Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review of Lucifer's Lucifer I

When doom legends Cathedral disbanded in 2013, it was a tragic but understandable move as it ept the band from running its course like so many of their peers. Fortunately, its members are finding ways to stay creative in the aftermath. Guitarist Gaz Jennings in particular has kept busy playing with Death Penalty and recently forming Lucifer with The Oath's vocalist Johanna Sadonis. Thankfully the music here is much stronger than the generic moniker would imply.

Stylistically, Lucifer has a fair amount in common with Cathedral and seems to operate as a spiritual successor. The presentation isn't quite as gritty but the riffs have a similarly heavy tone and are just as groove friendly. The songwriting doesn't get as off the wall either but Lucifer preserves Cathedral's penchant for variety quite nicely. The opening "Abracadabra" and "White Mountain" have driving riffs and upbeat vocal lines, "Sabbath" and "Morning Star" are packed with sprawling doom riffs, and the verses of "Izrael" are scaled back in a way that reminds one of Pentagram's more mellow moments. It might be playing it safe at times but nothing feels watered down by any means.

Predictably, the vocals do work to make this group distinct from its predecessor. While Sadonis's voice can feel a little stilted at times, she has a mystical tone that works well in every environment presented. Fortunately it never feels too gimmicky and the guitars feel just as prominent and arguably more versatile.

Overall, Lucifer's debut is a strong first impression that gets better with every listen. The callbacks to classic doom make it a safe purchase for seasoned fans but the song variety helps it stand out on its own merits. One can hope for future evolution on future efforts and I may need to give The Oath's album an attentive listen.

"Morning Star"

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