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Lycus: Chasms

The members of Lycus are masters of the dark mood, the depressive turn, and the crushing atmosphere. Many bands try for similar mastery, the ability to transform musical ideas into the melancholy sounds of the funereal, but, lacking the skill of a band like this, they fall short. Lycus succeeds where others fail because it understands the importance of letting the music breathe, allowing the spaces between notes and beats and vocals to contribute to the bleakness. Likewise, the use of a cello lends strength to the melodic passages while also reaching beyond the crushing atmosphere toward something beautiful. Even in the rare upbeat moments (I'm thinking of the opening to the aptly named "Mirage"), the band cultivates the power of sadness and melancholy as potential sources of insight.

The shortest track, "Mirage" begins with a slightly upbeat, playful, motif that is soon knocked back by a gloomy dose of funereal doom. Instead of pitting the soft with the harsh, however, the band blends the elements with a lush and beautiful cello passage. The result is something pensive and beautiful, less a mirage and more of an actual oasis. The cello appears elsewhere on this album, its contribution giving the music yet another layer of sadness, melancholy, and beauty. Check out the way it seamlessly weaves in and out of things on "Obsidian Eyes," an excellent track that combines the best of death doom metal with atmospheric beauty. Listen, too, to "Chasms," another lovely and melancholy exploration of melody and sadness. Lycus succeeds in creating strong and memorable music in the darkest possible vein. But, as with the blues, the constant return to sadness is also a bulwark against its power to overwhelm. For all its sadness and gloom, the music here is ultimately about discovering something like hope.

Track Listing:
1. Solar Chamber
2. Chasms
3. Mirage
4. Obsidian Eyes

Added: January 14th 2016
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1511
Language: english

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