I just mean that we all walk around with spy devices that can be used to track us and mark our every move (you know, our phones). That’s why the Edward Snowden story didn’t shock me in the least and kind of didn’t bother me. It seemed kind of obvious these things are going on.

I don’t know if that’s quite what Lychgate were thinking about when they created their cinematically terrifying new record “An Antidote for the Glass Pill.” But when sifting through the biographical material accompanying the music and indulging in the music, it’s where it took me in my head. The record is a concept piece that examines the negative aspects of post-modern life, especially psychologically and ho society has devolved, drawing upon Jeremy Bentham’s panopticon prison structure as inspiration, as well as Yevgeny Zamyatin’s dystopian nightmare novel “We” and Polish writer Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz’s brain-washing story “Insatiability.” In fact, the album’s title combines elements from each story and drives us headlong toward a terrifying vision of constant surveillance and being numbed into all-consuming, never-thinking sheep who sleep, work, eat, repeat. It’s something a lot of us probably don’t want to think too much about lest we stumble onto what’s really going on out there.

While together as a band officially for the last few years, the band’s music was born as a concept nearly a decade ago. Vortigern, who handles guitars, vocals, and chants, is the one responsible for the words and music you hear on this record (opener “Unto My Tempest” aside), and he is joined by a notable cast that includes vocalist Greg Chandler (Esoteric); drummer/percussionist T.J.F. Vallely (Macabre Omen); guitarist S.D. Lindsley; bassist A.K. Webb; piano player F.A. Young; and organist K.J. Bowyer, who has a massive role on this record. The band weaves together a classically horrible tale, one that would be best shown on screen in a cobweb-draped, black-and-white setting, as the band’s gothic, dramatic black metal rains down and forces you to confront the story.

Introductory track “Unto My Tempest” raises the curtain on the album, with orchestral swirls, doom bells chiming, and weird playing that spills into “Davamesque B2” and its dramatic, shadow-drenched horror. The song is spooky and echoey at the start, turning into gurgly growling and sweeping playing, cinematic stretches that feel morbid, and finally ending in a bed a gigantic organs that make it seem like the beginning of a funeral mass. “I Am Contempt” continues the terror, with vicious, shrieked vocals that pierce and guitars that start to burn heavily and hover over the scene. The melodies swagger as the song winds down, with charnel bells once again striking and bringing a pall to the atmosphere. “A Principle of Conclusion” has keys fluttering and leading into pure savagery. The track is a wild menagerie of dark organs, journeys into proggy waters, and eventually a heavily hammering assault that aims to destroy. Keys create a fog and spiral out, leading toward “Letter XIX” that has chimes, boiling guitars, and harsh howls, with the song churning and bleeding and later delivering blinding lightning strikes. This song is huge enough to be presented on a major theater stage, with every member playing their part to weave the dark plotline.

“Deus te Videt” opens on a hypnotic noise loop, melting everything around it and turning it into lava, while a haunting choral section appears and opens up the door to apocalypse. The back end of the song is violent and turbulent, paving the way for “The Illness Named Imagination,” which fires up the huge organs again and growls that just wrench. The melodies pulsate and get in your bloodstream, while the band paints the corners with goth-bloodied brush strokes. “An Acousmatic Guardian” lets the keys blow in and toss papers and dust asunder, with gruff vocals grinding away and the music sweltering hard. The song plods along, taking its time to spill its guts, and right after keys sweep in and soak the ground, the track rips open and gives one more tough beating. “My Hate to Burn Forever” has guitars spurting, going back into proggy territory that makes this thing even more compelling. The track is allowed to boil lightly, with anguished screams disrupting and pastoral organs slamming closed the door. “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus” is a quick, 2:59-long closer that ties up all ends, acting as a perfect summary with dramatic dashes, clean singing, and a moody, rainy sentiment bringing the final splashes of morbidity.

Lychgate have created one of the boldest, most riveting metal albums of the year from a content standpoint, and the music sounds unlike anything else out there right now. “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” is one of those terrible stories in which you can get utterly lost, as you see everything unfold and realize that you’re a part of the plotline. There’s a lot more to our world than we’ll ever know, and Lychgate is trying to give you a glimpse into the minds of those who don’t exactly have our best interests in mind.

For more on the band, go here.

To buy the album, go here.

For more on the label, go here.

Written by Brian Krasman.

Metal Hammer Read Close 8/10

A cavernous cacophony from England's darkest recesses

Having formed in 2001 as Archaicus, it wasn't until their self-titled debut as Lychgate in 2013 that they became a name to contend with.
Founded by one Vortigern, Lychgate's music trawls through operatic highs, industrial lows and chasms filled with darkness. Taking time off from Esoteric, vocalist Greg Chandler brings surges of misanthropic bile to An Antidote For The Glass Pill while the band creates waves of deconstructed horror behind the hatred.

It's huge, with Davamesque B2 rolling with deep, unholy terror and passages of uncomfortable quiet that build and twist into images of dystopian terror. I Am Contempt is forced through dissonant curves of guitar and bombastic organs are incorporated as an integral portion of the landscapes of sound. An Antidote is an otherworldly, intriguing release that isn't afraid to push the boundaries and embrace the apocalyptic terror found beyond.

Written by Cheryl Carter.

Metal Hangar 18 Read Close 9/10

bulgarian

Британската банда Lychgate е сравнително ново име в актуалната блек метъл картинка. И независимо, че за някои то може да звучи непознато, трябва да отбележим, че музикантите имат един албум зад гърба си, а в състава им личат имена, със солиден опит и оставили следи с банди като Esoteric и Macabre Omen.

Две години след едноименния си дебют, Lychgate отново изплуват над хоризонта на мъгливия Албион с втория си албум „An Antidote For The Glass Pill“. За две години лондонският квинтет сякаш се е заровил в още по-дълбок мрак и е успял да създаде истински диаболичен албум, музика със специфичен характер и дълбочина, звучаща едновременно агресивно и по своему плашещо.

Новата творба е вглъбен и зрял запис, умело заиграващ се с непредсказуемостта на експерименталния блек метъл и гробовната атмосфера на фюнеръл дуума. Музикантите не се страхуват да експериментират в композирането си, което спестява на албума монотонност и успява да насочи слушателя да вникне към детайлите. Песните звучат като смес от класическа пиеса, музика към хорър филм, но с впити в тях тежки, масивни и апокалиптични рифове и отнасящи мелодични откъси. Светилото Greg Chandler и неговият глас дават на Lychgate щипка Esoteric, но в същото време чистите вокали препращат към банди като ранните Arcturus и Solefald, например (Маршовият ритуал „The Pinnacle Known Тo Sisyphus“ е абсолютен вокален шедьовър).

Особено силно впечатление оставя забележителното присъствие на инструмент като органа, който почти през цялото време обагря с диаболични окраски призрачната атмосфера на албума. Непрестанните дуели на органи и китари, забежките към класическата музика, напевните вокали и моментите чисти пасажи сякаш ни рисуват картина, достойна за най-добрите майстори на мрачното изкуство от Средновековието.

Новият диск на Lychgate със сигурност не е лесен за възприемане албум, поне не и на първо слушане. Със своето авангардно звучене „An Antidote For The Glass Pill“ може да стои гордо редом до албумите на доказани експерименталисти като Blut Aus Nord и Dødheimsgard плюс щипка Omega Centauri, например. Но не посягайте към албума, с идеята, че ще чуете нещо подобно на посочените банди. Lychgate бавно, но сигурно утъпкват свой собствен музикален път. Накъде ще ги отведе той, ще покаже бъдещето, но ако продължават в същия дух, англичаните могат да бъдат сигурни, че ги чакат повече от добри дни.

Written by Herbst.

Metal Injection Read Close

Formed in the U.K. in 2011, Lychgate was spearheaded by Vortigern (vocals, organ, keyboards) and T.J. Valleley (drums), both men who have plied their trade in such acts as Orpheus, Spearhead, and Macabre Omen. The time was well spent, because after a solid self-titled 2013 debut, Lychgate return in 2015 with An Antidote For the Glass Pill on Finnish label Blood Music. To build upon their style of left-field, high concept black metal, the boys have once again enlisted Greg Chandler (Esoteric) for vocals/guitars, but bring in T.K. Webb (Ancient Ascendant) on bass guitar, as well as a contribution from S.D. Lindsley on guitar.

As much Liszt as Limbonic Art, Lychgate combine the avant-garde leanings of unconventional time signatures, classical music, but build each level onto a harsh black metal foundation. For this second album, the U.K. troupe has crafted their songs largely around the prominence of the pipe organ. What results is an eldritch, surrealistic listening experience which also pays great heed to the cinematic. Moods upon the album vary from the cerebral to the positively uncomfortable, forcing the listener to hold on tight and plunge wherever its authors have decided to take them.

For black metal of the more straight ahead variety, look no further than the blistering 'I Am Contempt,' which goes for the throat, but never fails to lose a sort of manic classical flavoring, as the song is peppered underneath with pipe organ and keyboards aplenty. Never at the expense of the growling guitar and the percussive accompaniment, the unusual arrangements are instead perfectly synthesized. Lychgate may just be the most 'weird' heavy band to incite a circle pit you might ever hear. Webb's bass guitar performance reminds one of the arrangements in Dream Theater, yet the black metal parts are so much heavier than say, what we may find in Arcturus or Solefald. Both of those acts are amazing and unique, but in an effort to form a label for Lychgate, fans will be inclined to group them with that left of center ilk of brilliant bands who followed in the steps of Ved Buens Ende and filled the blackness of the genre with their own spectrum, their own slant. With An Antidote For The Glass Pill, Lychgate gathers up the strange in an embrace of furious black metal, never truly letting go despite the classical influence and less conventional arrangements.

On "A Principle of Seclusion," the organ acts as the skeleton of the song in a rousing, building swirl of classical music gone metal, until around 1:30 in, it sounds like Deathspell Omega took over the proceedings. Not a rip off whatsoever, but the blackened storm and dungeon vocals bring to mind such cavernous abyssal moans as can be found on the darkest of black metal albums leeching their way into the world. Lychgate keep it their own by slowing down and taking unexpected turns down the labyrinthine tunnels of their own imaginations. They allow the blast to get under the listener's skin, but before anyone gets comfortable they are spinning out their own web of entangled yet natural sounds. Your head will spin, but you will enjoy the ride.

"Deus Te Videt" is massively enjoyable, with a chanted clean vocal and almost martial cadence, which is then t-boned by a worthy blasting section that tests the nimble fingers of Vortigern as the keys and organs race to keep up. As is the habit of a few of their compositions, Lychgate allows the song to fade into quiet interludes of ticking, dripping repetitions and faraway voices. This fires the imagination of the listener, truly placing them into Lychgate's ensorcelled world.

"Letter XIX" may be the most uncomfortable listen, in a good way. It begins with a jilted, anxious keyboard/organ combo, and features some marvelous drumming. A musician's special, it nevertheless will make even an unschooled listener feel like they're lost in a carnival of distorted mirrors, whispers of nightmares haunting their steps while phantoms enshroud their sight. Bizarre, creative, and yet replete with a menace that is not at all contrived.

"The Illness Named Imagination" features an almost jazz drum and organ breakdown, with a suite of organ solos and cymbal crashing which turns into a circus of grotesques captured in sound. Some clean vocals revolve us closer to the world that Arcturus and Ulver helped construct. Here Lychgate show a massive understanding of dynamics and songwriting. Yet the brash virtuoso playing remains. One has to believe that Wagner would love this, were he alive to hear it today.

An Antidote For The Glass Pill, all in all, is an extremely rewarding listen, rich and with depth of feeling. Strong throughout, it is perhaps the back half of the album which truly stuns, as "An Acousmatic Guardian" with its haunting piano midsection, and "My Fate To Burn Forever" with still more black metal meets classical adroitness, undoubtedly prove.

Ending on a similar three minute outro similar to the intro which begins it, the listener will want to roll that giant rock up to the summit of the hill again and again. Unlike Sisyphus, to whom the final song is an ode (wondrous clean vocal here similar in style to ) replaying An Antidote For The Glass Pill will never be burdensome, but instead, automatic.

Written by Nicholas Franco.

Metal Italia Read Close 8/10

italian

Non è semplicissimo rintracciare il filo conduttore del secondo disco degli inglesi Lychgate. Non è un’operazione facile ed è probabilmente il metodo più sicuro per rimanere ancora più spaesati e inebetiti di fronte a un universo sonico intangibile, destrutturato, in preda a rarefazioni e spasmi solo vagamente riconducibili a un ‘normale’ contesto metal. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill”, titolo già di per sé criptico e per nulla esplicativo del possibile contenuto dell’opera, garantisce un cocktail emozionale che chiama a gran voce, per etichettarlo, aggettivi vaghi e buoni un po’ per tutto come ‘sperimentale’ ed ‘avanguardistico’. Quest’album, per sommi capi, potrebbe essere definito come una lunga, instabile, labirintica sinfonia metallica, irrequieta e surreale come una bislacca rappresentazione di teatro dell’assurdo. Un enorme arazzo multicolore dove rintracciare la labilità strutturale delle colonne sonore, la sintassi aggraziata e voluminosa della musica classica più cerebrale, la spavalderia spiritata dell’avantgarde metal nordico. E, quale sostrato di spessore variabile, ma sempre presente, il black metal. A tenere le redini di ogni situazione e a indirizzare le sorti di “An Antidote…” è l’organo, al quale viene richiesto trasformismo e credibilità in ogni identità assunta. Si punta alla stupefazione muovendosi in punta di tasti, le chitarre retrocedono, a parte le selezionate parti in blast-beat, a semplice sfondo, oppure sono quasi del tutto assenti e gravitano attorno alle tastiere come un satellite intorno alla propria stella. Particolarissimo anche il lavoro percussivo, solo in misura minoritaria relegato a cadenze tipicamente metal: il grosso dei pattern rimanda a uno strano intreccio di rullate di ambiente jazzato e sinfonico, accelerate imprevedibilmente quando le dense peregrinazioni tastieristiche si sfrangiano e la teatralità degli Emperor di “Prometheus…” si fa strada ad ampie falcate. Rivoli di rumori ambientali scorrono dappertutto, le tracce assumono le sembianze di semplici contenitori per modulazioni di suono spezzettate, apparentemente incoerenti, guidate più dall’istintività che da un disegno precostituito. Una specie di schizofrenia latente passeggia sommessamente in ogni angolo, vengono alla mente gli Arcturus di “La Masquerade Infernale” o i Dodheimsgard dell’ultimo “A Umbra Omega”, ma in entrambi i casi un minimo di omogeneità almeno all’interno dei singoli brani la si poteva riscontrare, mentre una “I Am Contempt” o “Letter XIX” ondeggiano oblique in una diluita melassa gravida di suggestioni negative, prevedendo brusche interruzioni e cesure in corrispondenza della salita in cattedra delle chitarre e di un inasprimento vocale. Anche la voce asseconda questa immane distorsione della realtà, completamente asservita alle geniali paturnie di nientemeno che Greg Chandler degli Esoteric: screaming lancinanti, angoscianti strascicamenti, momenti luridi e altri sacrali descrivono concetti complessi e intangibili, di ostica comprensione come la musica stessa. E mentre i raffinati arrangiamenti classici quasi coincidono con le rivisitazioni di Musorgskij argomentate dai Mekong Delta in dischi come “Dances Of Death (And Other Walking Shadows)” e “The Principle Of Doubt”, noi si affonda e si scompare in un gorgo di correnti sonore in arrivo dai punti più disparati dell’iperspazio, che si incontrano e si attraversano ora in discordanza, ora in perfetta simbiosi. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” non è per tutti, la penuria di schemi a facile presa e realmente trascinanti ne limita sicuramente il fascino ai non amanti delle sonorità più bizzarre, ma se si ha un minimo di pazienza per avvicinarvisi e assecondarne le anomale ondulazioni, allora potrà regalare grandi soddisfazioni.

Written by Giovanni Mascherpa.

Metal Reviews Read Close 90/100

The other week I reviewed Myrkur’s album and necessarily this involved some discussion of whether it deserved to be called ‘original’ or not. It did have an unusual and distinctive sound, but the actual musical ideas were quite clearly derived from elsewhere. Lychgate, without wanting to overstate things, are a much better example of a black metal band genuinely heading into new territory. Their self-titled was one of my favourite albums of 2013 and now they are continuing to explore this very odd and compelling little niche they have created; in spirit somewhere close to the grandiose menace of later Emperor, but also deeply imbued with the grotesque and eccentric darkness of the likes of Esoteric (Greg Chandler is also in Lychgate).

The freakish church organ sound is even more centralised here than on its predecessor. It is a wonderfully bizarre centrepiece: sometimes it is used to ramp up the Baroque atmosphere with its little trills and arpeggios, and at other times it conveys this kooky prog feel, like a blackened version of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Some of the tracks here are disorienting. Davamesque B2, for example, begins with these shrill, oddly-angled melodic lines in the lead guitar, underpinned by rapidfire organ twinkling, before it all suddenly disperses into an ominous mid-tempo section featuring menacing string stabs. Or the hyperactive key hammering on I Am Contempt, which melts into rich, booming chords and screechy flashes of lead solo: the sound is theatrical and cavernous in the same way as Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk.

Lychgate is very good at taking these strange, seemingly shapeless passages and twisting them suddenly into hair-raising climaxes. An example here is Letter XIX, which starts out with these misshapen rhythms and curiously meandering melodic lines, before suddenly being roughly yanked into this dissonant unison hammering across the entire band. It is quite cacophonous and freakish, and a perfect encapsulation of this new force in black metal.

Killing Songs :
Davamesque B2, Letter XIX

Written by Charles.

Metal Storm Read Close 8/10

When I heard a few years ago that Greg Chandler, mastermind of the mysterious and psychedelically-tinged Esoteric, had a black metal side band, my curiosity was almost immediately raised. The self titled Lychgate that resulted in 2013, while decent, also felt as though it wasn't reaching the full potential of the parties involved. Now, in 2015, An Antidote For The Glass Pill is changing that.

Right from the beginning of this sophomore effort, it's pretty clear that Lychgate have changed up their game. While the band's debut at many points felt somewhat lackluster and formulaic, An Antidote For The Glass Pill sees their music taking many more twists and turns, and leaning much more towards spontaneity. There's a very great feeling here that you never know what to expect, as, each track has a particular sound that makes it distinct from the others. Whether it's the somewhat doomy feel of "Davamesque B2," the more straightforward black metal approach of "A Principle On Seclusion," or the powerful chants in the middle of "Deus Te Videt," the diversity of techniques Lychgate are playing with here is quite far reaching.

Those looking for some hints of Esoteric on this album surely won't be entirely disappointed either, for, while it's not a funereal howl of misanthropy, An Antidote For The Glass Pill does nonetheless still carry a healthy dose of Chandler's ability to create wonderful, entrancing atmospheres. Of particular importance to this is the new additions of organ and piano, which run heavily throughout the entire album and often serves to create an epic, almost darkly orchestral undertone. An example of just how well this mood complements the heaviness of Lychgate is perhaps best evident on "An Acousmatic Garden," whose beautiful ending is a definite highlight of the album.

Listening to An Antidote For The Glass Pill, one can often get the feeling that Lychgate aren't exactly sure of which direction they really want to go in with their music, as multiple styles abound and it is very difficult to discern exactly which takes precedence. Yet with repeated listens, it becomes clearer that an amalgamation of sound really was what the band was going for here, and they certainly nailed it. This album is very much what I was hoping for out of the band's debut, yet didn't really get, and in that regard it is both highly enjoyable and redeeming. It may not be good to the point of being worthy of "masterpiece" status, but it certainly is a step in the right direction, and one that gets me highly interested in the future of Lychgate from here.

Like complex, ever-shifting metal with a good splash of atmosphere? Go and get it!

Written by Apotechary.

Metal Temple Read Close

LYCHGATE are one of London's most promising Extreme Metal acts, playing a very progressive, and full sounding, kind of Black Metal. Since forming in 2012, they've managed to build a cult following, largely off of the back of their debut, self-titled album. Their latest full length, "An Antidote For the Glass Pill", sees them expand on the foundations that their debut laid out, creating a record that is interesting and genuinely unique, sounding nothing like anything their contemporaries are producing.

"Unto My Tempest", the albums opening offering, is a short but extremely memorable introduction to this record. The eerie, dissonant organ music and sparse guitar lines used here really catch your attention , and the thick layer of atmospherics this track is layered with sound great. "Davamesque B2", the following track, continues in the same vein, with a lot of cool, eerie elements thrown into the music which makes it sound awesome. The core sound is clearly rooted in Black Metal, but this is far from just "another" Black Metal track; the organ pieces on here help to make this track sound different, and really beef out the sound of the overall song. It's a huge, cacophonous wall of sound that sounds both amazing and imposing. "I Am Contempt", another awesome song that utilises organs to great effect, sounds significantly more ferocious than the track which preceded it. The guitars sound great, with plenty of melodic hooks and different tones, and the vocal performance on here really helps make the track. The albums fourth offering, "A Principle on Seclusion", is perhaps one of the best tracks on offer on this record. The music sounds amazing on all fronts, especially the organs and vocals, which provide a lot of hooks on this particular song. "Letter XIX", with its cool intro with church bells and melodic guitars, sounds excellent. The organs don't feature anywhere near as prominently as they have on the previous four songs on here, but this allows for the rest of the musical elements, notably the guitars and drums, to come to the fore. There are moments of dissonance on here, which breaks the track up and keep it interesting, and ultimately this ends up being one of the most memorable offerings on here.

"Deus Te Videt" has a great atmospheric intro, which leads straight into some equally great, atmospheric music. There's some really cool chanted vocal parts as well, which work very well with the music. The main part of the song ends rather abruptly, and we get some more atmospherics which are very similar to those that open the song, and this leads us almost seamlessly into "The Illness Named Imagination"; again, the organ sections on this track take a back seat, although they are still featured throughout the track. The overall track is a great piece of Progressive Black Metal with some catchy riffs, jarring rhythms and imaginative drumming. "The Acousmatic Guardian" has a lot of really cool, varied vocal performances on it, as well as a short, but very good, solo keyboard piece. It's clear from the performance on here that Vortigern is a talented player, and this piece made this one of the albums stand out songs. "My Fate to Burn Forever", the records penultimate track, brings the album to a climax really well. It's a much more mid-paced song, and has the sort of great guitar lines and organ sections in it that are commonplace throughout the album. The final track on here, "The Pinnacle Known to Sisphus", is a really good way to close this record. It's got some killer lead guitar parts that set you up for the song right from the first note. We're treated to some more chanted vocals, which work really well here. It's one of the shortest tracks on the whole record, but it certainly leaves its mark, and leaves the listener wanting more.

Overall, this is a very good record. There are points where the keyboards and organs are a little too prominent in the mix, which prevents the rest of the music getting the attention it deserves, but other than that, it's very hard to find fault with this band and their music. It's a genuinely unique album, from a band that has their own distinct style and formula in a scene that is, for the most part, made up of bands who stick to a strict idea of what Black Metal should look and sound like. If you want to hear some really good, progressive sounding Black Metal music, this is well worth checking out.

Written by Danny Sanderson.

Metal Underground Read Close 4.5/5

The disturbing experimental metal experience of the year just arrived with Lychgate's “An Antidote For The Glass Pill.” Immersive in the extreme, this sophomore output from the U.K. band is the aural personification of the old school black metal mood, but it arrives through a much more unique and avant-garde medium. While that may turn off the fans who prefer their metallic blackness to be of the kvlt lo-fi variety, honestly it shouldn't, because these 10 tracks are the heart and soul of that style, just filtered through a different kind of soundscape.

From “Unto My Tempest” until “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus,” Lychgate offers up a symphonic take on black metal, but in a much more baroque, gothic, and intensely dark way than you might hear from a band like Dimmu Borgir. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” is very much an atmospheric, free-form release with an emphasis on the pipe organ and sound effects over the riffs (although those still show up enough to keep the black metal label). There are loads of chilling, ghostly sounds in the background, like clocks ticking or far-away crying or laughter.

Take the creepy, non-metallic parts of Ne Obliviscaris and mesh them with the abrasive, hateful black metal of Dodecahedron and you've essentially got Lychgate. “Letter XIX” has a particularly devastating combination of the two styles with forceful, pointed harsh vocals accompanying staccato keyboards, each note sharply distinct from the surrounding sounds. An overall excellent journey for those who are morbidly inclined, the only downsides are the slightly lower end production, and that by the time you hit “My Fate To Burn Forever” the album could use a change in the formula for those listening all the way through in one sitting.

Much of the album is clearly meant to draw in and mesmerize rather than provide a traditional verse/chorus style of song. The disorienting, gothic organs are an ever-present companion, and the splicing in of more extreme sounds provides a constant feeling of being trapped with an unhallowed church where all who have entered should probably abandon hope and give into the void. If you dig the combination of form and function from Deathspell Omega, or any sort of hypnotizing black metal that drops genre standards in favor of a more experimental approach like Peccatum, then “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” should easily be your next album choice.

Highs: Avant-garde black metal goes seriously gothic with a disturbing sound that is unlikely to be matched by any other band this year.

Lows: Not too much to complain about here - the production could use a slight boost, and by the end the pipe organ trope does get overly familiar.

Bottom line: If you want your black metal disturbing, atmospheric, and experimental, then look no further.

Written by xFiruath.

Metal.de Read Close 9/10

German

"Das älteste und stärkste Gefühl ist Angst, die älteste und stärkste Form der Angst, ist die Angst vor dem Unbekannten."
H.P. Lovecraft, "Supernatural Horror in Literature" (1938)

Um "An Antidote For The Glass Pill", das neue Werk der englischen Schwarzmetall-Avantgardisten LYCHGATE, umreißen zu können, lohnt sich zunächst der Vergleich mit dem Vorgängerwerk, dem selbstbetitelten Debütalbum. Die starken Assoziationen an SATYRICON, die das Debüt noch hervorgerufen hat, finden sich auf "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" nur noch blass und rudimentär – kompositorisch und atmosphärisch nähert man sich eher einer Mischung aus den mächtigen und kolossalen ESOTERIC und den suizidalen DOLORIAN an, erliegt dabei jedoch nicht der Versuchung, in die allzu geordneten und schleifenden Songstrukturen des Funeral Doom zu verfallen. Vielmehr erschaffen LYCHGATE eine eigene, spannende Mischung: Durch Abschichtung der grundlegenden Strukturen des Black Metal, Beförderung der Orgel vom "Beiwerk" zu einem maßgeblichen Protagonisten und Fokussierung auf die behäbigeren Abfolgen der orchestralen Elemente, bekommt "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" einen zutiefst mystischen und ungeheuer bösen Anstrich. Zudem wird das Tempo seltener und nur sehr pointiert angezogen, als bisher - entweder um die aufgestaute Spannung ventilartig zu kanalisieren oder der mächtigen Orgel einen rasenden Teppich zu bereiten. Hinzu kommen vertrackte, geradezu labyrinthische Melodiefolgen und Songstrukturen – J.S. Bach trifft EMPEROR in einer Nervenheilanstalt.

"An Antidote For The Glass Pill" verhält sich damit wie eine Erkundungsreise durch ein verwittertes, verfallendes Kirchenschiff, inklusive angeschlossenem Friedhof, Gruft und verwinkelten Tunnelanlagen – und alles was man dabei hat, ist ein Feuerzeug als Lichtquelle. Man weiß kaum, wie es hinter der nächsten Abzweigung weiter geht, erahnt es vielleicht – und der Körper ist angespannt vor Aufregung, in panischer Furcht vor dem unsichtbaren, namenlosen Grauen. Der Verstand wird beständig malträtiert von den tiefen, dröhnenden Orgelklängen, die aus den Tiefen des Baus emporsteigen: Der direkte Bezug zu horrorhafter, mystischer und finsterer Literatur, wie sie aus der Feder eines E.A. Poe oder H.P. Lovecraft stammt, ist über die gesamte Albumlänge von knapp fünfzig Minuten geradezu greifbar. Die orchestrale Wucht, die "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" dabei entfaltet, ist niederschmetternd: Bereits im Opener "Unto My Tempest" hat man das Gefühl, unter den tonnenschweren Klängen einer Kirchenglocke und bleiernden Orgelpfeifen begraben zu werden – ein Gemütszustand, der auch im Verlauf der weiteren vierzig Minuten nicht verschwinden mag. Mit dem schleifenden "Davemesque B2" gelingt ein Einstand nach Maß, das Albumhighlight "Letter XIX" pendelt gekonnt zwischen barockem Prunk und kaltem Schwarzmetall, "Deus Te Videt" mit seinem Klängen einer antiken Standuhr und choralen Gesangslinien stellt in der Mitte des Albums nur eine kurze atmosphärische Verschnaufpause dar – damit "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" in der zweiten Hälfte noch tiefer in die Düsternis hinabsteigen kann. "An Acousmatic Guardian" mit einem soundtrackartigen Zwischenspiel und furiosem Abschluss treibt den Wahnsinn dann auf die Spitze – der Abschlusstrack "The Pinnacle Known To Sysiphus" verblüfft schließlich mit Klargesang – und dann: Ende. Durchatmen.

Die vielseitig eingesetzte Instrumentierung, von Piano, über Pauke bis zum Cembalo trägt seinen eigenen Anteil zu einem organischen Klangerlebnis bei, ebenso das krankhafte Schreien und Kreischen von ESOTERICs Frontmann Greg Chandler – die hallende, räumlich tiefe Produktion macht die Angelegenheit dann zu einem wahren Erlebnis. Annähernd klingen einige Passagen vage nach den Landsleuten von BAL-SAGOTH (insbesondere im etwas flotteren "My Fate To Burn Forever" oder dem erzählerischen "I Am Contempt") oder den stimmungsvollen Momenten von DISSECTION, ohne allerdings jemals in überzogenen Kitsch, billige Effekthascherei oder unnötigen Pathos abzudriften.

Eine wahrlich schwarzes Gebräu kochen LYCHGATE auf "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" zusammen und bieten eine finstere, monumentale und verstörende Zeremonie dar, die einem den kalten Schauer über den Rücken jagt.

Written by Sven Lattemann.

Metalchroniques Read Close 9/10

French

Je suis cette formation depuis leur première réalisation au titre éponyme Lychgate (2013), Hamster Forever nous avait d’ailleurs publié un news à ce propos (news ici). Etant un adorateur du mighty Esoteric, j’avoue que mon intérêt pour cette formation était au départ surtout due au fait que Greg Chandler (chant) participait à ce projet. Par la suite j’ai appris que Lychgate était un projet né des cendres de Archaicus qui était l’exutoire solitaire de Vortigern (Guitares, Chant, orgue, claviers et Piano). Il s’est alors associé à Greg Chandler, Aran (basse) Lunar Aurora et TF Vallely (batterie et percussions) Omega Centauri, Macabre Omen. Ce premier album qui regroupait des compositions basées sur du vieux matériel (2009-2011) a reçu de manière assez unanime un accueil très favorable. Il nous présentait un Dark Metal (en langage de vieux comprendre mélange de Black Metal de Death Metal et de Doom Metal) avangardiste avec déjà beaucoup de claviers et d’orgue. Je situais alors leur musique quelque part entre celle de Abigor ou celle de leurs compatriotes de Ebony Lake sur leur superbe premier album On The Eve Of The Grimly Inventive (1999) et celle de Arcturus.

Comme je vous l’annonçais il y a quelques semaines (news ici) Lychgate nous revient le 18 Août prochain avec un nouvel album An Antidote for the Glass Pill bourré de matériels récent ! Déjà un premier constat s’impose : le son est excellant ! Je salue donc le travail accompli par le groupe et son assistant ingénieur S.Hamill s’étant chargé des orgues (d’après ce que j’ai compris la prise de son s’est effectuée en condition naturel genre dans une église) ainsi que l’Eidola Studios (pour la batterie) et le Priory Studios (tout le reste) (Cruciamentum, Indesinence, Macabre Omen) dont le mixage et le mastering a été réalisé par Greg Chandler himself. Le line-up a été légerement remanié puisque exit Aran remplacé à la basse par A.K. Webb du groupe de Death Metal anglais Ancient Ascendant. Il s’est aussi étoffé avec l’arrivée du guitariste S.D. Lindsley.

