Keeping it simple when it comes to naming the new album, multinational heavy rockers Lucifer follow the same path as previous output and go with a simple numeral after the band name. Hence, third album = ‘Lucifer III’.
Like its two predecessors, ‘Lucifer lll’ is steeped in ‘70’s hard rock/metal with an extra dash of doom. And like ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Lucifer ll’, it is something special. It’s also got a wicked sense of humour, and yes, that is a goat bleating on the intro to the (almost) title track. Containing some great lines like “Some say he’s evil, I say he’s alright..” and a subtle tip-of-the-hat to Black Sabbath’s N.I.B with “Oh father unearthly, please take my hand”, ‘Lucifer’ is a thrilling fast-paced rocker that begins with a pulsating tempo similar to the Gun chestnut ‘Race With The Devil’ (thanks mainly to the always reliable drum work from Nicke Andersson). It grows into a towering slice of hard rock, complete with dazzling guitar solos (Blackmore-esque in places), heavy keys, and atmospheric vocals from one of the genres shining lights; Johanna Sadonis.
Before the listener lands on ‘Lucifer’, their ears are caressed by Sadonis and company on some seriously groovy moments such as opener ‘Ghosts’ (complete with uber-heavy, bell tolling-like keyboards and funky mid section), the sinister-but-dreamy ‘Midnight Phantom’, and mysterious sounding ‘Leather Demon’..“They call you leather demon, Oh lord knows that it’s true, You will never go to heaven, I stand by you…”
Side B opens with the heavy, doom laden strains of ‘Pacific Blues’, these soon settle down into something much lighter and, in places, the guitar tones hark back to ‘Magic Man’ era Heart. ‘Coffin Fever’ is a beast, a slow, nasty beast crawling through the undergrowth looking for unsuspecting victims to ensnare. The guitar tones throughout the four minutes are delicious, and a heavy sense of foreboding lingers in the air long after it fades out. Despite the title, ‘Flanked By Snakes’ is perhaps the lightest moment on the album. Sadonis delivers her usual hypnotic vocal performance with great aplomb, and it’s hard not to get caught in the headlights. ‘Stay Astray’ begins with a fantastic ‘Aqualung’-like intro and features some lush layered backing vocals that will have your lava lamp imploding, as Jools Holland once famously said; ‘Groovy Fuckers’. Ending on the epic-like qualities of ‘Cemetery Eyes’ (complete with stunning guitar solo towards the end), ‘Lucifer – III’ is darker than 3am and the sound of a band really coming into their own.
If the Deep Purple/Blue Oyster Cult tour goes ahead later this year, Lucifer are the perfect opening band. And might just prove to the “they don’t write them like that anymore” brigade, that they in fact do.
Available now on Century Media.
Review – Dave