THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...LUCIFER – Lucifer V (Nuclear Blast)
With – fairly obviously: the clue’s in the title – five albums under their belts Lucifer can be traced back to vocalist Johanna Platow Andersson’s previous act, the Berlin-based The Oath. Following their demise in 2014 after just one self-titled album Johanna Sadonis – as she was then – swiftly formed Lucifer, and ‘Lucifer I’ appeared in June 2015 on Rise Above, The Oath’s former label. With an evolving line-up three further albums were subsequently put out by Century Media – all of which, it’s worth noting, have been critically acclaimed – and now, working out of Stockholm, the band have released their first offering for Nuclear Blast.
photo by Dirk Behlau
With a very retro approach Lucifer are magnificently doomy and resplendently trippy, and all the more glorious for it. Coming at things from the same angle as, say, Blood Ceremony, the band mix the best parts of Seventies pseudo-Satanism and the DNA of the likes of Sabbath and Lucifer’s Child with a twist of twenty-first century eclecticism without, perhaps more importantly, dwelling on over-production: the sound captures the atmosphere without being too glossy and the musicians – guitarists Linus Björklund and Martin Nordin, bassist Harald Göthblad and drummer Nicke Andersson Platow – certainly know their stuff. So whereas their debut was quite a heavy beast, these later albums display a wider scope in their material: opener ‘Fallen Angel’ is quite the attention-grabber, while the catchy Blue Öyster Cult-ish ‘A Coffin Has No Silver Lining’ would – perhaps with a different title! – make a pretty good single and ‘Slow Dance In A Crypt’ is as bizarre a lighters-in-the-air ballad as you’re likely to hear on this astral plane.
The focus is naturally on the frontwoman though, and Johanna Platow Andersson certainly leads from the front and centre with a striking voice and an arresting onstage presence. But that’s not to take anything away from the musicianship – the guitar work is exemplary throughout – or the fact that ‘Lucifer V’ serves up beautifully crafted songs. You know the old adage that the Devil has the best songs? Well, this album is the living proof.
‘Maculate Heart’ (radio edit) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOIA6RONj5k
‘A Coffin Has No Silver Lining’ (The Sistine Version) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EZkgyp9D18
‘At The Mortuary’ - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkvQILyvro0
© John Tucker January 2024