Lucifer play a fun brand of heavy metal and rock ‘n’ roll inspired by the sounds of classic ’70s bands.
Nothing in the nostalgic rock scene grinds my gears more than all of the tired derivatives of psychedelic bands that fail to grasp the nuanced pop hooks in an authentic throwback outfit. Lucifer don’t just understand the important template of ’70s rock, but they fully embrace these fundamentals and make them their own.
At this point, describing a band as trailblazing occult stoner rock isn’t really a head turner, but Lucifer actually deserve some credit. Lucifer II sounds like the work of a time traveling band that was just on an episode of Top of the Pops in 1972.
The introduction of Hellacopters guitarist and Entombed alumni Nicke Andersson has certainly helped the band develop its sound. Whereas the first Lucifer album was much heavier and clearly inspired by the ghoulish riffs of Pentagram, Witchfinder General, and early Sabbath, Lucifer II takes many more notes from groups like Heart, Deep Purple, and Rush. Andersson was doing quite a deal of work on the album’s creative input, as he provided drums and bass parts as well in his Stockholm studio.
That’s not to say the darker influences are missing. Lucifer II is basically a flashback of everything great from the first album thrown in over wild, ambient rock ‘n’ roll energy. Johanna Sadonis’ brooding voice carries over the powerful riffs of Andersson with greater capability. Now that Lucifer have extended their dynamics, we can really see just how far the ex-The Oath singer can take her craft.
It’s fair to say that Lucifer is and always will be the brainchild of this German metal sorceress, but with the release of the new album on Century Media, Lucifer actually feels like a very strong band now. That’s not to take away from Gaz Jennings at all, who is one of the best riff writers in metal. Sometimes a band just have to evolve, and certain elements need to change in order to make that range of new possibilities open up.
Speaking of riffs, the opening track, “California Sun,” is a door breacher firing on all cylinders. This is classic heavy metal with a twist, and you can tell that it is done with genuine enthusiasm.
“Dreamer” may be my favorite song on the album, and it is here where you can really see how Sardonis’ charisma opens up. Combined with the exceptional intuition for creative melodies that Andersson has, the sultry dynamics of Sardonis make for something magical that comes out of the mist on this track. Breathing glamor and sludge in one beat is not an easy task to command, but Lucifer do it effortlessly.
That Fleetwood Mac influence really kicks in on “Phoenix,” a song that drifts off somewhere into the dissonant ether between upbeat rock and turbulent, doom-charged hymns. The magic of Lucifer can’t be overstated; at each bend that resolve a way to create pop music without sacrificing the foreboding spirit of metal.
From beginning to end, Lucifer delivers with another great record and their first on Century Media Records. Gifted with creativity, intuition, and wonderful chemistry, Lucifer II is pretty solid.