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I am not a massive brutal/technical death metal fan, though there are notable exceptions. Nile are one, and Necrophagist are another. This obscure Czech band, Lykathea Aflame are another one. Combining brutally heavy riffs, deep throated death metal growling and insanely fast drumming with the occasional atmospheric chilled break in the craziness, they have created a sound, which, at first could seem to be just bog standard brutal death metal, turns out to be something quite unique.
This something special is evident right from the beginning with an eastern style intro to the first song, "Land Where Sympathy is Air" which quickly turns heavy and fast. This theme of the eastern style keeps appearing throughout the album, in a similar way that Nile keeps bringing elements of mystical egypt into their music. Another constant in the album seems to be the aforementioned moments of calm, which seem to me as the band are taking a break, catching their breath and then launching themselves back into the madness, and with gusto!
The album pounds relentlessly at you, like any brutal death metal album does, and it isn't until the last track that you feel you can take a breath again.
The one notable difference between this and other similar albums are the lyrics. Most bands in this genre will sing about gore, blood, death and destruction. Lykathea Aflame, for reasons known only to them sing somewhat nerdy lyrics that you might find in a crappy pop singers repertoire, one that is trying desparately to bring their failing career back again.
One example is from the fourth track, Flowering Entities (in itself a fairly contradictory song title for a band of this intensity!)
As a mirror light let's reflect negativity
and show pure reality
let's become the islands of peace and harmony
in that vast ocean of discomposure and disharmony
and let the tired ones rest
I do have to admit though, that I really like these somewhat ironic juxtapositions, and the lyrics don't seem to hold back from the feel of the album at all. Indeed, Lykathea Aflame seem to fit them well in with the ultra-fast pace and heaviness of the songs.
The only let down of this album is the final song. It has no lyrics, and is called "Walking in the Garden of Ma'at" It is, in essence, boring. I do appreciate it when brutal bands try and do a slow song or instrumental or whatever, but this one doesn't seem to have a place in the album. It is basically the sounds of a garden with ambient music over the top, which makes me feel like I'm listening to a self help audio book instead of one of the most insane bands in the world.
But apart from that, the rest of the album is a frantic and ultra-heavy assault on the ears. I truly hope they do continue and create another album. The metal world needs more like this!