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Lykathea Aflame - Elvenefris CD (album) cover


Lykathea Aflame

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

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5 stars I could write enough to fill out an entire page of your browser, but I am lazy and I'm sure you have better things to do. Fans and the tolerant of Death Metal elements cannot go another moment without hearing this unique, amazingly well executed album. It's a very organic feeling album which revolves around the subject of nature, renewal and all that other enviro-hippie crap. All kidding aside, this organic sound lends itself very well to a genre which sees more than its fair share of clinical, soulless affairs. Technically speaking, the guitars and arrangements are solid, if not spectacular; but where there is noticeable technical proficiency is with the drums. Speed for speed he's faster than the "enfent terrible" of metal drumming, Flo Mounier and his creativity behind the kit puts the aforementioned Cryptopsy drummer to shame. I'm not even overexaggerating...I wish I were.

If you like your beautiful breakdowns with your headbanging, look no further than this essential, underrated gem and give it its fair chance. You won't regret it. One of the best metal albums ever.

Report this review (#153680)
Posted Sunday, December 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars What can I say to fully explain the sheer awesomeness of this album? Elvenefris is a masterpiece and is one of my favorite albums of all time. The album amazes me even after years of owning it and listening to it regularly. This album manages to perfectly transition from brutal to melodic, all in all creating pure beauty.

There are an incredible amount of shiver-inducing moments. The riffs are brilliant and catchy. They range from melodic and clean, melodic and heavy, to brutal and heavy. Besides that, there are atmospheric moments. There are moments that are sad, happy, angry, and epic.

The drums are the some of the best I've heard in metal and I've heard a lot. They are technical, fast, and have very interesting rhythms. I could listen to this album only paying attention to drums and enjoy it greatly. The vocalist does a great job with both clean vocals(includes singing and talking) and brutal growls. The lyrics are about peace and the quest for redemption, which is surprising for a band this heavy.

Pretty much every track is a highlight, but my favorite is A Step Closer. The last track, Walking in the Garden of Ma'at, changes the pace and ends the album with peaceful, beautiful synths and chirping birds. Every time I listen to it, my mind gets cleared of all negative thoughts. It's truly cleansing.

As far as originality goes, no album is like this one. This is a must-hear album. Don't let the brutality stop you from obtaining this gem. This is one of the most beautiful metal albums.

Report this review (#209237)
Posted Sunday, March 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let me first say this album blows my mind! Lykathea Aflame, (now just Lykathea) was introduced to me by my brother because of how obscure they were. We could not find them even in our always reliable local music store. However, we grew to love "Elvenefris" This album is the epitome of Progressive Metal. In an instant it shifts from soft, slow melodies with clean guitar work to brutal death metal. Every song on this album will take you to both extremes, several times.

The guitar work on this album is best described as organized chaos. It never does the same thing for more than 20 seconds at a time. Throughout any song you will hear death metal-esque tremolo picking, crushing riffs, (and they are always different!), eastern influences, and very technical licks.

The drumming on "Elvenefris" is truly astounding. While there are plenty of thrash beats, double bass, and mind numbingly fast blast beats, there are also very technical beats. There is constant use of double bass, with complex ride/snare patterns over it. The drumming is very fill heavy, and just like the guitar work it is always changing. On the flip of a switch Tomas Corn alternates from precision snare and bass drumming to blast beats, then to a jazzy interlude, and back to pounding blast beats. That is what amazes me most, his technicality on the album as well as his stop and go skills.

Every song is different, and each is an indescribable experience of technicality. Despite the extreme metal feel to the album, there is the 11:13 long "Walking in the Garden of Ma'at" which is entirely consistent of bird chirping and "nature" sounds.

If there is one downside to this album, it has to be the vocals. I am a seasoned veteran of metal, and death metal, but even I have some difficulty with the vocals on this album. I am not sure how to describe them..."pig squeal" vocals, seem the best way to go, (to me the vocals often just sound like "bree"). It should be noted the vocals often fit the music very well, but they can be tough to swallow. Luckilly, the vocals are not used heavily, or else I might have to give this album a lower rating. However, spoken word is also used frequently and if you are a fan, you will get past the vocals.

I give this album 5 stars. Not for the typical prog fan, or even most casual prog-metal fans. However, if you are a hardline prog-metal, (or death metal) fan this album is a must!

Report this review (#213723)
Posted Monday, May 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
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.

Report this review (#609238)
Posted Friday, January 13, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars ELVENEFRIS - 5/5 stars

Did you think that Opeth were the ultimate mixture between 'extreme Metal' and 'progressive layers/interludes'? Well, now listen to 'Lykathea'. The perfect blend of harrowing brutality and passages full of spiritual harmony.

'Lykathea Aflame' is a Czech band that has gone through a lot of line-up changes. Prior to being 'Lykathea Aflame', they were known as 'Appalling Spawn'. They played a 'Technical/Progressive' breed of Brutal Death metal. When 'Appalling Spawn' broke up, the remaining members (with drummer Tomás Corn recruited) formed the 'Lykathea Aflame' that spawned the wonderful beast that is 'Elvenefris'.

I came across this band for ages, I really do not remember the exact time, but since this album came into my hands, it never came out. This album has become one of my favorites, coming to rival the 'magnus opus' of my favorite bands, and by now, they are the only band that has been able to generate such an impact on me with only 1 record... not for nothing, 'Lykathea Aflame' have become a respected act and a have gained a modest fan base throughout the world. Simply, a cult band.

From the soothing sound of synthesizers that envelop the intense riffs, to the mystical sound of the Mediterranean that sets the standard in each break, 'Lykathea' shows that in each of the 11 songs, they are able to maintain an unshakable identity, but not only that, the beautiful poetry which illustrates every song only manages to give more life to 'Elvenefris'.

Each instrument in this album engage the listener to put careful attention in their lines, being Tomás and his spectaculars drum fills, the more pleasant to discover through the layers that permeate the sound of 'Elvenefris'. Just listen to the album opener 'Land Where Sympathy Is Air', and pay close attention to the drum... yeah, 'Cryptopsy's' Monster: Flo Mounier pales in comparison to Tomás amazing spontaneity, versatility, speed, technique and subtlety. The axework in this album it's terrific, brutal, yet still beautiful, and uplifting (Take as an example the opening riff from 'To Become Shelter And Salvation'). Guitar lines in 'Elvenefris' aren't overly-technical, as a matter of fact, there aren't guitar solos, so you won't hear self- indulgent sweeps or overthetop technical riffing. Vocal-wise, everything fits perfectly, from the brutal growls to the clean singing, but even if you listen to Death Metal, the growls/pig-squeals are a thing that you must get used first, so, is almost an acquired taste.

Each track in this album is a must, although I have my personal favourites: 'Land Where Sympathy Is Air', 'To Give', 'On The Way Home', 'Sadness And Strength'.

'Elvenefris' is an album that must be listened to carefully in order to be fully apreciated. Too experimental for a 'Brutal Death Metal' purist, and too brutal for a 'Progressive Metal' elitist, but for those with enough open mind, will recognize that the mix of these factors give an authentic sound to the style 'Lykathea' applies in their music. A classic that always sound fresh, and with just a decade of history, 'Elvenefris' constantly shows us that is possible to keep pushing the stereotypes of the most extreme and progressive side of metal.

...An album that takes you into a quest into the deep unknown, but... guided by light.

Report this review (#787880)
Posted Saturday, July 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars I never write negative reviews, but based on the hight rating here at Progarchives I made the mistake to buy this record. I have no doubt that the death metal fans will be very happy hearing it, but I don't see any relation with the progressive rock I like. Let's keep our things apart. This is not a superficial opinion, I really listened several times the CD with an open mind and read references about the band. and I still don't find any esthetical connection with progressive music. I can only give it one star, this is only for those who want to explore another genres. I cannot say that the record is bad, only that it's not progressive.
Report this review (#1976897)
Posted Friday, August 10, 2018 | Review Permalink
5 stars My first Review! A trully original masterpiece.

Its sad that a wonderful band like Lykathea Aflame has just realeased one album and its even worst that people dont know this amazing work.

