Monday, 22 February 2016

Lycus - "Chasms" (Album Review)

By: Josh Lee

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/01/2016
Label: Relapse Records



The song writing doesn’t so much feel like Lycus are writing ‘riffs’, rather that they are weaving together sounds; the way that each of the songs progress is so effortlessly done without any sense of repetition, each coming to a satisfying and climactic conclusion.  “Chasms” is a brilliantly executed take on an incredibly specific style; when Lycus play slow, they don’t meander, rather drag you down with them for them to wallow in their on misery, and the dynamic nature of the record means the listener is subsequently taken through whatever fresh Hell the band have in store for them next.

“Chasms” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Solar Chamber
2). Chasms
3). Mirage
4). Obsidian Eyes

The Review:

Funeral doom metal band Lycus have already established themselves as the purveyors of their bleak, crushing style of metal with their 2013 release “Tempest” and 2011 demo preceding it. “Tempest” in particular found the band with a sudden wave of online attention, receiving positive coverage from the likes of Pitchfork and The Needle Drop despite its largely underground appeal. For the uninitiated, ‘funeral doom metal’ is possibly the most apt description for Lycus’ sound; slow, trudging and miserable metal that’s heavily reliant on mournful tones and understandably long song structures, likening it to the soundtrack of a funeral procession. Such a pigeonhole of a genre leaves room for doubt; incredibly specific genre tags run the risk of becoming stale easily. The issue with a lot of modern doom metal is that either the droning, low-end guitars may fall into the background and out of our attention, or the reliance on these deep tones leads to many bands sounding like clones of one another. “Chasms”, however, casts off these stereotypes and proves itself to be both a dynamic and interesting listen.

Lycus have already demonstrated their capabilities in songwriting, and “Chasms” is no different – the variability in the sounds on this album already puts them a notch up from their doom contemporaries. While a lot of this record travels at a snail’s pace through these incredibly slow, sorrowful passages, around these very steady song structures are sudden bursts of intensity or eerie quieter moments; in particular the opening track ‘Solar Chamber’ quickly dives from its lumbering pace into frantic blast-beat drumming so seamlessly it feels almost natural rather than jarring. The song writing doesn’t so much feel like Lycus are writing ‘riffs’, rather that they are weaving together sounds; the way that each of the songs progress is so effortlessly done without any sense of repetition, each coming to a satisfying and climactic conclusion. There’s also a true sense of atmosphere that Lycus are obviously conscious of, which becomes incredibly apparent with the inclusion of extra string instrumentation on the title track and ‘Mirage’, or the mantra-like vocals that haunt the sonic background throughout the album. Lycus’ attention to these more atmospheric details undoubtedly gives this record much more depth than it would have otherwise.

“Chasms” is a brilliantly executed take on an incredibly specific style; when Lycus play slow, they don’t meander, rather drag you down with them for them to wallow in their on misery, and the dynamic nature of the record means the listener is subsequently taken through whatever fresh Hell the band have in store for them next. And yet, it doesn’t feel too far removed from other releases in the genre. Exploring a dark landscape of sounds, Lycus ultimately craft an album that is bleak as it is intriguing.

“Chasms” is available here

FFO: Ahab, Mournful Congregation, Asunder, Bell Witch

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

No comments: