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I love being honest: Lychgate never clicked for me, until now. I could always hear how imaginative and vivid their organ-infused avant-garde concoction was on albums like An Antidote for the Glass Pill and The Contagion in Nine Steps (their self-titled effort notwithstanding), but something about the music's dark processional flow seemed to hold me back. Maybe it made me feel too freaked out, in that eerie cold-sweat type of way? For many, that sensation precisely is probably the main draw of Lychgate. This band is masterful at creating dynamic and horrific soundscapes at once treacherous and beautiful. I suppose, deep down, it just made me anxious -- maybe it was too good, like a great horror movie you can't rewatch because it scared the shit out of you once and that was enough.

In any case, the band is back following their well-lauded 2018 release. They've a new EP called Also sprach Futura, and we're streaming the whole thing below prior to its release Friday.

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What I love about this EP is that it finally helps older, more avant-garde Lychgate click for me. The band uses some more readily familiar tactics this time around; the music's blackening and general pithiness of the songs aids in their digestion for sure, and generally, the attack angle seems to be more straightforward. These are no ordinary "avant-garde weird metal with blast beats" tracks, though… hell no. The Also sprach Futura EP is angular, contorted, and complex beyond mention, producing the same extra-tense effect that prior albums swam in, but now with added edge. Lychgate never felt dead, despite the music being sensationally funereal, but the band in this current iteration feels more alive than ever, even vicious at times.

Lychgate is one of the few bands that achieve true "connoisseur" status without the added pretense or bullshit. Their music is rich, evocative, and downright evil when it needs to be, but doesn't over-flower or over-sell itself in any regard. It just is, a monument to metal's vast and sometimes horrific depths.

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Also sprach Futura releases March 13th via Debemur Morti Productions (US and Europe).

Photo credit: Krist T. Therrian (17 Seconds Photography)

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