Comme la production le souligne et c’est une évolution majeure par rapport au premier album, les Orgues ainsi que les orchestrations de Vortigern et la batterie sont l’épine dorsale de ce nouvel opus. La section « Metal » est bien présente, je vous rassure mais elle tient plus un rôle d’accompagnement et a d’ailleurs été mixée un tantinet en dessous. Pour les cancres dans le fond de la salle qui ne suivent pas, quand je dis « section metal » je parle des basses / guitares ! Il n’est d’ailleurs pas surprenant de retrouver Vortigern à l’origine de toute la composition de la musique du groupe ainsi que des textes.

Un autre fait notable est à signaler car il consiste à accentuer le tournant Orchestral, Néoclassique et Musique Contemporaine voire Musique Concrète dans le propos musical de Lychgate qui était déjà d’obédience Avant-gardiste sur le premier opus. Il s’agit de la participation active de Kevin Bowyer un organiste réputé notamment pour ses interprétations de musique Néoclassique (courant musical de la fin du XIXème et du début / milieu du XXème siècle avec des artistes comme Charles-Marie Widor, Marcel Dupré ou Olivier Messiaen). Un morceau comme « I Am Contempt » avec son introduction très Musique Contemporaine illustre parfaitement cet aspect mais c’est le cas sur la totalité de l’album.

Tous les morceaux sont épatant, sophistiqués et installent une certaine classe et grandeur ! Le dépaysement est total par rapport aux productions Metal actuelles ! Surtout que Lychgate ne perd absolument rien en intensité et chaos ! Il faut ici se rendre à l’évidence nous avons bien à faire à un album de musique extrême et il faut saluer la prouesse technique du batteur TF Vallely qui tient la baraque de manière éloquente tout du long de l’album en alternant roulements, blastbeats et parties plus délicates. Les parties de chant sont dans leur ensemble toujours très bonnes et le timbre si particulier de Greg Chandler allié au chant clair et divers chœurs ajoute une nuance supplémentaire au nuancier déjà bien fournit de Lychgate. Un bel exemple de cette dualité des vocaux avec « Deus te Videt » et « The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus » où l’on pense au chant clair de ICX Vortex.*

Cet album est vraiment riche et complexe à appréhender et une multitude d’écoutes vous seront nécessaires afin d’en apprécier toute l’intensité et la finesse. Une richesse et une complexité que l’on retrouve aussi dans le concept de l’album et ses textes. Une sorte de critique sur les effets négatifs de l’ère post-modern sur notre société et la psychologie de ses masses. Bon je ne suis pas bilingue mais tout ceci à l’air fort intéressant !*

An Antidote for the Glass Pill est un nouvel exemple de la très bonne tenue de la scène Metal Extrême indépendante qui se montre audacieuse, exubérante, inventive et tout simplement épatante ! Quand j’écoute un album de cet acabit j’ai encore moins envie d‘aller écouter des trucs issus de groupes ou courants plus mainstream et grand publique qui trop souvent m’affligent par leur pauvreté de leurs productions linéaires et stéréotypés. Pour finir je recommande ce skeud à tous les ouverts d’esprit ainsi qu’aux personnes appréciant la musique de Abigor, Esoteric, Arcturus et Rosa Crvx voire même aux personnes sensibles aux courants de la musique Gothic. Un album qui sera très certainement dans mes Tops en fin d’année !

Written by FalculA.

Necromance Read Close

spanish

“An Antidore ForThe Glass Pill” es el segundo lanzamiento de los ingleses LYCHGATE. Un trabajo que contiene diez cortes de pura oscuridad y terror. Un disco donde la atmósfera más oscura invade cada uno de los acordes que lo componen. Cuarenta y nueve minutos de un Black Metal muy ambiental, profundo y siniestro. Entremos sin más en el lúgubre sonido de este disco.

Abrimos el camino del miedo con “Unto My Tempest” la cual comienza con sonidos de terror y campanas de iglesia que auguran la oscuridad que se aproxima. Un alocado y tenebroso órgano, a cargo de K.J. Bowyer, le da ese toque terrorífico a esta magnífica entrada. A las sepulcrales teclas se le une Vallely, quien desde los bombos y platillos estalla en un fría y melancólica melodía propia del Doom. Una pieza instrumental salida de la cripta nos da esta bienvenida tan oscura.

“Davemesque B2” es la pieza más larga de todo el disco. Este segundo corte de algo más de siete minutos nos mantiene en vilo en ese mundo de terror clásico que esta banda nos ofrece. La voz de Chandler es ese gutural que juega con un desesperante alarido de sufrimiento. Si a este tono vocal le sumamos el profundo y siniestro coro de Vortigern (guitarra y piano a la vez), nos encontramos con una composición a medio camino entre el Doom y el Avantgarde más oscuro. En su parte final todo se transforma a una velocidad mayor y llegamos a tener ciertas partes que rozan el Black Metal, pero obviamente al tratarse de una formación que usa dos pianos y un magnífico órgano, todas sus composiciones suenan muy cercanas al Dark Ambient. Excelente final con una reconocida melodía propia de las bandas sonoras de las películas de terror clásicas.

Seguimos con “I Am Contempt”. De nuevo el órgano nos da ese toque de frialdad a la vez que las guitarras de Lindsley y Vortigern se unen a un ritmo acelerado de la batería, en otra gran parte cercana al Black. En esta composición todo suena desordenado y los sonidos chocan unos contra otros hasta, excepto en breves pasajes donde todo vuelve a la normalidad. Un tema muy estridente en sus líneas generales. Impresionante bajo a cargo del señor A.K. Webb en la parte central del tema.

El cuarto corte del disco lleva como nombre “A Principle on Seclusion”. El órgano suena ahora algo más limpio para darnos otro inicio que nos traslada al más sucio de los cementerios. La garganta de Chandler vuelve a darnos esos guturales casi imposibles en uno de los temas más lentos del álbum en ciertas partes, para volver a mezclarse con el alocado Avantgarde Black que LYCHGATE tan bien sabe hacer. Gran parte ambiental en su centro que a cierta medida, salvando y mucho las distancias, me recuerda a los grandísimos en dicho género NOX ARCANA.

Le continua “Letter XIX” tema que comienza con otras campanas de iglesias y unos sonidos chirriantes y extraños. Composición que vuelve a meternos en lo más profundo de una mente perversa y enferma. Sonidos pesados pero sin orden alguno. Todo muy descolocado e inquietante. Pero siempre con esa esencia de oscuridad que estos músicos sacan de sus instrumentos.

La sexta entrada es “Deus te Videt”. Un reloj y sus golpes de gong nos da la entrada a un gran tema. Composición donde volvemos a ver ciertas raíces de Doom y una gran influencia de Dark Ambient. Aquí podemos disfrutar de un coro a varias voces “limpias” que nos da otro toque de siniestralidad al conjunto. Tema que va in crescendo hasta dejarnos en los brazos del Black Metal más alocado.

“The Illness Named Imagination” nos ofrece un inicio diferente al resto ya que desde su principio son varios los instrumentos los que suenan a la vez y no uno solo el que se encarga de abrirlo. Pero da la sensación de no ir por el mismo sendero. Mientras la batería va a su velocidad de Black Metal, los demás instrumentos juegan con un ritmo más pausado y tranquilo. Una vez más LYCHGATE nos da una composición que nos trasporta a la más desesperante de las locuras.

Entramos en la parte final del disco con “An Acousmatic Guardian” . De nuevo el órgano abre el telón y la batería rompe con todo a su aire. Esta vez es la voz profunda y cercana al Doom de Vortigern la primera en sonar.

Cierran el tracklist “My Fate to Burn Forever” y “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus” dos temas que continúan con toda la esencia del disco y que cierran de forma impresionante un trabajo que de principio a fin suena compacto y uniforme. Lo peor del disco a destacar es su mal sonido. Puede que para el estilo de ultratumba que tiene esta banda, ese sonido sea el adecuado, pero estoy convencido de que con una producción mejor, el disco hubiera llegado más lejos.

Written by Santi Machín.

Nefarious Realm Read Close 5/5

Hailing from the United Kingdom comes a truly brilliant band in the form of Lychgate, featuring members from some of the most respected bands in the underground. The group is comprised of bassist A.K Webb (Ancient Ascendant, Navigator) drummer T.J.F Vallely (Macabre Omen, Orpheus), S.D Lindsay on guitars, James “Vortigern” Young (Spearhead, The One, Orpheus) handling guitars, piano, and vocals, Greg Chandler (Esoteric) on vocals and K. J. Bowyer playing the mighty organ and F. A. Young adding more piano. Lychgate have been creating unorthodox but excellent black metal for the last 2 years, although I was not as familiar with the band as I was with some of the member’s previous groups, so before I reviewed their latest record I went ahead and bought their first album to get a better understanding and I was pleasantly surprise at how great the album was. Really intense for me being a perfect black metal release, after hearing that album I got an idea of how I was going to do this review, but upon hearing the new album, An Antidote for the Glass Pill, what a completely different album from its predecessor.

With opener “Unto my Tempest‘” serving as an introduction onto an immersive odyssey, it has a carnival-esque vibe that suddenly changes to a more ominous sound that segues neatly into “Davamesque B2” which manages to create an eerie vibe with its well-executed tempo changes alternating from heavy doom riffs to an almost baleful black metal sound that, at times, feels like you’re on a circus in the middle of a purgatory. Like haven of weirdness, madness, and brilliance that is too beautifully twisted and thought provoking, with Chandler’s voice serving as your guide in this ride as you navigate the cirque of insanity. However things get truly twisted with “I am Contempt,” a track threads the line between chaos and an absurdity perfectly. I must point out the music here is completely unique and it has a transcendental like atmosphere that can compel the listener to do some soul searching in this unpredictable odyssey. “A Principle on Seclusion” continues down the path of madness in an excellent way with haunting church pipe organ and piano lines that add a depth of elegance to this stunning composition, although this track is unlike the previous ones, as it is a more straightforward affair with some fine drumming by Vallely that ranges from solid double bass work to precise blast beats and some nice passages in between that complement the guitars and the euphoric vocals nicely.

We’ve arrived to the second part of our odyssey as “Letter XIX” serves as an anomalistic track that highlights the member’s talents in such a grandiose way that at times I was left speechless at how insanely talented everyone here is from the drumming fills of Vallely to the precisely, potent bass work of Webb, the sinister riffage of Lindsay, Vortigen’s expansive piano lines, guitars textures and Chandler’s vocal contortions are hypnotically unsettling and majestic at the same time. “Deus te Videt” changes things a bit heading in a more space rock like style but retaining their distinctive black metal sound. Vortigern’s voice gets operatic midway and the band throws a nice blasting section but slowly fades into a calm textural sound. As we go through this mystical land we’ve arrived to one of the best tracks in the entire album, the aptly titled “The Illness Named Imagination,” a sonically and augural track that would make Arcturus proud with its dreamy piano lines, Chandler’s inauspicious vocals, although doing them clean, he manages to engulf the listener in a claustrophobic aura that can be beautiful and dreary at the same time, but it is the approach by the rest of the band that makes this track shine. Everyone plays their part perfectly it might sound minimalistic, but it has layers of lunacy intertwined with such bloom that it’s just a perfect track!.

“An Acousmatic Guardian” starts nicely but once more the vocals stand out and the carnival like vibe returns once more becoming a central part of “An Acousmatic Guardian” There’s something about this track that makes things different, not in a bad way, but it’s allure and textural music makes it a departure from the rest of the record. Not a bad thing as this album is filled with such anodyne like compositions that it’s impossible to pinpoint styles as evident with “My Fate to Burn Forever.” It has an amazingly catchy riff that carries the first part of the track nicely, however don’t be fooled by the blast beats and the growls because the moment the organ sounds, you get a different entity from what the beginning was. As a doomy dirge like sound takes over midway, this is where things finally come full circle for the record. Our weird cosmic odyssey ends in grand fashion as “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus” goes full on avant-garde and has so much depth that it is a spellbinding experience and an excellent way to end our odyssey through this optimistic carnivalesque purgatory of life and all of its horrors.

I’m going to be honest here after hearing their self-titled debut I had an idea of what their follow up might be like, however this album has exceeded all of my expectations. An Antidote for the Glass Pill is 50 minutes of cerebral exercise, between sanity and insanity, a perfect blend of cabalistic musical styles and cryptically alluring textures that it is as dark as it is beautiful. In a year were there have been many innovative releases, Lychgate have managed to create a monumental release that has so much depth and so much innovation that it will either enthrall or mystify listeners. If you’re a thinking individual or a metalhead who loves a challenge, I urge you to listen to this masterpiece of obscurity and light as this is a truly unique record.

Written by Carlos Luis.

Nightfall in Metal Earth Read Close 4/5

french

Forte de 25 années de folklore et d'excès en tout genre, la scène Black Metal s'étirant de la froide et crasse Norvège à l'antique péninsule hellénique, se répandant tel un fléau à travers les terres de la morne Pologne et de l'actuelle République Tchèque en entraînant, dans ses sillages de flammes et de vices, les communément neutres contrées Suisses pour mieux venir vomir sa haine jusque dans nos régions; a su convertir, au fil des décades, suffisamment de fidèles pour gagner en légitimité et finalement s'imposer comme un genre majeur des musiques dites extrêmes de notre nouveau millénaire. A ce titre, il n'aura fallu que peu d'années pour que déjà, les premiers contestataires prennent leurs distances vis-à-vis de leurs sulfureux leaders. Désireux de prendre de l'altitude, de nous conter leurs traditions ancestrales ou de simplement nous proposer leurs propres alternatives, ces frondeurs, de VED BUENS ENDE à ULVER en passant par ARCTURUS, de NEGURA BUNGET à SAMAEL (et tant d'autres), vont rapidement prendre leur essor et via une musique souvent savamment arrangée et regorgeant d’atmosphères de leurs propres crus, propulseront diligemment ce Black Metal, primal et bestial, vers des sommets d’inventivité qu’on ne lui aurait jamais soupçonné.

LYCHGATE, fondé en 2012 sous l'instigation de Vortigern (chant, guitare, piano) et vite rejoint, entre autres, par Greg Chandler d'ESOTERIC (chant, guitare, mixe) et Aran de LUNAR AURORA (mais parti depuis), est incontestablement de cette trempe d'explorateurs sonores. Né des cendres d'ARCHAICUS (auteur de deux démos en son temps), le combo britannique a ainsi rapidement pu proposer aux auditeurs patentés son premier opus éponyme (2013) qui, tant par ses thèmes dystopiques que par son approche ambitieuse, a su fédérer un prometteur cercle d’initiés et trouver de généreux échos auprès des critiques spécialisés. Évidemment, ce succès d'estime ne fut en aucun cas du à un quelconque coup du sort, ce fruit défendu sachant mettre à nu les tripes de son géniteur grâce, notamment, à des compositions hantées d'un orgue habité. Et de quelle antédiluvienne monstruosité LYCHGATE n'a-t-il pas accouché là ! Car laissez-nous vous préciser que nous évoquons là, un orgue, un vrai, dans toute son immémoriale et décadente splendeur, pas l'une de nos actuelles et chétives répliques de plastique.

C'est d'ailleurs cet impassible vigil qui, en hôte stricte, viendra nous accueillir en son austère et sévère demeure de verre, dès l'entame de ce "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" travaillé, nous allons-le voir, jusqu’au-boutisme. Et ce n’est pas peu dire. Basé sur le concept de folie et d'emprisonnement qui, petit à petit, y conduira le protagoniste, cet opus ne nous laissera que bien peu de répit. A peine passé l'introductif instrumental, que nous voilà déjà le prisonnier d'un panoptique asile (se référer aux travaux des frères Bentham … dont l'œuvre fait sien le concept). Observés, surveillés, épiés par l'œil unique et scrutateur de cet omniscient gardien, nous ne saurons longuement lui résister. Futile, toute résistance à ce regard qui ne sille jamais, l'est en effet. Ce mastodonte, de sa corpulente et tubulaire ossature d'acier et via un titanesque travail de sape ne nous laissera nulle intimité, nous privant de tout répit par le remplissage systématique du moindre interstice de calme et de quiétude nécessaire pour reprendre notre souffle ("I Am Contempt", "My Fate To Burn Forever", "An Acousmatic Guardian"). C'est ainsi qu'il se complaît à mettre à nu les plus profonds tréfonds de nos âmes pour en faire ressortir, en un malsain mais maîtrisé capharnaüm, nos craintes les plus sordides. A cette insanité naissante – dont, trop tard, nous prendrons conscience qu'elle tente de nous dévorer de l'intérieur - la seule échappatoire possible et plausible, radicale mais fatale, devrait d'ailleurs rapidement s'imposer d'elle-même.

Cette formule aussi terrifiante et angoissante soit-elle, n'est pour le moins pas aussi simple qu'elle n'y parait et un Black Metal - même avant-gardiste - aussi décadent que possible, n’eut jamais pu avoir autant d'impact sur nos faibles consciences sans d'autres éléments extérieurs qui ne sauraient s'avérer n'être qu'une simple constatation de nos esprits exténués. Certes, cette batterie dansant frénétiquement d'un rythme à l'autre en faisant fi de toute bienséance est typique des noires arcanes, mais il faudra aussi compter sur de très forts et viciés relents de Funeral-doom pour subir pleinement l'inévitable et fatidique destin que LYCHGATE nous tisse et auquel, résignés, nous ne saurons échapper. L'immuabilité de certains riffs et cette production qui tente de littéralement nous asphyxier sous de successives chapes de guitares lointaines (caractéristiques, avec le chant, du son d'ESOTERIC dont Chandler est déjà l'artisan, cf. "A Principle On Seclusion", "Letter XIX"), renvoient en effet aux poncifs du genre. Ainsi emmurés vivants, toute tentative de rébellion s'en retrouve ensevelie, confinée à de si facilement et lointainement refoulées pensées. Dans tout ce marasme ambiant, seules subsistent quelques vacillantes chandelles, fol espoir d’une potentielle (mais bien sûr illusoire) chance de salut aux grées d’un piano fantomatique ("An Acousmatic Guardian") ou d’échos de théâtraux vocaux ("The Illness Named Imagination", "The Pinnacle Known To Sisyphus"). Ou bien ne sont-ce seulement là, que les propres chuintements de nos esprits déchirés ?

En cela, "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" se veut un disque diabolique, ce type même d’œuvres qui nous aspirent, impuissants que nous sommes à les combattre. Diminués, las, nous ne pourrons sortir indemnes des premières écoutes subies de ce massif mais pourtant ô combien subtil bloc sonore. A disque extraordinaire, mesures pour le moins non-ordinaires : ne vous attendez-donc pas à dompter la bête avant un nombre d’écoutes respectable (quinze/vingt, pour le moins). Et encore … on ne s’y replongera jamais par pur plaisir, mais plutôt pour cette morbide fascination qui s’en dégage. D’ailleurs, pourrons-nous même, à terme, seulement l’apprécier pour ce qu’il est ? L’écouter sans une certaine moiteur en nos chairs ? Car non content d’être musicalement éprouvant, LYCHGATE y met à jour la plus grande crainte de l’être Humain : sa privation de liberté.

Written by WËN.

No Clean Singing Read Close

Dedicated fans of Extreme Metal often suffer from an embarrassment of riches when it comes to finding bands who can competently produce the sounds they yearn for. What these same fans often lack are acts that can provide a sense of surprise and excitement, a feeling we might not have felt since the early days of diving headlong into the genre.

This is what makes Lychgate’s second full-length, An Antidote for Glass Pills, such a startling discovery. This group consists of Vortigern, also of The One (vocals), G.A. Chandler, also of U.K. group Esoteric (vocals), T.J.F.Vallely of Macabre Omen (drums and percussion), S.D. Lindsley (guitar), A.K. Webb (bass), K.J. Bowyer (organ), and F.A. Young (piano). Obviously, with some members being involved with other well-known projects (at least in underground circles), there is some indication this is a side-project, which would be a shame as this group seems to be at least the equal of just about any band out there.

The album begins with a short introduction titled “Unto My Tempest”. The listener is immediately confronted with the prominence of Bowyer’s organ, which remains high in the mix throughout the entire album. But the instrument adds an immense gravity to the group’s overall sound. Never before has the instrument seemed to blend as effectively with the guitar and bass, the sum total of the instruments coming across as incredibly heavy.

“Davamesque B2” is the first proper track and kicks off with an oddly-timed riff before segueing into an epic doom section. Once again, Lychgate illustrate their uniqueness through the use of odd-time signatures. Vallely’s drum patterns are often quite busy, and always surprising. He would constitute a primary focus in a group that didn’t have so many other elements vying for attention. By the end of the track, Lychgate have proven to be such an unusual commodity there is no pressing “Stop” until the album’s journey is complete, if for no other reason than to see what comes next.

What little press seems to exist on the group tries to push them into the Doom category. And while that is certainly an important element of their sound, they often employ copious amounts of blast beats, particularly on “I Am Contempt”, which gives them a Black Metal feel as well. Guitarist S.D. Lindsley plays each style equally well, often shifting from Doom to Black Metal tremolo picking and following it up with serpentine progressive passages, before shifting into Deathspell Omega-esque arpeggios. Once again, another instrument is providing the listener with much content to digest.

The album continues on like this, each track adding another layer of experimentation and intrigue to an already colossal package. “Letter XIX” shows the band nailing a most unusual cadence to dramatic effect, an almost djent rhythm, if that wouldn’t be selling it far too short. “The Illness Named Imagination” sees the organ tap into a vein of Arcturus-inspired sounds, but only for a moment. “My Fate to Burn Forever” ends with softer organ work, while album closer “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus” sees Lychgate channeling a mix of Ulver and Candlemass, but set to the pulse of the progressive and challenging drum work of Vallely. Clean vocals take the lead role here, and once again it is the organ that pulls the piece to its resolution.

To say much more would probably belabor the point, particularly on an album already difficult to describe with words. Lychgate not only play a very challenging form of Metal, but succeed in giving the listener the visceral satisfaction of the most straightforward acts while adding obscene amounts of cerebral stimulation, inspired by the most avant-garde sources, Metal or otherwise. Anyone feeling they have heard all that Extreme Metal has to offer would do well to seek this album out, which is available digitally from Blood Music on Bandcamp on a donation basis, and as a 2-LP record.

Written by Allen Griffin.

Nocturne Magazine Read Close 8/10

Serbian

Jedan od zapaženijih debija 2013. godine dobija ovog leta svoj nastavak. Kao jedan od onih bendova koji u sebi spaja godine iskustva prekaljenih muzičara, LYCHGATE su i tada delovali veoma uverljivo i snažno, a sada su nastavili ništa manje kvalitetnim i dobrim putem.

Na samom startu ovog diska primetna je razlika koja generalno odvaja ovo ostvarenje od prethodnog i jasno nam prikazuje smer kojim su ovaj put pošli. Orgulje su prešle u prvi plan i sada su baza za celokupnu muziku koju čujemo, tako da su ključni element duž celog albuma. Zvuk pomenutog instrumenta veoma je dobro umiksan i realizovan, a ovaj put za celokupno izvođenje bio je zadužen pijanista Kevin Bowyer, tako da je i kvalitet na impozantnom nivou. Prateći već pomenutu bazu, slojevi najrazličitije forme se nižu jedan na drugi i stvaraju kompoziciju na čijoj kompleksnosti bi pozavideli i bendovi sa dužim stažom u ovim simfonijskim vodama. Ipak, dvojac Chandler (Esoteric) i Vortigern (The One), maestralno je ukomponovao sve osmišljeno tako da je i konačan rezultat zaista vredan pažnje.

Slojevitost i raznolikost ovog materijala vodi vas kroz haotičnost u prvom delu ostvarenja do malo umerenijih delova u njegovoj drugoj polovini. Tada su i svi instrumenti dosta jasnije prikazani pa se u neku ruku stvara i malo čistija slika o onome što je ovde ukomponovano. S druge strane, prvopomenuti haotičniji deo prikazuje svu lepotu kompleksnih albuma poput ovog. Naprosto ne uspevate sve elemente i detalje isprva da prepoznate i registrujete već sve što je nekako sklopljeno u celinu odjednom vas obasipa i okružuje te i hermetički zatvara u u sferu koju „An Antidote for the Glass Pill“ gradi. S toga, jedini način da rezonujete sve detalje i elemente jeste da se materijalu vraćate što ovde i nije toliko lak zadatak. Dosta težak i naporan za slušanje, nije baš letnji materijal, tako da nemojte da vas začudi ako vam mnogo bolje legne tek tamo negde u poznu jesen negoli sada u avgustu kada bude izašao.

Veliko je zadovoljstvo čuti vokal Greg-a Chandler-a u jednoj potpuno drugačijoj formi u odnosu na ono što smo navikli da čujemo. Posebna je draž kada to bude ispraćemo kompleksnom muzikom koja nosi sa sobom težinu i kvalitet. Ovo nije jedan od onih albuma o kojima ćete slušati ili čitati na nekim od komercijalnijih sajtova, tako da se materijal za široke mase ni ne treba očekivati.

Written by Stefan Lazic.

Noizr Zine Read Close

russian

(scroll for English translation below)

Постоянное развитие музыкальных жанров сегодня приводит к тому, что всё чаще новые релизы становятся в некотором роде экспериментальными. Кто-то движется вперёд, изобретая собственный стиль, другие стараются возродить классику ушедшего времени. Новая пластинка британских металлистов Lychgate одновременно представляет собой и тот и другой вариант."The Antidote For The Glass Pill" становится хорошим результатом искусной работы коллектива над звучанием. Это качественный альбом, который сохранил характерные черты блэк-метала, и в то же время получился весьма насыщенным, сборником мрачного, авангардного материала.
Если бы сегодня пришлось ответить на вопрос о самых атмосферных альбомах последних лет, непременно стоит упомянуть "The Antidote For The Glass Pill".
Звучание, в котором явно лидируют клавишные инструменты, становится своеобразной фишкой релиза. Вполне даже можно сказать, что орган, синтезатор — основные инструменты буквально в каждой из композиций. Для работы над альбомом были задействованы два клавишника, в их числе и органист Кевин Бойер. Музыканты, что крайне важно, использовали для записи настоящий орган, а не эффекты синтезатора, это существенно повлияло на полноту, и даже можно сказать "сочность" звука.
Резкий и весьма брутальный вокал Грега Чендлера добавляет тёмных красок в общую тематику зла и мистицизма. Аккомпанируют ему низкие и высокие клавишные ноты, а в куплетах, где привычней услышать задорный, тяжёлый гитарный ритм — первую позицию снова берут угрюмые партии органа.
Общая атмосфера, оформление пластинки создают картину призрачного блуждания в стенах заброшенного монастыря. Тёмные ритуалы, звон разрушенной колокольни, всё, чего так ждут поклонники. Настоящий симфоник/блэк-метал воскрешает в памяти легенды о призраках, героев кинокартин, которые обитали в старых замках, а это ещё один показатель содержания материала.

ukranian

Постійний розвиток музичних жанрів сьогодні призводить до того, що все частіше нові релізи стають у певному сенсі експериментальними. Хтось рухається вперед, створюючи власний стиль, інші намагаються відродити класику минулого. Нова платівка британських металістів Lychgate одночасно представляє собою обидва варіанти. "The Antidote For The Glass Pill" є гарним результатом наполегливої роботи колективу над звучанням. Це якісний альбом, який зберіг характерні риси блек-металу, і в той же час виявився досить насиченою збіркою похмурого, авангардного матеріалу.
Якби сьогодні довелося дискутувати на тему найбільш атмосферних альбомів останніх років, неодмінно варто згадати "The Antidote For The Glass Pill". Звучання, в якому в першу чергу виділяються клавішні, стає своєрідною фішкою релізу. Цілком навіть можна сказати, що орган, синтезатор — основні інструменти буквально в кожній з композицій. Для роботи над альбомом були задіяні два клавішники, серед них — органіст Кевін Бойєр. Музиканти, що вкрай важливо, використовували для запису справжній орган, а не ефекти синтезатора, що суттєво вплинуло на повноту, і навіть можна сказати "соковитість" звуку.
Різкий і вельми брутальний вокал Грега Чендлера додає темних барв до загальної тематики зла і містицизму. Акомпанують йому низькі та високі клавішні ноти, а в куплетах, де звичніше почути завзятий, важкий гітарний ритм — першу позицію знову беруть похмурі партії органу.
Загальна атмосфера та оформлення платівки створюють картину примарного блукання у стінах покинутого монастиря. Темні ритуали, дзвін зруйнованої дзвіниці, все, чого так чекають шанувальники. Справжній симфонік/блек-метал, що оживляє у пам’яті легенди про привидів і героїв кінокартин, які мешкали в старих замках, а це ще один показник змістовності матеріалу.

english

Today’s constant development of musical genres leads more and more new releases to become experimental. Someone is moving forward, creating his own style, others are trying to revive the classics of the past. The new record of the British metallers Lychgate simultaneously represents both variants. "The Antidote For The Glass Pill" is a great outcome of the band’s hard work on their sound. This is the high-quality album that retains characteristics of black metal, and at the same time becomes a rich collection of gloomy, avant-garde material.
If today we were to discuss the albums with a great atmosphere, we would certainly need to mention "The Antidote For The Glass Pill". Leading keyboards sound becomes a kind of special feature of the CD. It is even possible to say that organ, synthesizer are just main tools in each of the tracks. The band worked on the album with two keyboard musicians and there is Kevin Bowyer among them as an organist. They used to record real organ, not a synthesizer effects and it significantly impacted the completeness of the sound.
Harsh, very rough vocals by Greg Chandler adds some dark colors to the overall theme of evil and mysticism. It is accompanied by low and high keyboard notes. The couplets, where we usually hear heavy guitar rhythm, are played again with gloomy organ parts.
The overall atmosphere, design of the album create a picture of a ghost wandering in the abandoned monastery. Dark rituals, ringing of the destroyed belfry, everything the fans are into. True symphonic/black metal resembles all those spooky legends, movies about old castles, and it is one more result of the material’s sapidity.

Written by Yuri Somov.

Perun.hr Read Close 8.5/10

Croatian

Pomalo nepravilno razmišljanje dovelo je do toga da jedan dio sluša metal glazbu samo zbog same glazbe, a drugi, manji dio, u to još ubaci i pomno praćenje uz tekstove i još k tome vučeći skrivena značenja zakamuflirana u nerijetko uvrnutim ilustracijama unutar knjižice albuma ili pak na samoj naslovnici.

Avantgardni prefiks je oduvijek bio zahtjevan zalogaj za pasivne konzumente ''običnih'' metalnih žanrova, a najčešće avantgardni oblik glazbe surađuje sa black metalom. Koliko god termin ''black metal'' nekima izgleda i zvuči preistraženo, upravo zahvaljujući avantgardi ovdje imamo gotovo nepresušan izvor inspiracije za sve bendove iz srodnih podžanrova koji se u tome žele i mogu okušati. Mnogo je imena u povijest black metala imalo prste u avantgardi poput Emperora, Arcturusa ili Esoterica, no ovaj puta imamo nešto stilski drugačije, a i dalje u najboljoj maniri predstavlja svu uvrnutost naizgled razbacanih glazbenih elemenata utrpanih u black metal koncept sa mnoštvo orguljastih detalja.
Britanski bend Lychgate su relativno novi na sceni, a od debitantskog albuma ih dijeli samo dvije godine, a ovogodišnji nasljednik će pokušati opravdati pozitivne kritike svojeg prethodnika. ''An Antidote For The Glass Pill'' je na trenutke veoma težak album, ali zato konceptualno vrlo inteligentno posložen vrveći od mnoštva pravih orguljastih kompozicija, uz neizbježne black metal detalje blastbeatanja i kriještećih grubih vokala. Poznatavatelji ovog stila su već upoznati sa jednim djelom postave, a radi se o pjevaču i gitarstu iz Esoterica, Gregu Chandleru, koji je ujedno i jedan od osnivača ovog benda početkom 2012. godine. Ono što će ovaj album svakako privući još veću pažnju je i gostujući član, poznati britanski orguljaš Kevin Bowyer čiji je talent svijetski priznat po mnogobrojnim vrlo zahtjevnim skladbama nastalih od strane mahom francuskih orguljaša.

