18 Aug 2014

Licrest - Misery [Full length] (2014, Music for the Dead)

I've had my hands on a good portion of Armon Nicholson's material. For those not initiated in his cult and dogma, Nicholson is an American musician with quite an astounding body of work. In the last few years he's recorded and released six albums, seven EPs and an assortment of other releases under various monickers, exploring virtually every sub-genre in extreme metal, all without any significant lapse in quality. The guitar-wielding metalhead's trademark is immensely powerful compositions and top notch production, usually set to a crisp guitar groan.

Misery is the second album Nicholson has released under the name Licrest. While the first album, Devoid of Meaning from 2013, was pretty straight forward in its execution, the second album is less so, though still keeping close to the almost symbolic and iconic branches of immaculate doom that permeated the debut. Misery is a slow burner, never hurrying anywhere lest you miss the churning rhythms found within. The album in itself is constructed in just the same manner as the songs, with a few intermissions giving room and air around the lengthier main tracks, and it serves as a way of building tension for those songs.

I've found that most bands playing a mix of death and doom metal fall within one of two categories: One is laden with rot, relying heavily on death metal and Autopsy-inspired riffs set at the churning pace of doom metal. The other is the kind where almost gothic melodies and finer tunes play the leading role, with the doom parts resounding more heavily. Armon Nicholson's Licrest project falls outside this sentiment, and belongs to that minuscule quantile that is different from the rest of the bunch. It neatly balances the uncompromising nature of death metal with the sombre essence of doom metal, pertaining to the ominousity of both genres in equal amounts.

On Misery, Nicholson firmly establishes his rightful place among the big shots as an accomplished songwriter with flair for multiple genres. Other than the fact that the lyrics can sometimes come off as a bit whiny, there's really not much to complain about. And this is what makes a great album. 8/10 guitars.

1. Into the Abyss
2. Regret
3. Forever Lost
4. Like a Flood of Anger
5. A Starless Sky
6. I Want to Watch You Die
7. Misery
8. Make Up
9. Fading Away Into Nothing
10. The Heart of Winter
11. Exhale

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