Lucifer is a Stockholm-based classic metal band fronted by Johanna Sadonis. With influences such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, the band’s aesthetic is distinctly retro, with a sound that could have come straight out of the 60s – in fact, when I heard them before reading up about them, my first guess was that they were a completely ancient band. In reality, however, Lucifer has only been around since 2015, and over the past 8 years they have produced 4 full studio albums (self-titled as “Lucifer I – IV”) as well as a handful of singles. In a similar fashion, their 5th full studio album, “Lucifer V” is scheduled to release on January 26th.
My first impression on playing the first track, Fallen Angel, is how much Lucifer reminds me acutely of Black Sabbath. Unlike Black Sabbath, however, Lucifer is fronted by a vocalist whose timbre is actually pleasant to listen to (I’ll duck the flying tomatoes here; but Ozzy Osbourn’s voice isn’t for everybody). Sadonis’ vocal style itself reminds me more of Joan Jett, with a touch of Lzzy Hale’s powerful forward style.
Lucifer is known for their sludgey, doom-metal esque feel, and “Lucifer V” certainly satisfies that expectation, especially on the march-like third track, Riding Reaper, and the old school rock ballad that follows it, Slow Dance in a Crypt. The old-school rock feel continues in Coffin Has No Silver Lining, which exemplifies a trope I particularly enjoy: An upbeat song with contrasting heavy or depressing lyrical content, reminiscent of classics such as I Hate Myself for Loving You, by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
But Maculate Heart is probably my favourite track on the album, with its groovy bassline and heavier edge. While usage of the trope of modifying religious terms is arguably overused, it should come as no surprise given the band’s name, and it’s not an unwelcome continued theme.
The last three tracks seemed to highlight guitar and bass more than vocals, including a cool solo on The Dead Don’t Speak that gives me Iron Maiden vibes. I like the tight synthesis between drums and bass, and it’s certainly not overproduced at all, which solidifies the old-timey rock aesthetic.
Lucifer’s greatest strength, though, also gives rise to my one complaint: The band doesn’t seem to be very adventurous in terms of style, walking on the edge of “too same-y to be interesting” at times. Of course, this is a matter of opinion, but I’d love to hear what Lucifer would come up with if they broke the pattern and tried something new.
“Lucifer V” is a solid piece of classic old-school metal, and certainly lives up to the band’s legacy. Lucifer is currently touring Europe, with upcoming shows in Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, and France.
Release Date: 26th January 2023
Label: Nuclear Blast