Dec 152016



(Andy Synn’s week-long series of year-end lists continues with his personal list of The Critical Top Ten for 2016. Click these links to see his lists of the year’s Great Albums, the Good Albums, and the Disappointments.)

For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I always wind-up my week-long retrospective with two lists, the “Critical Top Ten” and the “Personal Top Ten”.

Now the second one is probably pretty self-explanatory, in that it’s just a list of the ten albums I’ve loved, lived with, and listened to the most this year. It’s really just a snapshot of my personal listening habits/tastes over the last twelve months.

The idea behind this one possible needs some explaining though.

You see the “Critical Top Ten” is where I try (as best I can) to remove my own personal biases and downplay any favouritism and instead attempt to name the ten albums (unranked) which I feel honestly represent the best of the best from the last year in Metal. Continue reading »

Jan 112016



(Allen Griffin reviews Chasms, the forthcoming second album by Lycus from California’s Bay Area.)

Oakland Doom quartet Lycus, are poised to kick 2016 off with the release of their second album Chasms on Relapse Records. The band have already established themselves with a highly regarded demo (Demo MMXI, released in 2011) and their debut album Tempest, which appeared in 2013 courtesy of 20 Buck Spin.

On this second album, it is now apparent the long shadow that Finnish funeral doom masters Thergothon cast over Lycus. It would be surprising if Lycus were unfamiliar with Thergothon’s sole full-length, Stream from the Heavens; the sorrowful, lumbering rhythms and walls of sustained guitars are here in great abundance. But this isn’t merely idol worship on the part of Lycus. They are certainly adept enough not only to modernize the sound but also to add elements in order to make it their own. Continue reading »

Nov 202015



I came across a ton of new music yesterday that lit me up, too much to cram into a single post. So I made some hard choices, and selected this grouping from six artists with an eye toward creating a diverse listening experience. The last item, of course, isn’t metal — except it kind of is. You’ll see. If I have time I might be able stitch together some more new songs for later today, and if not, tomorrow (because tomorrow is the glorious sixth anniversary of our site’s birth).


January 15 is the date set by Relapse Records for the release of the new album Chasm by Oakland’s Lycus. As you can see, it features cover art by Paolo Girardi. The band’s last album, 2013’s Tempest, was fantastic, and I’ve been curious to see what Lycus would do next.

The new record consists of four long songs, and one of them, “Solar Chamber”, debuted yesterday. Drummer Trevor DeSchryver described its concept this way: Continue reading »

Jun 062013

This is the second part of a two-part post about new music that swallowed me up last night. By blind chance, all four of the songs I heard sound like granite must feel, sitting on your chest or coming down in an avalanche on your head. Part 1 (here) dealt with Geryon and Hollow Leg. This one focuses on Lycus (Oakland) and Ortega (The Netherlands).


In addition to delivering crushing music, all four of the bands featured in this two-part post bring us striking cover art for their new releases. As you can see, the debut album by Lycus, Tempest, is adorned with the awesome painted art of the Italian madman Paolo Girardi (go past the jump to see more of the album art).  Tempest is scheduled for release by 20 Buck Spin on July 9 (digitally and on CD/LP).

I haven’t yet carved out time to listen to the album, and nothing from it is yet available for public streaming, but I did check out the first song from the band’s Demo MMXI. That demo was released two years ago by Graceless Recordings (run by Mike Meacham of LOSS) and on vinyl by The Flenser Records, and it’s a name-your-price download on Bandcamp. Continue reading »