Već kada govorimo o tematici vrijedi malo zornije objasniti o čemu se ovdje radi. Tematika zajedno sa glazbom kao da je proizašla iz psihijatrijske ustanove. Na neki način koncept nije daleko od toga, a radi se o pomno razrađenoj filozofiji kreiranoj od strane britanskog filozofa Jeremya Benthama čija konstrukcija i oblik zatvora nazvan Panopticon uvelike može objasniti djelić teme ovog albuma. Radi se psihološkom efektu posmatranja više individua u isto vrijeme što vuče metaforu negativnog efekta postmodernog doba na društvo i općenito psihologiju razmišljanja. Već pri samom čitanju napisanog imate dojam da će vam glava eksplodirati, a kada uz to kombinirate i uznemirujuće kompozicije predvođene orguljama i sablasnim gitarskim riffovima dobit ćete neopisivu atmosferu prave riječi avantagarde u simbiozi sa black metalom.
Tipični black metal elementi poput tremola ili blastbeatova su prisutni u nešto manjoj mjeri, a veći je naglasak stavljen na spomenute orgulje uz napomenu da klavijaturni segmenti nemaju ovdje gotovo nikakav direktni utjecaj na glazbu u cjelini. Glavnu nit vodilju zato ne čine gitare što ih čini pomalo netipičnim black metal bendom, no nema straha da će radi toga album zvučati manje agresivno ili možda manje metalno.

Duljina albuma i deset pametno posloženih pjesama nadovezuju se jedna na drugu i slažu kompletnu cjelinu priče na svoje mjesto. Svaki instrument ima svoj vrhunac u nekoj od pjesama, a kada sagledamo sve skupa u komadu vidimo kako Lychgate odmjereno imaju mnoge utjecaje iz raznih sfera medijskih kultura 20. stoljeća. Upravo radi toga nema smisla izdvajati niti jednu nego se prepustiti uživanju.

Ako želite upregnuti moždane stanice i od glazbe stvoriti novu dimenziju opuštanja, a još k tome nisu vam strane nesvakidašnje, a ujedno bogate harmonije svakojakih obskurnih zvukova ekspresionističkog horora, onda će vam Lychgate doći kao naručen. ''Netreniranom'' uhu ovo vrlo vjerojatno neće biti jako zanimljivo, stoga već u startu ovakvi bendovi imaju odabranu publiku i na turneji su nažalost podložni šlepanju sa ostalim sličnim bendovima ili nekom većem imenu. Zbog prirode žanra i zavidne kvalitete teško je ostati objektivan, no uvijek se može pokušati. Ukratko, smo za odabranu publiku.

Written by Darjan Koprivnikar.

Pitchline-Zine.com Read Close 9.5/10

spanish

Cuando la música te deja sin aliento, las palabras piden un descanso. Cuando la atmósfera que percibes en el aire no sólo fluctúa sino que toma posesión de tu imaginación —que es corrupta y a su vez pura—; entonces y sólo entonces, estarás enfrentado ante una situación que vale la pena vivir, escuchar, percibir... Es allí, donde la música deja de ser un simple canal perceptible para transmutar en un alimento capaz de nutrir los recuerdos sensoriales del hombre común. ¡Hombres comunes de gustos exquisitos! Ha llegado la hora de activar nuestra capacidad sensorial, será la única, la manera exclusiva de poder acaparar con nuestras papilas musicales todo el poderío que nos ofrece Lychgate en su más reciente obra ‘An Antidote For The Glass Pill’. ¿Estás dispuesto a tomar el antídoto? Las campanas de una noche aciaga nos invitan a ingresar en el retorcido panóptico creado por entes ingleses. Tan sólo basta tomar una decisión.

Primera parte —La decisión—. Lychgate o el porqué me he vuelto más loco de lo que soy. ‘An Antidote For The Glass Pill’ o la respuesta al porqué sigo guardando esperanza para una escena que de cuanto en cuanto se ve en estado de agonía (porque el Metal no ha muerto tan sólo agoniza). Esta banda inglesa cuenta en años lo que parece una experiencia dictada por milenios. Hace menos de dos eones lanzarían, lo que a nivel personal (y siento también) a nivel colectivo, marcaría una de las más grandes sorpresas de ese año, en cuanto a Black Metal se refiere, compitiendo de palmo a palmo con la irrevocable y magna obra de los franceses Aosoth y su bestia ‘IV - An Arrow In Heart’ (2013, Agonia Records). Lychgate posee un pasado, eso es cierto; posee una intención, una dirección musical, eso también es cierto. No obstante, con una propuesta musical como ésta, donde el Black Metal se convierte en anfitrión de atmósferas Doom, arreglos orquestales sumamente dinámicos y vanguardia descollante, la conclusión vira en la sencillez de las palabras. El embrujo está hecho. Continúo mi camino. Llueve. Observo diez celdas, un panóptico en el centro con una cabeza en gris y un ojo circundante, aquella esencia posa la mirada sobre mi alma. He quedado inmóvil; se escucha el órgano de tubos, pianos disímiles… K.J. Bowyer, excelso músico y compositor clásico, y F.A. Young, terrorista permanente, inician con el rito de mi posesión.

Segunda parte —Principio de aislamiento en territorio desconocido—. Bajo mi inmovilidad, puedo percibir algo en el ambiente, las celdas colapsan y sus habitantes vuelan alrededor del gran panóptico; la gran esencia de la visión apaga sus intenciones. Los habitantes rodean mi curiosidad, actúan y se revelan ante la imaginación. Aquellos entes se presentan como falansterios individuales e incorruptibles —por lo cual Charles Fourier está celebrando en la octava estrella de su utopía fantasmagórica—. Cada uno posee el designio de un nombre, cada uno irradia un poderío capaz de invocar al unísono fuerzas oníricas de cincuenta minutos. Me siento vivo, me siento muerto, siento que mi cuerpo ya no existe; el alma es libre, ha descubierto que la carne es el sepulto. Mientras tanto, los habitantes me susurran al oído, percibo el trabajo impecable de T.J.F. Vallely en la percusión, su inteligencia, su galope calculado abre el abanico para escuchar al maestro Chandler y sus influencias esotéricas, puestas en ritmos que superan la vertiginosidad para convertirse en carne magra donde el Doom sirve de capa y escudo a un Black Metal controlado. La figura del órgano y los pianos emergen, Vortigern apuñala mis creencias de que un sólo hombre no es capaz de nada; su talento en todo aspecto se despliega, sus composiciones no tienen explicación. La música como elemento inexplicable. Vuelvo a mí, descubro que las diez celdas tienen vida por sí mismas pero que no pueden vivir separadas; cada una demuestra que es un eslabón para que el gran panóptico, cimentado en la esencia de un LP como ‘An Antidote For The Glass Pill’, sea eterno y se convierta en una construcción legendaria.

Tercera parte —Pensamiento pitagórico o cómo se concibe a una bestia— El territorio desconocido se esfuma de a poco, quiero permanecer en él, sin embargo, hay que volver a la realidad —o bueno—, al mundo que mi conciencia quiere que vea. A nivel personal, y de manera modesta y humilde, concluyo que Lychgate ni siquiera ha pensado en el alcance que puede llegar a tener su segundo álbum de estudio. ‘An Antidote For The Glass Pill’ ha sido todo un viaje que me ha ayudado a descubrir que el Metal extremo no tiene límites compositivos. Su producción y grabación se han convertido en todo un reto imaginario ya que todo se escucha tan cohesivo y expresionista que me es difícil de creer. Después de una decena de escuchas empiezas a percibir su tacto, sientes los grisáceos de su artwork, su mirada perdida, la esencia pura. En resumidas cuentas, Vortigern, Chandler & Co. han logrado uno de los mejores discos de extremidad pura en lo que al nuevo siglo respecta. Tomarán años para desenmascarar la estructura de este disco; su excelsa mezcla, sus tonos en las cuerdas acomodados a una idea, una voz que es melancólica, bestial pero inclusive bella y una percusión que roza la locura matemática. Lychgate ha logrado invadir una cavidad donde antiguamente habitaba un corazón.

Written by Pablo Parra.

Return to my Blood Read Close 9.5/10

spanish

Una materia oscura se avecina desde aquel horizonte, donde tambien se pueden escuchar truenos a lo lejos. Lychgate, un proyecto que desde el día que se fundó, fue destinado a producir sonidos capaces de transportarnos a una realidad en donde nuestras peores sensaciones y pesadillas se hicieran realidad. O tambien, transportarnos a un lugar en donde podemos presenciar una imagen post apocalíptica, una ciudad dominada por energías negativas y con un aspecto grotesco y tenebroso.

En el año 2013, Lychgate nos enseño su primer trabajo homónimo, Lychgate, que en resumidas palabras, se trata de una obra magistral colmada de atmósferas tétricas, épicas y malsanas. Una especie de tornado de nubes negras que destruye todo a su paso, mientras que en el viento se pueden oír gritos de desesperación y horror. Pero en este año 2015, la banda decidió dar un salto enorme con su segundo trabajo titulado An Antidote for the Glass Pill. Este disco es atronador, experimental y caótico. Las canciones son una especie de tormenta melódica y experimental. En este disco, Greg decide darle mas poder a las voces, logrando un trabajo fascinante, ya que en momentos si llega a darte cierta impresión y nerviosismo el sonido de su voz, aunque es raro escucharlo recitar en voz limpia.

La primera canción titulada Unto My Tempest, hace una introducción misteriosa hasta que en cierto punto da comienzo al espectáculo, un espectáculo que ya te hace tener una idea de lo que se avecina. Davamesque B2 es la pieza que continua, en donde notamos como la música se vuelve hipnótica y al mismo tiempo desconcertante. La tercera cancion I Am Contempt, ya te descoloca desde el principio, ya sea por su naturaleza rara o por su desmadrada agresividad repentina. Hasta este punto, se habrán dado cuenta de la importancia que le dan al órgano de iglesia, ya que con la canción A Principle On Seclusion, hacen un notable entrada con dicho órgano para luego comenzar con el torbellino destructor.

Letter XIX marca el inicio de la segunda mitad del disco y créeme que la pesadilla se vuelve a peor. Si creías que ya habías escuchado algo muy raro, este tema te hace replantear algo que es obvio. Justo cuando creías que esto no podía volverse mas espeluznante y extraño, pasa justamente eso. Deus te Videt es una pieza que engrandece ese esencia caótica e hipnótica, es como si un espectro con mantas oscuras resurgiera en nuestra mente mientras observamos como el mundo se mueve a una velocidad indescriptible. El disco continua con el tema The Illness Named Imagination, que nos ofrece otra gran introducción con el órgano, creando ese ambiente bizarro por excelencia en esta obra. La ira desenfrenada no tarda en hacerse notar en la pista que por momentos hace una pausa para dar paso a interludios atmosféricos.

An Acousmatic Guardian es otra pieza caracterizada para la necesidad de explorar cada milímetro de los milímetros que abarca ciertos recursos, ya sea de riffs, de secciones raras o sincopadas e incluso de la atmósfera que utilizan a lo largo de la obra. My Fate to Burn Forever es la canción que prosigue, mostrando la posible obsesión de los integrantes de Lychgate con el órgano. En esta pieza se puede apreciar una guitarra mucho mas elaborada comparada con las demás canciones, incluso el trabajo de la batería llega a resonar de forma impresionante por semejante complejidad y descarnada bravura. Y al final de la tormenta, se acerca una pieza ambiental llevada de una batería contundente y un ambiente desolador junto a la voz limpia de Greg, se trata de The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus, la canción que se encarga de dar por finalizado a esta caótica y osada obra maestra.

En definitiva, Lychgate a conseguido convertirse en toda una revelación. An Antidote for the Glass Pill es una obra que dentro de poco causara una gran controversia debido a lo increíblemente único que es, donde nos damos cuenta que muy probablemente sea un trabajo adelantado a nuestro tiempo.

Written by Juan Pablo Aguirre.

Rockerilla Read Close

italian

Ne è passata di acqua sotto i ponti da quando il metal veniva considerato il cugino ottuso, scapestrato, e per molti versi reazionario, del rock colto. Uno dei sotto-generi che ha smentito con forza questa vecchia e superata prospettiva è quello dell’avantgarde-metal. Dopo un’esplosione multiforme, in primis nell’alveo sperimentale del black metal norvegese (Ulver, Thorns, Arcturus, Dødheimsgard), il fervore avant si era un po’ sopito: d’altro canto non è facile sposare individualità, eclettismo e classe; più semplice utilizzare formule già in esistenza. I britannici Lychgate, dopo un notevole eponimo debutto (2013) con un black metal atmosferico che già presentava soluzioni inusuali, con questo ritorno cambiano pelle per trasformarsi in un vero e proprio mostro avant-black metal. Concettualmente ispirato all’attualissimo concetto di Panopticon, attraverso il talento di VORTIGERN e Greg Chandler (Esoteric), il lavoro raggiunge livelli compositivi realmente stellari. Contro un cupo scenario da Inghilterra fine XVIII secolo, sinistro ed allucinatorio, un possente organo da chiesa figura in primissimo piano: le tinte forti sono altamente cinematografiche, e gli elementi dissonanti creano un pathos stordente. Con influenze vintage omaggianti Goblin, Morricone, Devil Doll, Nocturnus e maestri quali Bach e Liszt, si tratta di UN RARISSIMO ALBUM SENZA TEMPO.

Written by Mystery Flame.

Selective Memory Read Close

When you release Lychgate’s sophomore album, you blend a stench of apocalyptic doom, death squalls and tonsillitis-infected lyrical evil that burns a barbiturate-induced pleasure principle through funerary odes.

The album is designed like a web. They don’t follow standard paths and lead you into a den with the hopes of getting lost into their haunted house so that you give in and play into their peer pressure. The Phantom of the Opera organ blends a symphonic darkness that half borders on tongue and cheek while the other is perfect aesthetic to a pseudo-symphonic metal you will find fascinating.

Wrapped in a shroud of dark purple velvet and a Dr. Phibes grin, “I Am Contempt” is the scars of a society that has drug us into the sludge of human depravity. “A Principle on Seclusion” unleashes a side of this band that pushes their integrity even further. Spun by the glow of torches and guitars that borderline noisecore torture that offsets the creepiness of the pipe organs echoing through the gallows.

“The Illness Named Imagination” spins a web of doom metal that is gloriously catastrophous while while “An Acousmatic Garden” feels like the band hijacked a Carcass album and tried to one up them. An Antidote for the Glass Pill is an album you are not immediately clear what effects it will have on you, but patience brings out every great element and glorious that makes Lychgate as lurid as a crazed maniac running wild on the street. You will not walk away the same as you entered.

Written by Andrew Duncan.

Soil Chronicles Read Close 9/10

french

Étant très amateur de la musique d’Esoteric, je n’ai pas hésité un instant lorsque j’ai appris que Greg Chandler participait au groupe de Black Métal Lychgate. Leur premier album éponyme, sorti en 2013, promettait de très belles choses, en dépit de sa brièveté et de son approche peut-être un peu trop classique bien qu’excellente, mais c’est bel et bien cet « An Antidote For The Glass Pill » que je retiens comme étant l’un des albums phares de 2015.

En effet, le quintette laisse s’exprimer pleinement sa folie et les meilleurs passages du premier jet forment l’intégralité du deuxième. Bien sûr, l’on ne peut que remarquer l’omniprésence de l’orgue mais il serait trop simple de réduire l’originalité de Lychgate à l’utilisation de cet instrument. Il faut également admettre qu’il existe des ponts évidents avec Esoteric, notamment concernant le travail sur les ambiances mais la vraie force de la formation réside dans sa capacité à écrire une musique lugubre et dissonante, autant aussi aux compositeurs classiques qu’au Black Métal le plus pur.
Il est difficile de donner des points de repère précis, je pense parfois au « Supreme Immortal Art » d’Abigor pour la complexité de l’ensemble mais rien ne saura remplacer l’écoute pour se forger une idée nette de l’angoisse absolue que représentent ces dix titres, avec des pièces venues de nulle part (« Letter XIX »), une inspiration surréaliste ainsi qu’un sens du bizarre quasiment unique en son genre : la vraie musique d’Erich Zann.

Pour conclure, j’insiste également sur le fait de ne surtout manquer Lychgate en concert si jamais il passe près de chez vous. Pour l’avoir vu au Klub (Paris) en novembre 2015 avec The Negation et Nightbringer, je le dis sans aucune exagération, c’est une expérience fantastique, émotionnellement perturbante, sans compter que les musiciens sont vraiment sympas (on a pu discuter quelques minutes avec Vortigen et tous ont dédicacé nos albums) et que l’artwork du merchandising est superbe. Sinon, je profite de ces quelques lignes pour m’interroger sur deux points :
D’abord sur les goûts du public présent ce soir-là : un peu de monde pour The Negation, presque plus personne pour Lychgate et affluence pour Nightbringer, le groupe le moins intéressant de la soirée. Je ne prétends pas avoir un meilleur avis que les autres mais il faut vraiment ne rien avoir dans les oreilles pour choisir délibérément d’ignorer Lychgate.
Ensuite, c’est quoi cette mode du Black Métal à capuche ?

Written by Arno.

Son of Marketing Read Close

italian

A due anni dal’omonimo album di debutto, i Lychgate (guidati dalle voci di G. A. Chandler e Vortigern) sono tornati con un nuovo album. Si intitola An Antidote For The Glass Pill ed è uscito il 18 Agosto via Blood Music. Il debutto aveva messo in mostra la capacità della band di plasmare il concetto di black metal con contaminazioni di vario tipo: dall’approccio sinfonico (evidenti di “Unto my Tempest“) alle linee prog (riscontrabili in “A Principle on Seclusion“) e cosi via. La cosa che stupì maggiormente fu soprattutto la presenza di fili e struttura narrativa che reggeva l’album. Questo aspetto è accentuato (in ottica positiva) nel nuovo lavoro: un concept album su una teorica prigione del diciottesimo secolo come metafora degli effetti dell’eta post-moderna sulla società e la psicologia. Le sonorità si concentrano su linee incendiarie (pensate alla progressione di “I Am Contempt“), una potenza controllata ma devastante (“An Acousmatic Guardian“) con ritmi cangianti e con direzioni imprevedibili (“The Illness Named Imagination” e “My Fate to Burn Forever“). Mood naturalmente nebbioso (la tensione di Deus te Videt“) con una ricerca continua del giusto assetto per materializzare il racconto. C’è spazio naturalmente anche per dilatazioni graffianti che assecondano le struggenti interpretazioni vocali come avviene in “Davamesque B2“. “Letter XIX” è probabilmente il miglior pezzo dell’album e quello che spiega al meglio il pragmatismo e tutte le altre caratteristiche della band sin ora elencate. I Lychgate riescono a confermare il tratto distintivo che ha caratterizzato il debutto con un aspetto quasi cinematografico che veicola una potenza e un mood non fini a se stessi. Ottima conferma.

Written by Nicola Orlandino.

Support Black Metal Read Close

The rise of what is to become an omnipresent entity; of genius and consuming madness.

Let me start with a foreword. This year has been exceptional because I have been honored to follow the development of a massive manifestation of evolvement and progress in what many old-fashioned folks claim that is “dead” for a long time. Black metal has reached another level of supremacy that is far beyond the surface and it transformed in what could serve as a source of invaluable knowledge and inspiration for people willing to lose the shackles of ignorance and expand their mindset. Allow me to take you on a journey behind “reality’s” curtains where post-modern society is nothing more than a pure experiment.

Lychgate is an obscure entity from the UK, which has been conceived in 2011 and I’ve been invited to subject their sophomore album “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” to an analysis; a release of renowned record label Blood Music. I have got to admit that this was quite a challenge for me that I faced with arms spread open wide for this creation is far from anything that I listen on an everyday basis. With their new album, Lychgate marked a turning point not only in their musical career but also as becoming a vital element in pushing further the state of underground black metal. If I say that this is one of the most avant-garde records written ever, I will be wrong because it is more than that. It is genial, complex and moreover, it can freak the hell out of you. If you think you know what madness and evil sound, you are about to get struck and change your perspective. It may take some time, though..

“An Antidote for the Glass Pill” is not an easy to digest album. It breaks away from the traditional black metal formula that many artists still feed their vision on. That’s why it feels so experimental, from time to time chaotic and probably not making sense. However, you need to believe me that every single bit of this album has its own purpose and contributes for the overall evil omnipresence matching the unlikely-to-meet concept that reflects genially constructed and mind shattering compositions. First, Lychgate is one of the rare bands that includes a professional organist whose presence is evident throughout the whole album and basically evokes that deeply disturbing atmosphere that will redefine your your perception of madness and fear. Secondly, “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” features a unique concept theme that refers to things more evil than Satan (sorry guys) and taken from what I believe to be happening in present days of our lives – a silent war for subduing society through mind control.

Concept-wise, Lychgate introduced in their new album a theme based on Bentham’s theoretical prison construction dating back to the 18th century. One specific term found in it is “Panopticon”, which is an institution where its inmates are unable to tell whether or not they are observed. As Betham described himself Panopticon is “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.” Further inspiration has been drawn from Zamyatin’ novel “We” as well as Witkiewicz’s “Insatiability”, both sharing an understanding of a dystopian framework that serves as a brainwashing machine. The title of the album is named after both of the novels, referring to the glass architecture allegory of the future (the transparent state in “We”) and of the consumption of the degenerative “Davamesque B2″ pill (in “Insatiability”), respectively.

Merging the overwhelming concept and the masterful instrumentalism of Lychgate, “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” is genuinely a masterpiece in every level of its highly compound structure. Just take a listen to the uncommon arrangements that will strike you not every minute but every second! It’s impossible to predict what’s next until you experience every bit over and over again. Its profound storytelling and consuming compositions will get you behind the “Panopticonian” gates, and you will face a world shrouded in mysteries that are better to stay unsolved.

Contrary to the theme, “An Antidote for the Glass Pill” is an eye-opener, in my humble opinion. It not only makes you reflect on the current state of reality but also expands your knowledge in extreme metal to lengths that are still obscure to many fans. There’s nothing better than tasting the ultimate flavor of an excellent blend of knowledge and art. Last but definitely not the least, connoisseur of high quality artwork, packaging and sound will get obsessed with it and agree with me that this album is not only one of the highlights of 2015 but also in history of black metal.

Written by Lyubomir Lifelover Spirov.

Teeth of the Divine Read Close

A “Lychgate” is a gateway covered with a roof found at the entrance to a traditional English or English-style churchyard and also a very entertaining ritualistic styled avant-garde black doom metal group from The UK. Lychgate takes a much different approach to song composition and each track on “An Antidote for a Glass Pill” is unique from each other. Vocally Chandler’s cadence and delivery is reminiscent of Silenius from the Austrian Black Metal group Abigor and being that he is from British doomsters Esoteric, it is no surprise that there is such power in the vocal performance and overall sound of this album.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill opens with “Unto My Tempest” which does a great job of setting the tone for this near fifty-minute effort. The use of Organ throughout the entire album is prevalent and for the most part works very well with the overall composition of the song structures. Lychgate’s approach to Avant Garde Black Metal is well throughout and at times there is a Jazz/Progressive feel throughout. “Davamesque B2” opens up much that way with strong guitar lines with the key parts following along.

Citing influences like My Dying Bride, Esoteric, Morbid Angel and Radiohead, you can definitely say that Lychgate is the true definition of Avant Garde in terms of the way each track on An Antidote For The Glass Pill seems to show well thought out progressions that blend all of these components together creating a unique sound that really stand apart from other groups within this sub-genre. Lychgate does an amazing job of blending that with strong classical influences from the likes of Bach, Shostakovich, and Liszt. The Use of Pipe Organ is used almost as lead instrument and overall An Antidote For The Glass Pill is one of the surprising winning records of 2015.

For those looking for a unique approach to atmospheric Black Doom, Lychgate is a group for you. An Antidote for the glass Pill is an album to be remembered and I am excited to watch Lychgate to continue to evolve in their song structures and the overall passion of this group is definitely there and makes for an enjoyable listen. Check this one out for sure!

Written by Nick K.

Terrorizer Read Close 8.5/10

Doom-laden black metal and sinister classicism combine in a terrifying fashion here, bringing about a grand-guignol soundtrack of horror that knows no bounds. It's not surprising that Lychgate, with their second album, have expanded things in such a nerve shredding fashion considering they have members of Esoteric, Macabre Omen, Ancient Ascendant and The One amidst their ranks.

Exploring arcane paths based narratively around Bentham's theoretical prison construction from the eighteenth century, the Panopticon, this is a heady, devilish treat in every sense. One of the main weapons utilised in making it so utterly demonic is the austere organ work of Kevin Boyer at its backbone, the overall effect reminiscent of both Bach and work done by Keith Emerson and Goblin on Michele Soavi's 'The Church'.

It's a place where no light penetrates even as the band put progressive parts and Solefald-esque vocals into its midst. Things never stand still for a second, moving from one schizophrenic mass of madness to the next with Greg Chandler's gibbering vocal parts accentuating things with possessed intent. The baroque blackness swarms with all-consuming tightness around battering surges of hefty drumming as ghostly voices ominously chant, and a grandfather clock strikes and attack the senses with a foulness that sounds like it is being performed in a towering deconsecrated cathedral. This really gets the imagination flowing and the atmosphere is palpable every hideous step of the way. 'An Antidote...' is a true magnum opus for those that are prepared to confront the horror at its bloody beating heart.

Written by Pete Woods.

THE SUM OF THEIR PARTS
What the members of Lychgate do when they're not making intense, progressive black metal:

THE ONE
Lychgate head honcho Vortigern also drums for the furious filthy The One, razor sharp black metal in the vein of Inquisition.

ESOTERIC
Vocalist/guitarist Greg Chandler is most well known for his work with these funeral doom titans, whose contributions to the genre are pretty damn vast.

MACABRE OMEN
Percussionist Tom Vallely provides drums for Macabre Omen too, epic, windswept black metal that's a must for fans of 'Hammerheart'-era Bathory.

OMEGA CENTAURI
Tom plays all the instruments in Omega Centauri, a more twisted, atmospheric affair for fans of Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, etc.

The Grim Tower Read Close 10/10

Since you might not be familiar with London’s Lychgate, let me first do the pleasure of introducing them to you. Even though the scribes over at Metal Archives consider these gentlemen to be merely another black metal act, it would seem to me as if someone’s just gotten lazy and decided to throw the base genre in; rather than denoting all of their elements. We’ll not get to that now, but when you factor in that these gentlemen are indeed comprised of current members of Esoteric, Macabre Omen and Ancient Ascendant among several others; it soon becomes readily apparent as to what kind of atmosphere you’re going to get from An Antidote For The Glass Pill.

After a slight organ-laden introduction in “Unto My Tempest″ the vein of avant-garde and slightly forlorn textures truly seem to describe that which is much more than ordinary black metal. Harsh vocals emanate from Vortigern which also take a bit of a theatrical note, making the disc seem somewhat like that of a stage performance. The band also features two pianists (Vortigern, when he’s not playing the guitar and F. A. Young respectively) as well as an organist (K. J. Bower) so there’s no real sign of keyboards anywhere within the recording, even though it may seem as such. Alas, everything is performed au natural and sounds all the better for it. When the album truly begins, it’s with that of its longest number “Davamesque B2″ which seems to head as far into the realms of Gothicism that it almost feels as though I’m listening to the soundtrack from The Phantom Of The Opera. Hence the material here is heavily based on a dystopian concept which you would surely find more intrigue in researching for yourself, so I will leave you to that as I instead focus on the next cut, “I Am Contempt″ which features Greg Chandler’s gravelly growls in addition to Vortigern’s scowls, making for a sort of operatic black and death metal production that is draped in experimental atmospheres, some of which deviate from the realms of metal entirely. But that doesn’t serve to make them any less worth hearing – rather it shows that Lychgate offer far more than can be communicated by means of metal alone.

“A Principle Of Seclusion″ simply builds on that, slightly bringing up the “Castlevania” effect as I might term in, yet building that with thick dirges of doom and an equally thick vocal growl that seems to have not been used enough in favor of the scowls. But I can understand why Chandler would feel the need to differentiate his work here from that of Esoteric and can understand the decision not to pump pounds of concrete into the mix. We’ll still hear some utilized in “Deus Te Videt″ (as well as some extravagant ICS-Vortex/Garm inspired clean lines, which you will hear in other areas scattered throughout the album) but they’re not quite as prominent, giving the material more of a black metal texture. Though to be honest, I feel that Lychgate are more of an experimental or avant-garde type of “extreme gothic metal” if you will. And yes, that more than likely has as much an influence in My Dying Bride as it does in Cradle Of Filth. So whether or not you’ve ever liked Dani Filth’s vocals in that act, you should at least realize that they have definitely paved the way for many other English gothic and operatic acts as well as those of this style in other countries.

That being said, Lychgate has definitely left their mark on the style with this record, which is brilliantly executed and most certainly worth your while. It’s undoubtedly a perfect mixture of all things gothic, coupled with a fair share of theatrics and a hefty dosage of atmospheric soundscape. An Antidote For The Glass Pill is an evolution in the realms of extreme gothic metal if I’ve ever heard one, and The Grim Tower highly recommends it. There’s nothing else quite like it, even considering the realm of its influences. People will be talking about this masterpiece for several years to come. Simply remarkable.

Written by Eric May.

The Metal Forge Read Close

If it were possible to blend together Solefald, Diabolical Masquerade, Dødheimsgard, Mirrorthrone, and a bunch of other whacky, off the wall black metal bands, I don't know exactly what it would sound like but it might sound a little like the delightfully bizarre second album from Lychgate, An Antidote for the Glass Pill.

Lychgate are one of the few acts to deliver on the promise of integrating classical music into heavy metal. Equal parts confounding and exhilarating, An Antidote for the Glass Pill is an unsettling ride that is made all the more enjoyable by flying about as close as possible to the sun that is circus music without burning themselves in the process.

Dozens of listens in, I’m still baffled by what it is that I’m listening to, and therein lies the challenge and the excitement.

Written by Michael O'Brien.

The Monolith Read Close

Let your mind be shattered and your nightmares become unto reality; Lychgate‘s sophomore full length album, An Antidote For The Glass Pill, is not your dad’s black metal. Darkthrone‘s influence is only vaguely felt; instead, it’s replaced with an looming sense of doom and dread, combined with a madness rarely seen in music at all.

Lychgate’s first album, a self titled effort, was doomy and had an air of potential about it. On this new record that potential is realised; rivaling last year’s Thantifaxath for Most Insanity Inducing Music, An Antidote For The Glass Pill is presented like a gothic horror movie soundtrack with blast beats. The use of church organs is especially excellent, adding an air of decayed grandeur to the music. The guitars and organs often meld into one sound, twisted and deceptive.

The song structure makes for a wild ride: sometimes it seems almost as though the music is about to come apart, moving too erratically for its own good – but ultimately it resolves into glorious darkness.

An Antidote For The Glass Pill is a dark, twisted, psychotic, mind-flaying album; one that perhaps only barely qualifies as black metal. It’s a sonic journey through the darkest depths of the human psyche; a labyrinthine quest into the uttermost reaches of sanity and insanity – and one of the finest works of this year.

Written by Kevin.

The Sleeping Shaman Read Close

The band Lychgate from London, grew out of Archaicus, which was active untill 2012. In 2015 the follow-up to 2012’s self-titled debut comes out in a fog of mystery, titled An Antidote For The Glass Pill.

The Brits have made an album that can be considered a daring step away from their grim and distorted debut from 2012, into something much more oriented on the classic and gothic feel. If you plan to listen to it, let go of your black metal expectations. Don’t worry, you won’t have to embrace your inner goth girl either. This album is still a force to be reckoned with.