A really unique piece of art, where brutal death metal meets prog and trascendental landscapes. I think that i have never heard anything like this. The first time i listend this one i felt like it was pure chaos, (I werent familiar with metal of this type) but then with a little of close attencion the magick came. powerfull and beautiful.

Definetely not from everyone, but its worth a try if you are opened minded and you are familiar with metal

Report this review (#2022312)
Posted Wednesday, September 5, 2018 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars LYKATHEA AFLAME is, or was actually, one of those many artsy tech death bands that seems to cause derision in the metal community. On the one hand you have the metal purists who find any tinkering with the metal basics of brutal, distorted essentials that separate the genre from the greater rock universe will taint the defining musical "aesthetics" and wish to install a eugenics program to keep metal from "breeding" with other musical genres. And then you have those who love the idea of a brutal tech death band that has the gall to follow in the shoes of avant-gardists like Mr Bungle by adding completely opposing musical moods and styles to the frenetic bantering of the head banging bombast which LYKATHEA AFLAME does in abundance. And of course, you have many who fall somewhere in between.

This band came from the Czech Republic and released this one well known, well loved as well as well hated album after they morphed from their previous incarnation as Appalling Spawn. While in A.S. they had already begun the process of expanding their horizons beyond the Cryptosy meets Nile death metal paradigm, on their sole LYKATHEA AFLAME release ELVENEFRIS, they really let the dog off the leash and like a randy slut at a frat party, mixes company with more styles of music than a brothel sees when a navy ship docks in Bangkok. The result is a blissful journey for the aforementioned artistic types and a wellspring of irritation for the purists who cannot comprehend the massive effort that went into this one.

ELVENEFRIS is a long beast to say the least, so it requires a major commitment to sit through this one but for any open minded tech death metalheads out there, this is on the essential listening list as it randomly drifts at hyperactive speed through a plethora of genres that meet and greet the brutal Cryptosy inspired blastbeat drumming, Nile inspired compositional drive (think Egyptian themes and thundering epic heavy metal melodies that intertwine with the chaotic death metal riffs) and a seemingly random chaotic romp through the tech death universe. What sets LYKATHEA AFLAME apart from almost every other extreme metal band of the day was that they were equally at home with long drifting ebbs and flows that delved in post-metal, classic 80s heavy metal and even metalcore, Pagan black folk metal and of course progressively infused compositional efforsts.

While bantering death growls and orotund pyroclastic aggression is the norm, LYKATHEA AFLAME provide tender moments of melodic folky sections with clean and "properly" sung vocals as well as pacifying new age passages, the longest which ends this sprawling repertoire of just over 72 minutes. It's fair to say that ELVENEFRIS started a trend in the extreme metal world that allowed bands like Between The Buried And Me, Augury, Unexpect and others to radically expand the parameters of what was acceptable within the confines of a death metal listening experience. As with any form of extreme music ranging from punk and industrial to metal, there are those who staunchly resist such artistic liberties and others who wholeheartedly embrace it. Personally i straddle both lines of thought. I love the pure unadulterated styles of death metal but when done right, an artsy mind-blowing mix of genres is exactly what scratches that itch.

It occurred to me that the type of musical delivery that artists like LYKATHEA AFLAME offer comes from a form of musical thought. As a musician i have found my own inner soundtrack operates much like the music presented on ELVENEFRIS, that being a seemingly random parade of riffing variations decorated with various dynamic and tempo shifts that seem to drift in and out of whatever background music of the moment happens to be. Think of this sort of thought process as having a continuous spectrum of counterpoints churning in our heads where metal, post-rock, circus clown music or whatever just sort of emerges as the dominate format at any given moment. It's sort of like a pipeline to that invisible world where creativity comes from and while that is usually the first step for an artist in crafting their works, LYKATHEA AFLAME seemed to find it adequate to utilize these random inspirations into a freeform explosive callithump.

