LHAÄD – Below
Babylon Doom Cult Records / Extraconscious Records / Fólkvangr Records
Release Date: 10/12/2021
Running Time: 40:14
Review by Wallace Magri
A putrid and uncomfortable piece of art made of Black Metal, enriched with avant garde touches that, somehow, homologate to Traditional Heavy Metal basic structures. That is a good start to try and describe what is heard on “Below”, the first album from the Belgium based one-man-band, named Lhaäd by his creator, Lykormas.
To make things easier for the reviewer, there are only Roman numerals distinguishing one song from another: ‘Below I’ , ‘Below II’ (… until the song #VI), while musical progressions plunge relentlessly all the way to the slime pit’s bottom, during the 40 minute duration of the album.
This criteria of naming songs helps us to focus purely on the musical element, instead of distracting the listener with extensive song titles, such as… “Blessing Upon the Throne of Tyrany”… oops, did I mentioned a Dimmu Borgir song? Dimmu Borgir probably aren’t the best reference for aiding understanding of what is going on on “Below”. But, let’s take the above-mentioned famous Norwegian Black Metal band as a parameter to set Lhaäd’s territorial demarcations for the hordes: what is heard on Lykoma’s solo project is way more Extreme than any Dimmu songs that I have ever heard. And, besides that, on Lhaäd’s sludgy fields, the symphonic elements aren’t required all the time, to maintain the dark ambience.
Lhaäd leans towards harsh Industrial programming, leading the songs to an almost Progressive/Experimental form of art – or Avant Garde/ Atmospheric Black Metal, as some use to name that kind of musical style, which I like a lot, as a matter of fact! Just take a close listen to ‘Below III, if you want to really understand what I am trying to express through my words.
“Below” is basically a tremolo riff conducted Black Metal album filled with musical passages at the speed of light, where immoderate blast beats meet chaotic, Electro-Industrial layers, and vocals screams and roars are wrapped in ‘hadopelagic’* ambience.
*(Relating to or inhabiting the layer of the water column of the open ocean that lies below the abyssopelagic layer at depths greater than about 6,000 meters (19,680 feet) – taken from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/)
On ‘Below V’ the roars are mixed with a liquid texture, as if the artist was increasingly sunk into the musical immersion that gets deeper with each new track. And then, the album ends in a suffocating and austere conduction towards complete drowning into the deep ocean, on ‘Below VI’.
It is impossible not to love such an unpalatable piece of music that allows Black Metal to surpass its boundaries, combining it with ambiences and musical textures that are unusual, chaotic and unexpectedly beautiful somehow?
The one thing that I know is: it is going to be really hard for me to let “Bellow” go from my day-to-day Spotify library!
01. Below I
02. Below II
03. Below III
04. Below IV
05. Below V
06. Below VI
Written, performed, recorded & mixed by Lykormas
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