After a brief intro of buzzing static, the keys kick off with a run of tones that reminds, me as a listener, of the video game Super Ghost ‘n Ghouls, which had this amazing midi-keyboard music. The intro is called Upon My Tempest. The tones of majestic doom are promising much more for this record. Moving into Davamesque B2, it’s easy to notice that the guitars have moved to the background in the sound of these Londoners. It’s a symphonic, rhythm driven baptising into bleak, murky depths. Offering a haunting soundscape with some fierce bursts, this is something different. I Am Contempt has a heavy, wobbling opening, where the organ is played by what must be a clerical mad man. Using this as a guitar creates something that could approach the mad piping sounds so often described by H.P. Lovecraft.

The eerie introducing notes of Letter XIX are accompanied by a deep and foreboding bass sound. The dense atmosphere is like a thick layer of fog over a Victorian London in the days of Jack The Ripper. That is the vibe you get in general from Lychgate, it connects the classic with the new in a fascinating way. A warmer sound can be heard on the track Deus te Videt, with a twirling key section and epic marching rhythm. The song unfolds into big, operatic vocals, soaring high above the static music that remains meandering on the same line, another surprising tune that then suddenly launches into ferocious blast beats. When the track suddenly fades out, the ticking of a clock and giggling is all that can be heard.

An Acousmatic Guardian is an eclectic track full of noisy black metal and gothic keys that create a mesmerizing and dazzling sonic display. Switching between chaotic and minimal with haunting melodies and gritty distortion, the band keeps up their intriguing style. All the elements of black metal are still in there, though sometimes hidden. After another explosive track in the shape of My Fate To Burn Forever, the album enters its outro The Pinnacle Known To Sisyphus, which once more demonstrates the almost church-like atmosphere this band creates. An epic and glorious feeling is woven into the music, creating something unique and bewitching.

Black metal is a genre full of polarities. On the one hand it’s mighty progressive, on the other extremely fundamentalist. If you are on the second end, don’t bother with this. I’ve not heard something like this before and I recommend it to any open minded listener.

Written by Guido Segers.

The Sonic Sensory Read Close 4.4/5

“Freedom and happiness are incompatible: men are congenitally incapable of using their freedom for constructive ends and merely make themselves miserable by their abuse of it; most of them yearn for a materialistic happiness and are eager to surrender their troublesome freedom and to be reduced to the status of lotus-eaters” (Rudy, 1959).

Lychgate crafted ‘The Antidote for the Glass Pill’ with similar notions in mind, in fact the above quote forms part of the introduction to ‘We’ a Zamyatin novel set in an urban glass city regulated by spies and secret police, a concept alongside the 18th Century Panopticon and a novel on brainwashing hallucinogens by Witkiewicz.

Lychgate wrote ‘The Antidote for the Glass Pill’ over an exhausting two year period, and from the above storylines you can understand why. The sophomore album is one of the most harrowing experiences you will endure in 2015. At 50 minutes long, the album is a meeting of two worlds where traditional musical structures, sounds and theory clash head on with the future. What does this mean? – in essence its the sound of church organs colliding with modern avante grade black metal in a very dark and uncomfortable space.

A lack of freedom is a very good statement to make about the atmosphere that radiates from this record, the density of the guitars and the hypnotic rhythmic drumming traps the listener beneath the ceiling of vocals, while the ever present organs create the feeling that you are being chased from reality. Its a frightening feeling, and also an extremely unique take on black metal.

The organs played by K. J. Bowyer were used sparingly on Lychgates debut album, however have been expanded to full affect on each track here, but used in varying ways, at times giving off a carnival like effect on ‘I am Contempt’ while haunting and vintage at others on ‘The Illness Named Imagination’

‘Unto my Tempest’ is a horror filled introductory track full of church bells, organs, eery samples and a stark doom riff, essentially Lychgate are almost daring you to enter into the abyss, tempting you into captivity. ‘Davamesque B2’ is as uncomfortable as it is absorbing, with a backwards off kilter riff that invades the psyche while ‘A Principle on Seclusion’ is a slow lonely number with a funeral doom aesthetic. Each track takes you on a journey, many with mesmerising twists and turns, all climaxing in different ways.

Cleaner vocals appear on ‘Deus te Videt’ and ‘The Illness Named Imagination’, this adds a nice texture to the mix that was just starting to appear stale. The bass work is incredible here, while deep in the mix it appears to cast a shadow over the structures rather than appearing in isolation. The production leaves a little to be desired, and while it adds to the damp atmosphere, it can sound blunt at times. The organs appear on every track, and later accompanied by piano on ‘An Acoustic Guardian’ which can take some time to get used to, they are an instrument that is seldom used in metal, if not ever to this extent; so be prepared.

Lychgate have laid the foundations for a sound that could take metal, in particular black metal into a whole different realm. Its exciting, challenging and historic. ‘The Antidote for the Glass Pill’ is a contender for extreme album of the year.

Written by Quinton Farrow.

This Noise Is Ours Read Close

There are bands that crave media attention and then there are bands that don't. Those that do aren't in it for the music and those that don't are the musicians that exude integrity and artistry. Lychgate falls withing that latter field (at least that's what I perceive anyway) and with minimal fanfare, they've released their second full-length via Blood Music. This follows their debut self-titled record from 2013 (released via Mordgrimm and Gilead Media) and they've gained a guitarist in the lead-up to An Antidote For The Glass Pill.

This may be one of the last UK black metal releases I get round to reviewing in 2015, but I think I’ve left the best till last. I’m teetering towards the avant-garde end of the genre of late and on hearing the organ during opener Unto My Tempest, I know I’m not going to be disappointed by this record. That was merely a hint of what’s to come on An Antidote…though and Davamesque B2 is as orchestral and grand as you’d expect.

Gathering together the doom-laden past of it’s various members, Lychgate puts together an album far removed from it’s traditional black metal core. There’s no low-fi production of atonal melody here, while the production is warm and vibrant throughout. The second half of Davamesque B2 is made up of gloriously jazzy instrumentation too. They switch to a higher tempo on I Am Contempt. It aptly describes the mood of the band but the song itself never feels unapproachable. The slower segue of A Principle On Seclusion is mainly instrumental and is extremely cinematic to these ears. It’s various movements flow like an ancient symphony. Letter XIX could be at home starring on the soundtrack of a spy/mystery thriller, especially with that introduction. This song sums up the level of Lychgate’s experimentation on An Antidote… perfectly. There’s no need to go all speed-wise but the switches between mournful organ-led passages and heavy black metal are effortless and the song seems to gain in extremity.

Clean singing/chanting makes i’s first appearance during Deus Te Videt and adds another dimension to Lychgate’s sound. It’s a pleasing one too, as it nestles just beneath the guitars and percussion. The level of textures and layers that Lychgate fits into The Illness Named Imagination’s sub 5-minute form is very impressive and the same can be said for the rest of the album. There are many bands that try and fail to match this level of details after years of trying. An Acousmatic Guardian is not a acoustic version of their black metal sadly and it follows the same bewildering blueprint as what’s come before it.

The thing that strikes me with An Antidote… is that none of these songs are too long or drawn out. They fit together as one whole and as separate parts. My Fate To Burn Forever is an almost virtuoso-level piece. An Antidote… never reaches tipping point and as it ends with The Pinnacle Known To Sisyphus, like me you’ll be left with the indelible imprint made by an immense body of work. Lychgate has definitely stepped it up following their debut record and by some margin. If not listened to or purchased this record yet, what are waiting for!

Written by James Williams.

Two Guys Metal Reviews Read Close

Lychgate are the kind of band who help me to remember what I loved so much about black metal in the first place. Though they are distinctly epic, there is also a wonderfully fucked up vibe to the music that helps to keep things interesting. An Antidote for the Glass Pill is profoundly twisted and will leave you picking at the rotting flesh exposed by this ungodly sound. The chaotic and overwhelming might of what Lychgate are doing on this record defies words.

That being said, it can be argued that An Antidote for the Glass Pill is at times overly ambitious and a bit too far reaching. Yet a lot of this seems to be due to crowded sounding production. Of course, this also indicates just how god damn good this band can be. The wealth of technically complex and melodically delicious lines found throughout An Antidote for the Glass Pill is stunning and makes me wonder how much more this band has to evolve. The potential here is palatable and you can easily tell that Lychgate are on the verge of something great. In fact I might even argue that An Antidote for the Glass Pill is the band making serious headway on a triumphant sonic journey.

Am I over-romanticizing another black metal band with just a few releases out? Probably. But I will say this, I do genuinely feel that Lychgate have a fairly distinct sound, and the way that their guitar lines simply feel epic is marvelous. The cinematic qualities to An Antidote for the Glass Pill are nearly omnipresent and help to establish the band as legends-in-the-making. As they continue to evolve their sound and make better use of their resources I can only see great things happening in years to come.

Written by Matt B.

VS-Webzine Read Close 17/20

french

Lychgate présente, avec An Antidote for the Glass Pill, son second album longue durée. Officiant dans un BM plutôt expérimental – disons qui sort clairement des sentiers battus – et comprenant en son sein un certain Greg Chandler des mythiques (mystiques) Esoteric (ceci explique cela), An Antidote for the Glass Pill constitue une pièce de choix.

L’intro à l’orgue mêlée de grosses guitares d’"Unto my Tempest" donne le ton. Remarquable, elle offre à ce premier titre une puissance qui ne se démentira pas tout au long de l’album. Une patte racée également, où l’influence Esoteric est évidemment proche mais pas que. Car si l’ambiance doom (sons de cloches, atmosphères menaçantes) est tout à la fois cléricale et proprement inquiétante, Lychgate développe également ses propres structures, originales, déstructurées ("Davamesque B2" par exemple avec un pont surprenant fait d’accélération et de violon « fou »). Inévitablement, le chant comme certains phrasés rappellent fortement Esoteric, la vitesse de progression également comme la structure même de certains titres ("Davamesque B2" en partie). Mais ce qui domine au-delà de cette influence, c’est la volonté affichée de proposer des structures progressives dont la maîtrise est, à ce titre, tout à fait remarquable ("I’m Contempt", qui fait parfois penser à certains titres d’Arcturus). Ou encore des ambiances théâtrales (l’intro d’"I’m Contempt", comme un vieux film d’horreur ; "Letter XIX" ; "The Illness Named Imagination") qui posent une atmosphère originale.

Car Lychgate ne sombre jamais dans la facilité, ce qui peut décourager les amateurs de musique plus accessible. Les cassures sont nombreuses ("Letter XIX" où les breaks atmosphériques succèdent aux accélérations), les ponts aussi (le formidable pont au piano et à l’orgue sur "An Acousmatic Guardian"). Loin d’aérer la musique, ils l’enrichissent, lui permettent de se mouvoir et de rebondir en laissant peu de répit à l’auditeur. Les structures sont très chargées en informations alors que l’ambiance est très prenante, l’émotion dominant souvent l’architecture des morceaux ("A Principle on Seclusion" par exemple, qui n’aurait pas dénoté sur un album d’Esoteric ; idem sur "My Fate to burn Forever"). L’absence de ligne conductrice évidente des titres peut également constituer un handicap ; pour ma part, il révèle simplement une science marquée de la composition. Car le tout s’emboîte parfaitement (l’arrivée de l’orgue surpuissant sur "A Principle on Seclusion", tout en naturel alors qu’il tranche littéralement le morceau et accompagne sa structure).

La durée des titres, relativement importante, n’est pas un obstacle. Elle offre au groupe de développer son propos, de laisser parler ses circonvolutions car, de fait, ce sont vraiment des arabesques mises en musique que l’on retrouve sur cet album. Des ornementations sonores haut de gamme aussi bien aériennes (le départ de "The Illness Named Imagination" et ses passages à l’orgue) que véritablement mystiques ("Deus te Videt", qui sonne comme un mélange d’Esoteric et d’Arcturus, surprenant mais efficace ; le pont au piano sur "An Acousmatic Guardian").

Ce nouvel album de Lychgate est de toute beauté, vous l’avez compris. Regorgeant de trouvailles sonores, très solidement construit et extrêmement inspiré, il devrait ravir sans aucune difficulté les amateurs de black doomisant original et hautement qualitatif. Les esprits ouverts également.

Written by Raziel.

Worship Metal Read Close 8/10

An Antidote for the Glass Pill, which we are grandly informed is Lychgate’s second album on the ‘Panopticon’ theme (whatever the hell that is), could quite easily be the work of a bunch of dreary black metal chancers screaming in a church with their heads up their collective arse. However, by the time we’re a minute into the carefully assembled soundscape that opens “Unto My Tempest” and the liberal use of church organ(!) reveals itself for the first time, it’s clear that cheap labelling isn’t appropriate here.

That being said, extreme drama in metal can be a tough line to walk. For every Slipknot debut we have at least one disappointing Kiss reformation complete with melting makeup….but which camp do Lychgate find themselves in?

An Antidote For the Glass Pill deals in vivid moods and right away the thing that hits you is sheer gothic drama and frigid atmospherics provided by the crisply recorded instruments and towers of reverb that linger on in the pauses between the mid-tempo bombast. Everything is clean and well defined. Guitars chug, drill and stab theatrically but at no time suffer from the lack of clarity or descent into pointless noise that hog-tie less able black metal bands. To be honest, until the vocal kicks in you’d be hard pushed to pick this out as a black metal record at all!

That is mostly due to the fact that church organ is convincingly used as the main instrument. But rather than superfluously following the guitars, they lead the charge, establishing musical motifs rather than following them. It shouldn’t work but it does and everything feels melodic, educated and eloquent, even during the most dissonant of moments such as the chiming opening to “Letter XIX”.

Speaking of education, Lychgate have some lofty intellectual influences. While citing the philosophical writings of Zamyatin and Witkiewicz may not scream listener accessibility, you can’t fault them when the result is such song writing cohesion. From lyrics to arrangement, everything has been carefully planned and executed; from the ascending chord progression at the climax of “I Am Contempt” right through to the choiral strains of “The Pinnacle Known to Sisphus”. We’re sure ‘Zamy’ and ‘Witkie’ would be proud!

Okay, so you could argue that using a church organ as a lead instrument limits Lychgate’s palette. You could argue that for a work of this kind of scope, they rely too heavily on ‘traditional’ black metal yelps, especially when the second half of the album proves that guitarist/vocalist ‘V’ has an able tenor voice stashed in his locker. But, perhaps that’s Lychgate’s point. They have no intention of lessening their impact by dropping out of character. It’s all about the impact, the mood, the tone. Antidote To The Glass Pill is more blackened than it is anything else but make no mistake, this is black metal at its most ornate, florid and fundamentally rousing.

Extreme drama in metal is a hard thing to carry off all right. So, do Lychgate lie in the camp of lean, controlled brilliance or alongside bloated dudes in streaky makeup?

Well, that barely deserves an answer. Lychgate have created an album you could get lost in for a week and what’s more, they know it! Brilliant it is then.

Written by Stuart Bell.

Zware Metalen Read Close 85/100

dutch

Lychgate, een nieuw samengestelde band met roots in Londen, bracht in 2013 een indrukwekkend debuut uit. Lychgate, het gelijknamige debuut, stond in mijn jaarlijst, en kon mij vooral bekoren omwille van de combinatie tussen de originele blackmetal met occulte geluidsdraperieën enerzijds en de typische vocalen van Esoteric-voorman Greg Chandler. De line-up is behalve de bassist onveranderd gebleven, maar de uitvoering is behoorlijk veranderd. Dat kan ik alvast meegeven.

Zo is er veel minder sprake van mystieke en occulte gitaarlijnen, en ligt het tempo ook een stuk lager. In plaats van het epische gitaarwerk krijgen we nu bombastische orgelstukken voorgeschoteld die de doomende black/death vorm en geluid geven op een zeer eigenzinnige manier. Soms lijkt het wel alsof je in een kathedraal aan het luisteren bent naar een bezeten koster die een extreme avantgarde metalband begeleidt met een progressieve psychosezucht. Niet normaal welke verknipte passages hier gebracht worden. Bijzonder verontrustende scenario's vol grimmigheid en een creepy atmosfeer, met dezelfde maalstroomvocalen als op het debuut. Luister maar eens naar het behoorlijk ontaarde Letter XIX.

Niet ieder nummer is even intens of donker avontuurlijk, en dat was ook niet nodig, want dan was de link met het debuut volledig verdwenen geweest, en dat was een brug te ver geweest. Geef dit album zeker een kans, en wil je een indruk opdoen van de georkestreerde chaos, stream dan bovenstaand nummer. Je zult er geen spijt van hebben!

Written by Bart Al Foet.

Lychgate

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A Ilha Do Metal Read Close 4/5

Spanish

Propositadamente sujo, agressivo e atmosférico, o novato LYCHGATE é uma banda inglesa que que faz um Black Metal bastante soturno e que causa calafrios na espinha tamanha aura densa que ‘Lychgate’, seu CD de estréia, carrega!

Como já foi dito, a banda faz uma fusão inteligente e bem articulada do Black Metal soturno da virada da década de 80 para a de 90, mas mantendo o feeling bretão da coisa, pois remete um pouco à atmosfera sonora bem terrorosa criada por bandas como o HECATE ENTHRONED de início de carreira, mas isso com personalidade e boas doses de experimentalismo.

Gravado nos Eidola Studios e Priory Studios entre abril e agosto de August 2012, a gravação é propositadamente suja e densa, como todo disco de Black Metal cru tem que ser, com ênfase nos teclados soturnos e bateria, mas mesmo assim, somos capazes de perceber que a banda possui qualidade acima da média. A arte, de Manuel Tinnemans, deixa evidente que este disco não é para aqueles que buscam algo que se encaixem nos padrões do Black Metal que anda fazendo sucesso atualemente, muito pelo contrário.

Das 9 faixas do CD, vemos que a banda tem um futuro promissor, especialmente em momentos intensos e tenebrosos como na pesada e fúnebre ‘Resentment’, com ótimos riffs e teclados macabros sob um andamento variado, mas quase sempre opressivamente cadenciado; a maravilhosa e azeda ‘Against the Paradoxical Guild’, com ótimos vocais “from the depths” e bateria muito bem trabalhada; a rápida ‘In Self Ruin'; a arrepinate ‘Dust of a Gun Barrel’, bem alternada e intensa; e a mais tradicional e mórbida ‘When Scorn Can Scourge No More’, mais uma vez com um ótimo trabalho da cozinha, ótimos riffs de guitarras, vocais e teclados se mesclando perfeitamente, deixando o ouvinte aturdido.

Black Metal para fãs do estilo, e ponto final!

English

Purposely dirty, aggressive and atmospheric, the Lychgate beginner is an English band that does a pretty grim Black Metal and causing spine tingling such dense aura 'Lychgate', his debut CD, loads!

As others have said, the band makes a smart and well-articulated fusion of black metal sullen the turn of the 80 to 90 but keeping the Breton feeling of it, since it refers to a little well terrorosa sound atmosphere created by bands like HECATE the entry-ENTHRONED, but that with personality and good doses of experimentalism.

Recorded at eidola Studios and Priory Studios between April and August of August 2012, the recording is purposely dirty and dense, like all black metal raw disk has to be, with emphasis on keyboards and drums grim, but even so, we are able to realize the band has above average quality. The art of Manuel Tinnemans, makes clear that this record is not for those looking for something that fit the standards of Black Metal are you doing atualemente success, quite the opposite.

From 9 CD tracks, we see that the band has a promising future, especially in intense and dark times as heavy and funeral in 'Resentment', with great riffs and macabre keyboards in a varied way, but often overwhelming rhythmic; the wonderful and sour 'Against the Paradoxical Guild', with great vocals "from the depths" and beautifully crafted battery; rapid 'In Self Ruin'; the arrepinate 'Dust of a Gun Barrel' and alternating and intense; and the most traditional and morbid 'When Scorn Scourge Can No More', again with a great kitchen work, great guitar riffs, vocals and keyboards blending perfectly, leaving the stunned listener.

Black Metal for fans of the style, period!

Aux Portes Du Metal Read Close 15/20

French

Initié à la base en 2001 par Vortigern (ancien batteur chez Spearhead, actuellement associé au projet d’Alexandros « I » Antoniou, The One) en tant que projet solo sous le patronyme Archaicus, Lychgate ne prend véritablement forme qu’avec la collaboration d’éminents spécialistes de musiques atmosphériques : Greg Chandler (Esoteric), Tom Vallely (Omega Centauri et auparavant dans le groupe Orpheus avec Vortigern), Aran (sans groupe depuis la disparition de ses Lunar Aurora et Trist).

Initialement voué à l’underground le plus endurci, certaines démos n’ayant jamais vu le jour, le projet Archaicus disparaît donc au profit de Lychgate qui enregistre ce premier album en 2012 pour une sortie en 2013 sous format CD chez Mordgrimm et vinyle chez Gilead Media.

Vortigern partage les instruments mais reste le seul maître à bord pour la composition, en instigateur du projet qu’il est.
Le musique de Lychgate est une sorte de black atmosphérique assez personnel, bien que franchement inspiré des maîtres norvégiens du black symphonique du début des années quatre-vingt-dix, à savoir Emperor et Limbonic Art ; notamment le premier dans la période Anthems…, avec cette même impression de chaos maîtrisé.

On est assez loin de la pâle copie, cependant. Les arrangements sont assez subtils et déroutants aux premières écoutes, car Lychgate appartient à cette nouvelle école du black metal qui s’oriente vers la recherche harmonique plus que vers la technicité et où la dissonance devient une raison d’être.

La touche Lychgate, c’est cet orgue joué par Vortigern et un certain F. Young en invité qui donne à la musique sa coloration atmosphérique et on a l’impression de se retrouver plongé dans l’univers du Fantôme de l’Opéra (idée suggérée aussi et surtout par les déguisements des protagonistes).

Le travail des guitares n’est pas en reste pour autant, et les mélodies aériennes souvent recherchées ajoutent une touche de raffinement supplémentaire. Là encore, un guest pour les (très bons) solos en la personne de S. D. L. Brimstone (inconnu au bataillon).

Au final, c’est à la fois très léger (dans le son) et relativement peu agressif, par contre très dense avec un spectre sonore axé sur les aigus et les médiums. La section rythmique est à la hauteur du reste, riche, variée et précise. Greg Chandler adopte le même chant que chez Esoteric, qui sonne ici très black du fait d’un traitement différent et de la quasi absence d’effets sur sa voix. C’est un régal de l’entendre s’époumoner avec autant de conviction.

L’album passe très vite, les morceaux s’enchaînent sans temps mort et on se rend compte qu’au final tout est subtilement dosé pour que l’auditoire en ait pour son argent. Au final, un album qui se dévoile au fil des écoutes, d’une grande finesse et atmosphérique avant tout, comme on peut l’imaginer de la part des personnes impliquées. Peut-être pas le chef-d’œuvre qu’on aurait pu attendre, mais un disque qui tend à se bonifier avec le temps.

English

Initiated at the base in 2001 by Vortigern (former drummer with Spearhead currently associated with the project Alexandros "I" Antoniou, The One) as a solo project under the surname Archaicus, Lychgate truly takes shape with the collaboration of eminent atmospheric music specialists: Greg Chandler (Esoteric), Tom Vallely (Omega Centauri and previously in the Orpheus group Vortigern), Aran (without group since the disappearance of his Lunar Aurora and Trist).
Originally dedicated to the most hardened underground, some demos never emerged, the Archaicus project therefore disappears in favor of Lychgate that records his first album in 2012 for release in 2013 on CD and vinyl in Mordgrimm Gilead Media.

Vortigern sharing instruments but remains the sole command for composition, instigator of the project it is.
The Lychgate music is a kind of atmospheric black enough staff, although frankly inspired by Norwegian symphonic black masters of the early ninety, namely Emperor and Limbonic Art; including the first in the period Anthems ... with that same sense of controlled chaos.

It is far enough from the pale copy, however. The arrangements are quite subtle and confusing at first listening because Lychgate belongs to the new school black metal that is moving towards the harmonic research than towards the technical and where dissonance becomes a reason for being.
The Lychgate touch is the organ played by Vortigern and a F. Young guest which gives the music its atmospheric coloring and it seems to find themselves immersed in the world of the Phantom of the Opera (idea as suggested and especially the costumes of the protagonists).
The work of the guitars is not rest as long, and often sought ethereal melodies add an extra touch of refinement. Again, a guest for the (very good) solos in the person of SDL Brimstone (unknown to the battalion).
Ultimately, it is both very light (in sound) and relatively aggressive against a very dense sound spectrum with a focus on treble and midrange.
The rhythm section is at the height of the rest, rich, varied and precise.
Greg Chandler adopts the same song as in Esoteric, which sounds very black here due to a different treatment and the near absence of effects on his voice. It's a treat to hear him shout loudly with conviction.

The album goes very fast, the pieces are linked together without dead time and we realize that in the end everything is subtly measured account that the audience has for its money.
In the end, an album that unfolds over the wiretapping, great finesse and Atmospheric above all, as you can imagine from the people involved.
Maybe not the masterpiece might have been expected, but a disc which tends to improve with time.

BraveWords.com Read Close 8/10

Hold on a second: “haunting” keyboards (hey, remember that old Disney Haunted House 7” from when you were a kid in the ’70s?), silly get-ups, treble-heavy riff work… is this Black Metal? What, do I look like David Perri? Anyway, this UK-based band know what they’re doing: the blasting works good (see “Against The Paradoxical Guild”), some of the more off-kilter guitar work is awesome as well (see the same tune for a great combo of both), helping to create an identity for this gang (featuring dudes from Esoteric and Lunar Aurora). I can never dig the screamy black metal vocals, but I’ll still put this above lots of current BM bands for the ability to balance slower, melodic parts (the insane “Sceptre To Control The World”), dynamics and epic builds (“Triumphalism”), and head-down blasting and unhinged guitar work, making this (thankfully) not too atmospheric but also not deathly raging, instead occupying a mature and well thought-out middle ground that most Black fans will enjoy.

Chronicles of Chaos Read Close 9/10

One of the biggest surprises regarding this album is the fact that mighty funeral doom band Esoteric's vocalist and the band's human trademark, Greg Chandler, knows how to screech black metal style.

His searing, gut-busting, throat-splitting, ear-bleeding screams seem to sound like the most natural place for his vocal abilities, as if that's what he's been doing for the most part of his musical career. Stygian, harrowing are his vocals; hate-filled and numbing, they are the backbone—the rotten, crusty, puss-oozing backbone—around which the dark universe of Lychgate revolves. Of course, occasionally his vocal spectrum roams toward his Esoteric days, exercising his belching, gargantuan death growls, adding thus another layer of darkness and chaos so ubiquitously prevalent throughout the recording, from first note to the very last.

Potent are the Lychgate musicians, hailing from various bands (German Lunar Aurora, British Esoteric and semi-British Omega Centauri, to name but few), bringing forth their own experiences and different musical visions and influences.

The album, although monolithic and uniform in sound and style, does bear several qualities—some of which might be alien to each other initially—that ultimately make this recording what it is: beyond-dark, beyond-heavy transcendental art, tying up both ends of existence—perpetual human demise and the ever-present, ancient aspiration of them all: to become a god.

Somehow these visionaries of the black arts have successfully tied classical music with the heaviest, darkest kind of funeral doom and the most vile, esoteric, hateful kind of black metal into one entity of derision, spite, suicidal desperation and star-gazing that would haunt many people's dreams and make this lonely planet a sadder place, eventually.

The music's various velocities go hand in hand with the various interludes, time-changes, vocal alterations, linearities and chaotic moments, the sonic grave-digging and the celestial releases from agony, all aurally represented and executed so well, no review can sum up what can only be witnessed by one's ears, and beyond.

Lychgate's musical labyrinth is full of gruesome surprises; dragging funereal-esque moments clash with blast beats and maelstroms of almost-sonic cacophony; classical interludes and church-organs building this Domus Mundi of horrors and hopelessness versus religious fervor; tidal waves of sheer sonic violence co-existing with orgasmic tunes of bliss and a momentary nirvana, all enshrouded by the familiar psychedelic and mind-altering madness, attributed to the distinctive style of Esoteric.

Such is this recording, full of contradictions; it sounds so familiar to the experienced ear, yet the sum of its various parts makes it a singular beast, a vessel to the stars, a tool of transcendence, shape-shifting, from matter to dust, from dust to the skies.

Always haunting, the songwriting is truly captivating, every single moment emits a certain dark glow that sticks with you, unrelenting, bothersome and despairing. Lychgate is a true modern masterpiece of the art of metal of death, in which all this great art's secrets had been converged and unlocked; a Pandora's box full of the vilest ideas and fears known to man; taunting, haunting, tantalizing and unrelenting, this is how you would remember this unique experience; and remember you will!

Lychgate is one of the best albums released in 2013, a masterpiece even prolific and highly-talented musicians such as the ones behind this magnum opus would surely find near impossible to top.

ConcreteWeb.be Read Close 90/100

Lychgate are a new project, but it can be considered a continuation of Archaicus, a solo outfit by Englishman J.R.Y. Vortigern. This guy was also involved with another great act, Spearhead (he used to be this band’s drummer up to 2010), and some might know him from his collaboration with Macabre Omen’s Alexandros (aka Evil Dark aka I) in The One (for the purists: this Greek, Alexandros Antoniou, now resides in the U.K. and plays with acts like Scythian or Razor Of Occam, amongst others). Vortigern was also in defunct Orpheus, together with Tom Vallely (also: Sanctus Nex and Omega Centauri), who (Tom) joined Lychgate’s ranks after the change of name. Two other known entities were recruited too to complete Lychgate’s line-up: German colleague Aran, whom you might (must) know from the great act Lunar Aurora or the sadly defunct solo-project Trist, and Greg A. Chandler, one of the founding guys behind cult-Doom band Esoteric.

This nameless debut was recorded at the Eidola and Priory Studios during 2012, with Mr Chandler behind the knobs. Greg is known for his mixing and mastering works for lots of international extreme bands too, such as his main band Esoteric, but the list is endless: Faal, Pantheist, Grave Miasma, Throne Of Nails, Comatose Vigil and many more. The stuff clocks almost thirty eight minutes and will be released on CD by Mordgrimm, and on vinyl through Gilead Media.

What Lychgate bring is a weird symbiosis of what these guys stand / stood for with their huge curriculum metallicum vitae. This self-titled album combines elements from eerie, grim Black Metal, funereal Doom and haunting passages, combined with a handful of avant-garde additions and expressive explorations. It’s a schismatic equilibrium in between atmospheric obscurity and mysterious inception, both unconventional and self-creative. The huge differentiation in tempo, melody and song structure go hand in hand with a remarkable dissonant undertone of horrific waves of transgendering Extreme Metal (Funeral Doom, Post-Black and Traditional Black, for example, interact with Doom-Death, Blast-Death and Sympho-Black, as well as Dark Ambient). But it does fit. The Lychgate-album isn’t just a lucky shot, nor is it a cheap accumulation of the members’ individual qualities and experience. You probably won’t be surprised this material is a UK-product, for this country houses more of this kind of crap, but you will be surprised by the result. For what it’s worth: I am positively surprised and I can’t get enough. Another pleasant release from 2013 (what a year this is…)!

Cosmic Tentacles Read Close 9.5/10

Spanish

El Black Metal siempre busca las respuestas en sus propias entrañas, para bien o para mal. Esta afirmación, que podría ser extensible a gran parte del espectro extremo, viene a decir que estamos ante un género donde no son bienvenidos los salvadores foráneos ni las fusiones propuestas desde el extrarradio, y donde todo movimiento dado siempre es fruto del balance entre la coherencia y mantenimiento de los valores fundacionales y la vital necesidad de cambio de muchas de sus bandas. Esto es algo que uno comprende cuando ve la evolución de formaciones como Enslaved, Satyricon, Deathspell Omega o Blut Aus Nord, en las que a pesar de la adición de innumerables influencias estilísticas se siente el negro palpitar original como motor de todas las decisiones. Por eso cuando de la nada aparece una banda de Shoegaze/Post/Ambiental Black Metal formada por pulcros flequilludos no me creo nada. Y no es que no pueda disfrutar de su propuesta, pero ésta se me aparece lejana al género y con unos puntos en común que se enfocan más a los elementos formales que al contenido. Como vestir los hábitos sin haber hecho los votos. Es por eso que entre tanto hype de la Pitchfork servidor esperara con ansia desmedida el debut de Lychgate, superbanda formada por músicos de algunas de las bandas más excelsas del panorama extremo europeo tales como Esoteric, Lunar Aurora, Archaicus y Omega Centauri. Especialmente sorprendente era la participación de Greg Chandler (vocalista y guitarra de Esoteric) en la función, pues sobre el papel poco tenía que ver el inconmensurable Funeral Doom de su banda madre con una obra de Black Metal, añadiendo un aliciente más para desear la escucha de Lychagate (2013, Mordgrimm/Gilead Media).

