‘Chasms’ is the second full-length offering from Californian Doom Quartet Lycus. The band have shared the stage with a host of doom and black metal artists including Eyehategod, Loss and Agalloch since the time of their spawning in 2008, and have performed at California Deathfest alongside with a host of other bands.
The previous Lycus album ‘Tempest‘ was raw, beautiful, and had tonnes of atmosphere, ‘Chasms‘ offers a more discordant and desperate vibe to that of its predecessor, but it’s well produced, and has a definitively established sound. The album moves between heavy, delicate, powerful and empowering sections to the soul-shatteringly brutal boroughs of riff city.
Opening track ‘Solar chamber‘ kicks the album off to a start, and trudges along with a desperate funeral doom progression, lead by great discordant guitar riffs and deceivingly adept drum work. Growling male vocals guide the listener to a progressive narrative which slides through classic Esoteric style guttural vibrations and leads us into black metal style blast-beats and high pitched blood curdling screams. A disharmonious and chaotic outro brings an extreme element to the song, which then slows down to a mechanical heavy grind and a beautiful euphoric ending.
Title track ‘Chasms‘ opens with a twiddly Neurosis/Isis delivery before dropping one of the heaviest riffs in the album. The movement and melody of this composition is welcome to the ears, as it again takes us on a journey, but rather than the usual feeling of hopelessness, I felt I wanted to explore the coveted mystery this place had to offer.
Jackie Perez Gratz provides the superb cello accompaniment to the opening of ‘Mirage‘, the ‘single’ of the album, (being the only track which clocks in under 10 minutes…). This melodic track has elements of Pallbearer, Nachtmystium & Cult of Luna neatly packaged together, providing a stand-alone sample of what the band has to offer.
‘Obsidian eyes‘ is the album’s epic & refined finisher. The arrangement meanders through the various stylistic pillars Lycus has established for themselves, with well crafted execution. The cello makes another appearance during a post-rock interval along-side gentle guitars, before plunging the listener back into Doom’s heavy abyss.
Although it is an ever growing sub-genre of metal, Doom is not everybody’s cup of tea, but I believe there is plenty of motion in this album to keep the casual listener entertained. The crushing slow and heavy sections never feel drawn out to the point that they outlive their impact, and there are engrossing musical initiatives which will keep you coming back for a second listen or more. Lycus aren’t necessarily doing anything new, but what they are doing, is writing interesting and accessible music which appears to have been created with much passion and talent.
Although it is an ever growing sub-genre of metal, Doom is not everybody's cup of tea, but I believe there is plenty of motion in this album to keep the casual listener entertained. The crushing slow and heavy sections never feel drawn out to the point that they outlive their impact, and there are engrossing musical initiatives which will keep you coming back for a second listen or more.