This is very much tantamount to what some musical savants can conjure up as they can effortlessly transcribe a Mozart piece to sound like a Dixieland jazz number on the spot. So too does this occur for a select few musical minds who seem to think in music, however very few artists record their music in this astroplane sort of style. Virtuosos like Steve Vai have had tracks that utilize this process as well as other avant-garde metal artists like Maudlin Of The Well, but in the grimy pits of the extreme death metal world, this sort of thing doesn't emerge too often since death metal by its very nature is more of a hellish beast that is firmly based on a set of unspoken rules. LYKATHEA AFLAME was paramount in taking this underground musical world into the ethereal dream state and channel the results into what would emerge as ELVENEFRIS.

Many consider ELVENEFRIS to be a masterpiece while others a complete piece of trash. Having the same sort of musical loves of never-ending musical variations and genre bending, i have to say that i fall in the camp of loving this album however at the same time, my inner critic emerges to also agree that this is by far an imperfect album. Firstly, it's way too long and some of the meandering in certain sections, especially the lengthy post-rock and ambient parts can be way too long and little editing would've made this much stronger. Both post-rock and ambient can be fine in their own realms but the contrast here seems awkward and not planned out as how to integrate it into the overall mood swings of the album. As many others have stated, the ubiquitous snare drum bombast provides a rather generic percussive drive throughout the album's run. More percussive variation would've gone a long way.

If only the other elements of the music were as diverse as the need for an incessant tempo change and addition of changing subdued elements ELVENEFRIST could've been a much better album. LYKATHEA AFLAME should have developed into a true artistic powerhouse had they recorded another album or two but even taken as is, ELVENEFRIS is a powerfully unique technical death metal experience that more often than not delivers the goods of a true extreme avant-garde maelstrom of metal madness. On the plus side, the album balances melody with dissonance quite successfully and never relies on any trick or trinket within the metal passages for too long. While not perfect in my mind, LYKATHEA AFLAME, like many bands that have emerged from Eastern Europe delivered a strong album that offered a completely new way to experience the perpetually expanding world of the death metal universe and despite the incessant complaints of the wimpy non-metal parts, this is a brutal death metal beast of an album to be reckoned with.

Report this review (#2025758)
Posted Saturday, September 15, 2018 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Elvenefris" is the debut full-length studio album by Czech Republic, Prague based death metal act Lykathea Aflame. The album was released through Obscene Productions in October 2000. Lykathea Aflame was formed in 1999 by three former members of Appalling Spawn and drummer Tomá? Corn (who replaced Gabriel "Gábin" Pavlík). Appalling Spawn were active from 1995 to 1999 and released the "Bestial, Mystical & Spiritual (The First Spawn)" demo in 1996 and the "Freedom, Hope & Fury (The Second Spawn)" full-length studio album in 1998 before morphing into Lykathea Aflame.

The material on the 11 track, 72:12 minutes long album is a combination of technically well played brutal death metal parts and epic atmospheric parts. The vocals are predominantly ultra brutal unintelligible growls, but there are spoken word passages on some tracks too. The musicianship is generally through the roof, and especially drummer Tomá? Corn plays on a jaw-dropping technical level (which often reminds me of Flo Mounier from Cryptopsy). Keyboards are used for effect, but other than that this is guitar, bass, drums, and vocal dominated death metal. There´s the occasional use of acoustic guitars, and middle eastern scales, which only adds to the variation of the album, but those effects aren´t used that often. "Elvenefris" features a powerful, and detailed sound production, so in that department it´s a quality release too.

"Elvenefris" is overall a quality release and a quite interesting one too. There´s a slight issue with the tracks sounding a bit too much the same, and the keyboard dominated 11:14 minutes long closing track "Walking In The Garden Of Ma'at" being a bit of a tedious ambient listen, which could easily have been cut to a playing time of a few minutes and made a nice outro to the album, but instead drags and drags until the listener feels ready to go to sleep. So upon conclusion it´s not a perfect release by any means, but take each track out of context (except "Walking In The Garden Of Ma'at"), and it´s hard not to be impressed by the epic sound, the brutality, the technical playing, and the relatively original sound of the album. So despite a few isues a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved.

(Originally posted on Metal Music Archives)

Report this review (#2437712)
Posted Saturday, August 15, 2020 | Review Permalink

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