Oligarchy CD reviews


Oct 11, 2002
Sydney, Australia
Oligarchy as reviewed by Loud Online:

Label: Independent
Playing time: 53.18
Rating: 75%
Reviewed by Brian Giffin

Lycanthia's previous album was recorded 13 years ago. Since then, they have changed vocalists four times, had five different drummers, five guitarists and various other members pass through the ranks. Even the 'Within the Walls' EP in 2006 was followed by about five line-up changes. You'd think it would be difficult for a band to stay true with a turbulent history like that, but founder Lee Tassaker and his other long-time colloborators, guitarists Giv Gariano and Stephen Mikulic, have maintained Lycanthia's focus on the type of old-school doom-death that stretches out across almost an hour on Oligarchy.

This is a darker, heavier and more mature release than that first long ago album. The music benefits from less orchestration and Tassaker's much developed and more menacing growl and Vanessa Black and Megan Robins' ringing voices add a level of melancholia to Lycanthia's gloomy minor-key meanders. Violins sawing sadly in the background enhance the mood further, and titles like "The Essential Components of Misery" leave no doubt that Oligarchy is a journey through the despair and despondency similar to obvious touchstones like early My Dying Bride and Liv Kristine-era Theatre of Tragedy.

If there's a criticism of this, it's that Lycanthia has a tendency to sound too much like those influences, and rarely, if ever, moves outside the constraints of that sound and style. Purists will be pleased with this, as it doesn't seem like the band will suddenly turn into an electronic rock band anytime soon - something we can all be glad about. In fact, those yearning for a modern album with that classic doom-death mood could do much worse than Oligarchy. On the other hand, while Lycanthia is very, very good at this, they don't bring anything new to it - again, however, a selling point for those who like this music left untainted. There is room for variation though. "Time Feeds These Wounds" is, somewhat ironically, rather more upbeat and probably comes along just in time to break up the dirge-paced plod of the other tracks which otherwise tend to make Oligarchy a touch monotonous as it creeps over the fifty minute mark.

Oligarchy is a solid release, justifying Lee Tassaker's commitment to Lycanthia over the last 16 years. Diehard fans of this moribund genre of metal will find plenty to like. For others, it might be too lacking in real variation and innovation for them to see the voyage through to the end.

1. The Essential Components of Misery
2. Eternity...
3. Forgone
4. Ablaze the Wheel Turns
5. Despondency in Crescendo
6. Time Feeds These Wounds
7. Hair of the Beast
8. From Ancestral Lands


If you've heard the new CD, let us know what you think.

As reviewed by Doommantia.com

Lycanthia are one of Australia's longest surviving doom metal bands. Formed in 1996, these Aussie doom veterans haven't had a big recording career as their last full length 'Myriad' was released way back in 1999 with the only other release being a EP ('Within The Walls') released in 2006. However it is no wonder their recording career has been a limited one when the band has had 4 different vocalists, 5 different drummers, and 5 different guitar players. Since the last EP, they have had at least 4 line-up changes that I know of so considering all that, 13 years between full lengths is not as bad as it seems. Listening to this album and then going back 13 years and checking out the last full length showed me that is not just the line-up that has changed considerably. This is a much stronger, heavier and more concise album with better riffs, melodies and a much clearer, precise direction.

That direction would fall under the genre of death-doom or goth doom by most people but to my ears, they are a traditional doom/death doom mix and a good one at that. 'Oligarchy' is pure melodic gloom metal with an emphasis on atmosphere, melody and captivating vocals and while it is not the most original album going around, it still sounds remarkably fresh. The main reference points are the usual doom crew - My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and maybe some Solitude Aeturnus and Candlemass thrown into the mix. While they wear their influences on their sleeves, this is far from the most predictable album going around.

Vocals are a mix of the clean female and somewhat angelic vocals of Vanessa Black and Megan Robins and menacing growls that come from founding member Lee Tassaker. The musicianship is top-shelf stuff but it is the gorgeous songwriting despondency that ultimately wins the listener over. This is music for death doom purists: the ones that don't like the style messed with too much but still want it sounding fresh and sticking true to the genre. The opening song is titled 'The Essential Components of Misery' and that for the most part is what this band does but by the time you get to track three 'Forgone' you discover they are not ones to recycle a well-used formula. There is some nice variations within the songs and subtle but interesting changes in mood.

