I often wonder how bands settle on the name they’ll be referred to for the rest of their career. Lychgate is an example. Why Lychgate? They’ve probably answered that question 100 times in interviews. Anyway, Lychgate are apparently an Avant-garde Black Metal band – which will, no doubt, annoy some purists – but I could give less than two fucks. That said, quite a bit of Avant-garde Black Metal seems to cross my desk lately. What’s up with that Black Metal bands? is it the new trend? Have we finally had enough of the abortion that is Black n’ Roll? Or the shit-show of sameness that is War Metal? If you play in a band in either of those genres, your music blows.
Moving right along. Lychgate‘s latest EP “Also sprach Futura” comes hot off the heels of three full-length albums. The press release describes it as a “work of dystopian singularity”, and that the band “meld the swarming, stained-glass complexity of 20th Century classical, the phantasmagoric, intertwining riffage of progressive Death Metal, the heft and texture of Funeral Doom and the conceptual density of forward-thinking Black Metal”. Have I mentioned how much I despise press releases? They’re a complete wank. Let’s just listen to the music, shall we?
The music is a little unsettling, but not so uncomfortable that it’s unlistenable. There’s melody and harmony here too, and the vocals are pretty sweet. “Incarnate” is a melting pot of genres, but it all works. The keyboards are used to create an eerie, uneasy atmosphere, which was cool.
Sadly, it doesn’t all work. I wasn’t a fan of the clean vocal section in “Progeny of the Singularity,” nor was I a fan of some of the riff transitions in this song. The latter were jarring. Now, that may be exactly what the band were going for, but I prefer to get two minutes into a song and think “how the fuck did we get here?”. I don’t want every change to stand out like dog’s balls.
Another criticism I have is that, for Avant-garde Black Metal, It all becomes a bit formulaic. There’s often a softer section somewhere in the middle of the song that focuses on the bass. And several songs end with keyboards. These guys are, obviously, good musicians, but not everything here knocked my socks off.
Rating – 3.5 / 5