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Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United Kingdom

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Lychgate biography
Founded in London, UK in 2011, LYCHGATE began as a project of guitarist/keyboardist/vocalist Vortigern collaberating with vocalist and guitarist G.A. CHANDLER, Aran on bass and drummer J.F. VALLELY. In 2012 they recorded their self-titled debut album which was released in early 2013, consisting of mostly pre-Lychgate material from the late 00's that bore a black metal base with some doom elements and an atmosphere not unlike that of BLUT AUS NORD. Aran eventually left the band and was replaced by A. K. WEBB. S. D. LINDSLEY would also join the band as another guitarist.

Their next full-length album, ''An Antidote for the Glass Pill'', was mostly recorded at Priory Studios during the latter part of 2014. The finished product was then sent to the Blood Music label and was released on August of 2015. A primary new feature to the band's sound is the strong utilization of the pipe organ, performed by Kevin BOWYER. The band's musical inspirations now embraced acts such as ART ZOYD just as much as BATHORY. Complex and dissonant riffs with numerous shifts in dynamics are present as well as avant garde overtones.

The band itself is comprised of performers who have also been involved with acts such as ESOTERIC, THE ONE, MACABRE OMEN, LUNAR AURORA and OMEGA CENTAURI.

Biography by Prog Sothoth

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The Contagion In Nine StepsThe Contagion In Nine Steps
An Antidote For The Glass PillAn Antidote For The Glass Pill
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Lychgate by Lychgate (2013-08-03)Lychgate by Lychgate (2013-08-03)
Mordgrimm Records
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An Antidote For The Glass Pill by Lychgate (2015-11-13)An Antidote For The Glass Pill by Lychgate (2015-11-13)
Blood Music
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LYCHGATE discography

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4.00 | 1 ratings
4.90 | 2 ratings
An Antidote for the Glass Pill

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 An Antidote for the Glass Pill by LYCHGATE album cover Studio Album, 2015
4.90 | 2 ratings

An Antidote for the Glass Pill
Lychgate Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

5 stars 'An Antidote for the Glass Pill' - Lychgate (91/100)

Whether you have heard the name Lychgate, or heard their solid 2013 self-titled before, I have no doubt that the coming months will see the extreme metal community gurgle with joy aplenty at the release of their second album. An Antidote for the Glass Pill is an unlikely masterpiece, and I might have to look as far back as last year for an album that has chilled, spooked, and otherwise frightened me as much as this one. Thantifaxath's Sacred White Noise, perhaps? I think fear from a presumably 'harmless' medium like music can only be felt when a listener is experiencing something unfamiliar to them. That sense of confusion is the calling card of the avant-garde, and to meld that confusion with inherently dark styles like black or doom metal is to effectively weaponize it. I am no less provoked each time I listen to An Antidote for the Glass Pill. Lychgate have crafted a completely immersive experience with their second album, boldly realizing the vision they set out for themselves, with the substance to temper its madness, and no cheap tricks used to satisfy their ends.

Though previously a one-man act known as Archaicus, the story of Lychgate didn't start until the release of their self-titled full-length in 2013. Multi-instrumentalist Vortigern was joined by a host of well-travelled musicians, best known of all arguably being Greg Chandler, known for his resonant howls in the legendary Esoteric. While Lychgate is marketed foremost as a black metal band, the influence and association with (arguably) funeral doom's most astounding monument informed the way the band carried their atmosphere on the debut, which otherwise tended to carry itself in an (albeit extreme) melodic light vaguely reminiscent of Dissection. While I really enjoyed what Lychgate did on their debut, my lasting impression was that they hadn't yet realized their destined style, choosing instead to imply it via the smoke and mirrors of other, less outlandish black metal bands that inspired them.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill takes the unique threads hinted at on the debut and have realized them completely. Lychgate's style here is full-bodied and imposing; such as it is, it makes the excellent debut look underdeveloped in contrast. Lychgate's teetering between black and doom metal has collapsed in favour of the latter. Much like Esoteric, they convey the unmistakable atmosphere of funeral doom at a variety of tempos. The discussion of genre in metal describes none but the most generic bands, but this confusion between two styles that aren't commonly mixed should offer a vague indication, at least, that Lychgate are onto something strange with their style.

Undoubtedly, the most distinctive ingredient to Lychgate's sound is their use of organ. Church pipes are a common sight in avant-garde metal, but I don't think I've heard them take such a heavy role on a metal album before. On its own, it is possibly the most imposing instrument in the Western musical arsenal, and Lychgate make full use of this potential. Where most use of keyboards in metal is relegated to the role of auxiliary support, Lychgate's organs are vast and thunderous, truly befitting the scope of classical composers, without necessarily drawing so close to any one of them to betray the influence. Although the full extent of Lychgate's atmosphere is only apparent after giving the album due patience, the effect of the organ is thick and immediate. There is an unprecedented weight to one's music when you have centuries of musical tradition bellowing alongside you, and the organ's ecclesiastical connotations mesh well, if hauntingly, with the band's tormented atmosphere. If ever a portal to hell opens up amidst the pews of St. Paul's cathedral, it's a relief we'll already have the perfect soundtrack ready for the occasion.

