Review Summary: Coming soon to a funeral near you!
California seems to be quite the hotbed for metal at the moment, even if most of it‘s of the blackened variety. But with doom seeing a bit of a resurgence in the last year, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone that there’s a talented act on the West Coast popping up at just the right time to add fuel to the fire. If playing gigs with the Bay Area’s best (bands like Fell Voices and Ash Borer) isn’t enough to get your name out there, sharing a drummer with the much heralded Deafheaven certainly can’t hurt. While Lycus are a much different beast than their black metal brethren, they do seem to share much of the organic and, at times, grimy aesthetic that makes those groups so appealing and even go as far as to work in a bit of the genre into their own processional stylings. While it’s unclear at this point just how much attention the group will receive amidst the ruckus being caused by their peers, their first recorded offering to the masses, the aptly-titled Demo MMXI
, is certainly a promising start.
“Resonance in Aether” kicks things off in somber fashion with heavy guitar chords colliding with steady percussion and low growls while another, more droning voice emanates hauntingly from behind the other layers. The second track follows suit to further engage and entrance while taking a few pleasant twists and turns along the way. Closer “Aghast” throws a bigger curve ball in the form of frenzied black metal fury, blasting and screeches included. The brief pulse of aggression recedes as quickly as it came, subsiding once more into mournful plodding.
While Demo MMXI
lacks a lot of the swelling emotion of its contemporaries, it more than makes up for it with distinctive atmosphere, complements of great production and instrumental nuance. The drumming stands out as a bit more colorful than most music built around the bleak, sluggish frame of doom but never sounds out of place. Lycus appear to already possess the musical talent and much of the subtly dynamic songwriting skill to be depressive heavyweights and, with a bit of fine-tuning, have the potential to unleash some truly exceptional funeral doom on the world. Maybe it’s not as sunny in SoCal as we all thought…