Ever since hearing the last Heresiarch album, Death Ordinance, I’ve been hard-pressed to find another band that matches the intensity that the aforementioned bring. While it’s true that I could always go back to the classic Ross Bay Cult bands, it would be nice to chance upon a new band every once in awhile. So while Lihhamon was a name I have not seen before, coming from the excellent bestial label Nuclear War Now! Productions and the naming of bands like Conqueror and Revenge as influences certainly got me interested. Lihhamon‘s debut Doctrine isn’t a new record per se, having been released previously on Auto de Fe Productions before getting the LP treatment from Nuclear War Now! Productions.
The band spares no mercy in their delivery of their brand of black/death metal. Opening track Decimation sets the foreboding mood for the listener, and as soon as the onslaught begins proper with Genocide Crusade, one is thrown into familiar territory. The two clashes on the splash cymbals as the track kicks off helps to transport the listener into an almost live setting. The battery of drummer A. immediately reminds one of the relentless style of James Read, particularly his works with Conqueror.
The thing that really got me liking Heresiarch on Hammer of Intransigence was the heavy emphasis on the riff works, and on Doctrine, Lihhamon takes a very similar approach, with moments like on Throne of Eradication even taking a leaf out of Conqueror‘s Command for Triumph. While James Read and his works are obvious influences to Lihhamon, there is only but a slight leaning towards the more chaotic style of Revenge, as guitarist M. only indulges in that frantic style of lead guitars in small dosages, though he tends to indulge in pick scratches that are so signature of the sound of their influences.
The interludes like Splendour and Coronation also help to reinforce that ominous atmosphere, though I would have very much preferred that the band had replaced that minute or so with another intense shot of violence instead. Furthermore, having all 3 members of the band contribute to the vocals on Doctrine gives the album a nice edge, with each member covering a different spectrum of growls (if there is even such a thing). There is often the layering of lower-end growls with higher-pitch pseudo-shrieks, providing a rough, aggressive aesthetic.
The atmosphere is often rather suffocating, aided by the rumbles of F.’s bass that create this extremely warm, almost claustrophobic low-end on the record. Most of the time, this atmosphere helps bring about some Archgoat or Proclamation comparisons.
Lihhamon‘s Doctrine is an intense, 30-minute bestial black metal journey. For non-fans of the genre, Doctrine may seem like just another lame attempt to sound as chaotic as possible. But to the connoisseur, Lihhamon‘s debut is an album that is sure to awake, and please your inner beast.