Lucifer are back with a new album and a new line-up. Paul Castles raises the devil’s horns to welcome Lucifer II, released via Century Media on July 6, 2018
Forget the winter fuel allowance, hot water bottle and steaming mug of Horlicks. There’s more than enough warmth to go around wrapped up in this inspired sophomore release from Lucifer. The dark side never felt so tempting as when Johanna Sadonis lures you into her satanic chamber. Johanna first registered with most people through The Oath. A highly engaging debut album in 2014 suggested good things were in store for this German-based outfit only for the wheels to come off prematurely before they had even hit the autobahn.
Undeterred by that setback Johanna almost immediately formed new three-piece Lucifer alongside ex-Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings. A satisfying self-titled debut album in 2015 looked set to establish Lucifer as one of the leading lights behind the heavy melodic doom doors. But again the line-up appeared to have a short shelf-life and this follow-up album, three years down the line, features a whole new clientele alongside Johanna. She’s teamed up with Nicke Andersson (Entombed, The Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric) as her songwriting partner for Lucifer II, and the overall sound resonates deeper with passages so infectious you almost suspect, with apologies to the bruised and beleaguered folk of Salisbury, Russian subterfuge. One-time Entombed drummer Anderson picks up the sticks for Lucifer as well as the guitar.
From the rousing opener ‘California Son’, resistance feels futile as you melt under a luxurious blanket of shimmering grooves and of course Johanna’s wonderfully textured tones. ‘Dreamer’ is even more crushing, with solos thrown in as Lucifer plunge into the waters of revisionist hallucinogenic rock infused with the spirit of Fleetwood Mac. While the traditional heavy rock of Sabbath and Deep Purple provides the foundation for their sound, on the smooth as pebbles ‘Reaper On Your Heels’ Lucifer also marry the likes of Heart into their sound.
Lucifer remain essentially a doom band, as evidenced on the likes of ‘Eyes In The Sky’ with its grasscutter of a bassline. As with Canadian occultists Blood Ceremony, who at times Lucifer sound similar to, Johanna is a great storyteller such as on the melancholic slowburner ‘Before The Sun’ which at times almost blinds you with its psychedelic rainbow rhythms. The impact of Andersson is such that the new Lucifer sound is more trad rock and slightly less fired by HP Lovecraft.
The album is also notable for an unabashed cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Dancing With Mr D’. Bewitching in every sense, Lucifer II is in places spellbinding, has few weak moments and has a velvety vibe that will pull you under its dark spell.
- California Son
- Dancing With Mr. D
- Reaper On Your Heels
- Eyes In The Sky
- Before The Sun
- Faux Pharaoh