Lycia
The Burning Circle and Then Dust


4.5
superb

Review

by fireaboveicebelow USER (108 Reviews)
December 21st, 2008 | 17 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist


Lycia started as a typical Fields of the Nephilim wannabe darkwave outfit. With the releases of Ionia and A Day in the Stark Corner, however, the band stepped to new ground, branching out on their own path. As this took place, Lycia had essentially created their own “minimalist darkwave” sound, along with Mike Van Portfleet’s unconventional recording techniques which gave the atmosphere a far away, post-apocalypse tone. With their fourth release, Lycia tackles their most ambitious effort of their entire career, and added some permanent female attributes to the vocals for some flavor.

According to interviews, this was originally planned to be just a normal release, but Mike and his programmer David Galas just decided they were having a lot of fun working on this project and kept writing more and more, thus birthing this mammoth record. The Burning Circle and Then Dust is the two-disc, two-hour album that defines the saying “less is more”. This is one of the only bands who can have seemingly little going on at the surface but still fills an immense audial space that can be overwhelming at times, and Mike can do this with little fuss. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to call this a concept album, what with the music beginning, climaxing, and concluding on one apparent theme per disc. "This is the most personal release I've ever done. The theme is contentness and moving forwards, yet still remembering the darkness, the chaos." - Mike Van Portfleet

Aside from its thematic elements, the album also brings a couple new things to the board. Mike, who always used his haunting whisper to drag his words, finally sings! It’s most noticeable on the first track, but he puts it to good, minimal use throughout the album. Also, the bass is either now included or audible. You couldn’t hear it if it was there on past records, but is now a major instrument in the mix. Finally, as previously mentioned, Mike brought his girlfriend, Tara Vanflower, into the band to contribute vocals. Her performance is delicate and soaring. Unfortunately she only occupies two songs here, but later maintains the limelight on future releases.

The most prevalent thing the album sticks to is its enduring enchantment. Lycia have always induced trances with their suffocating atmospheres, but on this album they’ve lightened up to keep you conscious through the journey. They do this by throwing in dynamics in between their droning songs, an attribute most understood by the pairing of Return To Nothing and The Dust Settles, Pt. 3, where Return To Nothing is every meaning of repetitively calm and The Dust Settles Pt. 3 is an almost abrasive and short instrumental. The three Dust Settles tracks are some of the most enjoyable songs on the whole record actually. Also, to further balance this attribute Mike included the track Pray, the closest Lycia will ever get to pop music…or anything relatively upbeat for that matter.

The first disc has more songs, but the second disc is much more cohesive, as there are virtually no flaws. From the opening rainfall of August Pt. 1 to the new wave stylings of The New Day, there is little you can do to snap your mind out of hypnosis. You just might hallucinate about the most beautiful girl you never got to keep, or the most breathtaking landscape you’ve ever seen, as well as all the intoxicating senses you felt during those times, and you will never want the music to stop. The second disc just might be the best thing the band has ever done.

The only thing that hurts this release is a handful of filler during the last five tracks on the first disc. After the gloriously decadent Where Has All The Time Gone, the tracks become a buzzkill, and it’s annoying. Other than that there’s no flaws, unless you hate repetitive music, whereas this is one of those cases where it works much to the songs’ advantage. If you turn this album on while it’s raining heavily at midnight and just close your eyes, you will experience one of those amazing things you hear about that music can give you. Music becomes your doorway to wherever you allow it to take you, and under certain circumstances your illusions will take it from there. Intensely beautiful and subtly devastating.



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user ratings (16)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
fireaboveicebelow
December 22nd 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hate you guys

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2008


20857 Comments


faib (forgive me for shortening your username), I'm finding it a little difficult to grasp the sound of this album from your review. It's not necessarily a bad review per se, but I'm still struggling a little. That is one reason why I always prefer that reviewers fill out the 'Recommended By Reviewer' section. It gives readers a little pointer to similar albums/music/sound.

Zoo
December 24th 2008


3759 Comments


Hmm, I might just look into this. I'm intrigued.

fireaboveicebelow
December 24th 2008


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

you know I usually try to put in some recs but I forgot for some reason I'll do that now

It's darkwave by the way I'm sure I mentioned it somewhere

Zoo I would look into this band if I were you, you're taste is eclectic enough to enjoy thisThis Message Edited On 12.24.08

BallsToTheWall
January 30th 2009


44644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. I was yes, not here for this review but am currently in another looming ethereal phase. I will acquire pronto.

Digging: Mare Cognitum - Phobos Monolith

fireaboveicebelow
January 30th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

looking forward to your conclusion

BallsToTheWall
February 7th 2009


44644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I've had the whole disk 1 for some time now. Too lazy to get disk 2 or even crank 1 fully. It was good the first time around, need to listen to it morew though.

bastard
February 7th 2009


3435 Comments


man i missed this one

nice review

fireaboveicebelow
February 7th 2009


6837 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thank you

BallsToTheWall
February 9th 2009


44644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is good.

KILL
February 22nd 2014


71955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is SO gd

Digging: Exodus - Blood In, Blood Out

DrHouseSchuldiner
February 22nd 2014


5643 Comments


ya their best
A Day in the Stark Corner and Cold are good too

KILL
February 22nd 2014


71955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yea gota get cold

i mean this is long as shit but perfect borin mood music

CaptainDooRight
February 22nd 2014


29942 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

wildhoney lives

Digging: Fleurety - Min Tid Skal Komme

KILL
February 23rd 2014


71955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sleepless omg

Keyblade
February 28th 2014


15029 Comments


Band is slept on so hard

Digging: Submotion Orchestra - Alium

KILL
June 18th 2014


71955 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album makes me cry in the manliest way possible



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