(This is Todd Manning‘s review of the new EP by the UK-based progressive black/doom band Lychgate, which will soon be released by Debemur Morti Productions.)
It’s getting hard to ignore Lychgate, not that anyone should be trying. This UK based Extreme Metal band continue to push their awe-inspiring blend of Black Metal, Death, and Doom into more progressive and experimental realms with each release, and their latest EP is a case in point. Also sprach Futura is due out on Debemur Morti Productions on March 13th and illustrates beyond any doubt that Lychgate is one of the most exciting bands going right now.
For the uninitiated, Lychgate lay out their modus operandi on the short opening track “Incarnate”. Slabs of Doom reign down like massive bombs while an organ sprays napalm everywhere, then this gives way to a quick bit of blackened blasting. Then we are assaulted with a burst of progressive noodling and then more meaty Doom.
It’s easy to understand if this sounds like too much, but somehow it isn’t. Though “Incarnate” is less than three minutes long, they fold all these pieces together seamlessly.
The second song, “Progeny of the Singularity”, is almost double the length of the opener and it accomplishes that much more. After an introduction which seems to nod toward Old School Tech-Thrash, they settle into some more necrotic blast beats, which is of course underpinned by that massive organ. There are more hairpin turns and grinding before they land on a softer atmospheric passage which features some tasty, almost Jazz-Fusion-esque bass work. The last two minutes consist of more sections of exhilarating whiplash. Guitar shredding, clean vocals, blasting, Doom, more organ…the list is endless yet executed in a compact and somehow coherent way.
“Simulacrum” starts at a more measured pace. Gloomy and dripping with melodic yet mathematical guitar work, the piece eventually does find the speed again, Lychgate going full Deathspell at times. “Vanity Ablaze” closes the EP, and it brings to mind the algebraic Sludge/Doom of Confessor, but of course with more organ and blast beats. There ar passages of head-nodding madness, but if you follow too closely you’ll snap your neck. The track closes with purely epic Doom, symphonic in its complexity, a requiem for a dying world.
For all its jaw-dropping intricacy, Also sprach Futura seethes with a distinct physicality. There are moments nestled inside the flurries of notes and hairpin rhythms that you can pump your fist to, throwing up the horns and screaming along, and that balance is what is steadily fueling Lychgate’s ascent. This band is undeniably powerful and incredibly original, somehow memorable despite themselves, and one can barely imagine the heights they are yet to climb.