The Grim Lord’s Reviews: Lychgate – An Antidote For The Glass Pill (2015)

Since you might not be familiar with London’s Lychgate, let me first do the pleasure of introducing them to you. Even though the scribes over at Metal Archives consider these gentlemen to be merely another black metal act, it would seem to me as if someone’s just gotten lazy and decided to throw the base genre in; rather than denoting all of their elements. We’ll not get to that now, but when you factor in that these gentlemen are indeed comprised of current members of Esoteric, Macabre Omen and Ancient Ascendant among several others; it soon becomes readily apparent as to what kind of atmosphere you’re going to get from An Antidote For The Glass Pill. After a slight organ-laden introduction in “Unto My Tempest 3:13” the vein of avant-garde and slightly forlorn textures truly seem to describe that which is much more than ordinary black metal. Harsh vocals emanate from Vortigern which also take a bit of a theatrical note, making the disc seem somewhat like that of a stage performance. The band also features two pianists (Vortigern, when he’s not playing the guitar and F. A. Young respectively) as well as an organist (K. J. Bower) so there’s no real sign of keyboards anywhere within the recording, even though it may seem as such. Alas, everything is performed au natural and sounds all the better for it. When the album truly begins, it’s with that of its longest number “Davamesque B2 7:10” which seems to head as far into the realms of Gothicism that it almost feels as though I’m listening to the soundtrack from The Phantom Of The Opera. Hence the material here is heavily based on a dystopian concept which you would surely find more intrigue in researching for yourself, so I will leave you to that as I instead focus on the next cut, “I Am Contempt 4:55” which features Greg Chandler’s gravelly growls in addition to Vortigern’s scowls, making for a sort of operatic black and death metal production that is draped in experimental atmospheres, some of which deviate from the realms of metal entirely. But that doesn’t serve to make them any less worth hearing – rather it shows that Lychgate offer far more than can be communicated by means of metal alone. “A Principle Of Seclusion 5:04” simply builds on that, slightly bringing up the “Castlevania” effect as I might term in, yet building that with thick dirges of doom and an equally thick vocal growl that seems to have not been used enough in favor of the scowls. But I can understand why Chandler would feel the need to differentiate his work here from that of Esoteric and can understand the decision not to pump pounds of concrete into the mix. We’ll still hear some utilized in “Deus Te Videt 4:06” (as well as some extravagant ICS-Vortex/Garm inspired clean lines, which you will hear in other areas scattered throughout the album) but they’re not quite as prominent, giving the material more of a black metal texture. Though to be honest, I feel that Lychgate are more of an experimental or avant-garde type of “extreme gothic metal” if you will. And yes, that more than likely has as much an influence in My Dying Bride as it does in Cradle Of Filth. So whether or not you’ve ever liked Dani Filth’s vocals in that act, you should at least realize that they have definitely paved the way for many other English gothic and operatic acts as well as those of this style in other countries. That being said, Lychgate has definitely left their mark on the style with this record, which is brilliantly executed and most certainly worth your while. It’s undoubtedly a perfect mixture of all things gothic, coupled with a fair share of theatrics and a hefty dosage of atmospheric soundscape. An Antidote For The Glass Pill is an evolution in the realms of extreme gothic metal if I’ve ever heard one, and The Grim Tower highly recommends it. There’s nothing else quite like it, even considering the realm of its influences. People will be talking about this masterpiece for several years to come. Simply remarkable.

(10 Tracks, 49:00)




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