However these variations are small so don't expect the band to take off into a drone, stoner or sludge metal passage anytime soon. It is not till you get to track six titled 'Time Feeds These Wounds' before they make any dramatic change of gear. This song is surprisingly up-tempo compared to what else is on the album and a couple more of these kind of tunes would have done wonders for the album that is a little one-dimensional at times. The real selling point for this album is that is has no weak tracks so it is an easy album to sit through despite its unoriginal nature. Fans of My Dying Bride might hear them as being a bit too similar to stand out from the endless pack of death-doom bands in the world but newcomers to the style should find this to be a very enjoyable album.

While 'Oligarchy' is unlikely to set the world on fire, it is certainly just as good as hundreds of other death doom albums released in the last few years. The songs have a memorable quality that should give this album a decent life-span so I can't see why this shouldn't be on most death doom fans playlists. If there is a problem is it that it sticks to the death/goth doom formula pretty closely and offers few surprises but the songs are solid and very well composed and written.....8/10.


If you've heard the new CD, let us know what you think.

I was very much looking forward to the follow-up to Within The Walls and at last it has been delivered. The album is best described as beautiful poison- compelling, ethereal and brutal. Stand out favorite tracks are Forgone, the tempo changes and particularly some of the violin parts counter the vocals perfectly. Also top notch is Time Feeds This Wound, which paints in its lyrics the blackest despair. Watch out for the lyrical nod to earlier albums.

Loved it.
As reviewed by Rhys Stevenson - Global Metal Apocalypse.


Full of melodramatic music and outrageous darkness is what is best to describe Lycanthia's sophomore album 'Oligarchy' as, but the only downside is that there is really too much going on, for example the harsh male vocals on top of the female high vocals doesn't sound good, and maybe alternating the vocals would.

The music itself is fairly good for a Doom-laden Metal album but still the guitars lack any real presence, ironically giving it an even more raw presentation, even though the drums and the keyboards steal the show.

However no matter what the negative parts of the album are, the good points are that it is very dark, gothic and beyond extreme, something which lacks in some bands these days.



Review by Vard Aman

"The want to flee consumes me,
The urge to succumb eats its way,
Through a brawn weakened by seclusion"

Doom Metal is one of the most, if not the most varied and extreme forms of metal. When played badly, or is recorded badly, it can be abysmally bad (in a bad way); but when it is played well, there are few forms of music more powerful and more stirring than Doom Metal. Doom Metal is usually associated with scenarios of despair, depression, emptiness and, well, doom; but, when played well, I’ve always found it to be uplifting – a way to expose, revel in and release "the doom" through dramatization in a powerful extended aural climax. If you want to depress me, play me Justin Bieber, if you want to make me happy, play me some good Doom Metal. If Doom Metal conjures images of emptiness, then it’s an epic; a passionate; and a dramatic emptiness, a drama that plays on, and plays out the extremes of our imaginations and our imagined (or real) fears, losses and sorrows.

Well, good Doom Metal does anyway; bad Doom Metal, it is fair to say, can often spell instant boredom. Lycanthia, fortunately, are good Doom Metal. No, they’re more than that; they’re VERY good Doom Metal, and that means that everything in my somewhat purple-prosy description of good Doom Metal applies to them, and in great abundance! Lycanthia are from Sydney, Australia, and formed in 1996. In 1999 they released their debut "Myriad", followed by lineup changes, an EP in 2006 called "Within the Walls", more lineup changes, and now, in 2012, their second full length, "Oligarchy". This band has staying power, and this is reflected not just in their continuing determination, but in their sound as well. Their sound is a Death Doom/Gothic Doom combo, nothing groundbreaking in that, but it’s the way they play what they play that makes Lycanthia the standout band they are and "Oligarchy" the standout album it is. Take the best parts of the harsher side of My Dying Bride mixed with the best parts of "Velvet Darkness They Fear"-era Theatre of Tragedy mixed with a bit of Draconian and you have Lycanthia. Are you drooling yet? No? OK, then add not one, but two extremely talented female vocalists (Vanessa Black and Megan Tassaker – also in Avrigus) whose wistful and melodic vocals are contrasted by a male vocalist (Lee Tassaker) whose raw, plaintive growls and shrieks would make most Death/Black Doom Metal vocalists proud. Now are you drooling? Still not? OK, go and listen to some Justin Bieber then... The heaviness, the power and the emotion is almost relentless throughout "Oligarchy", further emphasized by the somber melodies. Likewise the contrast between the power of Lee’s growls and the melodic vocals of Vanessa and Megan (solo and harmonizing) serve to emphasize both.

On top of that, Vanessa and Megan contrast each other vocally too, and to the music itself they add violins and keyboards respectively. Stylistically, most of the songs on "Oligarchy" are fairly similar to each other, which is a good thing when you can’t get enough of this band and their musical creations. "Forgone" was the first song to be released, a single if you like. It’s a good summary of what this album is about, and when you get this album you can expect much more of this. "Hair of the Beast" is somewhat different to the other tracks, and this one takes a few more listens to get into than the others, perhaps for that reason. Lyrically, Lycanthia are as good as they are musically. They have all the poetic doom, emptiness, sorrow and despair that one would expect from this kind of music, but there is an additional element: a fantasy story-telling element – most prominently highlighted by the song "Forgone" which is a tale of a young god who falls in love with a mortal, enraging the other gods who strip him of his immortality as a consequence (a Lycanthia creation that sounds like it could be based on actual mythology, and there probably are many parallels) – just when you thought it couldn’t get more epic. But this is "epic" in the Doom Metal sense, so don’t expect any happy stories with happy endings – expect some very powerful stuff. Highlights off the album? All of them, although "Forgone" and "Despondency in Crescendo" are particular standouts and "Time Feeds These Wounds" and "Hair of the Beast" (as I've already mentioned) take a few listens to get into. So how highly do I rate this album against the many Doom Metal albums I’ve heard and own? As I am writing this review, I have been listening to this album for about a week and it’s still growing on me ("Forgone" since it was first released on YouTube). There have been some fantastic albums released by some fantastic bands, but if anyone breaks into my house right now (beating all my booby traps… just in case the thought crosses anyone's mind… I am a Saffer after all), holds me at gunpoint and steals my collection, Lycanthia’s "Oligarchy" is the one they will have to prize out of my cold, dead hands. Or, maybe, considering that Lycanthia is not the biggest name out there they might be a bit more reluctant to fight over it and perhaps they might let me keep it… hehe, their loss if they do! But if they do take it, I’ll give them these bits of advice: listen to it loud and with the lights out (seriously, try it); and if for some reason they’re trying to maintain a tough-guy-who-doesn't-blub-to-music image, they might want to listen to it alone – just in case they can’t handle the powerful and extended aural climax of one of best representatives and examples of one the ultimate forms of music. And then give it back, dammit!

Rating - 98/100


A review in Danish, Google Chrome does a good translation.

Then Hypnotic Dirge Records again sent us a couple of albums to review, and then you never know quite what to expect. We know, however, that usually is music that requires some time to familiarize themselves in.

Lycanthia is from Australia and plays doom metal. It is not a new band, actually they have been around since 1997, but the "oligarchy" is still only their second album. My inspirations include downloaded from bands like Draconian and My Dying Bride. They are obviously good with melancholy in their universe, but also a more melodic side that leans slightly towards it a little easier popular. It provides a good and effective potion.

As with the models of My Dying Bride, there are also plenty of violin to find in Lycanthia. It carries a great deal of expression and together with the classic combination of female vocals and growls, "beauty and the beast" effect creates the band a great atmosphere. Keyboard, heavy guitar and a solid rhythm section belongs fact relates to, and even though the entire package may not be particularly original, it's now really complete the "oligarchy" and has repeatedly given me goose bumps along the way.

Numbers like. 'Forgone', 'Ablaze the Weel Turns',' Time Feeds This World ',' Despondency In Crescendo 'and' From Ancestral Lands' is a hit, and you can only pay tribute to Australians' sense of genre and what works. As a rule, when we're talking doom metal, the songs often reasonably long and there is also a couple of tracks on the album that is both nine and ten minutes. but otherwise, the average time of about six minutes per. song.

