[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”From Roadburn’s presentation of Lychgate”]Uncompromising, unsettling, utterly confounding, and heavily funeralizing Black Metal, London’s Lychgate – with Esoteric‘s Greg Chandler on vocals – know how to craft a vibe. By increasing the church-organ, getting weird, turning more decadent and even recalling vintage Genesis, An Antidote for the Glass Pill, the band’s sophomore album has an atmosphere draped in the darkest psyche of The Panopticon, Bentham’s theoretical prison construction from the 18th century.
Artistically challenging and stylistically almost unparalleled, An Antidote for the Glass Pill is not only questioning the negative effect of the post-modern age on society and psychology, but also pushing black metal into new territory. The album ranks among the very best metal-release of 2015 and is bound to become a cult-classic.[/pullquote]
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Lychgate‘s self-titled debut-album from 2013 was a great dose of current black metal with the addition of a surprisingly well-working ingredient, in form of a genuine church-organ. But that album definitely fades into the background when compared to the 2015 follow-up An Antidote For The Glass Pill.
An Antidote… sees the band overtaking almost anyone else on the black metal scene, producing not only what I consider to be the finest extreme metal album of 2015, but also an album that seems confident and eager to push all available boundaries, pushing black metal into tomorrow. And doing so by practically looking backwards in time both with regards to musical and literary influences.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”From interview in Decibel”]The lyrical framework was very important for shaping the development of the music. The entire work is based primarily on Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon (late 18th century): a prison design concept to allow a single watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution/prison without the inmates being able to tell whether or not they are being watched; thus constantly governing their behaviour patterns – “a new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind”. However, the album is named after [Yevgeny] Zamyatin’s novel We (in which a future urban nation is constructed almost entirely of glass, which allows the secret police/spies to inform on and supervise the public more easily) and [Stanisław Ignacy] Witkiewicz’s Insatiability (where in a similar dystopian scenario, Davamesque B2 is the pill that removed the ability to think). I was also influenced by [Franz] Kafka, and these concepts collectively made up the lyrical content.[/pullquote]
And also pushing the church-organ – used as an instrument to enhance on the debut – to the centre of the stage, using it for much more than simple accenting of the music. On An Antidote For The Glass Pill, it soars through all the music, setting the stage, enabling and facilitating the drama of the music on what is essentially a concept album.
The compositions here are much more a blend of black metal with elements of prog and avantgardic sentiments, fused to a whole by the immense talent of guitarist and composer Vortigern. It really is a unique and overpowering vision he has encapsulated into an album that will hopefully have a great influence on the development of modern-day black metal.
After a few listenings of the album, you do tend to start noticing things going on beside the organ and the animalistic screaming of the vocals, and everything starts to coalesce into an even greater understanding of the pain, the futility, the overwhelming task in trying to overcome this wretched glass pill.
[pullquote align=”normal” cite=”From Letter XIX, 5th track on An Antidote For The Glass Pill“]Through the eyes of insanity, you’ll see the world for what it is: / A prison! An invisible net – a wolf’s trap set long ago
Each actor alone / Each by time – the perfect operator of punishment / With only a script, a silent mouth and an imploding force[/pullquote]
The mere thought of experiencing a full play-through of this album, complete with a full church-organ, is enough to raise the hairs on my neck.
Be there, or truly miss out on something spectacular and unique.
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Let Lychgate drag you down the rabbit hole on Friday, April 15 at the 013 venue in Tilburg, The Netherlands, when they play An Antidote for the Glass Pill in its entirety, and employing the church-organ to full effect on stage for the first time ever.
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|An Antidote For The Glass Pill||LP (2015)|
Interview quote from interview in Decibel