“Freedom and happiness are incompatible: men are congenitally incapable of using their freedom for constructive ends and merely make themselves miserable by their abuse of it; most of them yearn for a materialistic happiness and are eager to surrender their troublesome freedom and to be reduced to the status of lotus-eaters” (Rudy, 1959).
Lychgate crafted ‘The Antidote for the Glass Pill’ with similar notions in mind, in fact the above quote forms part of the introduction to ‘We’ a Zamyatin novel set in an urban glass city regulated by spies and secret police, a concept alongside the 18th Century Panopticon and a novel on brainwashing hallucinogens by Witkiewicz.
Lychgate wrote ‘The Antidote for the Glass Pill’ over an exhausting two year period, and from the above storylines you can understand why. The sophomore album is one of the most harrowing experiences you will endure in 2015. At 50 minutes long, the album is a meeting of two worlds where traditional musical structures, sounds and theory clash head on with the future. What does this mean? – in essence its the sound of church organs colliding with modern avante grade black metal in a very dark and uncomfortable space.
A lack of freedom is a very good statement to make about the atmosphere that radiates from this record, the density of the guitars and the hypnotic rhythmic drumming traps the listener beneath the ceiling of vocals, while the ever present organs create the feeling that you are being chased from reality. Its a frightening feeling, and also an extremely unique take on black metal.
The organs played by K. J. Bowyer were used sparingly on Lychgates debut album, however have been expanded to full affect on each track here, but used in varying ways, at times giving off a carnival like effect on ‘I am Contempt’ while haunting and vintage at others on ‘The Illness Named Imagination’
‘Unto my Tempest’ is a horror filled introductory track full of church bells, organs, eery samples and a stark doom riff, essentially Lychgate are almost daring you to enter into the abyss, tempting you into captivity. ‘Davamesque B2’ is as uncomfortable as it is absorbing, with a backwards off kilter riff that invades the psyche while ‘A Principle on Seclusion’ is a slow lonely number with a funeral doom aesthetic. Each track takes you on a journey, many with mesmerising twists and turns, all climaxing in different ways.
Cleaner vocals appear on ‘Deus te Videt’ and ‘The Illness Named Imagination’, this adds a nice texture to the mix that was just starting to appear stale. The bass work is incredible here, while deep in the mix it appears to cast a shadow over the structures rather than appearing in isolation. The production leaves a little to be desired, and while it adds to the damp atmosphere, it can sound blunt at times. The organs appear on every track, and later accompanied by piano on ‘An Acoustic Guardian’ which can take some time to get used to, they are an instrument that is seldom used in metal, if not ever to this extent; so be prepared.
Lychgate have laid the foundations for a sound that could take metal, in particular black metal into a whole different realm. Its exciting, challenging and historic. ‘The Antidote for the Glass Pill’ is a contender for extreme album of the year.
Track List :
1. Unto My Tempest
2. Davamesque B2
3. I Am Contempt
4. A Principle on Seclusion
5. Letter XIX
6. Deus Te Videt
7. The Illness Named Imagination
8. An Acousmatic Guardian
9. My Fate to Burn Forever
10. The Pinnacle Known to Sisyphus
‘WE’ – Eugene Zamiatin, A Dutton paperback, New York – Introduction by Peter Rudy from Northwestern University 1959