Sound — 9
Combining synths, heavily echoed guitar and sparse, martial drum beats, 'A Day in the Stark Corner' combines a minimalist and epic sound with cold and misanthropic sonic flavours that immerse the listener in a realm of decaying life, unforgiving earthly elements and the trials of the seeker in the quest for self-knowledge. Opening with the dreamy, pounding grandeur of 'And Through the Smoke and Nails', the journey begins with spacey guitar melodies backed by a swarming synth drone, bombastic drums and the icy incantations of vocalist and founding/main member, Mike Van Portfleet. The mood of the album is very dark and depressing, with subtle variations in sound and tempo. The tracks are well ordered from beginning to end. Highlights include, 'Pygmallion', 'Wide Open Spaces', 'Goddess of the Green Fields' (which features some beautiful minimalist guitar work), and the haunting closing track, 'Daphne', a personal favourite of mine. Just a warning to those who dislike repetition, you will be challenged by this recording as that is the modus operandi of Lycia. As previously mentioned, there are subtle changes here and there, but Lycia like to create epics, with walls of sound, and they achieve this by building gradually and adding more as the song progresses. This trait is common among most Dark Ambient artists. I usually like to listen to this as background music and recommend not listening too intently, but rather using the soundscapes to fill out the ambience whilst you enagage in other activities. On the other hand, manic depressives and other dark souls will probably really savour the moods as they contemplate their mysteries and personal anguish.
Lyrics — 7
It's difficult if not impossible to decipher the lyrics for the most part, but this is an essential part of the atmospherics of Lycia and personally isn't a problem for me. I would say with this style of music it's probably better this way as the music is such a dominant and intoxicating force that evokes such rich and obscure perceptions within one's mind that for it to be any other way might be detrimental.
Overall Impression — 8
Although this won't be everyones cup of tea, Lycia have certainly got a unique sound all their own. Guitar fanatics probably won't enjoy it because of the heavy electronic element, but fans of more experimental artists and guitarists will perhaps enjoy what's on offer It's also interesting to note that they have been a significant influence on Pete Steele of Type O Negative, who has praised the band on many occasions and even said that he'd love for Type O Negative to sound more like Lycia. The two bands have also toured together on occasion. Recommended for the open-minded and those that sway to dark side.