Blast Rites: Lycanthrophy – On The Verge Of Apocalypse Review

I’ve never been someone who would typically be described as “a man of few words,” but I’ve got a buddy who certainly fits that bill. Most of his communication comes in short and direct statements, little bursts of words with no extraneous information; all killer, no filler, straight to the point. So when he does speak, you should pay attention, because it’s bound to be important, or hilarious, or both. And when he deigns to use a lot of words, when he sees fit to break his own code of semi-silence to relay more than just a handful of syllables… well, you’re in for a treat, my friend.

Release date: July 7, 2023. Label: Horror Pain Gore Death.
The Czech grind wizards in Lycanthrophy are a bit like that. In just over a quarter century of existence, they’ve put forth the usual flurry of splits, controlled bursts of fast-fury madness that hit hard and full-on, directly to the point at hand – thirty-plus shortform releases over the span of their run, so far. And, conversely, in those 26 years now, they’ve expanded beyond those bursts into lengthier efforts… well, twice now that we’re adding this one to 2010’s self-titled. (A quick aside: That self-titled effort has some awesome album art, with a metalhead zombie dismembering a money-waving normie, so it’s further fun that Apocalypse follows suit with its own cartoonish cover, giving that metalhead zombie plenty of friends with whom to enjoy a relaxing evening of blastbeats and brain-eating.)

In the decade-plus since that first full-length, vocalist Zdisha departed, and bassist Supin moved to guitar and took over the mic fully, having previously contributed dueling vocals. Zdisha’s rabid bark was a highlight of earlier Lycanthrophy releases, but Supin compensates brilliantly, running through a gamut of vocal styles, from higher-pitched rasps to a bellowing death growl to a choked, almost power-violence-y shout, that variety of voices adding further layers of depth to the band’s stop-start frantic bashing and stout riffage.

Apocalypse explodes out of the gate with “Pride,” Supin roaring atop a hammering rhythm, the band locked tight as it resolves into a lightning-fast stutter. “Everyday Hate” slows down to thrashing by the end, a punky rollicking raucousness picked up on again in follow-up track “Wasteland,” though both find plenty of time for grinding. With just over half its eighteen tracks coming in under one minute in length, On The Verge Of Apocalypse is a blink-and-you-miss-plenty affair – Lycanthrophy is great at cramming subtle riff shifts and rhythmic accents inside their relentless cacophony. “1000 Years Old Dust” is another highlight, from a bouncy opening rhythm to some truly carving middle riffs; at the mid-album point, “Who Is The Judge?” slows down… for about ten seconds, and then… well, you get it… grindcore. If you don’t love it, then Lycanthrophy’s not for you, but then again, if you don’t love grindcore, what the hell’s wrong with you? If the head-twisting wallop of “Hypocrisy” and “Roots Of Evil” and the chugging crush of “Enlightenment” doesn’t spin you up into a tizzy, well… I can’t help you.

Like certain broods of cicadas and comets and Cleveland Browns playoff wins, Lycanthrophy full-lengths are a rare occurrence, so we’re blessed to be living in the day of a second one. Sit back and listen because you know whatever is coming, it’s bound to be worth the wait. Come in for the cover zombies; stay for the head-bashing blastbeats. Grind your way to the Apocalypse.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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