“I could mention countless superlatives but what it all comes down to is the wide-angle approach to their music, the playful creativity that propels this album towards upper echelons of art.”
- Unto My Tempest
- Davamesque B2
- I Am Contempt
- A Principle On Seclusion
- Letter XIX
- Deus Te Videt
- The Illness Named Imagination
- An Acousmatic Guardian
- My Fate To Burn Forever
- The Pinnacle Known To Sisyphus
Approaching six months now and this album still gets played a lot by yours truly. There’s a reason why Lychgate’s latest output was my favorite album in 2015 (read short summary here). I could mention countless superlatives (and I will later on) but what it all comes down to is the wide-angle approach to their music, the playful creativity that propels this album towards upper echelons of art.
The band is based in London and is the artistic outlet for the pseudonym Vortigern, a philosophical figure wielding dramatic musical creativity and dystopian lyrical concepts. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” is the second album for this abstract formation; whereas the debut album was based on pre-Lychgate material, this one goes all out in establishing a classy sound universe.
What’s the method to all this mayhem then you might ask? Black Metal fused with classical music, experimental soundscapes recalling old cinema atmospheres, intricate percussive sections, smart, devilishly smart usage of pipe organs, dexterous guitar work and vocal layering sounding like the next pest that’s going to wipe out humanity. Emperor’s last album, an album which I’ve gone back to exploring after hearing this one, is a clear reference point musically, Dødheimsgard, Solefald, Manes, Ulver also spring to mind.
The album has a continuous flow because of its conceptual nature. Due to the avant-garde techniques at work, it might sound disjointed at first but the more I listened to it, the more it all came together into a fantastic piece of visionary songwriting. “I Am Contempt” is the closest you’ll hear of “traditional” song structures, the rest of the material will take more than just one spin to unravel. The drumming needs to be highlighted, this guy is outrageous doing delicate jazzy fills, foreboding percussive arrangements (a significant element to the album) and of course the more familiar extreme blasts, an aspiring performance to say the least.
The pipe organs are another eccentric ingredient to this work. They’re put to use in a canny manner into each track. There are passages when the organs are intensely heavy and other times they’ll be melodic in some oddball fashion. The guitar work is greatly complemented by the pianos and organs; the intricate dissonances created in for example “An Acousmatic Guardian” or “ A Principle On Seclusion” are displays of musical genius in my opinion. My current favorite track is “Deus Te Videt”, a track rooted in the complexity of classical music; combined with extreme metal, a beautiful cacophony is let loose immediately triggering Arcturus associations (also due to the clean vocals).
To end this review, I’d recommend this album to all the thinkers out there. “An Antidote For The Glass Pill” sounds like freaked out philosophers coming together and having a profound chat about wisdom, addressing the state of logic, ethics, etc and eventually being even more puzzled at the end of the session. Outstanding album altogether!
Mark: 9,5 / 10
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