Curiosas y contradictorias son las sensaciones que uno tiene tras escuchar este discazo, pues aunque los parámetros por los que se mueve se instalan en la gloriosa década de los 90 la manera que tiene de atravesar sub-géneros y añadir elementos nuevos le confiere un aura de frescura e innovación difícil de explicar. No es que estemos ante un trabajo de vanguardia ni experimental, ni mucho menos, pero sí ante uno que sin necesidad moverse de los postulados fundacionales (ya ni hablo de beber los vientos por el indie o el post-rock) mira al futuro y plantea toda una serie de vías a explorar. Sin ninguna duda del liderazgo que en Lychgate ejerce su alma mater Vortigern (ex-Archaicus) a las guitarras y teclados, buena parte de su propuesta nos retrotrae a su antigua banda, pero el nivel y complejidad compositivas aquí desplegadas sobrepasa las referencias habituales y se asientan en una comparación mortal para la mayoría de formaciones: Emperor. Sí señores, muy pocas veces he sentido a un grupo acercarse al nivel de barroquismo sinfónico que practicaban los titanes noruegos como en el debut de Lychgate, especialmente a la gloriosa etapa iniciática de In The Nightside Eclipse o el enorme Anthems To The Welking At Dusk. Esto por si mismo ya valdría para que estuviéramos hablando de un disco excelso, pero lo que lo hace verdaderamente relevante son los matices y personalidad específicos con que desarrollan esta línea compositiva, y es ahí donde entra en liza el otro genio de la ecuación, el señor Chandler. Comentaba mi curiosidad por ver la manera en que este héroe del Funeral Doom se adaptaba a los terrenos del Black Metal, y he de decir que la cosa es para quitarse el sombrero. Más allá de su terrorífica voz interdimensional lo que destaca es la impresionante conjunción de talento a las seis cuerdas que lleva a cabo junto a Vortigern, aportando a la base de Black Sinfónico una dimensión propia del Doom más abisal y que se expresa en un aura de inmensidad subyugadora y unos medios tiempos oscuros como el corazón de una singularidad espacial. Si a ello le sumamos la ubicua y épica presencia de teclados a lo largo de todo el álbum tenemos una obra que traslada una vastedad compositiva tal que empequeñece el alma del oyente, y que reivindica la verdadera grandeza del Black Metal Sinfónico como un género impredecible, colosal y por encima de las sonoridades terrenales. Esto queda meridianamente claro en barbaridades ultramundanas como Dust Of A Gun Barrel, la cópula imposible entre Emperor y Esoteric con el poder de evocación de mil estrellas moribundas, o en el soberbio dominio de melodías y cambios de registro que es Sceptre To Control The World. Sorpresas también nos depara la hipervitaminada In Self Ruin, clínic de cómo conjugar velocidades de infarto, virtuosismo, teclados y mala leche en uno de los temas más malignos y venenosos que vas a escuchar en mucho tiempo. Y así, entre pútrida grandilocuencia, épica cósmica y subyugación sonora transcurre un álbum que no necesita más de 37 minutos para postrarte a sus pies, y que hace que el siguiente disco anunciado para el año que viene susurre promesas de grandeza y fin de los días.

Lychgate han invocado no sólo el gran debut blacker del año, sino uno de los mejores discos del género en lo que vamos de década. Sin necesidad de pedir ayuda al Post-Rock o al Indie ni escupir sobre los orígenes los británicos han conjurado una criatura donde el Black Sinfónico y el Doom Metal de Esoteric encuentran un punto de encuentro, rendija a través de la cual atisbar la insoportable extensión del cosmos. Discazo.

English

The Black Metal is always looking for the answers in their own entrails, for better or for worse. This statement, which could be extended to much of the extreme spectrum, it says that this is a genre where they are not welcome foreign saviors or merger proposals from the suburbs, and where all movement as is always the result of the balance between consistency and maintenance of the foundational values and the vital need to change many of their bands. This is something that you understand when you see the evolution of bands like Enslaved, Satyricon, Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord, where despite the addition of countless stylistic influences feels the throbbing black Original engine as all decisions. So when out of nowhere a band of Shoegaze / Post / Ambient Black Metal formed by FLEQUILLUDOS neat appears not believe anything. And no you can not enjoy your proposal, but it appears to me far gender and a common ground that more focus to the formal elements that content. How to dress habits without making the vote. That is why the hype meantime server with unbridled lust Pitchfork expected debut Lychgate, supergroup formed by musicians from some of the most sublime panorama European extreme bands such as Esoteric, Lunar Aurora, Archaicus and Omega Centauri. Especially surprising was the participation of Greg Chandler (vocals and guitar Esoteric) in function, because on paper had little to do immeasurable his mother Funeral Doom band with a piece of Black Metal, adding another incentive for wanting to listen of Lychagate (2013 Mordgrimm / Gilead Media).

Curious and contradictory are the feelings one has after listening to this great album, because although the parameters by which it moves are installed in the glorious 90s fashion has to cross sub-genres and add new elements gives an aura of freshness and innovation difficult to explain. Not that to be a vanguard or experimental work, much less, but to one without moving the foundational principles (and not talk about drinking the winds by the indie-rock or post) looks to the future and raises a number of avenues to explore. No doubt the leadership in Lychgate exercises his alma mater Vortigern (ex-Archaicus) on guitars and keyboards, much of its proposal takes us back to his old band, but the level and compositional complexity here deployed exceeds the usual references and settle in a deadly compared to most formations: Emperor. Yes folks, rarely have felt a group approach the level of symphonic baroque practiced by the Norwegian titans like in the debut of Lychgate, especially the glorious initiatory stage Eclipse In The Nightside or huge Anthems To The Welking At Dusk. This would apply to yourself and we were talking about a sublime album, but what makes it truly relevant are the nuances and specific personality compositional developing this line, and that is where enters the arena the other genius of the equation, the Mr. Chandler. Commented my curious to see how this hero of Funeral Doom adapted to the land of Black Metal, and I must say that the thing is to remove his hat. Beyond its terrifying interdimensional voice that stands out is the amazing combination of talent on guitar holding with Vortigern, contributing to the base of Black Symphony's own nether dimension of Doom and is expressed in an aura of subduing vastness and means dark times as the heart of a spatial singularity. If we add the ubiquitous presence of epic keyboards throughout the album have a work that takes a compositional vastness that dwarfs the soul of the listener, and claiming the true greatness of Symphonic Black Metal as a genre unpredictable, colossal and above earthly sounds. This is abundantly clear in otherworldly atrocities like Dust Of A Gun Barrel, impossible intercourse between Emperor and Esoteric with the evocative power of a thousand dying stars, or the superb melodies and domain registry changes that are Sceptre To Control The World. Surprises also gives us the hipervitaminada In Self Ruin, clínic how to combine myocardial velocities, virtuosity, keyboards and nastiness in one of the most evil and poisonous items you'll hear in a long time. And so, between putrid bombast, cosmic sound epic and subjugation takes an album that does not need more than 37 minutes to prostrate at his feet, and that makes the next album announced for next whispered promises of grandeur and so on year .

Lychgate have invoked not only the great blacker debut of the year, but one of the best albums of the genre as we go decade. No need to ask for help to Post-Rock or Indie or spit on the origins Britons have conjured creature where the Symphonic Black Metal and Doom Esoteric find a meeting point, slit through which peer unbearable extension cosmos. Great album.

CvltNation.com Read Close

One of the big surprises of this year is certainly the self titled debut album by Lychgate, a “super group” formed by the most amazing of lineups: Greg Chandler (Esoteric), Aran (Lunar Aurora, Trist), Tom Vallely (Omega Centauri) and Vortigern (The One, Archaicus). With such amazing and skilled musicians behind Lychgate, the result could only be something marvelously arcane. Founded by Vortigern, Lychgate was a natural evolution that occurred over time from his project Archaicus, and despite having a new shape it’s still very audible the influences of the band-root’s sound in Lychgate. But this influence is not only restricted to Archaicus, throughout the album, there are delightful details that bring to my mind similarities from the music from where these mysterious alchemists come from. So what can you expect with this album? Lychgate blends the most esoteric side of doom metal mixed with some pieces of progressive death metal with the most melodic side of black metal, that along the album, is constantly showing its agressive facet, resulting in a very avant garde, atmospheric, mystic and almost cinematic kind of black metal.

One interesting aspect in the making of Lychgate was that it was created without the aid of programming. All instrumentation was performed and recorded without edits, a factor that gives even more credit to the talented and skilled musicians presented here. In fact that’s the way I like it done: without artifices. Just clean, well performed, honest and brilliant music coming straight from the (dark) soul. Recorded at Eidola Studios and Priory Studios between April and August of last year, Lychgate was mixed and mastered by Greg Chandler at Priory Studios and features an amazing cover artwork by Manuel Tinnemans that truly captures the mystery and the whole essence of this album.

Now, before we head-dive into Lychgate I must confess that before receiving this album, in the last couple of weeks before I’d been revisiting a lot to Emperor’s masterpiece Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk and after a first audition to Lychgate, you might call me crazy, I immediately knew that I was facing another album of as great and epic proportions as Emperor’s masterpiece. As a matter of fact, if Lychgate had emerged in the 90’s they would certainly have as its direct rival the Norwegian band. The entire structure of the tracks, which balances melody with aggression perfectly, and the sound exhaled really has that kind of sound that makes me travel back in time. Their music really captures and embodies that pure 90′s aura all over.

Opening with the intro “The Inception” the veil is lifted abruptly as we stand at the edge of this dark, deep well of souls. As we look down, and watch with fear into the darkness that is about to swallow us, we take a long deep breath of air and head dive into it not knowing what we’re about to face. This intro track really sets the tone being the perfect welcome card for the album. Right after that “Resentment” comes dyed in shades of black haunted by that daunting pipe organ that fuses wonderfully with the rest of the instruments, creating an absolute and total gloomy atmosphere. It’s kind of a symphonic black metal, but in a more dreary way. Do not expect to apply the tag “symphonic black metal” that really sticks into bands like Satyricon or Behemoth here. No. This is totally on another level. The constant use of the pipe organ is in fact one of the elements that stands out about this album, giving an astounding character to the tracks, enhancing them into a brutal dimension that sucks us even deeper into this pit of lost souls.

Greg’s voice wanders constantly through the territories of black and doom metal, and fits perfectly in this recording like a glove, distributing blood curdling screams and cavernous growls. The guitar work is also superb, giving us some incredible notes that swirl and surround us completely, dragging us into surreal universes or it can also ravish us, throwing us to the ground with ferocious and sharp riffs. The detail of blending acoustic segments in the middle of this black metal vortex isn’t anything new but in this recording it fits and works perfectly and flawlessly. But in the midst of this malicious orchestra, what really grabs my attention is the work of Tom Vallely. In his natural habitat, the drums. Tom (as the rest as his fellow alchemist mages) seems even more dedicated and determined here, giving us all of these amazing details into the tracks to which we are even afraid to blink in order to not miss one millisecond of their performance. I had to pick up my jaw from the floor many times while playing this album. Brutal. Lychgate works in the most perfect and harmonious way. Albums of this caliber are a rare and unique piece nowadays. When we think that everything has been created, reinterpreted, replicated, etc, we are unexpectedly caught by an album like this.

Tracks like “Against the Paradoxical Guild” that starts with classic riffs pretty much à la Emperor, and that soon unfold into twisted contours intoxicated by the evident madness in Greg’s vocal work. An authentic spiral filled with surreal details into which we increasingly fall deeper. Or the insurgent “In Self Ruin” that begins with the most imposing cacophony, leading my mind to imagine almost a scene from “Phantom of the Opera” but in a more twisted and darker version. The drum suddenly unloads all its fury that shapes into a storm of blastbeats while totally frantic riffs increase the malicious flood of black metal. It’s the constant twists between malice and melody, creating a climate of passage among the most aggressive and melodic sections within the tracks. “Sceptre to Control the World” is another one of those amazing pillars that elevates this álbum to epic proportions where that flawless balance between Light and Darkness is perfectly constructed among black and doom metal overtones.

In the middle of the album, the band throws in an interlude right before another relentless storm of black metal riffs and blasbeats, falling upon us with “Triumphalism” a track that brings to my mind several details of Omega Centauri or even Archaicus, in which Greg’s voice unleashes daunting and shrieking screams before being possessed by the spectre of doom metal. “Dust of a Gun Barrel” introduces us to a more a haunting and mysterious atmosphere, which constantly draws from the most slow/mid-tempo doom-ish paces sections accelerating to sections where the band creates unpredictable conjunctions with acoustic elements that bring another aura to the track.

The album closes with “When Scorn Can Scourge No More” a far more melodic track than the ones we’ve heard previously, where the guitars throw captivating notes into the air, creating an almost etheral atmosphere that ends up intoxicating us through all of this mysticism hovering in the air, only interrupted by the malicious voice that loses its last blood-chilling screams before fading into darkness. Although we can look at this track from a more melodic point of view, it never loses that malicious character behind it, almost as an enigmatic mask covers the horrors that hide behind it.

With this amazing self-titled album, Lychgate have created a formula, and although not new, it is indeed unique and something they can call their own. Allying their creativity to their great know-how, together these alchemists, who share between them their old and most obscured recipes, have managed to provide us with a very surreal and mystical album. Every track, every performance, every detail is simply beautiful. It has all the contours of a perfect masterpiece. One for most amazing albums of this decade. What a wonderful journey.

Lychgate is already available on CD through U.K. label Mordgrimm. Or if you prefer vinyl, you can jump to Gilead Media store. More information about Lychgate can be found at their website or Facebook page.

Destructive-music.com Read Close 9/10

From the intro track, The Inception, of Lychgate’s self-titled debut I found myself fully captivated by the guitar work. There isn’t anything technical; however, there is something wildly creative about it all. Rather than focusing on speed, Lychgate opts for a more progressive style which I personally find highly memorable compared to even some of the more popular musical tyrants, blackened or not. Supplementing the unique black/prog style is also the welcoming inclusion of Organ sound work – not strictly used to accentuate the mood but also as an occasionally treated as an instrument all on its own.

Lychgate also has a surprisingly excellent knack for keeping the mood and style of their work intact throughout the album, not including songs which would damage its progression in anyway. Instead, everything feels like its naturally building up to something fantastic. This doesn’t mean that any song is weaker than the one before it; all tracks support those before and after very well.

Lychgate and its self-titled album are things to behold. One can simply sit and listen to it entirely; forgetting time is even passing until the very last second of the album. However, when that final track ends you’ll be wondering where it all went – wishing for more.

Don’t Count On It Reviews Read Close 9/10

I don't think my adoration for this band needs to really be stated seeing who is involved. Featuring members of Esoteric (one of the best funeral doom acts out there), Lunar Aurora (one of my favorite black metal bands - period.), and Omega Centauri (a great up and coming group), as well as The One (which is pretty solid), I knew this would be good. So when I received this album it pretty much just jumped up to the top of my "must review as soon as possible" list.

I remember the press release for this album telling me it was going to be a black metal album, which I would have gathered right away after listening to this album, but it did tell me that it wasn't going to be in the Esoteric vein of things. But this certainly wasn't the sort of black metal that I think I was expecting to hear, though based on who's in the band I really should have anticipated this being a bit left of normality. There are definite traces of each of the four member's original groups in here. The songs aren't blasting for the most part, the riffing is slightly off-kilter sounding, and the atmosphere is just noxious throughout. I remember hearing Resentment for the first time and just feeling like I couldn't even navigate through the track because the atmosphere was just so powerful. The riffs certainly have their surges of tremolo picked, high velocity moments on here, but the majority of it is more mid-tempo stuff that just has that huge Esoteric-like weight and atmosphere to it. There's all this reverb on these guitars that literally made me take a step back when I realized it. In addition to that, despite the riffs being a bit more "different" (I don't feel like I could call them abstract in this case) the tone on this record is still pretty melodic, with melodies that are quite easy to recall long after the album has finished.

If you haven't already guessed it, I really dig this album. I think the only problem I really have with it is how short it is. This entire album is under forty minutes and after listening to a bunch of albums recently that are too long, it sucks to find a really good one that I think is too short. With the exception of the intro and interlude (of which I have no problems with) there are only seven real tracks on here and they're all pretty damn good. Even the short burst of fire that is In Self Ruin is a great piece of work because it doesn't wallow in how straightforward it is in it's aggression. It also comes in at a nice point in the album, it isn't too late in to show the band can just bust out an intense rager, but not early enough to come across like just another black metal band. I could go into detail about almost every track on here, because they're all something great, though I do find myself coming back to the likes of Sceptre to Control The World and Dust of A Gun Barrel more than any other track on here. There's just something about those two tracks that draws me back over and over. Frankly, they aren't the most memorable tracks on the album, but there's just this quality to them that remains with me more than any other track.

So, overall, I really dug this album and I think if you like black metal in some shape or form you'll like it as well. This isn't an album that really tries to be experimental or unique but still manages to cross a wide amount of territory in each of it's tracks. There's something in here for every fan of the genre and I can't say enough good things about it.

Highlights: Against The Paradoxical Guild, Sceptre to Control The World, Dust of A Gun Barrel

Doommantia Read Close

Never heard of Lychgate? If you search on mighty Metal Archives you’ll see this as a brand new band based in UK starting in 2012 and devoted to black metal.
But 2012 is the year of a rebirth, a magic one … Lychgate play a kind of epic, powerful black metal dominated by keyboards and organs. You may call it “orchestral” metal but imagine it as light years far away from the boring bloat of symphonic metal.

Lychgate can do the miracle because this is a league of experienced metallers from awesome acts. The band originates from the ashes, or better from the metamorphosis, of Archaicus, an over 10 years-old solo project started by Vortigern, multi-instrumentalist and frontman in several black metal bands (e.g., The One). For the rebirth Vortigern (on guitars, chants, keyboards and organ) involved none less than Greg Chandler (vocals and guitars) from doom monster band Esoteric, Aran (on bass) from the German atmospheric black metal band Lunar Aurora and, not least, T. J. F. Vallely (on drumming and percussions) from the dark and nasty creature Omega Centauri, among others.

Basically a monster line-up …
So you may expect Lychgate as being a hybrid beast because the bands where these fellow musicians militate are known to elaborate and do experimentation on sounds in spite of being firmly rooted in the so-called “old school” metal. Back to the tag issue, one option is to tag Lychgate as “atmospheric”, “progressive” black metal or “art” metal. But tags would miss the amazing richness in Lychgate. Lychgate is a sort of ancient magic cauldron where someone poured abundant doses of pathos and brutality, say, à-la-Bathory, Taake and Marduk (or at your choice!), side by side with the technics and the atmospheres of Death, Opeth, Edge of Sanity and Katatonia, the avantgarde-jazzy escapes like in Virus, archaic raw and occult keyboard-driven horror prog doom like that in Winter and Abysmal Grief respectively, noise, psychedelia, ecc. And, when the whole nasty lot starts boiling, there come lethal but ethereal vapours smelling of Alcest … This is basically the recipe of Lychgate’s self-titled debut album, 9 tracks for almost 38 minutes, a tormented trip into another time, into the pitch-black tunnel suggested by the gloomy cover art (signed by Manuel Tinnemans).

Two tracks are about one minute-long and act as intro and relieving interval to a crazy vortex depicted by the other seven tracks. These tracks are incredibly multifaceted but never too lengthy, 6 minutes-long maximum. This band has a great ability in symthesys while writing music, a skill allowing them roaming across different genres, mix the latter into a chaotic-sounding tangle and eventually loose it and close in an almost natural and elegant way. Often tracks start or else develop a core possessing the crypt-like sounds or the hellish and obsessive charge typical of classic black metal. However soon the guys unleash their love for technics by means of series of very fast and complex or else nervous riffs (like in track In Self Ruin). Or else riffs may develop via hypnotic and tormented circular patterns (e.g., in Sceptre to Control the World). Technics is not going to intoxicate you, though, as slow and solemn doom will come as a balming intervals where the thundering melodies impressively build up from sounds elaborated on different parallel plans. Especially in these doomy sections organ is the king. Keyboard sounds echo in a solemn, menacing way and drown the raw brutality of black metal in occult and morbid atmospheres. However often the reverbered sound of the organ is what helps in turning the gruesome torment into liquid melodies and ethereal atmospheres heard in psychedelic post-black metal and shoegaze. There will always be the obsessive, martial beat of the drums in the background, though, reminding you that this is a nasty band …

Like drumming, also Greg Chandler’s growled vocals are overwhelmed by the cacophony of guitars and drums, although this hellish mess is going to make singing even scarier, both when Greg is roaring like a beast during the black metal assaults and when he is letting his tormented doom soul speak. After the atmospheric central interval dominated by keyboards and occult chants, it is the time for two awesome tracks, Triumphalism e Dust of a Gun Barrel. These ballads broadly follow the scheme written above, although they are particularly haunting and deeply incorporate the influence of the old project Archaicus and of the bands from where the members of this super-group stem. Track Triumphalism is opened by a peculiar coupling between a syncopated drumming pattern and a dreamy, psychedelic combination of organ and reverbered guitars before the black metal nuclear explosion. Yet what comes after is a magnificent blend of bestial frenzy and complex and elegant melodies, crazy accelerations and breathtaking slow-downs. The pulsating, syncopated drumming beat will there, in the background before everything will dissolve into dreamy black shoegaze.

The track Dust of a Gun Barrel, has a dissonant and jazzy avantgarde start before opening the cage and letting the beast and its evil soul out. But there is always space for atmosphere, like, for example, in the sudden, beautiful interruption halfway through the track, where the chords of an acoustic guitar are vibrating in a pre-storm silence. What will follow is actually a doleful and sometimes epic melody contaminated and “refreshed” by some dissonance and curious diversions.
For closing this magnificent album, the band will leave bestiality and choose a proggy/shoegaze mood. As a matter of fact, the final track, When Scorn Can Scourge No More, tends to develop like a charming hybrid between Alcest and Opeth when lead by a rather mellow guitar sound.

This is the way I experienced Lychgate’s debut album, although further listening in varying moods might surely reveal more and more details and features of this extremely rich yet quite concise album. Surely one of the side-effects of enjoying this album is the push to go and refresh memory about the fine bands related to Lychgate and, thus, prolongue the magic. So Lychgate is much much welcome for energetically adding to the group of the eclectic bands contributing to renew and enrich the international black metal panorama either with experimentation or by straying boundaries across genres. I am thinking about Negative Plane, Oranssi Pazuzu, Nachtmystium, Ludicra, Paroxsihzem, etc.

Lychgate’s debut album is out on Gilead Media as LP and via Mordgrimm Records as CD/digital version. So there are no excuses for missing this beautiful release, which is malevolent and fierce, technical as well as very involving for its richness and inspiration drenching each track. I’m here, waiting for more to come, with my rapacious beak open like a baby vulture…

Echoes and Dust Read Close

Let’s not beat around the bush here; Lychgate’s self-titled debut album is evil... really evil. If one look at the album cover doesn’t already give you that impression, the first few minutes of music certainly will. For a band consisting of members from Esoteric, Lunar Aurora and Omega Centauri, among others, this kind of atmosphere was always expected; it’s the execution of it that is most impressive.

From the opening minute of 'The Inception' it is apparent that this is not going to be a comfortable journey, with the use of a church organ creating a particularly unsettling tone. 'Resentment' is a great track but consists of mostly mid-paced black/doom metal, and it’s not until 'Against the Paradoxical Guild' that the album truly comes to life.

The latter track features an awe-inspiring vocal performance from Greg Chandler, who utilises his terrifying high-pitched shrieks to full effect. The music is just so much more sinister when Chandler leaves his mark on it, but kudos to the rest of the group for enveloping his vocals in some truly magnificent soundscapes. This is black metal of the highest standard, further evidenced by 'In Self Ruin', where the pace really kicks up and the avant-garde and progressive elements come to the fore. These are all experienced musicians from very forward-thinking groups, and their willingness to experiment gives the album a really confident air to it. The blistering guitar solo that comes in about a minute into the song is an unexpected move, but is pretty much as good as it gets for the genre.

Also expect to hear everything from hypnotic chanting ('Intermezzo'), blastbeats ('Triumphalism'), and acoustic breaks ('Dust of a Gun Barrel') during Lychgate’s latter half, which rounds up the album perfectly. There are no weak tracks here, making the 38 minutes of music go by quickly, but memorably. In short, if you’re a fan of any of the bands involved, enjoy ‘artsy’ black metal of any kind, or like music that will make you want to hide beneath the bed covers, Lychgate is definitely for you.

Forever Cursed Best of 2013 (No. 8) Read Close

Undoubtedly, one of my favorites and probably most plays got here at the Haxan's den. Another remarkable debut coming out from one of the most amazing supergroups. Lychgate's debut is all about delivering great theatrical and enigmatic atmospheres with the most esoteric of black metal soundtracks. Awesome.

French-Metal.com Read Close

French

Voilà un projet bien alléchant pour les amateurs de metal extrême, Lychgate réunissant en effet dans son line-up un membre de Lunar Aurora (en fin ex-membre puisque le groupe a splitté) et Greg Chandler d'Esoteric ! Et qu'est ce que peuvent bien faire ces deux gars là ensemble, un mélange de leurs groupes respectifs?

Pas vraiment en fait, même si j'ai retrouvé quelques traces d'Esoteric en plein milieu de "Against The Paradoxical Guild" et que le côté Lunar Aurora peut se ressentir dans le sens de la mélodie peu commun dont faisait preuve ce groupe. En dehors de ces quelques réminiscences, Lychgate donne plutôt dans une sorte de black généralement mid tempo, assez lancinant et fantomatique. En dehors de quelques blasts judicieusement placés, on n'y trouve pas de débordements violents, tout est surtout basé sur les atmosphères et autres ambiances caverneuses. C'est surtout l'orgue régulièrement employé qui donne cette impression de grotte poussiéreuse peuplée de spectres en tout genre, il faut dire que c'est plutôt efficace et que l'album est globalement assez froid. Inutile de préciser que ceux qui cherchent du bourrin se sont trompés de crèmerie, ils n'auront pas leur dose de destruction auditive chez Lychgate. En même temps avec un tel line-up, quand on connaît les groupes impliqués, on se doute bien que la boucherie sonore ne sera pas le propos.

Vocalement parlant, on remarque que contrairement à ce qu'il fait dans Esoteric, Greg Chandler utilise surtout un chant criard ici et ses growls profonds ne se font qu'une toute petite place sur ce premier album. Les claviers sont bien mis en avant et s'imposent sans occulter les guitares pour autant, créant du coup une ambiance horrifique plutôt sympathique et loin des pires moments d'un Gloomy Grim ou d'un Morgul. Et même si en plus de ça j'ai pu pensé à du Emperor période "In The Nightside Eclipse" sur les passages les plus atmosphériques, j'admets que je n'arriverai pas vraiment à rapprocher Lychgate d'un autre groupe. Sans rien inventer, le mélange de ces genres ayant déjà été fait avant, le groupe arrive à le faire à sa sauce et à donner une personnalité propre à sa musique. L'album passe du coup très bien, et sa durée relativement faible (38 minutes) et qu'on aurait tendance à prendre pour un défaut permet ainsi à l'album de ne pas se répéter, l'écoute se fait toute seule et on se laisse embarquer là dedans sans trop de difficultés.

Après il y aura toujours des déçus pour dire qu'avec un tel CV ça aurait pu être encore mieux, et c'est vrai que ça pourrait l'être. Mais gardons à l'esprit que pour un premier album sous cette forme c'est déjà prometteur, et si le projet tient debout à l'avenir son évolution pourrait devenir très intéressante. Parce que malgré le fait que ce premier jet n'atteingne pas les sommets des discographies respectives de Lunar Aurora et d'Esoteric, il n'en reste pas moins un très bon bonus pour les amateurs des deux combos pré-cités (et j'en fais partie). Sans être un simple mélange de ces deux monstres du metal extrême, on se retrouve quand même avec une sorte de fusion de leurs univers respectifs dans un nouveau moule avec quelques ingrédients supplémentaires. Pour faire plus simple, on sent bien leurs pattes, mais le groupe ne se résume pas à ces deux personnes et Lychgate est tout de même plus qu'une bête addition de deux groupes aussi excellents soient-ils.

Voilà donc un premier album très prometteur qui pourrait annoncer une suite sacrément intéressante si le projet n'est pas sabordé comme beaucoup d'autres. Résultat, on se retrouve avec un album à la fois glacial, fantomatique, caverneux, sombre, et parfois paré de mélodies "lunaires" dirons-nous. Que les curieux n'hésitent pas à y jeter une oreille, ça se démarque assez de la concurrence pour mériter un minimum d'attention.

English

This is a very attractive project for fans of extreme metal, combining Lychgate indeed in its line-up a member of Lunar Aurora (late former member since the band split) and Greg Chandler of Esoteric! And what may well be these two guys together, a mixture of their groups?

Not really actually, although I found some traces of Esoteric in the middle of "Against The Paradoxical Guild" and the Lunar Aurora side can be felt in the sense of unusual melody of which was evidence that group. Apart from these few reminiscences Lychgate rather gives a kind of black usually mid tempo, quite haunting and ghostly. Apart from a few well-placed blasts, one does not find violent outbursts, everything is mainly based on the atmospheres and other cavernous environments. This is especially the organ regularly employee who gives the impression of dusty cave populated spectra of all kinds, we must say that it's more efficient and that the album is overall quite cold. Needless to say, those seeking nag creamery were wrong, they will not have their hearing destruction dose Lychgate. Together with such a line-up, when we know the groups involved, there is little doubt that the sound will not butcher the point.

Vocally speaking, we note that contrary to what he did in Esoteric Greg Chandler mostly use a screaming vocals and deep growls here are only a small place on the first album. The keyboards are highlighted and binding without obscuring the guitars so far, creating a sudden horrifying ambiance rather nice and away the worst moments of a Gloomy Grim or Morgul. And even if on top of that I have thought of the period Emperor "In The Nightside Eclipse" on the most atmospheric passages, I admit that I do not really get to bring Lychgate of another group. Without inventing anything, the mixture of these genres have been done before, the group manages to make it to the sauce and give a personality to his music. The album goes suddenly very well, and its relatively short duration (38 minutes) and that would tend to take it for a default and allows the album not to be repeated, listening is all alone and embarks in there without too much difficulty.

After there will always disappointed to say that with such a CV could have been better, and it is true that it could be. But keep in mind that for a first album in this form is already promising, and if the project make sense in the future evolution could become very interesting. Because despite the fact that this draft does not atteingne the tops of the discographies of Lunar Aurora and Esoteric, there remains a great bonus for fans of the two afore-mentioned combos (and I 'am one). Without being a simple mixture of these two monsters extreme metal, we are left still with a sort of fusion of their respective universe in a new mold with some additional ingredients. To make it simpler, we feel their legs, but the group is not just these two people and Lychgate's still more than a beast addition of two excellent groups as they are.

So here is a very promising album that could herald a damn interesting result if the project is not scuttled like many others. As a result, we are left with an album both icy, ghostly, cavernous, dark, and sometimes adorned with "lunar" tunes shall we say. The curious do not hesitate to check it, it stands out enough competition to earn a minimum of attention.

Grindthieves (2013 Year End List) Read Close

We hinted at calling the Lychgate self-titled effort on Gilead Media the black metal album of the year. And in these last moments of 2013 we stand behind that notion. Without taking too much more real estate in this year end post, we’ll just leave our write up from a little earlier this here which you can read here.

Is the self-titled LP from Lychgate the best black metal album of the year? Here, sitting in the latter portion of November 2013, Grindthieves would like to tell you that it is. Cutting to the chase, if Portal had a black metal sister it would be, without question, Lychgate. That is, if you aren’t familiar with the level of love Grindthieves has for Portal, quite the fucking statement.

