Lycus Tempest

Vast, towering and filled with a deep sense of aching regret, Lycus's three-song full-length, Tempest, is a monument to unhappy reflection. Recorded with Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios, it's easy to see how the same studio environment gave rise to the crushing weight and emotive depth of Pallbearer and Samothrace. Listening to Tempest is akin to being at the bottom of an ocean trench: immense, crushing pressure, complete isolation and consumed by a gigantic, living darkness. While funereal doom is the primary musical language Lycus speak, moments of wrenching, galloping black metal acidity occasionally pierce the gloom, propelling the songs forward, momentarily shaking of the inexorable weight, which feels all the heavier once the pace settles back into a ponderous shamble. The shortest track, at nine minutes, "Engravings" is a particularly dark and abyssal piece; it's as though each mark of the titular carving was being etched into flesh. Tempest does an excellent job exploring the depths and limits of the concept of burden: the way in which we are all shaped and defined by the weights we carry. (20 Buck Spin)