Published Mar 29, 2018If you can imagine being dosed on bad hallucinogens while wandering through a haunted cathedral with no chance of escape, Lychgate's The Contagion In Nine Steps solidifies that vision.
Lychgate abandon the drive to craft catchy riffs in favour of pure atmosphere. Organ and guitar ring out in tandem, forming a symphonic wall of sound, as the rhythm section trudges at a doomy pace, which almost never gains speed, except for a rare burst halfway into "Hither Comes The Swarm."
However, even with that lack of charging pace, Lychgate demonstrate a technical mastery, as songs like "Unity of Opposites" build on complex, intertwining strings as well as ever-shifting time signatures in the drum tempo, keeping listeners off balance. With the slow, funereal grandeur of Hooded Menace, there are just as many nods to prog as there are to jazz. Lychgate also offer an effective contrast in vocals, with deep roars interplayed with operatic harmonization.
The contrast between virtuoso prowess can, at times, detract from the mood in some songs, with technical mastery taking the stage over the atmosphere that Lychgate seek to manifest. The Contagion In Nine Steps is a genre-bending work of symphonic extravagance. Owing more to doom than black metal, Lychgate sacrifice speed and ease of entry for a dense canvas of layered playing that, to varying degrees, evokes a gothic and menacing scene, when not bogged down by its own technicality. (Blood Music)