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Lycus - "Tempest" (CD)

Lycus - "Tempest" CD cover image

"Tempest" track listing:

1. Coma Burn (11:38)
2. Engravings (9:37)
3. Tempest (20:35)

Reviewed by on July 9, 2013

"Well-crafted doom metal is what Lycus handles with great care on 'Tempest.'"

Lycus prepares a scrumptious doom platter with their debut effort, “Tempest.” This towering monstrosity of funeral doom does not stick to plodding, morbid tones, but enlightens and plows through tempos of all varieties. The three songs are long, as most funeral doom is, but “boring” is something the band avoids becoming. They have a firm grip sonically on what they want out of their music, and through this grip comes confidence. Attention to detail is apparent, and being able to focus on everything thrown at a listener is a key way to grasp “Tempest.”

The songs on “Tempest” build and build until each has no choice but to explode out. Though they bring the heaviness in bundles, there is no fear of incorporating melodic dynamics. Whether it’s a tuneful vocal line alongside the deep bellows, or a haunting interlude that features harmonic guitars, Lycus does as much as they can to make songs that go over 10 minutes engaging from the first minute on. That makes “Tempest” a more welcoming presence than some of the more unforgiving material other bands of this style dish out.

“Engravings” is the most standard cut on the album, with an unpleasant atmosphere that doesn’t pick up much. “Coma Burn” has one of the more interesting features to Lycus’ sound, which is an ability to drop the doom and get behind a deathly tempo. It comes about halfway though the track, and enters in a rage. It’s exhilarating to hear the band get entangled with faster moments, though it’s not done enough to get stale. Their placement throughout the album is one of the highlights, for sure.

The title track takes up half the length of “Tempest,” squeaking past 20 minutes. It’s the end result of everything brought out from the previous two tracks. The band holds their tongue for a few minutes, letting melodic guitars string along a desolate aura. Things pick up a quarter of the way in, and barely let go from there. A pounding black metal-oriented section floors the song to life, only to be taken down by a drone/noise outro that is about five minutes too long. Too much of a good thing does the title track in.

Well-crafted doom metal is what Lycus handles with great care on “Tempest.” The inclusion of gritty death and black metal offers a bevy of rewards, more so than the elongated drone/noise ending to the title track. These guys have been recommended for fans of My Dying Bride and Mournful Congregation, though they offer enough to not be stamped with an association to more experienced bands. “Tempest” is crushing funeral doom, with a few added bonuses for good measure.

Highs: Funeral doom that doesn't get boring, band spices up the music with various tempo changes, harmonizing guitars enlighten the music

Lows: Title track should have been cut short by about five minutes, should have been a greater exploration of the death/black metal side

Bottom line: Lycus is all about the funeral doom metal, though their usage of black and death metal in select places provides some well-appreciated diversity.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)