"Oligarchy" is still growing every time you listen, and I must admit that I have fallen quite sharply for the album. Now it's just interesting to see if it can go the distance or it will be one of the albums you hear a lot in a while, but then suddenly forgot all about.

I can currently. only recommend to all fans of traditional "beauty and the beast" doom metal check this release out. Do not expect anything original, but just a damn good well-written album that definitely deserves a place on the shelf at home beside the Draconian and Theatre of Tragedy.

(By Skousen)


Review by Robert from Meltingalbumreviews.com


This is a six piece that needs listening to. Hailing from Australia, Lycanthia have been producing music since 1996 making them both an enigma and a standout for the Australian metal scene, especially in the gothic doom genre. It wasn’t enough for the band to release a single stellar record; instead they did it again and again. It could be argued that this style of music has been done before, but never in such a convincing and all-consuming manner. Oligarchy stands as a testament to the group’s hard work highlighting the prowess of all six members. From the album’s inception one thing becomes instantly clear – this isn’t a pop filled Evanescence record, it’s an expansive, melancholic masterpiece that reflects the thoughtful and reflective motifs of the band’s music. The album is monolithic and a lot to be taken in. On a first listen it’s easy to become overwhelmed as each soundscape rolls onto the next, never clashing and maintaining the album’s overall flow. Yes, you could be forgiven for missing subtle sections, hidden underneath layers of melodically presented melancholy but when listened to again and again those hidden sections become clearer and clearer filling this vast record with the making of something unique.

Comparisons will be made to the hay day of traditional themed gothic doom records (Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, Theatre Of Tragedy and Draconian to mention a few) but this six piece pushes forward in the shape of their triple vocal movements. That’s right, not one, not two, but three vocalists all permeate the spot light of the record re-affirming that there is a lot going on. The dual female vocals of Vanessa Black and Megan Tassaker are obvious standouts. Their soprano leads float well above the music often stretching into vocal aerobatics bouncing and interlinking off each other combining in the best possible manner, it’s certainly a treat to listen to these excellent vocalists dance throughout the album. The vocals croon, vibrate and bring the instrumental aspect of the album together. Oligarchy would not be the same without this well-presented female section. On the other hand, founding bassist and screaming vocalist Lee Tassaker is another strong aspect which contrasts with the warm soprano, in turn providing that darker sinister theme to the album as a whole.

Even with all that talent being pushed centre stage, there’s still something to find in each instrumental aspect. Take a moment to turn the volume up, listen to the slap of that bass kick, those fills that swing from one side of the drum kit, back and then all around. Hera just how each section is forceful and not an overbearing display of technical wanker-y. Every instrument knows its place and the reflection is shown throughout the group’s music. The guitar hold pace, but they don’t stand out until you pay attention, the melodic input is strong transcending the typical stereotypes for this particular style of music, simply far from a boring display. Even the bass makes an appearance instead of being lost in the mixing process and once you’ve wrapped your head around all these different layers, there’s no way to forget the warm highs found in the violin. Oligarchy isn’t an album to be treated lightly.

The album’s eight tracks clock in at just over fifty minutes, ensuring that the attention of the listener is never lost. But in retrospect the record never feels short or samey. Lycanthia have crafted an excellent release that should (and already is), overshadow releases from this year. Oligarchy makes for a reflective, if somewhat sinister listen. It reverberates with listeners on both a primal level and a cerebral, thought invoking level. It’s not enough for a band to something ‘just’ right anymore, they need to do better, explore different sounds and reach out to different people. In 2013, Lycanthia have indeed done that and Oligarchy is a record that will appeal to a wider musical community than previously thought. Australia has a deeper musical talent, you just didn’t know about it.


As reviewed by 'Sanguine Sky' for La Grosse Radio.

Rating: 8/10

Translation by Google:

Fans of gothic metal / doom to Theatre of Tragedy were really successors of these days. Unfortunately, two of the pioneers of the genre that are Norwegian above or The 3rd and the Mortal no longer exist, and for The Gathering , despite their current musical quality, explored the shores are still very far from their beginnings . As for Tristania , Sirenia , Within Temptation , pop elements and appeared in music, dividing their audience, between belief and disappointed. So no safe havens or attempted relief lately. One might think the Portuguese excellent 's Ava Inferi that contain certain elements of the predecessors, although the formula is not really the beauty and the beast. We also discuss the promising British forts of Hanging Doll that cleverly combines these roots inherited with heavy or symphonic influences. But who would think that attempting to poll with full respect for the codes of style come from the distant land of Australia?

