Lykaion: Nothin’ But Death

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Lykaion: Nothin’ But Death
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Lykaion: Nothin' But Death
Gothic Metal
Bakerteam Records
June 19th, 2012
Release length: 37:16
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Lykaion easily is a good example of a band with a volatile line-up. Formed back in 2000, it’s become a slow moving revolving door of members for many years, though it did start growing in stability around 2004. Since then, they have issued a total of four demo recordings, the first being 2003’s The Equilibrium of the Hidden, up to Swallowed by the Sea in 2010. This Italian Gothic Metal act (though some sites still call them a Power/Progressive Metal style) has since signed with Bakerteam Records, who are issuing Nothin’ But Death, Lykaion‘s debut full-length. But, is it really worth it?

Nothin’ But Death has a strong push with the bass and deeper levels. Normally this would be a good thing, but unfortunately here it becomes a little overbearing, especially given the strong Sentenced approach of the group. The overall sound comes off more like a heavily Rock inspired production fueled by one hook after another with what seems to be a cleaner, yet still heavy and blunt distortion to the guitars that can sometimes be a bit in the background thanks to the louder bass guitar. After a while you can start to look past it, as it doesn’t really hurt or ruin the album, but just ends up a bit inconvenient. The kicks of the drum kit are a strong tight click that comes through a little louder than the crisp cymbals, but the varied in range snares can sometimes be lost in the mix. The vocals are a harmonized rougher approach from start to finish, coming through at a nice level, though sometimes can incorporate a little clean singing, and even some rare vocal distortion to put them at a distance.

From the very moment “Nothin’ But Death” kicks in, the latter-career Sentenced worship is obvious, but handled rather well. This track stands out though thanks to the depressing cleaner leads that appear throughout, as well as kick the song off during the slower, somber, and far softer introduction. The pace and clean singing does bring in a unique sound for the group. Unfortunately that depressing tone seems to go away rather quickly, and all originality is lost with “Free from All Your Fears, essentially throwing catchy riffs from the aforementioned band your way through the entire time. But, the song “A Cold Summer Day” does retain a bit of a unique touch, incorporating some of the Progressive and Power Metal ideas that the group originally worked with, but having some distinct Evergrey similarities to it, though not enough to call it a carbon copy. The guitar solos are moody and atmospheric to the already somewhat depressing tones, and the enthusiastic harsher vocals really match the overall environment. But, then you have “Empty,” another slower track that benefits nicely from the deeper audio and some additional keyboards that make the whole experience richer. “Together” makes another enjoyable track, though again is far from original. The acoustic guitar passages do allow some more clean singing to come in, but they end up short before the electric guitar joins back in and the harsher vocals return. The background hooks really stand out and can easily keep your head moving along to the rhythm.

But, when Lykaion breaks out the more aggressive material, it’s a joy to hear what they bring to the table. “Fuck You (I Love Myself)” has some really catchy background riffs similar to the start of “Nothin’ But Death” against strong and rich hooks. The energy just drips from the recording and it immediately grabs the listener, working nicely with the deep audio quality to accentuate the rebellious tone. The general faster pace of this is carried over to “Passion Kills,” which seems to carry a bit of an eighties Rock vibe to it, especially with the guitar solo that kicks in. It also seems a little more uplifting compared to everything else, especially during the slower passages that erupt about two thirds of the way through. While another enjoyable song, it’s at this point things become a little chaotic with the shifting in tempos, and even the lyrics can seem forced at first, but do fit in when the heavier material picks back up.

Nothin’ But Death is not a bad album by far, but it’s just heavily unoriginal. The Sentenced spirit and sound is captured quite well here, and it honestly does lead to some really enjoyable, even memorable material thanks to how infectious some of the hooks can be. While it’s nothing new to make its way through the Power, Progressive, and/or Gothic Metal styles, whatever your take may be on the group, Lykaion still present an album worth checking out. Hopefully the group continues to work on the more original material, as those songs are what really stand out the most, but unfortunately make up the minority of the release.

01. Nothin’ But Death – 3:33
02. A Cold Summer Day – 3:57
03. Free from All Your Fears – 3:35
04. Empty – 4:50
05. The Dance – 3:40
06. Fuck You (I Love Myself) – 3:35
07. Passion Kills – 3:46
08. Sick Love – 3:11
09. Together – 3:14
10. Dimenticherai – 3:57
Overall Score: 7.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Bakerteam Records.