Lychgate's penchant for the organ may have even pinned them as a gimmick, had they not channelled that same uncompromising innovation into every other part of their style. The guitar riffs are equal parts playful and disquieting, and they way they constantly tempt abstraction compliments the historic familiarity of the organs. One of the weirdest, most potentially divisive things about the album is actually the tone of the guitars. Although everything is played relatively 'live', it's as if Lychgate went through the extra trouble of making their guitars share the cold voice of a MIDI file. This isn't the sort of detail I noticed until a few listens in, after the indulgent organ display had grown familiar. There is an inhumanity to the way Lychgate's guitars sound that makes one feel immediately uncomfortable, as if the 'uncanny valley' reaction towards androids or 'fake humans' may now apply to a musical instrument as well. This "MIDI" sound, paired with the unsettling horror-inspired atmosphere, actually had me thinking of classic 8-bit video game soundtracks more than once, namely the spooky sounds of Castlevania. Whether this was an intentional association or not, it adds even greater alien novelty to their sound, and Lychgate enjoy the compositional chops to make that novelty last a long time. The way Blut Aus Nord took the drum machine from a budgetary setback to an integral artistic statement, I believe Lychgate have done the same for this weird guitar tone.

Greg Chandler's howls are immediately distinctive, and all existing Esoteric fans will find a shred of welcome familiarity among this project's more alien prospects. Clean vocals also make their appearance here, albeit occasionally, and sound reminiscent of other avant-metal like Age of Silence and Solefald. Lychgate's vocals (clean and growled alike) are buried slightly below the mix, which means the human element bears little chance of tampering with their conjured insanity. It's to Chandler's credit, then, that his vocals, however quiet, yet manage to send chills down my spine throughout the album. Looking at the lyrics doesn't bring one any closer to comfort. These lyrics are filled with expressionist imagery and mentions of obscure apocrypha. Whether there is a clear meaning to be taken from all of it is beside the point; most of the time, it reads like the chattering of a bona fide madman, caught in thought loops without resolution or development. Is there sense to be made of it? Cryptic mentions of a "We" and "OneState" hints their madness may be rooted in the individual's struggle to distinguish himself from the collective, but interpretations will vary. The folly of insanity is that whatever revelations that are gleaned from such an uncommon frame of mind are made intangible through their lack of clarity. It's quite conceivable that all minds behind Lychgate were perfectly sound order while making the album, but the fact that they can liberate themselves from a need for proper meaning offers an opportunity for the listener's own mind to project their own neuroses upon it.

An Antidote for the Glass Pill should spark some controversy in the coming months, and I'd like to think it'll become an album that only grows in reputation as time goes on. Lychgate have crafted a work of expressionist horror in the fleeting space where matters of genre become clouded and irrelevant. If I may any parting words on it, it's that the album takes some time to grow, even on the most attentive set of ears. Where many overly frightening, or avant-garde works get their point across in bold, loud ways, Lychgate's dread grows with each listen. If they started out as a promising black metal band. they've now become the sort of act capable of crafting masterpieces in none but their own image.

 Lychgate by LYCHGATE album cover Studio Album, 2013
4.00 | 1 ratings

Lychgate Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
4 stars 'Lychgate' - Lychgate (75/100)

I have recently been taken aback by the release of Lychgate's second album, An Antidote for the Glass Pill. Although I found their matrimony of black metal and funeral doom atmosphere to immediately click with me, I felt the rare compulsion to bear witness to their earlier work, to see how it was they had come upon such an unnerving sound. While it may seem comparably straightforward now in light of its successor, Lychgate's self-titled is a truly maniacal album. Seldom are visions so promising found on a black metal debut, even if it would take the band a few more years to properly realize it.

Lychgate found its origins in Archaicus, a one-man imagining from multi-instrumentalist Vortigern. Although one effectively became the other when full-time members joined the fold, Lychgate covers a far greater range than the Second Wave fuzz of its predecessor. Looking into the band's other members has brought me much closer to making sense of the band's unique style. Most notably, Esoteric's Greg Chandler handles the vocals here. His resonant growls are immediately distinctive, and are used to similar effect here as they are with his flagship band. Drummer Thomas Vallely may be best known for his work in Macabre Omen, but on a more personal note, I was surprised to see he and Vortigern had comprised the members of Orpheus, a one-time project I'd discovered during my prog rock explorations.

While I firmly stand by the notion that An Antidote for the Glass Pill has demonstrated just how far this self- titled was from reaching its stylistic ends, Lychgate introduced themselves in 2013 backed by a vicious range of influences. Although there is nothing to separate the music's essence from that of black metal tradition, Chandler's influence is firmly felt in the album's bleak atmosphere, which is dissociative enough to provoke comparison with funeral doom. Lychgate's 'doomy' impression is furthered considerably by Vortigern's use of swirling organ dissonance. While the actual black metal riffs here are actually quite melodic (in an almost Dissection sense) the music's consistently 'softest' ingredient is also its most punishing and atonal. Again, Lychgate introduced this punishing use of Gothic organ here, but it wouldn't be until the second album that the compositions exploit it for all its worth.

Although my strongest impression for the album is rooted in its experimentation with doom, a deceptively significant amount of the album's length is actually led by a more straight-played take on black metal. The above- mentioned atmospheric terror is ubiquitous throughout, but Lychgate songwriting doesn't appear to have fully embraced the fringier ends of their style. Quite often, I was not only reminded of Dissection, but mid- career Opeth, particularly on "Sceptre to Control the World" and "When Scorn Can Scourge No More". It's not that Lychgate didn't use these melodic influences admirably-- I found myself particularly endeared whenever I heard a trick from Storm of the Light's Bane used-- but I get the overarching sense that Lychgate's true identity lay on the dissonant end of their spectrum. This is a great debut by every account, but I think their second album has proven my assumption correct.

Thanks to aapatsos for the artist addition.

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