Ly­ch­gate

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Reviews | Albums. Lives. Merch. -

THE CONTAGION IN NINE STEPS

BLOOD MU­SIC ES­O­TERIC FRONT­MAN RE­TURNS TO HIS PAR­AL­LEL DI­MEN­SION OF DREAD

Within two min­utes this black­doom quin­tet’s third al­bum has set out a grip­ping ar­ray of dis­parate strengths, com­pelling from the first madly stabbed church or­gan, through skew-whiff prog-sludge riff­ing, past stately cas­cades of me­dieval gui­tar to the gut­tural procla­ma­tions of Greg Chan­dler, whose pedi­gree stretches 25 years with am­bi­ent fu­neral doom pi­o­neers Es­o­teric and count­less im­mac­u­late stu­dio cred­its. No won­der Ly­ch­gate sound so spot on, the LP un­fold­ing like a creep­y­crawl around a haunted cathe­dral, sweet choral melodies ris­ing in one ear, de­monic whis­pers echo­ing around the other. With gui­tars up­front, the or­gan is more re­strained than pre­vi­ously – less stri­dent pomp, more spec­tral dread – and while The Contagion… su­per­fi­cially con­tains more doom than black metal, the modes are in­ex­tri­ca­bly in­ter­wo­ven. What dis­tin­guishes it most is the sub­lime blend of solemn, el­e­gant melody and ter­ri­fy­ingly ab­struse ex­trem­ity.

FOR FANS OF: ES­O­TERIC, EM­PEROR, BLUT AUS NORD

CHRIS CHANTLER

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