With Oligarchy, Lycanthia will try to rekindle the flame of a dying genre, but yet still seems to have something to say. First contact with music training, the first good point: the sound is devoid of modern elements, concerning a certain authenticity, a will to discuss these groups belong to the most thing of the past. Of course, if the production is better than a number of scathing published years ago, it is far from being impersonal, however. It keeps with great verve and majesty all the flavor lost, and interest is sure to plunge us back years, to better reach the nostalgic but also restore that legacy. All sounds pretty and clean, but keeping the spaces of expression of each instrument, including those who can touch their atmosphere. Thus, voice, violin and keyboard are rather special, without being at the expense of anything. The drums and guitar are not conspicuously absent, and find a good compromise in this cake, giving the replica and making their contribution, helping to keep a certain velocity in the game. Lycanthia is careful very careful training, every detail in his music. And what better way to wake up this romantic violin, run by the lovely Vanessa Black, further emphasizing the similarities with The Sins of Thy Beloved or Ashes You Leave . It is sometimes discreet, sometimes predominant, but in all cases, the noble bowed string is used wisely, sparingly but still crucial and integral part of the music of our Australian sextet. Moreover, it helps build atmosphere, and they are very expensive training. Indeed, the kind usually requires a lot of music through environments involved, but with a slight dark light contrast, in order to have a healthy escape. And while the song is the weapon most often used to accomplish this difficult task is not so easy to achieve, the violin will help a lot. Is why as on "The Essential Components of Misery", but also to drive us deeper into the darkness, with notes both intriguing and hypnotic, including "Time Feeds These Wound" piece of beauty. It thus emerges from this album refinement, a rare subtlety, this side becomes almost touching.

But despite these qualities, Lycanthia not always strives for perfection. First, some unfortunate lengths just to sow pitfalls yet comfortable although a nocturnal journey. They are mostly at the beginning of the album, including "forgone", which prevent them from being fully captivated by what is proposed. It is thus a pity not to say that Oligarchy is exciting from beginning to end, even insisting on his fine appearance and delicacy. Similarly, some riffs sometimes feel warmed, unoriginal, as training is it also not the most unique there. Indeed, the old Theatre of Tragedy seem to be very marked inspirations, sometimes dictate the line of our sextet. And if that is not disturbing at first, we can only encourage our dear Australian to widen a road where more personality and its own identity and become the final result. Question voice, no regrets to make. Instead, the songs are both very good but also carefully measured and used. And the beast is lucky, facing him, the respondent has beautiful ... or rather beautiful. Because it is not one, but two female voices involved and interact with the growleur. Thus, the singer / bassist Lee Tassaker have to share the cake with the beautiful lyrical voice of the violinist Vanessa , whose timbre is similar to the mysterious widow bloody 's Ava Inferi , but also with pretty keyboardist Megan Robins , also officiating singing main in Avrigus . And it suggests a nice bit of clear voice, sometimes closer to Sharon den Adel ( Within Temptation ), a little less crystalline however. These women seem to occasionally sing to suit their desire, Megan gradually disappearing at the end where it is present at the beginning of the album, and vice versa for Vanessa . As for Lee , he is there from beginning to conclusion, but it is also quite measured in his song without trying to fill voids or gaps, leaving the rhythm section or the violin to his job in these times.

The 8-track component Oligarchy are rather long, but also very popular and thus not suffering from any lack of inspiration. These musicians are talented and show they know serve adequate to address the fans of the genre formulas. Three pieces are well above the rest: "The Essential Components of Misery" for its harmony, its beauty, its atmosphere and very striking vocals. The voices are perfectly combined in the most perfect harmony. "Time Feeds These Wound" has also his aura that gives it a charm. An extremely diverse piece of catchy vocals (although stabbing), and an unusual approach both modulations. Finally, "Hair of the Beast" is more direct, and catches the ear of the listener immediately. Maybe one that would discover first the world of training. Where, however, "Eternity ... "Not much use if it is only to enjoy the beauty of the violin, but more importantly," forgone "declines its blunders and floundering. Too bad because the general level is high there.

