Lucifer – “Lucifer V” Album Review5th February 2024
The name Lucifer, in media, brings up many different memories, for many different people, from all sorts of fandoms. Be it Mark Pelligrino playing the antagonistic antichrist in “Supernatural” or be it K-Pop group SHINee’s 2018 song of the same name, or be it WWE legend Jake Roberts’ pet cobra, that famously went venom-nom on Randy Savage’s arm, like it was a steroid filled Slim Jim. But let’s get Biblical for a moment. Without going into the many nuances of the different historical interpretations, of the same utter nonsense, we can all agree that Lucifer in principle, is the fallen angel; the very embodiment of dissent, freedom of thought, and non-conformity. The Devil himself, if you will.
This ties us into today’s band, and 10/10 for observation; it’s LUCIFER. Founded by vocalist Johanna Sadonis in Berlin, back in 2012, though completed by otherwise Swedish musicians, they were originally THE OATH but, separated very shortly after they formed, despite critical acclaim, breaking their solemn promise. Sadonis however wasn’t prepared to let this momentum or creativity dissipate, and so very quickly formed Lucifer. She had a voice and wanted to use it damn it, but could this fallen angel fly? As they say, you never restart from the beginning, you start again with deeper wisdom and understanding. Ten years in and with a fifth full studio album under their belt, I’d suggest sometimes it’s the right thing to do, to go against what you thought was right originally and be true to yourself. Let’s get ready to rebel as we press play on “Lucifer V”…
The album appropriately opens with “Fallen Angel” and we’re met with this very nostalgic sense of galloping, classic rock guitar tonality, with prominent bass riffs. It’s a very up-tempo offering with a modern DEEP PURPLE aesthetic going on from a production standpoint, while Sadonis’ vocals, crisp and clear, carry a wonderfully defiant song of standing your ground and feeling unafraid to face the world alone. It’s empowering, it’s enthusing and motivational and it’s delivered on a sleek slab of catchy rock / early metal.
We follow this up with “At The Mortuary” and we get a very BLACK SABBATH-inspired, doom-laden offering, with church bells, and slow, Iommi-esque chords, and it credits to how well they’ve nailed this classic sound that, it’s so easy to imagine Ozzy himself singing this forty, or even fifty years ago. Lines like “There’s no shame to put your arms around a memory” speak of a lost love, and it’s a beautifully Gothic little piece of heartache, with a chorus full of pop hooks.
Speaking of lost love, there’s “Slow Dance In A Crypt”, and we get our albums hauntingly somber ballad. Delicate piano keys layer the track wonderfully, complimenting Sadonis’ soothing vocals, over a mournfully meandering piece of music. The solo here is a wonderful little burst of impassioned energy whilst retaining a sense of sadness, in a song of things that should have been, shrouded in dark romanticism.
Further talking points include the single “Maculate Heart”, which speaks for itself in terms of relatability. Your heart goes through a lot, the stresses of life, love, and hurting…and so many of us are now conditioned to pain, to struggle…it’s a song of self-confidence, self-assurance, and determination. The non-radio edit here has an acoustic opening that sounds like it’s leading into “Hotel California” and quite frankly thank fuck it doesn’t, as that’s arguably one of the most overrated songs ever written, but I digress. It becomes this simplistic, but catchy hard-rock track with clap-along qualities, gang vocals, plenty of grooves and another enjoyable solo; the classic rock influences ooze from this lot but it’s done right, they’ve captured the aura of the era without sounding like a copy and paste band who only know music from their parents’ vinyl collection. There IS a difference. This has been written and more importantly produced with care, whereas you have bands like GRETA VAN FLEET who just rip off LED ZEPPELIN or, QUEEN who rip off…Queen by continuing without fucking Freddy Mercury. Nothing against Adam Lambert…everything against Queen. I digress. Again.
Tracks like “The Dead Don’t Speak” house this early GHOST vibe in the intro while “Nothing Left To Lose But My Life” utilises more of those deeper, doom tones, with a darkly laced doo-wop presentation, like a heavier version of TWIN TEMPLE. The album closes with a radio edit and a Halloween cut, but they are repeated tracks, so we won’t concern ourselves too much with those, as they are essentially B-Sides.
Coming back to the ideology of Lucifer, be it a metaphor, a cultural thing, an identity thing in terms of society or the bigger picture, Sadonis and co continue to prove here that, doing your own thing in the face of judgment or uncertainty is the single best thing you can do. There will be questions, there will be bumps in the road, there will be doubt…but if you have a vision, if you have belief in yourself, there is nothing that can stop you.
Lucifer may be a name associated with negativity, wrong-doing, sin, and all sorts, but speaking he was an originator, and his very existence, even if purely based in literature and folklore, has planted the seed for many, many people to go against the status quo. I guess the message here is, whatever it is you are passionate about, whatever gives you goosebumps, whatever makes you happy…do it. Lucifer did it and they have produced yet another superb album. What have you got to lose? I mean ok, don’t find yourself on a register or a wanted list, but you get what I mean…
Album Score: 8/10
- “Fallen Angel”
- “At The Mortuary”
- “Riding Reaper”
- “Slow Dance In A Crypt”
- “Maculate Heart”
- “A Coffin Has No Silver Lining”
- “The Dead Don’t Speak”
- “Strange Sister”
- “Nothing Left To Lose But My Life”
- “At The Mortuary (Halloween Edit)”
- “Maculate Heart (Radio Edit)”
Release Date: January 26th (Out Now)
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records