Having existed since 2008 in some form or another, LYCUS relocated to Oakland from Sacramento and recorded/released their Demo MMXI two years ago. The brooding, quality material of the demo not only saw eventual cassette release by Graceless Recordings (run by Mike Meacham of LOSS) and a vinyl release on San Francisco-based Flenser Records, but it immediately caught the attention of Olympia-based 20 Buck Spin — the label having originated in the East Bay Area and continually having a soft spot for bands of the region — who brought them onto the label’s roster for the release of their debut album.
Late in 2012, LYCUS entered hometown Earhammer Studios with Greg Wilkinson (Brainoil, Asunder, Pallbearer, Vastum, Samothrace, High On Fire), who captured and mixed the band’s immense Tempest LP. An incredibly mature, diverse and utterly monumental album, the three massive hymns on Tempest range between nine-and-a-half minutes to over twenty. The canvas of this masterwork is classic funeral doom in the territory of Mournful Congregation, Asunder and My Dying Bride, yet the template is varied as LYCUS’palette includes shades of hysteric black metal, old-school death doom pummeling, and even a bit of pull from noise/drone realms.
Featuring an incredible oil painting by the Italian madman Paolo Girardi as cover art and a regal layout by Kevin Gan Yuen of Sutekh Hexen (who also contributes musically to the album’s closing moments),Tempest is the most promising debut of 2013 in the doom genre, and establishes LYCUS, from the beginning, as a band to watch in the months and years ahead. The album will see CD/LP and digital release on July 9th.
LYCUS is planning U.S. Summer tour dates which will continue sporadically throughout the rest of 2013, with several hometown gigs confirmed for this month.