Lykaion - Nothin' But Death
BakerTeam Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (36' 34")
Release year: 2012
Reviewed by Andy

Last time we reviewed a Lykaion offering all the way back in 2007, it was pretty clear that it was a band still changing its lineup and feeling its way to its own sound. Here you could hear a bit of speed metal, there a bit of the goth metal sound of fellow Italians Lacuna Coil. Listenable, and with the advantage of female lead Tiziana Palmieri, probably their best asset, stealing the show with her powerful voice, it was pretty clear that with a bit of polish, they were going to be worthy of future notice. So what have they done since we heard from them last? Well, there were some more lineup changes, and Palmieri's gone. They got rid of the speed metal and 99% of the riffs, and changed their sound quite a bit...and not for the better.

As the first song starts, the first thing one notices is that it's pretty slickly mixed -- a bit too much so, and the distorted guitar part is composed mostly of power chords, either strummed (on the chorus) or palm-muted. The songwriting isn't terrible, but it's still nothing special either. The emo lyrics are straight out of a high school student's notebook, and though the initial riff is traditional, the music quickly switches to simple chords for the chorus. Fabio Valentini's gravelly vocals are actually pretty good, if (like the rest of the music) a bit slick, but they are somewhat spoiled by the tameness of what he is singing about.

One thing the band is good at, without doubt -- they can sound almost exactly like Sentenced. Some of the songs use their influence's best riffs, the drumming is assured and competent, and Valentini can get the world-weary growl/groan of Ville Laihiala's vocals down with amazing accuracy. Free From All Your Fears, probably the best song on the album, sounded so close to Sentenced that if I hadn't known what I was listening to, I might have assumed it was them. Occasionally on tracks like Sick Love and The Dance we get some hints of better music, with a solo that's a little more than a few repeated notes, or intro riffs that still contain vague hints of their former speed metal influences. Unfortunately, those are few and far between.

This would still manage to get a higher rating if they hadn't put in two instances of one of my pet peeves: The metal breakup song, which is almost always an unlistenable travesty. A Cold Summer Day is one, but the real nadir comes at Fuck You (I Love Myself). One knows one is in trouble when hearing the "extreme" yell at the beginning, and that first impression is soon justified as they crank out plenty of teen angst, violent imagery and vulgar language directed at the poor girl in question -- all of which sounds about as genuine as a three-dollar bill.

After that cringe-worthy moment in the middle of the album, most of the final songs sound pretty similar to each other. It never gets quite that bad again, but the parameters have been set for a series of fairly forgettable pop metal songs with an clear alternative-rock influence and a bit of goth thrown in. The result is an album which has nothing really worth listening to on it, copying its influences technically, but trying to be as depressive and angry as them without actually succeeding.

Killing Songs :
Free From All Your Fears
Andy quoted 55 / 100
Other albums by Lykaion that we have reviewed:
Lykaion - Heavy Lullabies reviewed by Alex and quoted 72 / 100
Lykaion - The Things I've Left reviewed by Marty and quoted no quote
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