Lycanthro – Lycanthro (Self-Released)Wednesday, 5th April 2017
From the Great White North of Ottawa, Canada comes Lycanthro, another act throwing their hat into the classic/power/speed/thrash underground through this self-titled four song debut release. Together since the winter of 2014, these gentlemen have youth on their side – wisely sharing the stage with diverse acts like Blaze Bayley, Hibria, and Beyond Creation as they developed these tracks. With ample time to get their influences in shape and hone their craft, it can often lead to a teeter-totter outcome when bands decide to traverse multiple sub-genres in establishing a style. Such is the case for this offering.
Choosing to open the recording with the longest song “Crucible” at just over seven minutes, a horror-movie soundtrack like intro gives way to pounding drums, twin guitar harmonies and an elevated sense of classic traditional metal at the helm. The shrieking vocals and prolonged instrumental section that contains wild tapping and frantic arpeggio runs speaks to a wide array of appeal for early thrash and power maniacs, ones who lived for the innovative 1983-1986 period of metal. The main hooks and riff constructions aren’t going to mesmerize – they have street level credibility, made for cranium banging and fist flying antics – “Into Oblivion” the obvious standout choice as it’s Manowar meets Judas Priest anthem strains ring loud and clear. Musically Lycanthro check off all the right buttons, especially to true fans of the genre who love odes to heavy metal, mythology, and horror – the lead guitar work features jaw-dropping tradeoffs, divebombs, and labor intensive practice in place.
The major struggle resides in the sub-par vocals from guitarist James Delbridge. He can be a tad pitchy in higher sections, and attempts to be more of a versatile singer than he truly is in his current state. For this to congeal, he’s better off sticking to a mid-range and lower register, as the higher Eric Adams-oriented bird call passages for “Break Through Fire” give nails on the chalkboard pain. Beyond the fact that the final cut “Ride the Dragon” seems to be more of a rehearsal recording in terms of production compared to the other three songs, probably a case of budget constraints more than anything else. Lycanthro has potential to grow together with more gigs, rehearsals, and seasoning/exposure. We all start somewhere, and as such this gives the quartet a starting point to build upon.