Black Metal Roundup: Acolyte + Lychgate + A Transylvanian Funeral + Crest of Darkness

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Reviews by Jason Guest

Once more, the egress to the oubliette of Midlands Rocks Towers opens and a stranger emerges to stand before thee. He tells of our days on earth as mere shadows walking in darkness in search of the great light who, in its place, find ivy mantles and solemn scenes of despair. Encrusted in antediluvian dust, carrying the stench of an ancient age, he delivers four more black metal releases for review. They are thus:

  • Acolyte – Alta (released 6 May 2013)
  • Lychgate – Lychgate (released 29 April 2013)
  • A Transylvanian Funeral – Gorgos Goetia (released 20 March 2013)
  • Crest of Darkness – In The Presence Of Death (released 25 February 2013)

 

Acolyte – Alta

Formed in Manchester in 2008, Acolyte’s début appears a long time after their inception. While they’re more than capable of conjuring fire from the skies and blasting out the black, the bleak, and the grim, it’s their proclivity for the progressive that gives them their edge. Simultaneously raw and primitive as well as menacing and intelligent, juxtaposing the dark with the light, Acolyte’s sound is akin to that of Opeth and Enslaved with a bit of jazz thrown in. An intriguing combination of the aggressive, the melodic, the intense and the emotive, Alta stands as an album forged of fire and wisely crafted and well worth your time.

Acolyte – Alta8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Alta (Intro)
  2. Charybdis
  3. Leng
  4. The Nameless Expanse
  5. Sunrise
  6. Formidine
  7. Vultures
  8. The Ashenground
  9. Epistle

 

Lychgate – Lychgate

Lychgate’s sound is of a dark carnival, one that is haunting and sinister that takes in the dirge of doom and the dark descant of black metal to produce something mysterious, arcane, and esoteric. A collaboration between members of Esoteric, Lunar Aurora and Omega Centauri, Lychgate’s début is an accomplished affair that sees its members combining their strengths in its creation. Though there are elements of those bands here, this is something greater than its component parts. Where ‘Against The Paradoxi’ screams torment and agony throughout, the pinch-harmonic riffs and frenzied lead-work of ‘In Self Ruin’ are unrestrained in their charge. With organ-barbed atmospherics, down-trodden tempos, and igneous riffs, there is an orchestral and majestic feel to the denticulate landscapes contained within. The album rises and falls and ebbs and flows, and following the stirring ‘Intermezzo’, from ‘Triumphalism’ to the album’s close, summoning forth the dark forces of the earth in an array of incantations, Lychgate truly come into their own.

Lychgate 20138 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Inception
  2. Resentment
  3. Against the Paradoxical Guild
  4. In Self Ruin
  5. Sceptre to Control the World
  6. Intermezzo
  7. Triumphalism
  8. Dust of a Gun Barrel
  9. When Scorn Can Scourge No More

 

A Transylvanian Funeral – Gorgos Goetia

A Transylvanian Funeral, the one-man project of Sleepwalker, like to keep things pure, and by pure I mean grim, filthy, raw, primitive; in short, kvlt. The production is lo-fi taken to the extreme, the album sounding like the inside of a vacuum cleaner in a washing machine on fast spin; the rampant-yet-curiously-melodic riffs are ruthless and played, well, battered to death in endless repetition; the drums, when they’re not slipping out of time, are an avalanche of blast beats and crashing cymbals; and Sleepwalker delivers his vocals in bursts of abject venom and bile. Definitely one for the demonic devotee of the underground and definitely not for the faint-hearted black metal tourist, if you think black metal has lost its way, thy fealty will be A Transylvanian Funeral.

A Transylvanian Funeral – Gorgos Goetia7 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Cold Blood And Darkness
  2. Burning Astral Hunger
  3. Light Cast Out
  4. The Supreme Rite Of Transmutation
  5. Fear
  6. Mars Exalted In Capricorn
  7. Moonchild
  8. Night Hags
  9. Percival In Black Armour
  10. Ten Of Swords
  11. Hymn To A Gorgon
  12. Goliath Resurrected

 

Crest of Darkness – In The Presence Of Death

What on, above, or below the earth is going on with that album cover? That’s just awful. But a quick glance over their past albums’ artwork and it’s apparent that this is one aspect of the band that has been in dire need of attention since day one. But were we to judge this album by its cover, it wouldn’t even make it to the ‘play’ button would it? So on we plough. A chilling intro – of course – is followed by nine tracks where every black metal trope is pushed to the fore. Everything you’d expect is here. In abundance. In your face. All the time. And it is just irritating. All the time. With track titles like something that 69 Eyes and Powerwolf could’ve come up with while taking a bath together, there’s a distinct pomposity and arrogance about this that makes it difficult to take serious. It’s at times like these that you come to envy Bruce Campbell and wish that you had that kind of lunatic mettle to cut your fucking hand off before it reaches the ‘play’ button. That album cover. I should’ve known…

Crest of Darkness – In The Presence Of Death4 out of 10

Crest of Darkness links:

Track listing:

  1. Intro
  2. In The Presence Of Death
  3. Demon Child
  4. Redemption
  5. The Priest From Hell
  6. Welcome To My Funeral
  7. Womb Of The Wolf
  8. Vampire Dreams
  9. From The Dead
  10. The Day Before She Died