"Baphometic Chaosium"

By Lord Randall

Having been a fan of SoCal's LIGHTNING SWORDS OF DEATH since '07s "The Golden Plague",and having my ears sated (but not particularly enthralled) by Metal Blade debut, "The Extra Dimensional Wound", I knew "Baphometic Chaosium" going to be a crap shoot. Things could go either way, and due to the magisterial brilliance of guitarist Roksva's ENDLESS BLIZZARD project, I knew at least the string section had it in 'em to deliver.

Thankfully, as with most LSOD output, the bass is given its fair share in the mix, thick and rumbling,creating a low-end to rival current MARDUK or (yeah, I said it) Sunlight Studios circa 1992. Don't view "Baphometic Chaosium" as a death metal album, though a definite love for all things Scandi-new-wavian comes through, especially in the chord progressions. I'd be tempted and not entirely wrong to say that a good portion of the album lacks a bit of the bite, the raw carnage of LSOD's earlier output, though such moments do tear their way  - see 'Psychic Waters' - through the atmospheric lands the band seem to be exploring these days.  It takes a lot for me to enjoy nearly anything Lovecraftian in metal these days, as most of dear H.P.'s legacy has quickly become the go-to for any metal band seeking to create that feeling of horror and watery, dream-driven chaos, but LSOD makes it work with the haunting truly haunting 'R'lyeh Wuurm'. Autarch's vocals have never been the strong point of the band, and he's taken his share of flack for his one-dimensional delivery over time. It's frustrating as a listener, because I know the talent's there. He pushes himself often to the edge of his range, but seems unwilling to hurl himself over that precipice into the unknown and see what develops.

I've often said (and will after this, surely) that it's a band's third offering that shows what they are,for better or worse. With "Baphometic Chaosium", as solid, as good as much of the album is, I'm left  unfulfilled. Here's hoping album #4 delivers.