The Bandcamp genre labels for Gilded Lily are "black metal electronic experimental." That's not bad, but I hereby dub them blackdoompowerviolecegrindexperimentalpunk. Their demo, L'Acéphalé, is fast, vicious, and it's here then gone almost before you know what happened--the whole demo doesn't even break the 10-minute mark. But even with all the chaos, it has a surprisingly coherent sound.
Opener "Clasped Hands," as you might guess, isn't a reflection on the peace achieved through prayer. Black metal shrieks describe static images--clasped hands, cocaine on a glass table, and a family standing over a grave--punctuating an ambient backdrop. Just a minute later, we're thrown into the second track, kicked off by a descending punk riff that ultimately mutates into more swirling black metal territory, guided by a graceful melody line that sounds vaguely flute-like.
All of the lyrics are striking, but the third track, "Two Dogs," has some of my favorites. We're in a punky/trashy territory when the song opens up, and the whole story sums up a chance encounter between two dogs. As the song steps down into a doomier sound, the narrator imagines what a deeper conversation between the two might be like:
I wanted one to say to a brother of hisIt’s strangely compelling, and it will stick with you a lot longer than another throwaway tune about Satan.
That he was not yet at peace
That he was sleeping in the home of an animal unlike himself
The title track closes things out, and at four minutes, it's nearly epic by this demo's standards. It has a density of musical ideas that should sound out of control, but as with the rest of the demo, the band makes it work. On one particular day, I listened to the whole demo on repeat about seven or eight times, and its charms were still revealing themselves during the last listen. I normally would have trouble really sinking my teeth into something this brief, but this is a hell of a blast.
P.S. Gilded Lily shares members with Swarms. I've only had time to dip my toes into their full-length from 2012, but it's worth listening to if you're curious about what a longer-form Gilded Lily sounds like.