Oligarchy is a very good album that should allow Lycanthia acquire a certain audience. The qualities are many and intelligence of Australians, whether in the construction of the album or the distribution of votes, feels very regularly. And regularity, they have, in the qualitative side, however, because a less convincing piece aside, really hard to find bad points. It remains only training a success even greater than the following test and a stronger identity to successfully enter among the great. And see what is offered here, it would be tempting to say that they are highly capable.


7/10: Way better than I thought it would be.

“Oligarchy” is the second album from this Australian gothic doom band and it has a very 90s flavour to it. The band seems a bit obsessed with early Theatre of Tragedy. The mix of clean, melodic female vocals (done pretty well) with harsh, growled and rasped vocals and loads of violins and keyboards gives it a feel similar to late 90s goth-doom acts like The Sins of Thy Beloved but Lycanthia’s sound is rougher and lacks the over polished sound of those 90s bands. This helps the band as the music slowly grew on me with every listen.

I have to say Vanessa Black and Megan Tassakar do a good job with the female vocals and the handling of the violin and keyboards but it’s when the band try to go for the dual vocal approach and mix harsh growls with ethereal clean vocals that it sounds a bit awkward and forced.

Overall though, if you like the whole light weight melodic doom with a thick gothic atmosphere then Lycanthia might be a band to check out.

31/05/13 || gk


There are so many sub-genres and offshoots of metal these days I tend to stick to the few I know and rarely stray from my happy place. With that said, every once and awhile a band will come along that appeals to me and I feel I need to learn more.

Lycanthia from Australia recently grabbed my interest and for me to put them in a sub-genre of metal would sound something like this: “Neo-classical fusion of doom/death, layered with keyboards and violins” or I could simply call it “Cluster Metal.”

If this is coming across as negative let me be the first to apologize. The fact is Lycanthia works. All of the above elements I described come together to create a metal harmony that is dark and mysterious, yet fascinating and breath taking. I have had the opportunity to listen to their latest album “Oligarchy” and I have to say it keeps you guessing as to what is coming next while you often get lost in the brilliance of the bands musicianship.

Lycanthia Brings Us Cluster from the OutbackThe drummer Donaldson needs a special shout out because he is holding all of these different elements together while at the same time keeping Lycanthia in the realm of metal. The drums allow a blood soaked riff to be pierced by the wail of a violin and not once do you feel Lycanthia has strayed from the metal path.

The band has a very gothic look and on the first initial listen you may feel this is what they represent, but let me assure you this is a group of very talented musicians that are forging their own path. They have actually been invading the Australian underground since the late 90s, and have quite a following from what I can understand. Unfortunately people and even some bands only recognize success when they have conquered the North American market. Can Lycanthia accomplish this? Most certainly!

The secret to their imminent success is actually quite simple. Bring the doom and gloom over to America and show people that fringe metal deserves a place at the table. If any band can pull it off I have to believe the “cluster metal” of Lycanthia can.



Formed in Sydney in the late 90s, Lycanthia are a Gothic/Doom band and one of the jewels in the crown of a metal style that has been lacking of recent years to produce genuine heavy albums. But with the release of Oligarchy, this six piece featuring members Lee Tassaker (vocals/bass), Giovanni Gariano and Stephen Mikulic (guitars), Vanessa Black (vocals/violins), Megan Robins (keyboards/vocals) and Andrew Craig on drums, they have moulded together to release one of the best albums for this genre that I’ve heard for a very long time since the glory days of European heavyweights My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost, and being around for the length of time they have they’ve fine-tuned themselves musically to bring us this brilliant example.

There first release “Myriad” gave listeners a feel of what was to come and the wait was definitely worth its while, with its great production and genuine feel Lycanthia have given us an album where you almost feel as if you’re a part of it. A brutal triple threat vocal choir with Tassaker’s guttural throat that gives the album that extra heavy feel and beautifully backed up by Black and Robins, you can’t help but feel this is the ultimate soundtrack to a bloody field battle waged with brutality in the 1600’s, adding the violin and keyboards to the already mystical ambience it just blends so well. The slow tempo drumming that is expected, and the doomy but almost orchestral clarity of the guitar work is an honour to listen to and it really sucks you in to what the band aiming for. Lyrically they remind us of the darkness and doom that lives in all of us, and the tragedy of loss, death and all things gothic and morbid, hey what would you expect from an album featuring songs titled “The Essential Components of Misery” and “Time Feeds This Wound” among others.

