Lychgate – An Antidote for the Glass Pill

Gawd we really needed something new, something unique, something spectacularly bizarre.  Open the curtains, lead us into a crypt musically, scribe before us with aural might a portrait of the macabre.  We seek to be transported through dark corridors dripping in mildew, to smell the dried marrow of ages of death under our feet, oh lead us through melting cobwebs with the dusted shells of extinct insects, lead us farther, farther into the wastes below in the layers of filth.  Such things we desire, for we tread in cemeteries long forgotten, overgrown with roots and ivy, where scarcely a name can be deciphered and it seems but a field of lonely, symmetrically placed stones, like some sort of ancient, heathen ritual ground.  What better genre for such an experience than black metal, which thrives on loathing?  What better aesthetic than black metal, which covers itself in tones of shadow?  And what better country for such a performance than England, where centuries of history, spirits, and rain, have created the most fertile of ground, in the sense of vile?  Well, Lychgate are the answer, there can be none other.

  

First, let us say that Blood Music is quickly becoming one of the most diverse of labels, something truly difficult these days.  With everything from cyber metal to dark snythwave, there seems no clear theme to any of it, yet it all fits together somehow.  Add to their roster Lychgate, returning after their much-lauded S/T from 2013, released by Mordgrimm, and you'll get what they're about, that being things which you can never anticipate.  Now, having heard the band's last one, it's quite easy to consider it something close to a funeral, with its trudging presence, like a dark procession to a grave, complete with organs.  This time around, however, they've done something much different, with such elements being merely part of an entire symphony of the grotesque.

 

An Antidote for the Glass Pill is one of the most difficult releases to fathom that we've ever seen.  It confronts on so many levels the first listen is merely so you know something, in fact, does exist that can be called metal, in a sense.  The spectacular thing is that Lychgate have essentially, and actually, created a symphonic presentation best considered a legitimate combination of classical and black metal.  Not that usual type; superficial, tedious, transposed from the theater to the club via guitar, nor with redundant keyboard strings.  There's much more to be found here, perhaps a lifetime's worth.  Once you understand there's practically nothing traditional anywhere, you realize it's something like watching rotting curtains in a dilapidated theater opening, as an orchestra begins to perform with some hooded cretin channeling the tempo through a moldered bone arcing back and forth in the air, skeletal musicians following its lead.  The musicianship here is absolutely marvelous, and the combination of such widely different musical aesthetics almost godly.  Breakdowns with organ and shrieking? Piano sweeps that somehow fit without sounding ridiculous?  How is it possible?  Suffice to say it has been done.  The grand performance Lychgate provides is almost overwhelming, but there is one thing to say in terms of criticism.  For all the greatness here, and trust us there's a tonAn Antidote for the Glass Pill can, quite often, come off as too theatrical.  As such, it occasionally reaches the point of being difficult to take seriously, where the combination of vastly different genres ends up eliminating that which is critical to darker metal, specifically that enmity for humanity that bands with less style, and less production value, can pull off much easier.  Thus, though this is a work of genius, we think it's best to consider it somewhat transitional to further greatness.  Completely worth every second of your life, but after several listens the likely feeling most will find rising to the surface is something closer to melodrama.  Regardless, Lychgate deserve much praise for what they've done here, and probably an interview from us.

 

Lychgate Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Lychgate: An Antidote for the Glass Pill
Blood Music
4.4 / 5