Lycus - Tempest
Funeral Doom Metal
3 songs (41:50)
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Neill

Lycus is a funeral doom band based out of California. After only one demo, they released their first full length, Tempest in 2013. The album had gotten a lot of hype upon its release, and I could not wait to get my hands on it. The album is undeniably doom, but feels restrained, in a good way. The three tracks, and nearly 42 minutes of run time works very well, and never seems over drawn or too grandiose. For a debut, this album is really something impressive, and something to take a look at.

Starting the album off on a slow and heavy note, opener Coma Burn works like you would expect for a funeral doom album. Very heavy, dark guitars, deep growled vocals, deep bass making the windows shutter, and hypnotic drumming. There is a lot of repetition, as would be expected, but it is very entrancing, and it does get broken up with some faster sections as well. The song set the mood for the record perfectly, and lets you know you are on a journey.

The second track, Engravings starts of in a similar way musically to the prior track, but we get some chant style clean vocals. The lead guitar work on this song really shines, and adds a lot to the atmosphere of the song and record as a whole. The track itself is the shortest on the album, at 9.5 minutes, and really works well as it condenses the band's ideas into a bit of a shorter time span. There are some higher pitched screams, as well as another faster section to break up the heavy plodding doom. There is also a slower, less heavy section around the 6.5 minute mark, breaking up the song a little more as well. The song to me has everything the band has to offer in a well constructed length, and stands out on the album.

The final, titular track is also the longest, at 20+ minutes. It begins with a nice, melodic section over some slow, mesmerizing drumming before the rest of the band kicks in around the two and a half minute mark. Again, we get some melodic chant style vocals, and great lead guitar. There is not much to really make this track stand out from the rest of the album until the last 7 minutes or so. Lycus offer us an instrumental, droning section for the last part of the song, which acts almost as a cool down for the album. I do not mind giving the listener a chance to breathe after such a record, but this section to me goes on for far too long, and sadly, is not interesting to me in the slightest.

As a whole, this is a great debut from this band, and I think they have a very promising future. There are a few things I do hope the band would improve on next time around though. While they add atmosphere, the vocals are a little too buried in the mix for me, and I would like them to be clearer. Also, the vocals are a little one note. There is a slight variety, but I would like so hear more variety on the next record. The faster sections on the album are very well done, and help break up the heavy doom, but there could be a little more of them. Each song will feature one fast section for maybe a couple of minutes, which is very minimal given the song lengths. I would like to see more of this in the future. However, the album is really good, and deserves a listen. The band has a good future ahead of them once they can fine tune a few things. Feel free to check out the album here.

Also worth mentioning is the album artwork, done by Paolo Girardi. Damn, this is a beautiful piece of art, much like his other works. Great job to Paolo.

Killing Songs :
Engravings, Coma Burn
Neill quoted 80 / 100
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