Layers upon layers, deep and complex evolving beasts of sonic burden, the tracks on the self-titled effort from Lychgate on the ever incredible Gilead Media label are the stuff from which luscious dreams and nightmares are woven. Crafting a rather progressive take on black metal, I’ve seen comparisons made to Deafheaven. While not entirely off base, Lychgate ring far truer in their efforts than anything Deafheaven have tried their hand at, and that’s saying quite a bit – we loved “Sunbather”. However, where Deafheaven meander through moments of shoegaze tinged black metal when not pushing forward in a progressive take on black metal, Lychgate cast black metal spells and call sinister progressive blackened spirits from the ether as if it is what they were put on earth to do.

Holding firm to tried and true black metal frameworks, Lychgate exercise (and exorcise) artist license within the genre, conjuring incredibly artful renditions of a sound considered dirty and raw and reserved for garages or basements. The material on their self-titled effort is practically a black metal opera, when you get right down to it; the intros, and scenes, and solos, and the unbridled emotion. An entire story painted in sound, with a black metal brush, the album reeks of an understanding of progressive and black metal which few bands have ever seemed to understand, let alone try their hand at. And where the few who do get that sinister recipe have attempted and failed, Lychgate succeed tenfold.

The quality of production on this album is of worthy note, as well. Where this album would have succeeded in its mission just fine with a low quality and, supposedly more “black metal”, production aesthetic, the effort really shines with the impeccable attention to detail. A vacuous reverb sound created from properly placed mediocre amps and mics would’ve sufficed across the board, but thankfully the person or people on the master quest knew what the fuck they were doing. The drums cut through the guitars, bass, and vocals so precisely. The atmospheres wind and slither through the distortion of guitar fuzz so gracefully. The vocals are mixed so perfectly. Together, as a whole, I would wonder why anyone attempting a so-called “thinking mans black metal” music wouldn’t get in touch with the people responsible for the end result of this album, when it comes to mechanics of production.

Gilead Media has got this available for you, and you should get it. Available on that thick 180g vinyl for all the people who know what’s up. Go get it here.

Hammer Smashed Sound Read Close

And while we're talking about great releases on Gilead Media, I cannot in good conscience fail to put a good word in for the forthcoming self-titled Lychgate LP and CD. Lychgate is indeed a unique entity, originally started by one man but now consisting of G.A. Chandler (from Esoteric), Aran (from the now-defunct Lunar Aurora, one of my favorite black metal bands ever), and Tom Vallely (of Omega Centauri and Sanctus Nex). That lineup will give you an idea as to what you'd think the album sounds like, but whatever that notion is, erase it from your mind and prepare to be blown away. Indeed, elements of doom and black metal are prominent here, but I've honestly never heard anything like this. The atmosphere is incredible, the songs are epic and progressive in their composition and scope, and the melodies are electrifying, grand, and very memorable. This is another album that will always be greater than the sum of its parts, no matter how impressive those parts are on their own. It's only one track, but listen to the track below and get a better idea of what this album is all about.

Now, I'm hoping you're ready to buy this, because I think you'll seriously come to regret it if you don't. This album has grown on me immensely since I first heard it, and I'm dying to have the vinyl in my possession. If you're a CD person, you can order it from Mordgrimm, but if you'd rather get the 180 gram vinyl (and perhaps the t-shirt that goes with it), you can pre-order it now from Gilead Media.

Hellbound Read Close

Lychgate reside in the space of stylistic description found between the world of funeral doom and atmospheric black metal. The meeting of plodding, syrupy doom and scathing, frostbitten black metal speed results in an album bent on breaking the listener’s will to exist on the band’s self-titled debut.

A keyboard-driven intro opens the blackened ritual with an authoritarian presence, commanding attention and obedience to the enveloping display of dismal discourse to follow. Organs and punishing low end crunch propel the mouth of madness from the depths on “Resentment”. Thunderous double-kick accelerates the heart rate to a fevered pulse by invoking a sense of terror similar to Evoken but with far more urgency.

Vocals howl through the ether borne on the souls of the damned, lording over funereal plodding with gently undulating guitar waves dancing above the surface. “Against the Paradoxical Guild” surges ahead with a frantic desire, fleeing desperately through oppressive forests of gloom. For all Lychgate’s maniacal and diabolical vocalizing, an underlying despair permeates the album. Soaring tremolos rise from the gloom on a cloud of hope leading into the carnivorous carnival keys and blast-beaten black metal destruction of “In Self Ruin”. Solos walk the line between sanity and madness as a twisted jester’s evil revenge drips from every pore.

Working the balance of pace, blazing percussion and windblown low end and methodical higher frequencies advance through the murk of consciousness. The listener is affected by a sense of fear and apprehension blanketed in a fog of longing (“Sceptre to Control the World”) in a frantic attempt to escape the overwhelming feeling of dread introduced by the haunting keys. Choral chanting and eerie organs provide angelic reverberations and organic vibrations which transcend the physical plane. The martial beat of “Triumphalism” leads to a headlong flight into the heat of battle. Swirling riffs entwine the listener, mentally crushing your essence to a pale husk to be carried away the winds of ugliness.

At a slightly slower pace, the swelling riffs of “Dust of a Gun Barrel” push out at the membranes of sound with melancholic and forlorn acoustics. Despondent cries, pounding drums and crushing guitars hammer away at your mind threatening to bathe your world in pain. Closer “When Scorn Can Scourge No More” sees a headless horseman galloping away bearing the souls of the jaded and broken, transporting them to feed the blackened mass throbbing in the underbelly of humanity. Clean tones and doom-drenched bottom end are laced into the track balancing the two on a fulcrum of hate and disgust.

A clarity of production ensures every malicious sound is heard. Imperial-sized black metal drags the listener down a black hole of loathing and anguish into the gaping maw of Lychgate’s infernal majesty. Lychgate is a harrowing experience not for the faint of heart guaranteed to shrivel your soul into a black mass with its dense sonics and disorienting vocal ministrations. Open the Lychgate and beware.

InfernalMasquerade.com Read Close 9/10

Delivering a very impressive debut self-titled album, Lychgate combines highly atmospheric music with brutal Black Metal in a very crushing and terrifying way. Featuring tracks form the band’s ‘dormant’ years, this release carves out perfectly songs that are both chilling and very harsh. With over 37 minutes of music, this release is by far one of the best we have reviewed this year when it comes to Atmospheric Black Metal.

Hailing from the UK, the band warms up with “The Inception”, an dense and creepy mood setting intro. When the first track, “Resentment” arrives, the dramatic keyboards/organs create a very bleak and commanding atmosphere, but it is ultimately the riffing that completes the band’s awesome wall of sound. Having elements of bands like Way to End and Nidingr, the band’s sound is hellish and very well constructed.

One of our favorite track is “Against the Paradoxical Guild”, featuring incisive guitar work and a very doomy and ethereal pace. Mixing said passages with crushing blast beats and extremely raw and harsh BM shrieks, the band creates the perfect atmosphere to disturb event the biggest BM fans. Songs like “In Self Ruin” are more traditional and direct, filled with pounding guitars and creepy keyboards. While songs like “Sceptre to Control the World” focus more on building atmosphere and deliver lush instrumental passages that are nicely contrasted by blistering drums and the excellent singing.

After a trippy intermezzo, the band gets ready to pummel their way through tracks like “Triumphalism” and “Dust of a Gun Barrel”, both very atmospheric and filled with mournful vocals and powerful guitar layers. The album’s best track is the extremely catchy “When Scorn Can Scourge No More”. We particularly love the super engaging riffs and very interesting tempo, giving an insight into the band’s musical depth and excellent composition skills.

While not being your average Black Metal release, Lychgate has managed to make a huge statement with their debut release. The band perfectly balances crushing Black Metal passages with very dramatic atmospheric elements to create a truly haunting and devastating sound. Claiming that this release represents their ‘slow’ period, we are very excited to hear how much have they evolved over the years and how far will they take their very dynamic sound. If you like atmospheric BM, there is no excuse for you not buying this excellent release.

Last Rites Read Close

For a genre as steeped in the rich, pungent peat of occult historicism as black metal, Lychgate is nearly a perfect band name. A lychgate is a small gate topped with a pointed wooden roof at the entrance to a churchyard. Its historical significance was not so much as an entrance to the church, however, but as the place where the church priest would meet the corpse at the start of the burial rite. The medieval English landscape was, in fact, etched and scribbled with a latticework of footpaths called ‘corpse roads,’ which connected parishes to the cemeteries in which their dead had the right to be buried. (Rights which were due as much - if not more - to the church’s interest in tax revenue and political control as to geography and tradition.)

The dead have their architecture, their transportation, their infrastructure.

But onward, to more pressing matters. Lychgate’s self-titled debut album writes a syllabus from the combined history of the band’s four members which ought to, sound unheard, make Lychgate a no-brainer connoisseur’s choice. Despite having emerged seemingly fully-formed, Lychgate isn’t entirely a new band: It started in 2001 as a solo project of Vortigern (who handles guitars, organ, and keyboards on the album) under the name Archaicus. After a demo apiece in 2003 and 2004, the project apparently fell dormant, but reactivated in 2012 by adding Greg Chandler of Esoteric on guitars and vocals, Tom Vallely of Omega Centauri on drums, and Aran, mastermind of the much-missed Lunar Aurora, on bass. Such an embarrassingly rich roster is certainly enough to warrant a name change to mark the occasion.

Lychgate’s music is black metal in both form and effect, but it moves with just enough of a wobbly tilt that it suggests orthodoxy refashioned from muscle memory after a long sleep. That is, it blasts and crunches and howls and tremolos - as one does - but in a way that somehow feels exploratory and reflective, like the fingers of a hand needling into some dark, recessed cave and groping on a familiar form that the mind can’t yet place. Chandler’s vocals, as always, are forceful and dripping with arcane feeling, and yet every bit as suitable to Lychgate’s swooning, sideways black-and-sometimes-doom attack as to Esoteric’s world-birthing psychedelic funeral doom. While Lychgate occasionally weaves in medieval symphonic patterns that call to mind a more restrained version of early Emperor or Abigor (see “Against the Paradoxical Guild, for example), the band also delves into atmospheric excursions and minimally avant-garde rhythmic digressions without losing the thread consistent, terminal darkness. (See, for example, the tumbling, off-time opening of “Dust of a Gun Barrel.")

Vortigern’s keyboards and organs are a crucial ingredient, though used with respectable restraint. They add a massive, liturgical density to Lychgate’s sound, which typically walks deliberately down a long passageway, occasionally throwing open a door and exploring a doomier side compartment. I called Lychgate a “connoisseur’s choice,” and although the term sounds fairly, well, dickish, I think there’s something important to it: Lychgate makes the kind of black metal that newer devotees of the genre may overlook as insufficiently aggressive or inventive. That’s only because the band has wisely avoided needless flash in favor of deep, affecting melodicism and an understated... Hell, I hate to say ‘playfulness,’ but that’s what it seems like. As though, within the grim and harrowing confines of this chosen musical form, the band is collectively pushing out the walls, stretching the seams, finding a hidden slipstream or unexplored recursive loop of sound and exulting in it, however briefly. For those listeners more attuned to adjustments in miniature and incremental novelties, Lychgate will slowly become a revelation: understood only for a moment and then lost, leaving behind a memory you can’t name but won’t forget; a dim shape glimpsed through the heat shimmer of a baked plain or below the deep rippled surface of a quiet inlet.

The dead are like that, too; on their roads, through their gates, in their murmuring sleep.

Lords of Metal Read Close 8/10

Dutch

In het beste geval is het geheel van muziek beter dan de som der delen. Mooi, die pretentieuze eerste zin hebben we ook weer gehad. Het geheel van Lychgate is eigenlijk precies gelijk aan de som der delen, maar met deze delen is dat niet eens zo ramzalig. De heren Tom Vallely (Omega Centauri), Greg Chandler (Esoteric) en Aran (Lunar Aurora) hadden klaarblijkelijk een stevig gevalletje side-project-koorts. Hoe anders valt te verklaren dat men zich om een zekere Vortigern verzamelde om deze band te vormen. Dat lijkt ook al een tijdje aan de gang te zijn, want dit titelloze debuut bevat materiaal dat het daglicht zag tussen 2002 en 2011.

De herkenbare vocalen van Greg Chandler zorgen er al meteen voor dat Lychgate sterk aan Esoteric doet denken. Het feit dat beide bands op een zelfde wijze gebruikmaken van gitaareffecten en synth om dikke lagen textuurmateriaal te creren, versterkt die indruk. Het tempo is wel heel anders, aangezien de black metal minded leden van Lychgate dat aardig hoog weten te houden, deels met dank aan zeer woest riffwerk. Al met al werkt dit heel goed. Chandler verzorgt ook mix en mastering, en dat levert een erg goed, maar wederom ook erg herkenbare sound op. Dit album is echt goed, maar men zou er wellicht goed aan doen om toch net iets meer bij al die Esoteric stijlelementen uit de buurt te blijven. Aangezien het volgende album er al snel aankomt, namelijk in 2014, en dit zich zal richten op materiaal dat tussen het afgelopen jaar en nu geschreven is, heeft men in ieder geval de mogelijkheid om zich door te ontwikkelen. We zullen zien.

English

At best, it is the whole of music better than the sum of its parts. Nicely, that pretentious first sentence we have had weather. The whole of Lychgate is exactly equal to the sum of its parts, but these parts is not so ramzalig. Mr. Tom Vallely (Omega Centauri), Greg Chandler (Esoteric) and Aran (Lunar Aurora) apparently had a hearty gevalletje side project Fever. How else to explain that one to a certain Vortigern gathered to form this band. That also seems to have been going on for a while, because this self-titled debut contains material which saw daylight between 2002 and 2011.

The distinctive vocals of Greg Chandler immediately to ensure that Lychgate strongly reminiscent Esoteric. The fact that both bands in a similar manner using guitar and synth effects to create thick layers of texture material, reinforced that impression. The pace is very different, as the black metal minded members of Lychgate that managed to keep pretty high, partly thanks to very furious riffing. All in all, this works very well. Chandler also provides mix and mastering, and as a very good, but again very recognizable sound on. This album is really good, but one might do well to do just to stay a little longer at all those Esoteric style elements from the neighborhood. As the next album is coming soon, namely in 2014, and it will focus on material written between last year and now, they have at least the opportunity to develop themselves through. We shall see.

Masterful-Magazine.com Read Close 8/10

Odin knows I fucken hate symfo black metal with a passion. But this… this is something else. Holy
crap. What do you get when you throw members from Lunar Aurora, Esoteric, Omega Centauri and Spearhead together? You get this weird hybrid of symfo black metal, death metal and snail-paced weighty doom metal. But what did you expect? The line-up includes Benjamin König (ex-Lunar Aurora), Greg Chandler (Esoteric), Thomas Vallely (Omega Centauri) and Vortigern (ex-Spearhead), so the combined experience alone makes it worthy of the supergroup tag. Symfo black metal usually makes me run to the hills - but here’s finally a band that understands the power of the genre, and knows how to combine it with the strengths of its other influences. I can’t stress enough how well composed this record is. It sounds gloomy, mesmerizing, engaging, very strange and wholly uncomfortable and alien, as it should be with this type of metal. I could probably point to diSEMBOWELMENT, as this band also goes from snail-paced dirges into sudden explosions of blasts, and there’s a similar usage of fleeting melodies. The synthesizers and organs are supplementary and actually add a lot to the gloom and doom of this record. Symfo black metal that doesn’t sound fucken fruity, it still exists. Holy cow. I can’t really single out a specific stand out track, cos all these tracks are superb in their own ways. Oh sure, they wear masks and robes, but is that novel? No, Satanochio from Romania has been doing this when this band was still called Archaicus. Why this band is still on the tiny label imprint Mordgrimm is something I’ll never understand. So, any which way you spin it, “Lychgate” is the record you need to hear this year. Forget what you are “supposed” to listen to, and give these men a chance. You won’t regret it. I need up the dosage of my medicine if I’m going to listen to this regularly.

Meat Mead Metal Read Close

"Mysterious UK doom unit Lychgate bring bleak new levels of creepiness, eerieness"

LychgateI love to be totally off-my-ass surprised by a metal record and its situation, and that’s turned into something that doesn’t happen nearly as often as I would like it to these days. That’s likely a product of oversaturation, some bands not really being all that ready to make records, and labels just signing whatever the fuck will get them some money.

When I got an e-mail from Gilead Media about the release of the debut record from Lychgate, I was excited because I trust the label and know they put out good music. It also made me seek out a little bit more about the Cambridge-based band that I didn’t know a lot about beyond their band name and minor details about their sound. Gilead Media certainly has a nice range of sounds that go from rugged black metal to more atmospheric bands in that same sub-genre, and also some sludge and some hardcore-influenced sounds. From what I understood about Lychgate, this seemed to be a venture in an entirely new direction, and now that I’ve heard and fully absorbed the band’s self-titled debut, that line of thinking is confirmed, and it’s an exciting new venture for the label (Mordgrimm will handle the release in the UK).

Lychgate coverIf someone had played me the Lychgate record before I knew anything about them and asked me to pick what label it’s on, I might go with Debemur Morti or Profound Lore, because this band seems right up their alleys. But Gilead Media jumped on these guys, and much to their credit, they’re going to be the ones recognized for bringing this creepy, creaky, spirited doom metal band to the States and exposing one of the more interesting outfits from this sub-genre I’ve heard in a while. They also have a bit of black metal eeriness in their sound, which adds yet another level of darkness. This Lychgate record taught me two things: Even a sub-genre that seems flooded with content can pull out something exhilarating and rewarding when the artists behind it have a true passion and course of action that makes you realize they mean business. Second, never try to guess what a strong label is up to, because they’ll always find a way to pull out the stops and surprise you.

Lychgate actually started as Archaicus, led solely by Vortigern, who handles guitars, chants, and the huge organs you hear haunting this record. Joining him now are Greg Chandler on guitars and vocals, who you might know better from his role with mighty doom merchants Esoteric, bassist Aran (Lunar Aurora), and drummer Tom Vallely (Omega Centauri). They’re a mighty team, and their sound practically reeks of early ’90s British doom, which is a huge plus for a listener like me, and those aforementioned organs add an insane level of dark soulfulness, making you feel like you need to genuflect before them to avoid whatever curse they plan to put on your head. Don’t expect their mercy.

“The Inception” is your dusty introduction track, that lets its horrible spirit into the room and gives it time to find a nice corner of your room to scare your senseless. “Resentment” unfurls slowly, with dark riffs, allowing cold, dusty drapery to crash over the windows and inspires a creaky, weary ache in your soul. Chandler’s growls are harsh and deep, and once the organs spill all over, things are damn near liturgical. “Against the Paradoxical Guild” is more fierce and screamy, showing some of their black metal tendencies and savagery, with mournful guitar lines and blistering drums. “In Self Ruin” brings back the giant chest heaves of organ, that sound downright ritualistic, and again we’re leveled with a heavier approach and more aggressive tempo. “Sceptre to Control the World” has an old-school death metal bend, and yet there are dreary, doomy sentiments included, along with a melody that evokes sorrow.

“Intermezzo,” as I’m sure you guessed, is an interlude track, whirry and airy, also ghostlike. “Triumphalism” is one of the shortest tracks on the record and is punchy and to the point, getting in, creating a body count, and moving on to the next unfortunate household. “Dust of a Gun Barrel” has Deathspell Omega-style experimentation, with its slurry, hypnotic melodies and creaked growls. The whole song is off-kilter and unsettling, and if it doesn’t chill you to the bone, you might already be deceased. Closer “When Scorn Can Scourge No More” has that aforementioned ’90s feel big time, bringing back thoughts of old Paradise Lost and Cathedral, and its doom-encrusted sensibility, shoegazey dreaming, and intoxicating grimness is a great way to bring this record crashing to its conclusion.

Lychgate is another tremendous find for Gilead Media, and this band should be one of the more exciting doom projects going forward. They have a personality few others in the tidal wave of doom can boast, and I’m sure experience and hunger are primary reasons for that. This is a really strong debut that hopefully is the first of many terrifying chapters to come.

Metal-Temple.com Read Close 9/10

If Charles Darwin were alive he’d be proud and in awe before the very art in front of him. Hypothetically speaking if LYCHGATE were a rare specimen. Natural selection has deemed this creation of superior genetics and environmental adaptation. LYCHGATE is not simply a Black Metal band, no sir. They are everything at once but at the same time not (Black Metal breached in the sub-fields of progressive, symphonic, atmospheric, and avant-garde). LYCHGATE is made-up of members from different acts such as ESOTERIC, THE ONE, LUNAR AURORA, and OMEGA CENTAURI. They’re all experienced and wise. Judging from this self-titled album, they definitely have an understanding music on a grander scale. Even though there are the styles of Black Metal I spoke of earlier, it’s used in an articulate way. You figure it would be especially difficult to apply so many elements without fault representing itself. Yes quite but LYCHGATE somehow accomplished that goal. This is the direction and evolution Black Metal needs. These guys have managed to show what research is about. Someone who can objectively observe and use their findings to represent everything.

First thing I’d like to discuss is Symphonic Black Metal, typing it sends shivers of disgust down my spine. I practically hate the genre. It’s basically raping and overabundance of keys for the majority of acts. Relatively speaking, LYCHGATE have little to no affiliation to said genre. In fact when done right the sound is tolerable. I only mentioned it because of the use of an organ to inject haunting reservoirs of cryptic uprising. The closest comparison I can make in classifying this is Atmospheric Black Metal overall but Avant-Garde Black Metal collectively. According to their Facebook page, they identified themselves as Art Black Metal which I find suitable because this is art of the finest taste.

Next let’s talk about conservation. Black Metal is a diverse deal and even after all its branching that’s happened throughout its evolution, one thing that keeps it true is its ability to carry its roots no matter how well one is indulged in multiculturalism. Sure there are plenty of bands who glorify the inception of the second-wave of Black Metal and that’s just fine. LYCHGATE have a huge respect for it and it shows authentic conservation with the help of Aran (LUNAR AURORA). The traditional bass sound is omnipresent throughout the album and perfectly captures the audacious ideas from the rest of his counterparts. It’s clearly shown on “In Self Ruin”. I like how it dwells away from traditional Black Metal yet can still keep fiercely well-connected blast beats and a ferocious fitting solo intertwined with a traditional Black Metal bass. That’s one thing; another trait crucial for Black Metal is the representation of a soul, in other words, expression, whether it’d be through hatred, sadness, sadism, isolation, or aggression, etc. but with intense passion.

It’s safe to say all musicians did indeed exhibit such a quality but the one who had a bit more of an edge was G. A. Chandler (ESOTERIC). His vocals were something else. Distant, cold, and dark they were. It varied from long and deep narrow-corridor growls to distant and mysterious screams. “Dust of a Gun Barrel” is the perfect example and my favorite song from the self-titled album. Impact was further shown on “Sceptre To Control” where there are blast-beats and an underlying rhythm speeding up the song but at the same time subdued and controlled by the assertive vocal prowess.

As the vocals had a tendency to tremble distortion of time, drums in the same respect accomplished like-mindedly. On the contrary to what I have explained in my review so far it’s not all blast-beats. In fact, I dislike musicians who hide behind them and are dependent on them, not T. J. F. Vallely (OMEGA CENTAURI). Blast-beats only account for about 23% here and throughout that entire percentage they were used creatively, fiercely, and passionately. Vallely’s real regard is shown in overall delivery. What all these musicians have equally in common is atmosphere.

MetalCentre.pl Read Close 8.5/10

Polish

Debiut brytyjskiego LYCHGATE to kolejna z tych pozycji wokół których się kręcę i ni cholery nie wiem jak zacząć tą recenzję. Być może jest to wynikiem takiej a nie innej pogody, gdyż mając za oknem październik u progu lata człowiekowi ciężko cokolwiek zrobić nie mówiąc już o napisaniu kilku sensownych zdań. No ale czas goni a ja też już mam dość bezproduktywnego zbijania bąków.

Bo przecież nie jest to żadna wina zawartości "Lychgate". Chociaż, może trochę. Na takie granie też potrzebny jest swoisty klimat. Przynajmniej ja takowego potrzebuję. Jak nietrudno wywnioskować do prymitywnych muzyka Anglików raczej nie należy, toteż wskazanym jest poświęcenie jej więcej uwagi. Bardzo dużo tu awangardowych rozwiązań, choć na dzień dzisiejszy powyższe określenie w stosunku do tego debiutu byłoby trochę na wyrost. Przecież to już żadna nowość, niemniej jednak pomijając fakt, że płyta tu i ówdzie może sprawiać problemy to w miarę wgłębiania się w nią bardzo uzależnia. Wystarczy sobie przypomnieć płyty późniejszego EMPEROR czy późniejszej DEATHSPELL OMEGA. Mniej więcej podobnie wciągały z każdym kolejnym odsłuchem pomimo całego tego nawału zaskakujących zwrotów akcji. Klimat bliski BLUT AUS NORD z tego bardziej Black Metalowego oblicza Francuzów. Przestrzenny, momentami kosmiczny jakbym to określił, przypominający "Memoria Vetusta II". Przynajmniej w tych wolniejszych partiach tak mi się to obrazuje. Oczywiście symfoniczne partie generowane za pomocą klawiszy mają w tym względzie niebagatelny wpływ.

Naprawdę bardzo dobrze się tego słucha. Chyba już kilkanaście razy przeleciał ten debiut przez moje uszy a ja wciąż nienasycony. I od nowa, i od nowa. Cholernie dopracowana rzecz. Cholernie dobra.

English

Lychgate British debut is another of these items around which a damn thing I'm shooting and I do not know how to start this review. Perhaps it is due to the way it is weather, as with the window at the beginning of the period Oct. hard man to do anything not to mention writing a few meaningful sentences. Well, but time chasing and I also already have a fairly unproductive nailing a horsefly.

Because this is not a fault content "Lychgate". Although, maybe a little. Playing such a need for a specific climate. At least I takowego need. As you might infer the primitive music Englishmen rather not be, so it is advisable to sacrifice her more attention. A lot of avant-garde solutions here, although at present this expression in relation to this debut would be a bit of an overstatement. But that's nothing new, but apart from the fact that the album here and there, it can cause problems as deeply into her very addictive. Just remember later EMPEROR plate or later DEATHSPELL OMEGA. Drew more or less the same with each listening in spite of all this flood of unexpected twists and turns. Climate BLUT AUS NORD close this more Black Metal calculated the French. Spacious, sometimes space I described it, reminiscent of "Memoria Vetusta II". At least in the slower parts so I find it depicts. Of course, lots of symphonic keys generated in this regard have a substantial impact.

Really good to hear it. Probably a dozen times this debut flew through my ears and I still insatiable. And again, and again. Polished damn thing. Damn good.

MetalFan.ro Read Close 8/10

Romanian

Trebuie sa recunosc ca pana sa vad numele Lychgate pe afisul cu primele confirmari pentru cea de a doua editie a festivalului November to Dismember, habar nu aveam de existenta acestei gasti britanice. De curiozitate, am luat legatura cu grupul pentru a realiza un interviu, iar trupetii au fost destul de amabili incat sa trimita si discul lor de debut in format mp3. L-am ascultat si l-am tot ascultat si pot spune ca britanicii au destul de mult potential pentru a deveni un grup de urmarit.

Suna sincer si corect, dar muzica lor ar putea fi greu de digerat in unele momente. Ce propun? Un melanj de black metal, doom/death, progressive si avant-garde. Ceva frumos ce aminteste intr-un fel de Arcturus, dar si de Blut aus Nord si totusi nu se opreste doar aici. Cumva suna a ceva ce cu siguranta ai mai auzit, asta daca nu este pentru prima data cand asculti astfel de sonoritati, dar are ceva aparte, care face ca Lychgate sa fie un grup special. Incursiunile de orga si clape ale lui Vortigern creaza o atmosfera ce cade precum o ceata densa peste haosul sonor controlat ce este prezentat de catre ai sai colegi de trupa. Totusi chiar daca vorbim despre un grup relativ nou, in Lychgate activeaza muzicieni cu greutate pentru scena extrema. Asadar, Greg Chandler este nimeni altul decat unul dintre parintii spirituali ai legendarului grup britanic Esoteric, iar Aran este cunoscut publicului larg in special pentru activitatea depusa in Lunar Aurora.

Melodic, dar malefic in acelasi timp, albumul de debut Lychgate poate fi un produs greu de digerat pentru ascultatorul ce cauta doar black metal. As putea spune ca Lychgate s-ar potrivi mai degraba unui ascultator de doom/death care asculta fara probleme si black metal-ul anilor '90 si pentru care sonoritatile experimentale nu sunt un taram strain. Inchei prin a spune ca la cat de bine se prezinta Lychgate, inclin sa cred ca este o chestiune de timp pana cand trupa va reusi sa faca pasul la nivelul urmator. Fiecare etapa trebuie parcursa, pentru ca daca nu faci ce trebuie atunci cand trebuie, reusita poate sa ramana pe hartie sau doar in minte.

English

I must admit that until Lychgate name on the poster to see the first confirmations for the second edition of November to Dismember, I had no idea of the existence of this British gangs. Out of curiosity, I contacted the group to interview, and the band members were kind enough to send their debut disc and mp3. I listened and listened and we all can say that the British have pretty much potential to become a group to follow.

Call honest and fair, but their music could be difficult to digest at times. What I propose? A mix of black metal, doom / death, progressive and avant-garde. Something nice in a way reminiscent of Arcturus, but also Blut Aus Nord and yet does not just stop here. Somehow definitely sounds like something you've heard, that if not for the first time listening to these sounds, but has something special that makes Lychgate be a special group. Incursions of organ and keyboards creates an atmosphere of Vortigern's falling like a dense fog over the sound controlled chaos that is presented by the band of his colleagues. But even if it's a relatively new group in active Lychgate musicians Stage extreme weight. So Greg Chandler is none other than one of the spiritual fathers of the legendary British group Esoteric and Aran is widely known especially for work done in Lunar Aurora.

Melodic, but evil at the same time Lychgate debut album may be a stodgy looking only for black metal listener. I could say that would fit Lychgate rather a listener doom / death listening smoothly and 90s black metal and experimental sonorities that are not in an alien land. I conclude by saying how well it shows Lychgate inclined to believe it's a matter of time before the band will be able to take the step to the next level. Each step must be crossed, because if you do you need when you need, success can only remain on paper or in your mind.

MetalImperium.com Read Close 8/10

Portuguese

Mais uma banda de black metal do Reino Unido que se estreia com este álbum auto-intitulado. O black metal aqui contido é tudo menos convencional, tendo muito da sua atmosfera típica mas indo buscar muitos elementos ao death metal ocultista e mais experimental, sem esquecer algumas pitadas de doom. Com membros experientes no underground, onde quase todos tiveram experiências em one-man-bands, exceptuando-se Greg A. Chandler, vocalista, teclista e guitarrista dos Esoteric, que aqui dedica-se à voz e guitarras.

Em alguns momentos, a convencionalidade dá ar de sua graça como em "Against The Paradoxical Guild", mas até mesmo nesta música, os elementos sinfónicos e, porque não, avant-garde e atmosféricos, têm uma enorme importância marcando a posição de que a abordagem à audição deste disco terá de ser feita de maneira diferente do que àquilo que normalmente é exigido a um álbum de black metal, havendo até um certo factor nostálgico, criando as mesmas imagens que os projectos dos anos noventa criavam - "In Self Ruin" e "Sceptre To Control The World" poderia estar no primeiro álbum dos Emperor.

Para os conhecedores dos projectos que fazem parte do passado dos membros da banda, como os Lunar Aurora, Omega Centauri e/ou Archaicus, faixas como "Triumphalism" não soarão totalmente estranhas, embora a já mencionada influência Emperor seja sempre preponderante. Um trabalho que recupera o bom nome no que diz respeito ao black metal sinfónico, não deixando de ser e mostrar muito mais do que o género engloba. Como curiosidade resta dizer que para quem pode achar o trabalho muito frio na sua produção - e quando digo frio refiro-me ao facto de poder soar pouco orgânico, muito digital - o mesmo foi produzido sem edição, isto é, foi tocado, sem copy/paste, sem truques de estúdio, o que só valoriza o que se ouve aqui. Excelente estreia.

