Friday, January 15, 2016

Lycus - Chasms

By Justin C. If you find funeral doom to be a bit too languid at times, Lycus has the solution to your problems. Their new album, Chasms, is a particularly intense kind of melancholy. Sure, there are the clean chant-like vocals, as found on their last outing, Tempest, but there are also growls and blackened rasps.
By Justin C.

Artwork by Paolo Girardi

If you find funeral doom to be a bit too languid at times, Lycus has the solution to your problems. Their new album, Chasms, is a particularly intense kind of melancholy. Sure, there are the clean chant-like vocals, as found on their last outing, Tempest, but there are also growls and blackened rasps. There are plenty of slow-and-low riffs, but there are also high-flying tremolos. There are plenty of drums that sound like a cliffside collapsing, but there are pulsing rhythms and frantic blasts as well. And you'll usually find all of these over the course of any given song.

Lycus 2014. Photo by Carmelo Española.

Listening to Chasms back to back with 2013's Tempest reveals that the band hasn't abandoned any of their strengths or drastically changed their approach, but the song complexity and atmosphere have both been ratcheted up. The opener of "Mirage" is like the soundtrack to a late night drive in a big city, but before the two-minute mark, that car is slowly coasting off the end of a pier. While on fire. "Obsidian Eyes" has some great overlapping guitar lines that almost seem like they're shifting in and out of phase with each other. The ringing guitar and the subtly shifting drums in the opener to the title track would be interesting enough on their own, but they're joined by a cello winding a melody over them. There's an almost-symphonic feel to the compositions, but with all the discordance and crushing heft you need from metal.

Lycus 2014. Photo by Carmelo Española.

I went through a bit of an evolution listening to this album. The monumental heaviness and emotional punch drew me in immediately. I did find myself missing some of the melodic hooks from Tempest that stuck so easily in my ear, but the shifts and complexities in Chasms dig into your brain in a different way. It crawls like funeral doom, but it's restless and ever-changing in a way that might not be apparent on first listen. I find myself wanting to point out all the intricacies that have caught my ear, but you'd be better off discovering those for yourself. 2016 is going to have to be a hell of a good year for funeral doom for anybody to top this one.


Tagged with 2016, Carmelo Española, funeral doom metal, Justin C, Lycus, Relapse Records
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