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Lychgate - "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" (CD)

Lychgate - "An Antidote For The Glass Pill" CD cover image

"An Antidote For The Glass Pill" track listing:

1. Unto My Tempest
2. Davamesque B2
3. I Am Contempt
4. A Principle on Seclusion
5. Letter XIX
6. Deus Te Videt
7. The Illness Named Imagination
8. An Acousmatic Guardian
9. My Fate to Burn Forever
10. The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus

Reviewed by on August 7, 2015

"...[the album] provides a constant feeling of being trapped with an unhallowed church where all who have entered should probably abandon hope and give into the void."

The disturbing experimental metal experience of the year just arrived with Lychgate's “An Antidote For The Glass Pill.” Immersive in the extreme, this sophomore output from the U.K. band is the aural personification of the old school black metal mood, but it arrives through a much more unique and avant-garde medium. While that may turn off the fans who prefer their metallic blackness to be of the kvlt lo-fi variety, honestly it shouldn't, because these 10 tracks are the heart and soul of that style, just filtered through a different kind of soundscape.

From “Unto My Tempest” until “The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus,” Lychgate offers up a symphonic take on black metal, but in a much more baroque, gothic, and intensely dark way than you might hear from a band like Dimmu Borgir. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” is very much an atmospheric, free-form release with an emphasis on the pipe organ and sound effects over the riffs (although those still show up enough to keep the black metal label). There are loads of chilling, ghostly sounds in the background, like clocks ticking or far-away crying or laughter.

Take the creepy, non-metallic parts of Ne Obliviscaris and mesh them with the abrasive, hateful black metal of Dodecahedron and you've essentially got Lychgate. “Letter XIX” has a particularly devastating combination of the two styles with forceful, pointed harsh vocals accompanying staccato keyboards, each note sharply distinct from the surrounding sounds. An overall excellent journey for those who are morbidly inclined, the only downsides are the slightly lower end production, and that by the time you hit “My Fate To Burn Forever” the album could use a change in the formula for those listening all the way through in one sitting.

Much of the album is clearly meant to draw in and mesmerize rather than provide a traditional verse/chorus style of song. The disorienting, gothic organs are an ever-present companion, and the splicing in of more extreme sounds provides a constant feeling of being trapped with an unhallowed church where all who have entered should probably abandon hope and give into the void. If you dig the combination of form and function from Deathspell Omega, or any sort of hypnotizing black metal that drops genre standards in favor of a more experimental approach like Peccatum, then “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” should easily be your next album choice.

Highs: Avant-garde black metal goes seriously gothic with a disturbing sound that is unlikely to be matched by any other band this year.

Lows: Not too much to complain about here - the production could use a slight boost, and by the end the pipe organ trope does get overly familiar.

Bottom line: If you want your black metal disturbing, atmospheric, and experimental, then look no further.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 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)