Whilst there is no pre-requisite for nominative determinism in music when you call your band Lucifer, you do set a bit of an expectation that your sound is going to, at the very least, a bit dark and evil. No one seems to have told Lucifer this. Their second album of what can only be loosely regarded as Occult Rock weaves its (black) magic in a way that is as unexpected as it is compelling.
This second album of dark, evocative rock music is an organic beast. You could be forgiven for thinking that this is a lost gem from the 1970’s, but this is very much the sound of a band honing their craft, not just paying homage to their distinct and rich heritage.
The band’s debut album was an occasionally thrilling, doomy introduction. Lucifer II (Century Media) is a much more open and accessible than its predecessor. Where the perfunctory doom-laden riffing of the debut record suggested that the band were very familiar with the tropes of occult rock, it was also obvious that, in lead vocalist and driving force Johanna Sadonis, there was a restless and creative talent, determined to establish Lucifer as something more resonant. Fast forward three years and it appears that Lucifer are becoming something more akin to what Sadonis had originally intended.
The addition of Nicke Andersson, erstwhile of Entombed and The Hellacopters has given Lucifer added propulsion and invention. This has translated itself into a body of songs that have much more in common with Hard Rock than Occult Rock. Imagine if Heart’s Ann Wilson had decided to join early Ghost and you might start to get an idea of what Lucifer have going on.
There’s still some doomy mood music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the debut ‘Faux Pharoah’, for example, but the band’s aesthetic sympathy for the devil is more Rolling Stones than anything else. Indeed, the perfectly nice cover of Jagger and Co.’s ‘Dancing with Mr D’ hammers this point home.
Lucifer II is very much the sound of a band progressing. It does feel like it isn’t quite yet the finished article, though the news that the band are planning on getting back into the studio for another album almost immediately indicates that the fully realised Lucifer vision is just around the corner.
As it stands though, there is much to interest and beguile the listener here. The old adage of the devil having all the best tunes may not be true, but, for the most part, there’s an argument that he has some of the nicest.