Lykaion - Heavy Lullabies
Inverse Records
Gothic Metal/Rock
11 songs (47'28")
Release year: 2015
Lykaion, Inverse Records
Reviewed by Alex

This week somehow paired me up with both bands hailing from Italy. Pure coincidence. Unlike Furor Gallico Lykaion are playing gothic metal. Seeing how Finnish gothic metal/rock is among the world’s best, it is Finnish Inverse Records label which has given Heavy Lullabies a chance.

The opening instrumental, very much title fitting, provides for glimmering, shimmering icy look, until booming percussion elevates it to full life. A good way to intrigue the listener, and I admit I was. With the salvo that followed, however, I quickly realized that we are dealing here a lot more with Charon and To/Die/For, rather than iconic Sentenced or profound chameleonic Katatonia, so I had to retune my expectations. Songs like For Love, Out of My Heart and Anthem provide for chugging, not super intricate guitar riffs, with a quick picking lead (Anthem), upfront vocals, drums punched up in the mix, i.e. something with a good eye on sultry gothic rock in search of commercial airplay. Poisonblack may be another good analogy, but unfortunately Lykaion’s vocals don’t quite measure up to Ville Laihiala’s. Some brief (albeit I admit incomplete) research shows that guitarist Alessandro Sforza had to assume additional vocal duties after a few earlier vocalists left the band. From shouts (For Love) to croaks (I Don’t Love You Anymore) Alessandro is trying hard, almost too hard. For example, as just as Accept Yourself begins to tug at soul’s strings his gurgling shouts ruin the impression.

It is pretty certain that Lykaion often go for simpler meatier riffs and modern sounds (End of Time), but I certainly don’t want to imply that Heavy Lullabies do not have their standout moments. Waitin’ has interesting alternating syncopated riffs and atmospheric moments. Smile is a stretchy dragster, some sort of balladeering doom with a spaced out beat and spotlight on guitars. Accept Yourself, once you dismiss the vocals, lays out over the top tremolos. And final closure Till the End manages to get personal and much more rousing, while going slower and with the cleaner sound. Heavy Lullabies melodies were also much better the second and third time around. It is just from time to time you are not sure whether Lykaion will deal into the adult side of gothic rock (Waitin’, Till the End) or slip into some teenager gimmick, where I question the emotion of it all. To reinforce my point, just read some of the song’s titles (I Don’t Love You Anymore has to take the cake for a metal album).

Generally, I either really tend to like gothic rock, or give an album one spin to put it immediately away. To Lykaion’s credit they made me come back, but only to selected moments of their newest album. Those who tend to like gothic rock with a commercial inclination more than what I have described for myself should appreciate Heavy Lullabies to an even bigger extent.

Killing Songs :
Waitin', Accept Yourself, Till the End
Alex quoted 72 / 100
Other albums by Lykaion that we have reviewed:
Lykaion - Nothin' But Death reviewed by Andy and quoted 55 / 100
Lykaion - The Things I've Left reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
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