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Lucifer - "Lucifer I" (CD)

Lucifer - "Lucifer I" CD cover image

"Lucifer I" track listing:

1. Abracadbra (5:54)
2. Purple Pyramid (6:09)
3. Izrael (4:49)
4. Sabbath (5:19)
5. White Mountain (5:22)
6. Morning Star (5:01)
7. Total Eclipse (6:04)
8. A Grave for Each One of Us (5:12)

Reviewed by on June 12, 2015

"Imagine if Watain decided to chill out – that’s where Lucifer is."

Lucifer is a Scene Police Certified band. The combination of Johanna Sadonis (ex-The Oath) and ex-Cathedral strummer Garry Jennings for songwriting and studio duties is plenty to make heavy metal heshers spit-take their smoke and mess their corduroys. One part soft occult-ism, one part Sabbath, one part Blue Oyster Cult, many parts witchy-woman singer and backing band, “Lucifer I” is a shining example of the newest heavy metal hotness.

To be clear, the music itself isn’t particularly heavy, especially when compared to black, death, grind, and other similarly distorted and disgusting sub-genres. Sadonis’ voice is clean, floating above the standard-fare, straight-counted accompaniment. She’s not anywhere close to someone like Tarja Turunen (or even Floor Jansen) in style of delivery, but that’s not the point. Her vocals don’t need to be harmonized, soaring, or even pitch-perfect, not that she is noticeably off. It’s more about tone and timbre, a soprano’s light cutting the haze.

The music itself is, as mentioned, standard fare – straight counted chord progressions taken from the 1970s rock music book, meandering here and there without arriving anywhere. Most of the songs lack structure – which isn’t necessarily bad – but in this case they need guide rails as there are lots of chords but no centering point. Intermittent solos interestingly conjure more Kurt Cobain than Donald Roeser, and the production sound is suitably retro without being “lo-fi;”the bass in particular sounds fantastic.

With music trending toward bass-heavy rock and the softer side of doom, Lucifer brings The Heaviness with Message and Posture, as the band is pretty Satanic, or something. And that is the thing here – the music is merely the platform for the context. The Devil, rituals, incense. Imagine if Watain decided to chill out – that’s where Lucifer is. Not at the sacrificial altar, but in your buddy’s attic, telling you that you’ve got check out this new book he’s reading.

Trends go in waves - a few years ago it was the thrash revivals, then it was burly dudes in jeans playing doom-n-roll, now we’ve got witchy-women playing occult rock with interchangeable backing bands. While Lucifer isn’t bad by any means, it certainly doesn’t grip and grab at my lifeforce. They just stay somewhere else, strangely beckoning me to wander over, but never pushing the issue.

Ultimately I don't need metal on my “chill-out” (yes, that’s a metaphor) playlist, and the devil is just the old guy down the street that doesn’t mow his lawn. I guess what we learned is that I’m not grokking this new trend, and so maybe I’m not the right guy to review this album. And maybe you aren't the right gal to listen to it. Unless, of course, you’ve got an old tome to read and a few hours to burn.

Highs: The solos remind me of my grunge-addled youth, adding a welcome bit of variation.

Lows: All the chord progressions get old quickly.

Bottom line: Occult rock "comers" still need to be your thing for this to work for you.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)