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Lycus: Tempest

It's nearly the end of 2013 which means that music websites are compiling their lists of the top albums of the year. This album, so far as I can tell, only made one of those lists. That's a shame. This is a very good release, one that should capture much greater attention than it has. Whether it should be among the best albums of the year, I won't say just now. Needless to say, I dug it and I think others will too.

Part of the problem with any new release by a new band is that it's frankly really hard to capture the attention of a large audience. The bands that do are either really good at writing and performing music or they know how to market themselves in ways that cover for their lack of ability in those other areas. It's ultimately more complex than all that, of course, but most of us can think of bands that made it for reasons beyond musicianship.

But back to Lycus: even though this is technically a debut release, this band has been making their way around the metal scene for at least five years, having already released a demo both on cassette and vinyl. With this full-length album, listeners can now discover why those who heard the earlier stuff were so excited. The album only has three tracks, but they range in length from nine to twenty minutes. Fans who like music to develop slowly will really like this one. The music here is a strong mixture of death and doom, noise and drone, black and funeral. The overall mood of the music is mournful and contemplative, perfect for a long walk or a long drive. I especially liked the drone / noise elements, especially when they very patiently expanded the notes over long stretches. When they are joined by vocals, a low and throaty rasp, the overall effect is just right. The closing trackóand the longest trackódoes drag a little, but only because it simply turned the last five minutes into a simple drone. I like drone a lot, but I missed the signature blend of sounds and styles Lycus had already offered me. Nevertheless, this is a solid debut from a band to watch.

If nothing else, be sure to check out the oil painting that graces the cover of this album. Painted by Paolo Girardi, the image is both regal and dark, depicting a ruined graveyard paved with skeletal remains only partially buried. It's a strong cover to a terrific album.

Track Listing:
1. Coma Burn
2. Engravings
3. Tempest

Added: December 7th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1639
Language: english

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