Gilead Media has long been a favourite label of mine (and not just because of that Dark Tower reference) as the one-man operation has always been at the forefront of the darker music scene and it’s clear that Adam gives a shit about everything that he does. The two latest releases from Gilead are as interesting as they are exciting, albeit for different reasons.
Firstly we have the third full length LP from the cult of Fell Voices who, along with Ash Borer, have created a scene unto themselves with hard to find splits and tour only CDr releases and a wonderfully raw approach to recording. Secondly we have Lychgate who are extremely enticing if only for who is involved in this project. Greg Chandler (Esoteric), Aran (ex-Lunar Aurora, ex-Trist), Vortigern (The One, ex-Orpheus, ex-Archaicus, ex-Spearhead) and T.J.F. Vallely (Omega Centauri, Sanctus Nex, ex-Orpheus) make up this new entity and it’s insane how incredible these musicians are and to hear them working together is – if you’ll forgive the hyperbole – mindblowing.
But enough rambling eh? Let’s get down to business.
Fell Voices – Regnum Saturni
Joseph – Bass, Vocals
Mike – Drums, Vocals
Tucker – Guitars
Now, Fell Voices won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Their extremely raw take on the recording structure is not going to be for everyone and as Regnum Saturni was recorded completely live, it may take a while to get into the fact that you can’t really make out what’s going on. But if you’re a fan of early 90s black metal that sounds like it was recorded in a cave using a tin can with string attached and a dictaphone hanging on the other end – then you’ll love this. Fell Voices are primal in their presence and although the sounds get a little lost in the mix and the vocals are held at a distance, opening track “Flesh from Bone” is a powerful composition that sinks into your bones with rhythmic hypnotism and a constant shift and twist into new realms of murky wonder. When the vocals do manage to break free of the claustrophobic instrumentation or when the drums finally pull into being with a blasting gaze or when the guitar suddenly flies above everything with something as near to clarity as we’re going to get, Fell Voices shine with a fiery and supernatural spirit and it’s this “fuck you, we’ll do what we want” approach that makes them stand out. Fell Voices are not about cleanliness and Regnum Saturni is as dirty as life is disgusting.
“Emergence,” um, emerges from washes of sound into clouded progressions of noise before a truly sublime movement of guitar breaks through the darkness to evoke a deep sense of bittersweet marvel before stepping back into the shadows and allowing distant screams to fight their way to the surface (check out some live footage of the track below, it’s fucking intense). “Dawn” closes Regnum Saturni on a swirling mix of electronic purges and notable drum lines that breathe with a palpable fury whilst the vocal fights for dominance and filters through the obscured sounds with a bewitching power. Regnum Saturni is an excellent addition to their already much-revered catalogue. Order it by clicking on this link. If you regret it then I’ll eat my hat.
Regnum Saturni is co-released with the excellent Antithetic Records. Do yourself a favour and check out their store.
Lychgate – Lychgate
Greg Chandler – Vocals, Guitars
Aran – Bass
Vortigern – Guitars, Chants, Organ, Keyboard
T.J.F. Vallely – Drums, Percussion
Lychgate is one of the most promising groups that I’ve personally come across this year. Of course the gents involved have done some incredible things in the past but being in a great band previously is never a guarantee that a new venture will turn out well at all.
Lychgate dwell in the realm of black metal but pull shades of death metal and orchestrated doom deep within the music in order to create a dank atmosphere that reeks of absolute chaos. The inclusion of rich organ parts give off the stench of horror and the introductory “The Inception” lays out Lychgate’s stall as a truly unworldly beast. “Resentment” roils with a heated and blackened presence and Chandler’s vocal swings from guttural wrenches to higher registered screams – which is all the more impressive when you learn that everything on Lychgate is unedited. I for one, am looking forward to seeing Lychgate appear at Doom Over London IV this December, because if they sound this damn good here then the winter promises only more destruction.
“In Self Ruin” flies with a sneaky little death metal vibe with the guitars absolutely living in the old school past and screaming to be set free whilst “Sceptre to Control the World” brims with the heady stench of fire and brimstone. Lychgate are adept at incorporating nuances of different genres into their sound and these two tracks in particular play off each other in terms of style yet they both hold true to an arcane otherworldliness that us mere mortals shall never know. The off-kilter dissonance that filters into the closing moments of the latter song gives off vibrations of horror and becomes a sickening trip into the void.
Lychgate close their debut on the filth-laden tones of “When Scorn Can Scourge No More.” The song descends into unknown pits of hell with curious rhythms and the occasional Bosse-de-Nage-esque post-punk/whatever weirdness – a trait that reveals itself with each subsequent listen and probably harks back to something I know bugger all about – and as such the song twists and curls into the psyche with a terrible and knowing grip. Lychgate have come for your entire soul. Let them have it by ordering here.
If you want Lychgate on compact disc, head over to Mordgrimm Records where such an object can be obtained.