English

Another band of black British metal debuts with this self-titled album. The black metal contained herein is anything but conventional, and much of their typical atmosphere but fetching many elements to occult death metal and more experimental, not forgetting a few pinches of doom. With experienced members in the underground, where almost all had experiences in one-man-bands, except in Greg A. Chandler, vocalist, keyboardist and guitarist Esoteric, here is dedicated to voice and guitars.

At times, the conventionality gives air of his grace as in "Against The Paradoxical Guild", but even this music, symphonic elements and, why not, avant-garde and air, have a huge importance as a placeholder for the approach to hearing this disc will have to be done differently than what is normally required of a black metal album, with up to a certain nostalgic factor, creating the same images that projects nineties created - "In Self Ruin" and "Sceptre to Control the World" could be the first album of the Emperor.

For connoisseurs of projects that are part of the past of the band members, as the Lunar Aurora, Omega Centauri and / or Archaicus, tracks like "triumphalism" will not sound quite strange, though the aforementioned influence Emperor is always predominant. A job that retrieves the good name with regard to symphonic black metal, whilst being and show much more than gender encompasses. As a curiosity remains to be said that for those who can find the very cold work in their production - and when I say cold I mean the fact that it may sound a little organic, very digital - it was produced without editing, that is, was played without copy / paste, no studio tricks, which only value what is heard here. Excellent debut.

MetalKaoz.com Read Close

LYCHGATE’s history begins back in 2001, when Vortigern created the band and handled all instruments. Only a couple of demos where released (“Beneath In Horizon” in 2003 and “The Elder Scape” in 2004) and both of them received very good reviews. Then the band went into hiatus and Vortigern was involved in other projects (THE ONE, ORPHEUS, SPEARHEAD). In 2012 the band went active again and with the help of G. A. Chandler (ESOTERIC), Aran (LUNAR AURORA) and T. J. F. Vallely (OMEGA CENTAURI), the self-titled debut was recorded and released. LYCHGATE is currently working on their second album that will be released next year.

During the first album spin, it became clear to me that “Lychgate” is a great example of atmospheric Black Metal. LYCHGATE have successfully combined all the beautiful aspects of Black Metal; and that means fast outbursts, plenty of blast beats and fast solos. At the same time LYCHGATE dare to enhance their sound with mid-tempo and slow tunes. But that’s not all since the muddy production that also keeps vocals one step behind the instruments, combined with the keyboards creates a haunting and eerie atmosphere. The icing on this Black Metal cake is G. A. Chandler shrieking vocals that shine during the entire album. The occasional growling are responsible for the dark and evil touch to the songs.

Once more I will say that “Lychgate” is a beautiful atmospheric release that will satisfy all the fans of Black Metal. A fantastic job has been done on all the instruments, plus the addition of keyboards (at least for my taste) spices things up, creating a twisting and grandiose atmosphere (like in the instrumental piece “Intermezzo”). In other words, don’t miss this release.

MetalUnderground.com Read Close 4/5

When a group of musicians decides to start a black metal project, there are certain aspects they try to obtain: the usual instruments - durable guitars, bass, and drums - and a vocalist with a raspy tone. Using an organ isn’t what one tries to sell to their kvlt black metal buddies, but Lychgate proudly boasts its presence on their eponymous debut. On a good portion of the album, the organ is integral to the stomach-churning atmosphere devised by the band. The organ isn’t the lone highlight, as Lychgate proves capable of handling black metal with substance.

One of Lychgate’s strengths is how they keep control of the tempos and pacing of their music. Black metal can disembark into a soulless canyon of repetitive noise if put into the wrong hands (excluding those who do that on purpose). There’s an audience who will devour blast beats for 40 minutes, but even the greats, like Immortal and Mayhem, didn’t just produce their first album multiple times over. Lychgate makes sure to not have to run into that situation if or when future recordings happen.

Instead of just relying on tremolo-picked guitars and sonic rhythm blasting, the band favors inserting those into spots that will give them the most value. Instead of numbing, they terrify with their incorporation after extended periods of grounded tempos. “Sceptre to Control the World” churns around a level-headed pace that implodes into hateful reproach about halfway through. “Against the Paradoxical Guild” is another track that does this in a respectable manner.

The instances where the more traditional values dispel is not a usual occurrence, at least not for extended periods. That gives their use a greater sense of urgency to the album. “In Self Ruin” appears after two well-mannered tunes to turn the intensity up, with shred-heavy guitar solos to let the chaos pour out. “When Scorn Can Scourge No More” is a straightforward closer, and though it’s not as quick to the punch as “In Self Ruin,” it still amasses quantities of intensity to work from.

Though the organ is prominent, this isn’t a symphonic-heavy album. There aren’t programmed orchestral flourishes, so Lychgate can’t get lumped in with Dimmu Borgir or Cradle of Filth. There are choirs incorporated into the interlude “Intermezzo,” but that’s as far as they get to the whole “symphonic black metal” label. The band dabbles with acoustic guitars on “Dust of a Gun Barrel,” a calming aura that’s is hindered by being buried low in the mix.

Lychgate set out to avoid appearing like stale newcomers with this self-titled effort. These guys are sharp writers, not just plugging away mindlessly on their instruments. The vocals are lethal, the guitars go beyond playing static riffs, and the drums make variety in the beats a top priority. This music is candy for the tooth-decayed misfits who can’t be satisfied anymore by dry and bland black metal.

Highs: Black metal with some surprises, grounded tempos allow for variety beyond typical blast beats and tremolo-picked riffs, organ used throughout the album to drench the album in a harrowing atmosphere

Lows: Use of acoustic guitar is lost in the thick of things

Bottom line: Lychgate puts in a stellar effort on their noteworthy self-titled debut

MortemZine.net Read Close 8.5/10

Czech

Ihned poté, co jsem zaregistroval informace o chystaném projektu, ve kterém účinkují taková esa, jako jsou Greg Chandler, Vortigern a hlavně Aran, zbystřil jsem, a v očekávání značně netrpělivém jsem dychtil zjistit, zda hvězdná sestava vytvoří materiál hodný jejich jmen, nebo nám naservírují pouhou akademickou nudu. A výsledek? Ten předčil moje očekávání.

Zmíněné rafany doplňuje ještě technický talent - drummer Tom Vallely, abych tedy byl kompletní. Spojení tvůrčích mozků takového formátu je zkrátka fascinující. Je zajímavé sledovat, kterak vůdčí osobnosti spolupracují pro zájem celku. Aran na postu baskytary nádherně zapadl a přitom strhává dostatek pozornosti ke svému, druhdy opomíjenému nástroji. LYCHGATE jsou dle kuloárů pokračováním Vortigernova atmosféricky black metalového projektu ARCHAICUS, ve kterém hrál na všechny nástroje.

Ostatně jsou v LYCHGATE kromě Grega všichni multiinstrumentalisté, kteří se žádného nástroje nebojí. Greg si ale plně vystačí se svojí kytarou a hlavně neskutečným hlasem. Právě on mě překvapil z celé sestavy nejvíce.
V ESOTERIC zkouší různé polohy growlingu, ale v LYCHGATE rozeřval svůj chřtán naplno. Chvílemi bych jej ani nepoznal. Démonické skřeky a řevy, co se z jeho hrdla ozývají, by strčily do kapsy kdekterého black metalového zpěváka.

Na co se teda můžeme vlastně těšit? Hlavně na black metal. Těžkého kalibru podotýkám. Pánové se nebojí na ploše kratičké, nepřesahující 38 minut, zaplnit prostor hudbou působící mohutněji a epičtěji, než jim stopáž dovoluje. V podstatě jako Tardis – navenek malá a krátká deska, ale ve vnitřku je ohromná. Ale vraťme se zpět z sci-fi metafor.

Symfonické ozvuky nejsou shazovány prázdnou bombastičností. Je tvořena „jen“ skladatelskými postupy a zvláštní atmosférou, která se nezdráhá zabrouzdat ani do sfér progrese či jakési avantgardy. Hudebníci jsou to ale vyspělí a vyrovnaní, a tak jejich přesahy nejsou krkolomné a snažící se o zoufalá gesta. Všechno jakoby plně přirozeně plyne. Přes mnou zmíněné atmosférické či avantgardní artefakty je ale debut „Lychgate“ plnokrevný black metal s nenávistnou atmosférou. Další pocity jako pohrdání, ironie, ale také zvláštní smutek, se s onou nenávistí zvláštně pojí v majestátní vážnost. Taková „In Self Ruin“ dává vzpomenout třeba i na Emperor. To jen pro příklad, kde se LYCHGATE pohybují. Nejsilnější pocity zažívám ale v instrumentálním předělu „Intermezzo“ a následovné pecce „Triumphalism“. Parádní sbory ze smyček v úvodu rázem doplní dekadentní nářez a úžasný Greg. Když nad tím přemýšlím, nemá smysl vytahovat hity. Protože bych asi vyjmenoval všechny songy. Snad jen upozorním na „Dust of a Gun Barrel“, kde v úvodu dost slyším Gregovo působiště.

English

Immediately after I noticed about the upcoming project, which act such aces such as Greg Chandler, Vortigern and especially Aran, I tensed, and in anticipation of very impatient, I was eager to find out whether the stellar assembly creates a material worthy of their names or email us served to mere academic boredom. And the result? It exceeded my expectations.

These RAFANI complimented technical talent - drummer Tom Vallely, I was therefore complete. The combination of creative minds such format is simply fascinating. It is interesting to see how leaders work together for the interest of the whole. Aran to post bass wonderfully fit and still pulls enough attention to her, once neglected instrument. LYCHGATE are proceeding according lobbies Vortigernova atmospheric black metal project ARCHAICUS, in which he played all the instruments.
Indeed, in addition to Greg LYCHGATE all multi-instrumentalists who are not afraid of any tools. But Greg fully enough with his guitar and most incredible voice. It was he surprised me most in the whole group.
The Esoteric trying different positions Growling, but LYCHGATE roared its mouth full. Sometimes I did not recognize him. Demonic shrieks and bellows what is heard from his throat, would pocketed kdekterého black metal singer.

So what are we actually look forward to? Especially on black metal. Heavy caliber, I note. Gentlemen or the desktop very short, not exceeding 38 minutes to fill the space with music and acting violently epičtěji than they footage allows. Basically as Tardis - outwardly small and short board, but the interior is enormous. But back to the sci-fi imagery.

Symphonic echoes are trivialized empty bombast. It consists of "only" composer procedures and special atmosphere which does not hesitate to zabrouzdat even into the realms of progression or some sort of avant-garde. Musicians are not yet mature and balanced in their laps are awkward and eager to desperate gestures. Everything seemed completely naturally follows. Despite my aforementioned atmospheric avant-garde or artifacts but debut "Lychgate" full-blooded black metal with hateful atmosphere. Other feelings such as contempt, irony, but also a sadness, hate it with that strangely united in majestic solemnity. Such "In Self Ruin" gives remember even at Emperor. The only example where LYCHGATE move. The strongest feelings I experience but instrumental remake of "Intermezzo" and subsequently Pip "triumphalism". Great choirs of loops in the beginning suddenly complement decadent cuts and amazing Greg. When you think about it, it makes no sense to pull hits. Because I probably enumerated all the songs. Perhaps only briefly refer to "Dust of a Gun Barrel", where at the beginning rather hear Greg sphere.

PestWebzine.com Read Close 9/10

Founded as a one man band in 2001 under the Archaicus moniker, Lychgate changed its name and line-up in 2012 when it became a quartet. I don't know if there's any link with the now defunct Archaicus except for the founding member but Archaicus only released 2 demos in '03 and '04, I doubt the nowadays Lychgate style has anything to do with the past. Anyway, this is Lychgate's debut album, an impressive, extremely solid, complex, emotional and almost mesmerizing effort that will certainly challenge you to resist being drawn in its nets. It's not brutal to leave you breathless, it's not melodic enough to be considered soft, it's not complex to a point where you don't understand a thing, and it's not tormenting or desperate enough for being considered DSBM, but instead has the right amount of all these. Now I don't know if this is a good choice for them as some of you will require more speed and intensity all the time, some of you won't enjoy the slow, depressive parts, but if you're looking for something in the middle, with excellent compositions and execution Lychgate is the right choice, I'm impressed.

Pitchline-Zine.com Read Close 9/10

Spanish

Bien, antes de comenzar a hablar acerca del trabajo en cuestión, creo que sería conveniente ponernos en antecedentes.

Lychgate es una banda asentada en Inglaterra que cuenta en sus filas con miembros de nada menos que los titanes y copropietarios del Funeral Doom Esoteric, así como un militante de la nueva promesa emergente en la facción más moderna del Black Metal Omega Centauri y el que fuera una mitad de los ya extintos Lunar Aurora.

En este contexto lo lógico es pensar que el trabajo resultante del esfuerzo conjunto de todas estas mentes ha de ser, como mínimo, aceptable; pues bien, no sólo eso, mis ansias y expectativas por escucharlo eran inconscientemente justificadas puesto que lo que tenemos delante es excepcional. La creación de este discreto súper grupo echa la totalidad de sus raíces en el terreno del Black Metal, sin embargo; numerosos elementos, como las atmósferas que un órgano es capaz de parir, y la inquietud por inspeccionar parajes más técnicos que sustituyan la rapidez y la estridencia del Black Metal per se hacen de este álbum homónimo toda un diamante en bruto de la música extrema más moderna y poco convencional.

Gran parte de toda esta riqueza diría que estriba en la influencia de Greg Chandler en cuanto a la creación de estructuras atmosféricas, argumento de autoridad dada la labor que el músico desempeña en Esoteric, pero sobre todo la magia que es capaz de imprimir Vortigern con el sonido del órgano aferrándose a su propia experiencia como multi instrumentista: Orpheus y Archaicus, banda que supone el germen de Lychgate y cuyo peso caía únicamente sobre sus hombros.

Como ya digo, un porcentaje significativo del encanto se encuentra en el entorno orquestal latente que proporciona el órgano, añadiendo discretos matices sinfónicos que aportan cierta excepcionalidad al conjunto.

Este hecho podemos vislumbrarlo desde el principio; ya en “The Inception” las intenciones filarmónicas destacan de forma sobresaliente (llegando a pensar incluso que iba a tratarse de un álbum de Black Metal sinfónico), pero es con la sucesión de minutos cuando uno se percata de que gracias a detalles como éste se conforma un Black Metal atípico sustentado en melodías y acordes típicos de tal género.

En composiciones como “Against the Paradoxical Guild” y “In Self Ruin” se antoja complejo un análisis porque la variedad es exuberante: desde arpegios melódicos y blast beats que caen los patrones del género, hasta proyecciones ambiciosas en las seis cuerdas que generan elementos vanguardistas y psicóticos, más si cabe, cuando resultan acompañados de atmósferas ceremoniales que bien podrían pasar por barrocas.

Por último mencionar el carácter genérico, que aún así no eclipsa ni un ápice de gloria, de “Triumphalism” y “Sceptre to Control the World”, destacable por el reparto de minutos de forma equitativa entre los compases a medio tiempo y la velocidad neurótica que culmina en un clímax donde el conjunto de los instrumentos al unísono descargan impasibles. “Dust of a Gun Barrel”, por otra parte, se muestra muy rica en cambios de tiempo, convirtiéndose en una composición imprevisible donde interludios acústicos se mezclan con pasajes disonantes y arreones llenos de ira para dar nombre a una de las mejores, o la mejor, pieza de Lychgate.

No es necesario decir mucho más; este debut cumple los requerimientos técnicos – pudiendo alardear de una producción meritoria – musicales y conceptuales, mostrándose filosóficamente incognoscibles, que cualquier álbum ha de cubrir para catalogarse de “magnífico”. Pese a que todos los cortes que componen la obra datan de 2011, no se sabe si desde tal fecha a día de hoy el único propósito de la banda ha sido llenar de matices cada una de las partes para así llegar a tan magno resultado; lo que sí está claro es que junto a la obra maestra de Aosoth, Lychgate está nominado al álbum de Black Metal del año.

English

Well, before you start talking about the work in question, I think it would be put on record.

Lychgate settled in England is a band that has in its ranks with members of nothing less than the Titans and co-owners of Funeral Doom Esoteric and a militant of the emerging new promise in the most modern faction of Black Metal Omega Centauri and it was a half extinct Lunar Aurora.

In this context it is logical to think that the work arising from the joint effort of all these minds must be at least acceptable; Well, not only that, my anxieties and expectations were unconsciously listen justified since it before us is exceptional. The creation of this discrete supergroup check all its roots in the field of Black Metal, though; many elements such as the atmospheres that a body is able to give birth, and concerns about inspecting more technical sites to replace the speed and stridency of Black Metal per se make this eponymous album a rough diamond all the latest extreme music and unconventional.

Much of this wealth is to say that the influence of Greg Chandler regarding the creation of atmospheric structures, authority argument given the work that the musician plays in Esoteric, but especially the magic that is capable of printing Vortigern with sound clinging to his own experience as multi instrumentalist organ: Orpheus and Archaicus, band representing the germ of Lychgate, weighing only fell on his shoulders.

As I say, a significant percentage of the charm is in the latent orchestral environment that provides the body, adding discrete symphonic overtones that bring some uniqueness to the whole.

This fact can glimpse from the beginning; and in "The Inception" philharmonic intentions stand outstandingly (reaching even think that would be a symphonic Black Metal album), but the succession of minutes when one realizes that thanks to details like this are atypical forms a Black Metal sustained in melodies and chords typical of such genre.

In compositions like "Against the Paradoxical Guild" and "In Self Ruin" seems complex analysis because the variety is abundant: from melodic arpeggios and blast beats that fall gender patterns to ambitious projections in the six strings that create avant-garde elements and psychotic, more so, when they are accompanied by ceremonial atmosphere that could pass for baroque.

Finally mention the generic, that still does not eclipse none of glory, "triumphalism" and "Sceptre to Control the World", remarkable for sharing equitably minutes between bars at halftime and neurotic speed culminating in a climax where all the instruments in unison downloading impassive. "Dust Barrel of a Gun", moreover, is very rich in changes of time, becoming an unpredictable composition where acoustic interludes are mixed with dissonant passages and arreones filled with anger to name one of the best, or better piece of Lychgate.

No need to say more; This debut meets the technical requirements - can boast of a meritorious production - musical and conceptual, showing philosophically unknowable, that any album cover has to be classified as "magnificent". Despite all the cuts that make up the work dating from 2011, is not known whether from that date today the sole purpose of the band has been filled with nuances each of the parties in order to reach as grand result; what is clear is that with AOSOTH masterpiece, Lychgate is nominated Black Metal album of the year.

Sputnik Music Read Close 4/5

Master horror writer, Stephen King once described what truly scares people. Coming up with three different types of what we know as fear, "The Gross-out: the sight of a severed head tumbling down a flight of stairs… Horror: the unnatural, spiders the size of bears, the dead waking up… and the last and worse one: Terror, when you come home and notice everything you own had been taken away and replaced by an exact substitute. It's when the lights go out and you feel something behind you, you hear it, you feel its breath against your ear, but when you turn around, there's nothing there". Fear of the unknown; a vagueness, an ambiguity that presents us with a limit to our knowledge, language, and security. Lychgate, a group created by like-minded musicians from several already respected bands in black metal, death metal and funeral doom, brilliantly embody that third aspect of fear--terror. A feeling that when left unchecked can bring about absolute insanity, even in the most reasonable of us.

Their self titled debut impressively delivers a cacophony of monstrous guitar tones, relentless drum work and organs, ominous in their application and execution, each preying on our anxieties. The organ, while perhaps not the first instrument chosen when planning to play any genre of extreme music, nonetheless offers Lychgate an immense, macabre element to their sound. Helping them realize this sense of shadowy uneasiness that runs throughout the cold veins of the album as evidenced in "In Self Ruin". Other tracks like "Against the Paradoxical Guild" take advantage of Greg Chandler's bloodcurdling screams while the dynamics of the song highlight some of best tendencies of the black metal genre. Parallel to, at times, the 'wall of sound' used by some of Norway's more melodic bands during the second wave, like Emperor. The blast beats and tremolo riffs don't so much as bury you but instead focus more on enveloping you as they are used sparingly and at the most advantageous moments.

"Sceptre to Control the World" develops a more mid-pace brooding sound that showcases the groups ties with death metal and funeral doom. The grooves and rhythms set the mood while the drums pick up steam halfway through with a galloping frenzy topped off by Chandler's tortured grunts. One of the biggest accomplishments Lychgate brings to the table is that none of their instruments were processed. Recorded without the use of any editing validates the musicians merits and leaves the listener amazed at the technicality of the unrevised arrangements. Another worthy achievement the band accomplishes is managing to vary their sound song to song without losing the terrifying palpation felt on the album. Innovating and correlating each track without fluctuating from the core essence is harder done than said--Lychgate adapts themselves perfectly to aforementioned sentiment.

The ending numbers focus more on the death and funeral doom elements more so than black metal, marking a tightening grip as Lychgate engulfs the trepidatious listener. Once again, it comes back to that paralyzing thought, asphyxiation by an overwhelming terror. By the time penultimate number's brief acoustic moment, within the song's vast sound, is over that small crack in the window of hope has been closed off forever in front of you. Like a black hole, Lychgate's sound not only exhausts every viable source of luminescence but also expels it right back out. Left purged and obliterated by the overall experience. The album is a chilling expedition into the cryptic universe occupied by the impenetrable, inexplicable and unavoidable terror that lurks at the crux of their nature.

Steel for Brains Read Close Top 50 of 2013

Much of what draws me to the metal genre is the topic of decay. There’s a fine line of distinction between those musicians and bands fully capable of conveying a respectful sense of wonder at the process of decomposition and those who simply feign interest in the hopes of appearing intimidating or frightening. Those artists and musicians who truly desire to venture outside the confines of what is considered “dark” tend to avoid the clichéd sentiments of purely “evil” or “foreboding” lyrics, instead focusing on the life cycle itself – the equilibrium of the conscious and unconscious. While much of popular music may take a surface level perspective on death and loss, the metal genre has made it a distinctive characteristic to burrow deep into the heart of every aspect of existence and not simply those that conjure up feelings of positivity.

England’s Lychgate are one of many bands whose aesthetic is one reliant far more on the space of sound rather than gimmicky undertones of supposed evil or dread. Just glossing over the band’s Bio or Facebook profile, and you’ll learn their interests are far reaching. Listen to their recently released S/T debut, and that understanding is amplified to a stunning degree. Much like the other bands of its members (including Esoteric and Omega Centauri), Lychgate is as decadent in sound as it is in the subject matter of each song. G.A. Chandler’s vocals work a buzzsaw instrumentation around the blood curdling accuracy of Vortigern (guitars), Aran (bass), and T. J. F. Vallely (drums). Encapsulating the divinity of decay, the album displays the life cycle from the birth of the first track with its Bach-by-way-of-hell pipe organ to the hauntingly gorgeous ending track, “When Scorn Can Scourge No More.”

The use of keyboards/synthesizers in black metal is oftentimes (and rightfully so) looked at with a sort of ambivalence by fans and critics alike. It’s not that the use of them is something inherently bad. It’s simply that their use is somewhat of a decorative piece that’s almost always forgettable. With Lychgate, their usage is paramount to the overall atmosphere of the album. Second track “Resentment” begins with an ominous dirge heralding into a maddening blend of avant-garde black metal and post-metal soundscapes. “Against the Paradoxical Guild” is an absolutely unrelenting composition filling all six minutes and nineteen seconds with the kind of music that bears repeat listens to fully absorb its mastery. Lychgate is that metal album whose atmospheric beauty is teethed with the conception of decay and the inevitability of death. Lychgate was released in April courtesy of Gilead Media and Mordgrimm.

Stereogum Read Close

A lot of bands try to blend doom metal and black metal, to strike that happy medium between epic crush and blistering blaze, but few do it as well as Europe’s Lychgate. The band has got the dual guttural-growl/high-rasp vocal assault, can go from a relative crawl to an all-out blast in no time flat, and make music as weighty as it is rich in majestic atmosphere. Throw in a few gothic accents and you’re looking at something special. Lychgate has been been around—at least in spirit—for over a decade, initially as a solo project helmed by Vortigern (of The One) and later as the four-piece they are today, sort of a supergroup featuring G.A. Chandler (of Esoteric), Aran (Lunar Aurora), and T.J.F. Vallely (Omega Centauri) alongside Vortigern. Their self-titled debut is being released by Wisconsin’s Gilead Media and the cult UK label Mordgrimm, a veritable treasure trove of obscure black and doom metal—I’d recommend checking out both labels out if you’re into metal that skews underground. Listen to “Dust Of A Gun Barrel”, one of Lychgate’s highlights.

Suicide by Star Zine Read Close 8/10

Spanish

Aunque Lychgate se presenta como un proyecto completamente nuevo, los integrantes que lo forman no son precisamente unos novatos: la banda la conforman ni más ni menos que Greg Chandler (cantante y guitarrista de la banda inglesa de doom psicodélico Esoteric), Aran (de los alemanes Lunar Aurora, recientemente disueltos y que en este caso se encargará del bajo), y Tom Vallely (percusionista de los algo más actuales Omega Centauri). De primeras tres artistas cuya respectiva obra tiene muy poco en común, parece que el denominador común será el interés por la inclusión de ambientes y pasajes atmosféricos en sus respectivos proyectos, algo que curiosamente no será el punto de partida ni un elemento especialmente notable dentro del sonido de Lychgate, sino más bien algo secundario que acompaña los temas de fondo.

Frente a los sonidos más en auge dentro del black metal, Lychgate se posicionan con bastante personalidad alejándose de cualquier tipo de tendencia: sobre una base bastante clásica y de corte europeo de ritmos rápidos se montan unos órganos amenazadores y unas trabajadas guitarras que nos recuerdan claramente a la psicodelia retorcida y delirante de Esoteric. No solo se nota aquí la mano de Greg Chandler sino que los agónicos gritos (más orientados a su registro raspado que al gutural) son también marca de la casa. En definitiva, pese a que el contexto es completamente distinto por tratarse de un género ajeno a la obra del inglés como es el black metal, este se aferra a su peculiar personalidad para no terminar de alejarse de los elementos con los que se siente cómodo para trabajar.

Este primer álbum homónimo, que ronda los 40 minutos, supone un buen ejemplo de que se puede hacer black metal a día de hoy sin vivir de la rentas ni fusilar el sonido de otras bandas. Cierto que no supone una ruptura brutal con el género pero teniendo elementos “prestados” (como pueden ser las ambientaciones en segundo plano sin tomar protagonismo o las varias capas de guitarra que desembocan en ocasionales solos disonantes), el resultado final no supone un calco o una copia en ningún momento. Por último, todo ello se pasa por un filtro que incluso podría recordar a bandas sinfónicas como Emperor, siendo aquí donde parece recae el mayor peso de Aran. En ese sentido podríamos decir que Lychgate beben más de la primera etapa de Lunar Aurora que de la última. Acertada también la duración, pues al tratarse de un disco tan directo no cansa, aunque cuando se aferran a los tiempos más lentos al final del disco pueda parecer que se pierde un poco el ritmo.

En resumidas cuentas, inesperado y breve disco que deja una buena impresión y que aunque sería una buena noticia su continuidad, esperemos que no influya demasiado en el desarrollo del resto de proyectos de sus componentes. De momento nos conformamos con saber que aún queda gente ahí fuera que no compone con el piloto automático puesto.

English

Although Lychgate is presented as a completely new project, the members that form are not exactly novices: the band make up no less than Greg Chandler (singer and guitarist of the British band of psychedelic doom Esoteric), Aran (the German Lunar Aurora, recently dissolved and in this case will handle the bass) and Tom Vallely (percussionist for more current Omega Centauri). From first three respective artists whose work has very little in common, it seems that the common denominator is the interest in the inclusion of environments and atmospheric passages in their respective projects, which curiously not be the starting point or an element especially noticeable in the Lychgate sound, but rather secondary accompanying substantive issues.

Facing the booming sounds inside the black metal, Lychgate are positioned fairly personality away from any kind of trend on a fairly classic European-based and fast rhythms and a few menacing bodies worked guitars reminiscent clearly mount the twisted psychedelia Esoteric and delirious. Not only the hand of Greg Chandler notes here but the agonized screams (more oriented to their record scraping the guttural) are also house brand. In short, although the context is completely different because it is a foreign genre to the work of English as it is the black metal, this is clinging to his peculiar personality to not finish away from the elements with which they feel comfortable work.

This first album, which is around 40 minutes, is a good example of how to do black metal today live without the income or shooting the sound of other bands. True that there is a brutal break with gender but bearing elements "borrowed" (such as the atmospheres in the background without taking ownership or several layers of guitar that lead to occasional dissonant solos), the end result is not a carbon copy or a copy at any time. Finally, all this is passed through a filter that might even remind symphonic bands like Emperor, being here that seems borne the brunt of Aran. In this sense we could say that Lychgate drink more than the first stage of Lunar Aurora that of the latter. Also correct length, as being a direct drive so not tired, even when they stick to the slower times at the end of the disc may seem to lose a little rhythm.

In short, unexpected and short drive to leave a good impression and that would be good news although its continuity, hopefully not too much influence in the development of other projects of its components. For now we are satisfied with knowing that there are still people out there that do not include the autopilot.

Teeth of the Divine Read Close

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.

That’s How Kids Die Read Close

For some time now, Gilead Media has been working to establish itself as the go-to label for interesting and innovative US black metal. Now, having decimated the competition in that particular niche, the label makes its maiden voyage outside the confines of USBM in the form of Lychgate, a UK-based band featuring current and former members of such luminaries as Esoteric, Lunar Aurora and The One. This would typically be the part where we throw around the term “supergroup” and debate its questionable merits, but I’ve got a better idea. How ’bout we skip all that rubbish and you just trust me when I say that Lychgate’s self-titled debut album is pretty fucking super? Sound good? Ok then, let us proceed…

Lychgate’s style of black metal is highly ornate and just a little bit twisted; this is the second wave-style BM you’ve come to know and love to be sure, but there’s something about it that’s slightly off-kilter in the best way possible. Much of it probably has something to do with the creepy funeral parlor organ that pops up throughout the record, lending it a quasi-psychedelic, blackened Iron Butterfly vibe. Or maybe it’s the fact that there are parts of the album that actually sound uplifting to my ears, at least musically speaking; I don’t have access to the lyrics, so it’s entirely possible that the parts I think are uplifting actually feature lyrics about offing yourself. Either way, there is an unorthodox originality and attention to detail at work here within the confines of an established form that makes the album one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.

As one might expect from a band featuring a member of Esoteric (guitarist/vocalist Greg Chandler), Lychgate does delve into doomy passages on occasion, but never approaches the glacially paced ultra-doom of the former. Doom is simply another texture here rather than the focal point, much like the use of pinch-harmonics that sound like they wouldn’t be out of place on a Dying Fetus album or the or the occasional deep, cavernous vocals that could’ve come from any number of bands aligning themselves with the Incantation school of murk and mayhem. Make no mistake, Lychgate is a black metal record through and through, but the band isn’t afraid to pick and choose the best parts of other genres and incorporate them in an unobtrusive manner.

This is one of the those albums that reveals new sounds with every spin, and clocking in at less than forty minutes means you’re much more likely to hit the “play” button again as soon as it’s over. Indeed, Lychgate has crafted an enthralling recording that manages to sound progressive but at the same time leaves you wanting more, thanks both to its easily digestible length and the band’s exquisite songwriting chops. I have to hand it to Gilead Media for picking one hell of an album for their first foray into international black metal, and I hope that Lychgate isn’t just a one-off for these musicians, because it’s evident that there’s a shitload of potential here. More, please.

The Alchemist's Cave Read Close

Gilead Media has become one of the foremost purveyors of underground extreme metal in the past few years. The Adam Bartlett brainchild is a label where quality and consistency are king, making every single vinyl release a must-own for any heavy collection worth its weight. So when it was announced that the imprint would be debuting a full-length from a new black metal horde from the UK, well, suffice it to say I was intrigued. The label tends to focus on homegrown heroes so the fact that it was reaching across the pond could only mean good things, and what was unleashed was yet another gem from the filthy depths.

