Tuesday, January 19, 2016

LYCUS – Chasm

Lycus – Chasm (2016, Relapse Records)

Oakland based doom metallers of Lycus have made a deal with famed underground label Relapse records after having released a strong first album in 2013, Tempest. Back in early 2016 with their sophomore effort Chasm, Lycus has mastered their music and worked with a great producer in Jack Shirley.

Shirley, who has worked notably with Deafheaven for their 2015 great New Bermuda, Sunbather, and Roads to Judah. His input is a precision in the moods of albums of epic scale and beautiful savagerie. The evolution of Deafheaven could not be as important without the production work of Shirley that could highlight the shoegaze elements of the American Black metal act. Bands like Hornwood Fell have tried to mimic this so-called gimmick by some but with some mitigated success.

For Lycus and their funeral doom metal, we have moments of doom slow marches while the sparks of blast beats that reminds of the aesthetics of black metal are well introduced to press the right buttons of a contained aggression that the heavy pounding has retained.

As a second effort, Chasm demonstrate a maturity and a mastery of the genre that is Funeral doom metal that is often linked with Finland and unconventional metal instrumentations. However, American doom has brought back the heaviness of doom to it purest form while incorporating elements of Black metal into the textures of dark browns.

The slower parts of their music can remind of the now defunct sludge hardcore post-metal masters of Isis led by Aaron Turner. In fact, many of Lycus' aesthetics are similar to Isis'.

The cover artwork by lengendary artist Paolo Girardi excells at a pairing with the mystery of the music and illustrates the feelings of the music’s depth. In fact, Girardi’s art here makes it a must for vinyl collectors to pick up the record not only for the plates but also for the quality of the object as it is.

The subgenre that is funeral doom metal has been exploding since the recent years and the quality of the releases and the different approaches that bands like Lycus have brought are making a strong foundation for a more recognized genre and makes it for a great second wave of Funeral doom metal.


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