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Lykathea Aflame - Elvenefris CD (album) cover

ELVENEFRIS

Lykathea Aflame

 

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

4.42 | 32 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Elvenefris' - Lykathea Aflame (8/10)

Although Lykathea Aflame only released one album before caving in and changing band names, it is rare to see an expanded list of the 'greatest death metal albums of all time', and not see their work present. Despite virtually universal acclaim across the board, Lykathea Aflame have never achieved that more widespread recognition, although that may be for good reason. Although death metal fans (and metalheads in general) tend to lean towards some side of the spectrum- be it melodic death or brutal grind- 'Elvenefris' sees this talented group touch upon the lightest and heaviest elements of the style, often propping up next to each other. The end result is an incredibly chaotic and challenging record, but also one filled with beauty, precision, and listening satisfaction.

For those already familiar with death metal, Lykathea Aflame's heavier elements lean towards the niche of 'brutal death metal'; a pummelling brand of death metal that is best represented by its low guttural vocals, and- as one may have guessed by the name- a hyberbolic sense of brutality. Although the incredibly low vocals of Radim Matějka plant Lykathea Aflame firmly within that particular school of death metal, there is much more to 'Elvenefris' than brutal riffs and blasts. What has made this album stand the test of time is the fact that Lykathea Aflame introduce strong melodic hooks, and even mellow moments of atmosphere amidst the crushing heaviness. These atmospheric melodies are often based in Middle-Eastern music. Although they are from the Czech Republic, 'Elvenefris' carries an Egyptian theme in the music. To illustrate; 'Land Where Sympathy Is Air' opens the album with a jarring melody that sounds plucked out of oriental music. The combination of these widely contrasting sounds is challenging to hear at first, but as a listener becomes more used to the distinctive death metal sound that Lykathea Aflame plays, the risk pays off.

The guttural vocals are a bit hard to handle at first, even for someone who is fairly versed in the death metal genre. However, they are mixed very well into the rest of the sound, never overpowering the instruments. Radim's very low growl makes it virtually impossible to hear what he's saying for the most part, and the vocals virtually become a blanket of heaviness that compliments the feeling that the metal elements bring. For an album of this aggressiveness, 'Elvenefris' does run a tad long, going several minutes over the hour mark. When one considers that the last track is an unnecessary piece of synth-laden ambiance, it's clear that some of the music here could have been shaved off, without losing any of the meaning. Lykathea Aflame's album does not strike me as the flawless masterwork that some claim it is, but I can certainly appreciate why they would think that about the music here. In a style that is most plagued by generic bands, 'Elvenefris' stands out, and still sounds as fresh today as it did a decade ago.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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