In 2013, the Oakland-based funeral-doom quartet Lycus released their debut LP, Tempest, which landed high on our list of that year’s best metal albums. The band is set to drop their sophomore LP, Chasms, later this week, and the new one surpasses its predecessor on every level. Funeral doom is traditionally glacially slow music, almost entirely still at points, but Lycus work in a range of dynamics that defy conventions, and maybe even transcend the genre entirely. Chasms has many superficial signatures of funeral doom — it’s a four-song LP, and its shortest track comes in at 7:27 — but when you listen to the thing, you hear such a variety of textures and tempos that you could easily mistake it for something else entirely. Cascadian black metal? Bathory-derived viking metal? Goth? I hear all that and way more. And that’s a good thing! Lycus are a relatively new band, and they’re fucking with the old formula enough to make this music feel new, too. Still, the best elements of funeral doom — the genre’s towering, mournful bombast; its elegance; its despair — are front-and-center here. And that’s a good thing, too: When this music is done right, it’s an immersive, overwhelming experience. Lycus aren’t just doing it right; they’re doing it better than just about everyone else right now. We’ve got Chasms for you to spin in full today. Listen.
Chasms is out 1/15 via Relapse. Pre-order it here.