Released on Green Media (MGM) here in Australia and re-released on Hypnotic Dirge Records in the US Lycanthia have recorded an album that matches anything released in this genre that I’ve heard, and with a heavy touring schedule I’m sure there already solid fan base will grow quickly and spread through the dark woods and battle fields of places not fit for man. Let’s hope for their sake and the sake of Gothic/Doom bands around Australia this album is heard far and wide as it deserves the accolades given to it and they should have their rightful place on the big stages along with the the very best in the world.

-- Hayden G.M.



We're already used with Hypnotic Dirge offering us quality stuff, isn't it? Well Lycanthia isn't any exception from the rule, but they are walking different paths than previously shown by HDR. Although still melancholic like the rest Lycanthia's music is a combination of Gothic, Doom and Death Metal with beauty and the best type of vocals, keyboards and violin all over the place.

These guys are around since 1996 and it seems they are one of the oldest Doom Metal bands in Australia displaying a definite maturity on this second full-length album. The female vocals are awesome, there are two female vocalists (taking care of keyboards and violin too), I don't know who's the main one but she has such an enchanting voice I'd listen to this band's music only to let myself carried away by her trills.

The arrangements are well thought and the violin as the main and upfront instrument plays a huge role in shaping the melancholic atmospheres that reminded me of Sins Of Thy Beloved and a bit of Theatre Of Tragedy. Of course this wouldn't have had that impact without the heavy, oppressive, doomy structures built by the rest of the instrumentists and the rough, desperate vocals of Lee Tassaker, the male vocalist of Lycanthia.

The production is top notch, mastering being taken care of by Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia, Soilwork, Amon Amarth), so there's no reason why I wouldn't recommend this for fans of My Dying Bride, Sins Of thy Beloved, Theatre Of Tragedy, Draconian or Tristania. Very good record.

Reviewed by Adrian
Rating: 9/10


Great Australian doom.

Doom metal has always been an interesting sub-genre in that once you move away from the more traditional offshoots of the genre and start looking at the less accessible varients of the sound, (such as death doom or funeral doom) you start to find only a few quality acts spread out through the underground all over the world. That's because there's never really been a centralised scene for that kind of metal, there's no Gothenburg or Bay Area for the gothic doom movement. Sure, Scandinavia will always be associated with the melodic and depressive sounds of some doom metal varients, but with such a sparsely populated yet widely spread and die-hard scene, truly world class doom can spring up from anywhere in the world. Lycanthia are just such an example of this.

Hailing from Sydney, Lycanthia's sound occupies a gloomy realm made up of the likes of Swallow the Sun, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, Opeth and Paradise Lost. Reading that, you should already have a pretty good idea of what they sound like. Sometimes harsh, heavy and crushing, sometimes dripping with sweet juicy melody like a ripened peach, but all the time concerned with portraying 50 shades of sorrow.

Oligarchy is the second full length album released by the band and what makes this album worth your time is simply the strong quality of song-writing at play here. Taking a solemn stroll through the bleak territories of death/doom and gothic tinged piano/female-vocals, the band evokes the exact atmosphere of despair necessary to enjoy such work. The melodic female vocals and piano are perfectly balanced with the harsh screams and the band really knows just how long to let a song last. At about 53 minutes long, the album is just the right length to let each song emotionally resonate and sink in, without wearing out their welcome.

Another strength of the album are the little nuances added to the instrumentation. Aside from the previouslt mentioned pianos that add a tender feel to the more mellow points of the album, there are also violins and string sections used to great effect. Just listen to the mournful strings weaved throughout the undergrowth of opener The Essential Components of Misery and let these masterful misers sweep you through the sweet waters of woe.

Make no mistake; Oligarchy is one of the best Australian releases to come out under the gothic/death/doom umbrella. Draw the curtains, pour a glass of red, light some black candles and enjoy.

Oligarchy is out now.