Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Lucifer - 'Lucifer I' (Album Review)

By: Erik Sugg

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 25/05/2015
Label: Rise Above Records


‘All in all, “Lucifer I” is a solid release, song-per-song. It’s sure to be a hit for all the ‘70s obsessive’s and the proto-metallers, but it also has moments that are evil enough and dark enough to satisfy those who need a little more intensity beyond the black rainbow.’

‘Lucifer I’ CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. Abracadbra
02. Purple Pyramid
03. Izrael
04. Sabbath
05. White Mountain
06. Morning Star
07. Total Eclipse
08. A Grave For Each One of Us


Lucifer is (On Record):

Dino Gollnick | Bass
Gaz Jennings | Guitars, songwriting
Andrew Prestridge | Drums
Johanna Sadonis | Vocals, keys, sampling, songwriting

The Review

Occult Rock. This term has been used a lot in recent years. It’s a sub genre tag that seems to provide an astonishing number of reactions from people. For some, it’s pretty sexy. It immediately triggers the imagination, letting the listener know they’re about to engage in some dark delights. For others, it’s pretty tired. It’s perceived as lazy and overused, and is quickly becoming passé. Some hate the mere mention of it. Still, the undeniable truth is the metal/hard rock world has been obsessed with the ancient wisdom of old for as long as electricity provided amplification for guitars. Music and the dark arts have been closely associated since long before our current day phenomenons, like Ghost, Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, and Blood Ceremony, (and yes, even longer than everyone’s favorite groups from the ‘60s and ‘70s, like Black Widow, Coven, or this little old band called Black Sabbath. Claude Debussy anyone?) Regardless of the naysayers who complain about the over-and/or-misuse of the occult rock label, one thing we can be sure of is that we surely won’t be seeing a decline in these bands who give us that perfect blend of darkness, melody, and aesthetic. And if you’re really fortunate? You’ll come across a band that is wise enough and good enough to give you something that will render any and all genre terms completely unnecessary. That’s where a band like Lucifer enters the picture.

Lucifer is the recent incarnation of Gaz Jennings of doom legends, Cathedral, and Johanna Sadonis, of the short lived, but widely celebrated, The Oath. That collaboration alone was a drool-inducing affair for traditional doom enthusiasts. The Internet went ablaze when they dropped their promo video for “Izrael” in the early summer. The tune kicks in with a “make-ya-strut”-groove featuring Gaz’s trademark harmonies and Johanna’s flawless nightmare-lullaby vocal line. All of the imagery is there as well. Black hearse. Black cat. Kaleidoscope visions of masked figures in black. What’s not to love? I know this record has been on the market for a few months now, but given the band is currently touring my country and providing me with an opportunity to hear their fantastic music live, I wanted to share some thoughts on their strong debut, simply titled, “Lucifer I.”

What struck me most upon my initial listen was how the album began with some hard-chargers rather than the slow, lurching rhythms you’re prone to see in bands who take the “ritualistic” route. This record wastes no time in delivering some upbeat riffing and fist-banging tempos. In fact, the album openers, “Abracadabra,” “Purple Pyramid,” as well as the aforementioned “Izrael,” would not be out of place on the first few Judas Priest records. My personal favorite, “Sabbath,” follows soon after. This one, with its excellent descending riff and Johanna’s wonderful vocal melody, is reminiscent of Candlemass at their greatest. Tunes like White Mountain and “Total Eclipse,” which range from slick harmonies to eerie, textured chords, really showcase Gaz’s skill and versatility as a guitarist, reminding us why people still talk about him after all these years. Actually, the album closer, “A Grave For Each of Us,” with its Iommi-esque “Spiral Architect”-vibe and great dynamics, may even be a career highlight for the man.

All in all, “Lucifer I” is a solid release, song-per-song. It’s sure to be a hit for all the ‘70s obsessive’s and the proto-metallers, but it also has moments that are evil enough and dark enough to satisfy those who need a little more intensity beyond the black rainbow. If you’re into the occult rock thing and you enjoy your retro offerings heavy on imagery and witchy front ladies, Lucifer is the band for you. If you’re one of those folks who complains about that sort of thing? Just shut your gab and get this record anyway because it’s fucking great.

‘Lucifer I’ is available here and you can check out our recent interview with Johanna Sadonis here


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