Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Lychgate - An Antidote For The Glass Pill



Tracklist:-

1. Unto My Tempest
2. Davamesque B2
3. I Am Contempt
4. A Principle On Seclusion
5. Letter XIX
6. Deus Te Videt
7. The Illness Named Imagination
8. An Acousmatic Guardian
9. My Fate To Burn Forever
10. The Pinnacle Known To Sisyphus

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!

You can stream the record via Blood Music's bandcamp page:-



While the sumptuous gold and black double LP versions have sold out, you can still purchase name-your-price downloads and digipack CD copies directly from the above link.

Lychgate Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Lychgate
Blood Music Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/BlooodMusic

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