Born from the ashes of the one-man atmospheric project Archaicus, Lychgate evolved into a full band and transformed their sound into something more indescribable. It’s an amalgam of all things extreme, combining black metal and death-doom with fantastic results. The occasional symphonic flourish by way of creepy organ adds a horrible beauty without falling into the common clichés committed by bands who try to compete with movie scores. Subtlety is key, and that’s where Lychgate succeed.

As we spiral deep into the madness, the occasional familiarity will present itself. By the time the album is halfway through, the band’s penchant for clarity and precision has become apparent, and unexpected influences creep through the terror. The first half of “Sceptre to Control the World” sounds positively Opethian. And it’s not the only nod to the prolific Swedes you’ll hear, as the final track’s melancholic leads and off-kilter percussion reveal a sort of instrumental experimentation and cohesion that would only be expected from a group compatible beyond their years. These unexpected twists and turns become more and more apparent after repeat listens, rewarding patience. Drummer Jon Valelly plays seemingly on his own accord, adding a maddening, almost impromptu jazzy sheen to the mix which is beyond refreshing for a black metal debut. His ability to play both in sync with the rest of the band and up to his own demonic devices is unparalleled, a masterful feat.

With such a dense and dizzying output, I was hoping for a longer offering in both in track and album length; 38 minutes including an intro and interlude leaves you wondering what other sort of madness these occultists could have conjured up if they experimented with stretching their movements past the 6-minute mark. But with such mesmerizing songs and an overall impressive first album it’s hard to fault the Brits with much at all.

The record is available from Gilead’s webstore.

Final thoughts: Gilead Media puts out another incredible debut from a band who satisfy the need for all things heavy, without forgoing melody and intrigue.

The Lair of Filth Read Close

It’s all too easy to focus on facts that aren’t directly in correlation to the music, when approaching some albums. Lychgate, for example, comprise of members of Omega Centuari, Lunar Aurora and Esoteric, which can be helpful, in as much as you might get a general idea of what to maybe expect from the music. However, Lychgate is very much its own entity, and that entity is massive and crushing, unleashing an album that most certainly delivers.

At its heart Lychgate is black metal, but as we all know that genre has gone off in so many directions and tangents that it is now very much a blanket term that covers many styles. Lychgate’s sound is a punishing one, and one that is grandiose in scope without disappearing up its own ass. The production is such that it emphasizes all elements, whilst keeping the fluidity of the album firmly intact.

The grandiose elements are married in with haunting atmospherics, some great doomier moments as well as some good old fashioned blasting away. It’s an album of diversity and as such is one that demands your attention, rather than just listening to it as background music. Once, however, you have fully digested it you’ll get that appreciation of just how much is going on here, and how damned good it is.

So, you could focus on who is in the band, or you could just take that on board and then sit back and enjoy an album that delivers the goods in all departments. Ferocious, atmospheric and incredibly powerful, Lychgate is most certainly an album that you need to hear.

The New Noise Read Close

Italian

Black metal potente, epico e con tanto di organo e tastiere, quindi orchestrale, ma lontano anni luce dalla pomposità noiosa del cosiddetto “black metal sinfonico”.

Il miracolo è compiuto dai Lychgate, una consorteria di metallari con base in Gran Bretagna, una specie di supergruppo parecchio underground, visto che quella parte di Europa è relativamente meno famosa per quanto riguarda questo genere. I Lychgate in realtà sono nati dalle ceneri – o dalla metamorfosi – di un progetto, Archaicus, avviato più di dieci anni fa da Vortigern, frontman e multistrumentista in vari gruppi d’area black, tra i quali spicca The One. Per la resurrezione Vortigern (chitarre, canti, organo e tastiere) ha coinvolto Greg Chandler (voce e chitarre) del mostro doom Esoteric, Aran (basso), della black metal band tedesca Lunar Aurora, e T. J. F. Vallely (batteria e percussioni) dalla creatura Omega Centauri, tra le altre cose. Insomma, una cricca da paura.

La bestia Lychgate è di razza ibrida, anche perché le band da cui provengono i diversi musicisti spesso già elaborano e sperimentano soluzioni sonore differenti, pur rimanendo saldamente ancorate alla cosidetta “vecchia scuola” metal. Per semplificare, si potrebbe targare Lychgate come black metal “atmosferico” o “progressive” o ancora – come si usa ultimamente – “art”, e non andrebbe male. Però con la sigla e basta non si riuscirebbe a cogliere che Lychgate è una specie di antico calderone magico in cui bollono abbondanti dosi del pathos e della brutalità di Bathory, Taake e Marduk (oppure a scelta vostra!), mescolate alla tecnica e alle atmosfere di Death, Opeth, Edge Of Sanity e Katatonia, alle partiture avantgarde-jazz dei Virus, doom grezzo e horror progressive arcaico e occulto rispettivamente da Winter e Abysmal Grief, e ancora noise, psichedelia… Poi, sorpresa, fuoriescono vapori letali ma eterei e che odorano di Alcest.

L’album di debutto del progetto Lychgate comprende nove tracce per quasi trentotto minuti di viaggio turbinoso in un altro tempo, dentro nel tunnel nero della cover (a firma di Manuel Tinnemans). Due episodi durano un minuto e fanno da introduzione e intermezzo al vortice impazzito descritto dagli altri sette brani, molto sfaccettati ma mai troppo lunghi, al massimo poco oltre i sei minuti. Questa band, infatti, ha una grande capacità di sintesi e di scrittura, che le permette di entrare e uscire dai generi, aggrovigliandoli in un caos apparente ma concludendo in modo quasi naturale ed elegante.

Spesso i brani hanno un attacco o un nucleo centrale tipo cripta o tipo carica infernale, quello proprio del black metal classico, ma presto entra il gusto per la tecnica, tramite sequenze di riff velocissimi e intricati o nervosi (“In Self Ruin”), oppure ipnotici nella loro circolarità tormentata (“Sceptre To Control The World). A ciò si alternano momenti doom, lenti e solenni, durante i quali il suono, rimbombante, è scomposto su più piani paralleli in modo molto suggestivo. L’organo è specialmente qui protagonista: riecheggia ieratico e minaccioso, annega la brutalità del black metal in atmosfere occulte e morbose. Tuttavia spesso è proprio il riverbero del suono dell’organo che consente il passaggio dal tormento ad atmosfere eteree da black metal psichedelico, fino allo shoegaze, anche se però non manca il rintocco ossessivo e marziale della batteria. Come la batteria, anche la voce in growl di Greg Chandler è soverchiata dalla cacofonia delle chitarre, ma ciò non fa che renderla ancora più paurosa, sia quando ringhia in modo bestiale nelle sfuriate black metal sia quando lascia uscire la propria anima doom.

Dopo l’intermezzo molto suggestivo, dominato dalle tastiere e da un canto occulto, arrivano “Triumphalism” e “Dust Of A Gun Barrel”, due ballate mozzafiato che seguono più o meno lo schema descritto, ma che sanno ugualmente stregare e incorporano in modo particolare l’influenza di Archaicus e delle band di provenienza dei musicisti coinvolti in Lychgate. “Triumphalism” è aperta dal ritmo sincopato della batteria e da una combinazione sognante di organo e chitarre riverberate, che sfocia in una magnifica mescolanza di frenesia bestiale e melodie complesse e raffinate, accelerazioni folli e rallentamenti in cui si è catturati dal ritmo prima che tutto si dissolva in atmosfere black shoegaze che mi ricordano i nostri, bravi, Frostmoon Eclipse. “Dust Of A Gun Barrel” parte come melodia jazzata e dissonante “avantgarde”, successivamente apre la gabbia e fa uscire l’anima maligna. È bellissimo lo stacco improvviso, a circa metà del brano, con il tremolare della chitarra acustica in un silenzio da pre-tempesta. In realtà poi il pezzo segue una melodia dolente e a tratti epica, ma sempre contaminata, o rinfrescata, da dissonanze e diversioni attraenti. È un po’ il “mood” con cui la band decide di concludere questo magnifico album, visto che la traccia finale, “When Scorn Can Scourge No More”, tende a svilupparsi come un ibrido tra Alcest ed Opeth, condotta da un suono delle chitarre non troppo aggressivo.

Io l’ho raccontata così, l’esperienza Lychgate, ma continuando ad ascoltare questo esordio ricco all’inverosimile di spunti e diversi stati d’animo, potrebbe venir fuori anche un’altra recensione. Comunque uno degli effetti di questo disco tutto sommato compatto, è quello di farti (ri)ascoltare i gruppi satelliti a questo progetto per prolungare la magia, cogliendoci echi di Lychgate (specialmente in Omega Centauri).

Insomma, ben vengano questi signori a infoltire prepotentemente la schiera delle band eclettiche che hanno contribuito a rinnovare e arricchire il panorama black metal internazionale con la sperimentazione o scavalcando i confini tra generi (Negative Plane, Oranssi Pazuzu, Nachtmystium, Ludicra, Paroxsihzem…).

Lychgate è uscito tramite Gilead Media in formato vinile e in formato cd/digitale per Mordgrimm . Per cui non ci sono scuse per non procurarsi questo album bellissimo, malevolo e feroce, tecnico ma appassionante per la sua mutevolezza e per la grande ispirazione che permea ogni brano.

In attesa di altro, avidamente, come pulcini famelici di rapace dal becco aperto…

English

Black metal powerful, epic and with a lot of organ and keyboards, and orchestral, but light years away from the boring pomposity of the "symphonic black metal."

The miracle is accomplished by Lychgate, a coterie of metalheads based in Britain, a kind of underground supergroup lot, since that part of Europe is relatively less known regarding this kind. The Lychgate actually born from the ashes - or metamorphosis - a project, Archaicus, started over ten years ago by Vortigern, frontman and multi-instrumentalist in various groups of black area, among which is The One. For the resurrection Vortigern (guitars, singing, organ and keyboards) involved Greg Chandler (vocals and guitars) Monster doom Esoteric, Aran (bass), the German black metal band Lunar Aurora, and TJF Vallely (drums and percussion) from the creature Omega Centauri, among other things. In short, a clique from fear.

The beast is Lychgate hybrid race, also because the band from which the musicians often have elaborate and experience different sound solutions, while remaining firmly anchored to the so-called "old school" metal. To simplify, you could targare Lychgate as black metal "atmospheric" or "progressive" or even - how to use it lately - "art", and would not go bad. But with the initials and you just do not fail to grasp that Lychgate is a kind of ancient magic cauldron in which boil liberal doses of pathos and brutality of Bathory, Taake and Marduk (or your choice!), Mix the technical and atmospheres Death, Opeth, Katatonia and Edge of Sanity, to the scores of avantgarde jazz-Virus, raw doom and horror progressive archaic occult respectively from Winter and Abysmal Grief, and even noise, psychedelia ... Then, surprise, escaping vapors lethal but ethereal and that smell of Alcest.

The debut album of the project Lychgate includes nine tracks for almost thirty minutes of Whirlwind Trip to another time, inside the tunnel black cover (signed by Manuel Tinnemans). Two episodes last a minute and make an introduction and interlude to the mad whirl described by the other seven songs, very multifaceted but never too long, at most a little over six minutes. This band, in fact, has a great capacity for synthesis and writing, which allows it to enter and exit from the genres, aggrovigliandoli in an apparent chaos but ending in an almost natural and elegant.

Often the songs have an attack or a core type crypt or type charge hell, that's just black metal classic, but soon enters the taste for the technique, using sequences of fast riffs and intricate or nervous ("In Self Ruin"), or hypnotic in their circularity tormented ("Sceptre to Control the World). In what alternate moments doom, slow and solemn, during which the sound rolling, is broken down into several parallel planes in a very suggestive way. The organ is especially here protagonist echoes hieratic and threatening, drowns the brutality of black metal atmospheres occult and morbid. However, often it is the reflection of the sound of the organ that allows the passage from the torment to ethereal atmospheres from black metal psychedelic, shoegaze up to, but does not fail even if the tolling obsessive martial battery. As the battery, also the voice growl Greg Chandler is overwhelmed by the cacophony of guitars, but this does is to make it even more frightening, and when so bestial growls in black metal outbursts is when one lets out his soul doom.

After the interlude very impressive, dominated by keyboards and singing occult arrive "triumphalism" and "Dust Barrel Of A Gun", two breathtaking ballads that follow more or less the scheme described, but who can also bewitch and incorporate so particularly the influence of Archaicus and band of origin of the musicians involved in Lychgate. "Triumphalism" is open from the syncopated rhythm of drums and a dreamy combination of organ and guitars reverberated, that leads to a great blend of bestial frenzy and complex melodies and refined, accelerations and decelerations crazy when you are caught by the rhythm before everything dissolve in black shoegaze atmospheres that remind me of our, good, Frostmoon Eclipse. "Dust Barrel Of A Gun" as part jazzy melody and dissonant "avantgarde", then opens the cage and brings out the soul malignant. It's beautiful, the detachment sudden, about half of the song, with the flicker of the acoustic guitar in a silence from pre-storm. In reality, then the piece follows a mournful melody and sometimes epic, but still contaminated, or refreshed, from dissonance and attractive diversions. It's a little 'the "mood" in which the band decided to conclude this magnificent album, as the final track, "When Can Scorn Scourge No More", tends to develop as a hybrid between Alcest and Opeth, conducted by a sound of guitars not too aggressive.

I have told so, the experience Lychgate, but continuing to listen to this debut full to capacity with ideas and different moods, could be out another review. However one of the effects of this record all in all compact, is to make you (re) listen to the satellite groups in this project to prolong the magic, cogliendoci echoes Lychgate (especially in Omega Centauri).

In short, we welcome these gentlemen to thicken overwhelmingly the eclectic array of bands that helped to renew and enrich the international black metal with experimentation or stepping over the boundaries between genres (Negative Plane, Oranssi Pazuzu, Nachtmystium, Ludicra, Paroxsihzem ...).

Lychgate came out through Gilead Media format vinyl and CD format / digital Mordgrimm. So there is no excuse for not obtaining this beautiful album, malicious and vicious, technical but exciting for its mutability and for the great inspiration that permeates every song.

Looking forward to another, avidly as chicks hungry raptor beak open...

TheMidlandsRocks.com Read Close 8/10

Lychgate’s sound is of a dark carnival, one that is haunting and sinister that takes in the dirge of doom and the dark descant of black metal to produce something mysterious, arcane, and esoteric. A collaboration between members of Esoteric, Lunar Aurora and Omega Centauri, Lychgate’s début is an accomplished affair that sees its members combining their strengths in its creation. Though there are elements of those bands here, this is something greater than its component parts. Where “Against The Paradoxi” screams torment and agony throughout, the pinch-harmonic riffs and frenzied lead-work of “In Self Ruin” are unrestrained in their charge. With organ-barbed atmospherics, down-trodden tempos, and igneous riffs, there is an orchestral and majestic feel to the denticulate landscapes contained within. The album rises and falls and ebbs and flows, and following the stirring “Intermezzo”, from “Triumphalism” to the album’s close, summoning forth the dark forces of the earth in an array of incantations, Lychgate truly come into their own.

Tight to the Nail Read Close

The more orchestral elements of black metal composition can sometimes leave things feeling too much like an overblown Hammer Horror score or the incidental music during a Japanese RPG boss fight. I'm not sure which is worse actually. And while some bands will employ all of that pomp and campery intentionally, it can detract from what I personally feel is essential in a black metal record – genuine malevolence and unsettling atmosphere. Lychgate have no such problem. The dominating instrument on their self titled debut might be an overbearing and portentous organ but the skill with which it is implemented among their dizzying, macabre, suffocating black metal opus is just one masterstoke among many.

The UK based Lychgate have developed slowly over a 12 year period since their inception as the brainchild of principal song writer and lyricist Vortigern with only a handful of demos committed to tape, most of which were unreleased (now due to be compiled and released by Barghest Records following the bands re-ignition). The material here then, crafted from ideas and templates long in gestation, could run the the risk of sounding cut-and-paste, old and tired. But Lychgate have crafted an immaculate and intricate record, layered in detail and rich in an arcane and ancient evil, the effect of which swirls around you like a thick and impenetrable fog; a mystifying, disorientating, oppressive piece of work that, for a debut, is incredible. It doesn't hurt that Vortigern has drafted in an amazing cast of European musicians: G. A. Chandler from the long running Birmingham funeral-doom band Esoteric handling vocals, Aran from the German black metal band Lunar Aurora on bass and drummer T. J. F. Vallely from the pan-European, experimental black metal Omega Centauri. Yeah. I mean, wow.

It's no real surprise then that the music they've created is a particularly beguiling one. A strangely off-key use of melody weaves throughout; nauseous tunes that bleed through the swirling chaos that cause a sense of unease, the organ interplaying with the guitars producing a dense cacophony. Some tracks show little trace of the thrash lineage within black metal for the most part, song structures following the path of progressive metal and even classical composition; loose, impossible to predict, each musical twist and turn unexpected; the way that the melodious elements to “Against The Paradoxical Guild” never quite rise in the way you expect, instead dipping and hitting notes that catch you on the back foot and build the tension. “In Self Ruin” plays it straighter and is a nasty and oppressive track, as vicious and dangerous and unrelenting as any black metal I've ever heard, Chandler's vocals biting at you like the winds of hell (whatever they are) as Vortigern's guitar belts out ignorant and savage riffs.

“Sceptre To Control The World” is the centre point here though, literally and figuratively, and sees the various styles, paces and moods that Lychgate wield all fused together to create a complex and enigmatic, almost exhausting creation. Audibly separated into two suites by a brief respite towards the middle, it take you on a hellish journey with the opening conventional black metal whiplash leading into a bleak and pummelling avant-garde dust-cloud of relentless drumming, droning organ and Chandler's guttural vocal filth.

With news that, with the fire most certainly ignited under their feet now, Lychate are already preparing a follow up of all new material due for release in 2014, the future is looking exceedingly grim in the best way possible.

Two Guys Metal Reviews Read Close

Lychgate is an impressive black metal band who are out to take over the world. With their hyper intellectual and introverted black metal sound it seems like they just might be able to do it. The melancholic tones of songs like “Sceptre to Control the World” are masked under layers of exquisite production and vibrant guitar tones. Speaking of which, this band employs a swarm of very slow and depressing guitar melodies to add atmosphere to the bands sound. That is not to say that there are no moments of raw black metal, many of the songs feature the genre in it purest form, screeched vocals and tremolo guitar lines et al. Yet what truly make this band special is the clanky and strangely crushing minor key melodies that dominate the music. They are what truly entraps the listener into the sound and submerges them in waves of the most unholy black metal. It seems like this band has been chosen by the dark lord himself to succeed and I am very curious to see where this band ov ultimate evil end up a year from now.

WickedChannel.com Read Close 8/10

Lychgate is a band that takes black metal and mixes it with an orchestra background to create a sound that could make a horror film soundtrack. To the band’s credit they do not go overboard trying to mix the two genres up and as the CD goes on the sound compliments itself a little bit more and more for the most part. “The Inception” which opens the CD is a little orchestra number that really sets this mood of unpredictability and uneasy, it is like you are watching a horror film and you get that musical number that you know the monster or killer is coming. “Resentment” gets this cd moving and comes right out of the gates just brutal and crushing, but then the orchestration comes in and the guitar riffs, just really makes the song stand out as a band that deserves to be heard. As the CD goes on some of the negatives do shine their heads somewhat, while the CD is very mystifying and comes across at times as epic, other times it does come across as a tad bit repetitive. Some songs come across as thrash, others come across as progressive, and even classical operatic. This is a CD that I feel metal fans will need some patience with. This is one of those cds that the more you listen to it, the more you get out of it. This could be seen as a clash of Cathedral and Savatage. The guitar on this CD is contagious and catchy without trying, but the vocals on this CD are the real winner. The vocals hit you hard when they need to and others they come across as a warning of what is ahead. I will say right now, in the world of metal this is a band that I feel is going to do big things, and this CD is a good little start. While not an entirely perfect record, it had enough to recommend this. I feel CDs like this exist to change the perspective of what metal can do, and how it is categorized. I mean, I bet if you got really stoned or drunk and listened to this CD you would think it is a fucked up Disney soundtrack sung by Satan. I will be listening to this a lot more, and certain tracks on this CD are in my iPod on repeat. I am stoked and scared for what the future holds for this band and for us the fans.

ZwareMetalen.com Read Close 9/10

Dutch

Daar zat ik dan als argeloze reviewer. Lychgate? Nooit van gehoord. Promoblaadje niet gelezen, gewoon op play duwen. Toen hij klaar was met spelen, nog eens op play duwen. Einde tweede luisterbeurt, nog eens op play duwen. En zo ging het de ganse avond door. Beetje bij beetje proberen te ontrafelen wie dit kon zijn. Nieuwelingen? Dat was onmogelijk.

Nieuwelingen zijn het zeker niet. Dit gezelschap bestaat uit leden en ex-leden van Lunar Aurora, Esoteric, Omega Centauri en The One... echt waar. Ze spelen black metal van een ongelofelijk hoog niveau. Vocalist Greg Chandler van Esoteric is een fenomeen en hij neemt zijn genialiteit mee in Lychgate. De Duitse bassist Aran (ex-Trist en Lunar Aurora) strooit deviante ritmes rond als asregens vol occulte vibes. Vortigern zorgt voor de geluidsdraperieën op de achtergrond, vortexen van sacrale en kosmische klanken, ronduit begeesterend zonder ooit te overheersen. Drummer Tom Vallely is misschien de minst bekende, maar zeker geen zwakke schakel. De breuklijnen en zijn eigenzinnige stijl brengt suspense met heel veel originele opbouwende ritmes, zonder in overdrive te gaan of extreem strak te klinken. Met dit gezelschap kun je al raden dat de nummers behoorlijk fascinerend zijn.

En dan zijn er nog de invloeden die het nog aanlokkelijker kunnen doen klinken. Het Blut Aus Nord-gitaarwerk van Memoria Vetusta II, de Emperor-gitaarlijnen die doen denken aan In the Nightside Eclipse, de melodieën à la Nazxul en Katatonia (When Scorn Can Scourge No More). Een nummer als Triumphalism laat horen waarover ik het hier heb. Uiterst zelden heb ik een band zo dicht de originele meesterwerken in de black metal geschiedenis horen benaderen zonder ook maar even copieus te klinken. Het is een geschenk voor iemand als mij, die zweert bij alles en iedereen die hiervoor werd opgenoemd. Vernietigend sterk. Samen met landgenoten Abyssal zal dit strijden om de topposities in de jaarlijst. Instant classic heten ze zoiets. This is my kinda music. Mooie hoes ook van Manuel Tinnemans, maakt het helemaal af.

English

There I was as innocent reviewer. Lychgate? Never heard of. Promo Petal not read, just push play. When he finished pushing play another play. End of second spin, another push play. And so it went on the whole night through. Little by little, trying to unravel who this could be. Newbies? That was impossible.

Newcomers are certainly not. This group consists of members and ex-members of Lunar Aurora, Esoteric, Omega Centauri and The One... really. They play black metal of an incredibly high level. Vocalist Greg Chandler of Esoteric is a phenomenon and he takes his genius along in Lychgate. German bassist Aran (former Trist and Lunar Aurora) scatters deviant rhythms around like ashfall full occult vibes. Vortigern ensures geluidsdraperieën in the background, vortexes of sacred and cosmic sounds downright engaging along without dominating ever. Drummer Tom Vallely is perhaps the least known, but certainly not a weak link. The fault lines and brings his unique style suspense with many original building rhythms, without going into overdrive or play extremely tight. With this company you can already guess that the numbers are quite fascinating.

And then there are the influences that may make it sound more enticing. The Blut Aus Nord-guitar work of Memoria Vetusta II, the Emperor-guitar lines reminiscent In the Nightside Eclipse, the melodies a la Nazxul and Katatonia (“When Scorn Scourge Can No More”). A song like “Triumphalism” sounds of which I speak here. Very rarely do I hear a band as close as close to the original masterpieces in the history of black metal without sounding too but equally lavish. It is a gift for someone like me, who loves everyone and everything that was listed above. Highly destructive. Along with fellow Abyssal will compete for the top positions in the year list. Instant classic they are called something. This is my kinda music. Nice cover also Manuel Tinnemans, makes it complete.

Live

Show Reviews Close Reviews
2013 - Terrorizer Magazine (UK) Read Close

Lychgate's artistic BM offers an intriguging spin on the genre, given weight by the inclusion of bleak vocals, courtesy of Greg Chandler of Esoteric, while guitarist Vortigern lifts their performance with magical choral vocal lines.

2015 - Celebrare Noctem MMXV (AT/CZ) Read Close

Excerpt from Live review of Lychgate show at Celebrare Noctem festival, Traun, 21st November 2015

czech

"S třetím vystupujícím naštěstí už předem zmizel strach, zda mě bude nebo nebude bavit. Hudební kvality Lychgate jsou totiž, jak dokázali na svých dvou albech, velmi vysoko. Jediné, z čeho jsem měl obavy, byl zvuk. Především hlavně zvuk samplovaných varhan, na nichž značná část skladeb Lychgate stojí. A nutno říct, byly oprávněné. V první polovině setu se hlasitost samplů hodně měnila, a i když jsem se snažil delší dobu najít vhodnější místo na poslech, stále to nebylo ideální. Během začátku Davamesque B2 a pár následujících skladeb jsem si tedy převážně užíval poslechu kytar a až naživo mi došlo, jak skvěle jsou propracované. Dvě osmičky a jedna sedmistrunka, které byly prohnané slušnými efekty, vyloudily širokou škálu pazvuků, a když se k tomu přidá skvělá zručnost muzikantů s perfektními nápady, občas z toho opravdu šla hlava kolem. A nemuseli toho nutně hrát moc, ony i ty jejich pasáže s tremoly nebo pomalými riffy zněly občas jak z jiného světa. Bicí s basou samozřejmě také super a Greg, i když neměl vokál ani z daleka prohnaný tolika efekty jako s Esoteric, předváděl slušně démonické kázání. Jediným problémem fakt byly ty nevyvážené samply. Naštěstí v moment, kdy začali hrát své nejlepší songy, se vše náhle srovnalo a zvuk byl až do konce parádní. V I Am Contempt jsem si tedy mohl užít varhanové inferno do sytosti. Vrchol setu však přišel až s poslední skladbou Letter XIX. Prolínaní rozsekaných kytar, basy a bicích s varhany spolu s štěkavým vokálem se mnou krutě zacloumalo a to, jak dobře zahráli ten rytmicky rozsypaný konec, doteď naprosto nechápu. I kdyby nic jiného nezahráli, už jen díky této skladbě měl koncert Lychgate smysl. Výtečné! Jinak jsou všichni členové Lychgate hrozně super lidi na pokec a ten jejich britský přízvuk je skoro tak krutý, jako jejich hudba. A samozřejmě sem musím uvést i to, že Lychgate příští rok zahrají na MetalGate Czech Death Festu, což je celkem důvod ke zvažování účasti."

Written by mIZZY.

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2015 - Metal-Rules.com (UK) Read Close

Opening the show is home-grown band Lychgate. Not just any old gig for them, their forty minute, late-starting set is a special showcase for material from their upcoming album, which is due this month. They enter a stage that is so soaked in red light, it looks like the bloody set of a horror film, and from the back it makes pitch black silhouettes of all in the mid-sized crowd.

Musically, their brand of avant-garde black metal is very cinematic too- with a heap of odd time signatures and perverse mood changes. After a request for a bit more proper lighting on stage from frontman G. A. Chandler, the six-piece prove they have more to give than just creating atmospheres, with stunning musical technicality shown by synced lead guitar and organ licks, that run chromatic mazes around the inhuman shrieks for vocals.

Not for all, but certainly the most unique band I’ve ever stumbled across in the live environment.

2015 - Nightfall in Metal Earth (FR) Read Close

Excerpt from Live review of Lychgate show in Hôtel De la Musique, Lyon, 24th November 2015

french

"Tandis que LYCHGATE, le premier morceau de choix, repasse rapidement sur ses balances, je vais vous avouer que c'est avant tout attiré par la curiosité de voir comment peut rendre sur scène son surprenant dernier album que je suis ici, ce soir. Car "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" tout autant avant-gardiste qu'oppressant, articulé autour d'un orgue omniprésent et tentaculaire, s'avère être une belle réussite malgré sa difficulté d'accès. Bien sûr l'orgue est ici samplé (mais sera réellement de la partie pour le Roadburn 2016) et, nécessaire étant donné la petitesse de la scène, le backdrop qui diffuse des vidéos pour renforcer l'ambiance n'a pas la place pour être installé. Ca y est, la messe est lancée ! D'emblée le show va prendre un tournant imprévisible le temps des premiers titres car avec 3 guitares (dont la 8 cordes de Vortigern, parfaitement intégrée), les samples, parfois noyés, ne sont pas toujours très audibles, si bien qu'avec ses structures arythmiques, tour à tour hachées ou lancinantes, LYCHGATE sonne carrément Funeral en ce début de set (ce n'est pas moi qui m'en plaindrai). Intrigué, le public semble concentré. Passé l'étonnement de rigueur et tandis que le groupe, très à l'étroit, semble prendre ses marques, on voit subrepticement se dessiner toute la décadence de la monstruosité latente. Le set fait bien évidemment la part belle au dernier rejeton du groupe, seulement une poignée de titres semblant être tirée de son éponyme premier jet. A renfort de fumigènes ne laissant plus que les silhouettes encapuchonnées de ses cultistes se découper du fond de scène, LYCHGATE tisse ses atmosphères et, les titres s’enchainant, parvient à captiver l’assistance en se tournant vers des sonorités davantage Black-metal en enchainant blast-beats et riffing agressif, tandis que le son s’améliore. L’un des acteurs de ce succès est évidemment Greg Chandler qui de son chant imparable à la réverb’ impressionnante renforce encore, si besoin était, le côté glauque de la chose. La formation britannique a su confirmée tout le bien que je pensais d’elle et le public, pour la plupart, en ressort également convaincu."

Written by WËN.

Full review.

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2015 - Ragherrie (NL) Read Close

Excerpt from Live review of Lychgate show in Baroeg, Rotterdam, 29th November 2015

dutch

"Het Britse Lychgate mag namelijk al om klokslag vier uur ’s middags beginnen met spelen. In drie kwartier voert de band ons mee op een duistere reis. De “moeilijke” black metal (met experimentele touches) van dit gezelschap voelt als een koortsdroom: beklemmend, soms lastig te volgen en altijd vol dreiging. De creepy kerkorgels, en andere samples, geven het statische optreden wat extra sfeer tussen de songs door. Deze show ligt het publiek duidelijk wat zwaar op de maag, zeker op dit vroege uur; het is bovendien niet altijd duidelijk wanneer een nummer nu precies is afgelopen en wanneer er slechts sprake is van een intermezzo binnen de compositie. Op een simpel “thank you” aan het absolute einde na, is er tijdens deze rite totaal geen interactie met de toeschouwers – toch is dit met recht een interessant optreden te noemen."

Written by Andreas Smulders.

lychgate-baroeg
2016 - Fobia Zine (CZ) Read Close

Excerpt from Live review of Lychgate show at MetalGate Czech Death Fest Open Air, Czech Republic, 17th June 2016

czech

Hudba LYCHGATE pro mě byla velkou neznámou. Prodíral jsem se davem a hutná atmosféra sršící z pódia mě přitahovala stále blíž jako magnet. Říkal jsem si, že kdyby britská legenda funeral doomu ESOTERIC začala hrát black metal, tak by zněli jako LYCHGATE. Nakonec jsem nebyl tak daleko od pravdy, protože za mikrofonem stál opravdu Greg Chandler z této slovutné formace. Hudba LYCHGATE byla hypnotická, těžkotonážní, gradující do black metalových sypaček a hlavně oplývající temnou a podmanivou atmosférou. Byl jsem do ní naprosto ponořen a když vše skončilo, vůbec se mi nechtělo probouzet zpět do reality. Tak tohle byl pro mě jeden z naprostých vrcholů těch pěti ročníků CDF, kterých jsem se zúčastnil.

Written by Fotky Ignor.