Album Review – Lykaion / Heavy Lullabies (2015)

Hailing from Italy, this band takes you into a pleasant musical journey from Hard Rock to Gothic in the same album.

Rating4

Lykaion-Album_cover640When I first saw Lykaion‘s video clip for the song “For Love”, before even listening to their full album, my first thought was “Wow, what a cool Hard Rock band from Italy!” With powerful riffs, sticky chorus, Alessandro Sforza’s sweet and full-of-attitude voice, amazing backing vocals and their Guns ‘n’ Roses and Crashdïet’s t-shirts, what else would you think? But I was wrong – and in this case, being wrong is not even close to being a bad thing.

Founded in 2000 in Rome, Lykaion mixes in their sound a lot of Gothic Rock, Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Thrash Metal and even Love Metal – that style well-known by Finnish bands such as HIM and To/Die/For. They are about to release their second album, Heavy Lullabies, via Finnish label Inverse Records. Along its 11 tracks, you can feel the influences of each one of these genres and be surprised with how the band can go from the deepest melancholic feelings to  Hard Rock happiness and the rage of Thrash Metal.

Heavy Lullaby opens the album and here comes the first surprise: it is a calm and smooth instrumental song! I am not quite sure if this was an interesting way to introduce the album, but it is a beautiful and deep song though. For Love comes next with a completely different atmosphere as said before, being a pure hard rock song that could be played at the iconic Rainbow, in Los Angeles, while you enjoy a cold beer, dance and sing along. The same Hard Rock feeling continues in the next track, Anthem, with great riffs and guitar solos. I would dare to say that Alessandro’s voice, in a different way and with a pinch of aggressiveness, sometimes sounds like Def Leppard’s iconic lead singer Joe Elliott.

Lykaion_Picture2Love is a theme widely explored in this album and in the fourth track, I Don’t Love You Anymore, as its own title suggests, they sing about the love that no longer exists. It is a beautiful ballad, full of mixed feelings, and to make it even more intense there are two amazing guitar solos by Fabio Valentini that can make any broken-hearted girl cry. From this point on, Hard Rock is left behind and the band dives into heavier sounds, like in Waitin’, where the band explores bass and drums in a wonderful way. Smile, although being a ballad, is still heavy, dark and deep, more like a Love Metal song. End of Time keeps the speed and the heavy feeling alive, with great backing vocals on the chorus. Out of my Heart and Animals are not exactly ballads, but they are good examples of how Love Metal songs, such as the greatest classics by HIM, should sound like.

The following track, Accept Yourself, starts with a lovely guitar solo – again, that kind of solo that makes girls cry – and you may think that here comes a love ballad, but then everything changes and what you listen is a powerful anthem, full of attitude and strong lyrics. I can imagine this music played live as one of the highlights of their concerts, with a huge interaction between the band and the audience, especially in the chorus (“Raise your hands / Up into the air / Accept yourself / Accept the mess”). What a song! After this travel through different genres, Till the End closes the album in great style, bringing some Gothic notes and feelings.

What makes Lykaion’s sound very unique is how easy they take the best features of each musical style, each band, each theme that inspired them, and turn it all into great songs that cannot be categorized in a single genre. These Italian guys genuinely know how to take their listeners into an intense and exciting musical trip. Do not miss the chance to listen to this album and show your support to this promising band on Facebook. Also, do not forget to check their YouTube channel, there are a lot of cool high quality live videos of the songs of their debut full-length album, Nothin’ But Death (2012).

Best moments of the album: For Love, End of Time and Accept Yourself.

Worst moments of the album: Smile.

Released in 2015 Inverse Records

Track listing
1. Heavy Lullaby 3:55
2. For Love 4:27
3. Anthem 4:10
4. I Don’t Love you Anymore 5:10
5. Waitin’ 3:55
6. Smile 4:04
7. End of Time 3:54
8. Out of my Heart 4:20
9. Animals 3:41
10. Accept Yourself 4:46
11. Till the End 5:06

Band members
Alessandro Sforza – vocals, guitar
Fabio Valentini – guitar
Valerio Lippera – bass
Andrea Alberati – drums

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