When thinking of the power metal scene in general, you would be forgiven for not necessarily considering Britain an institution of it. Considering that Germany has offered the worldwide scene the likes of Helloween and Blind Guardian, and Finnish groups such as Stratovarius and Sonata Arctica, it is unsurprising that power metal shows in the UK come few and far between, despite the country’s roots in the highly influential NWOBHM genre.Continue reading →
“Uncanny Valley” is a phrase originally coined in the field of aesthetics to describe the feeling of revulsion caused by things which look and move almost but not exactly like natural beings, but has since been used to describe anything which familiar but different enough to be unsettling, creepy and… well… uncanny. The easiest way to describe Lychgate’s second album would be a combination of Symphonic Black Metal and Funeral Doom, but though that’s technically true fans of those two genres are likely to be a little creeped out by Lychgate’s approach to both.
One of the most audible ways in which Lychgate stand out is their use of keys, especially the near-omnipresent Church Organ. Nothing new itself, of course, but rather than simply garnishing riffs or creating “atmospheric” space-filler, Lychgate frequently use their organ (tee hee) as a lead instrument, creating a genuinely unsettling sense of otherness in those used to more conventional Metal songwriting. The production lends further weight to this impression, the guitars taking on a cold, clipped feeling that times calls to mind old Castlevania soundtracks.
Both of these things would be irrelevant, of course, without the song-writing to back them up, and Lychgate continue to buck both Black Metal and Doom orthodoxy with broken, nightmarish compositions that draw as much from Prog and psychedelia as from any Metal sub-genre. Greg Chandler (also of Esoteric) uses his distinctively damaged-sounding vocals to lend further emotional weight to an alternately bombastic and ghostly selection of songs.
This is Black Metal for people who like the idea of Black Metal more than the reality. Doom for people who want to go beyond stolen Sabbath riffs and feedback. Prog Metal for people who wish the term didn’t have anything to do with Opeth. Simultaneously familiar and genuinely unusual, An Antidote For The Glass Pill (Blood Music) is likely to be one of the most interesting and distinctive releases in three over-saturated genres this year.