German vocalist Johanna Sadonis’ previous band The Oath came and went in less than two years, leaving a giant crater in the world of badass female fronted “classic” metal. In their wake Sadonis and live Oath Drummer Andy Prestridge return with Lucifer, joined by ex-Cathedral Guitar mastermind Gaz Jennings and newcomer Dino Gollnick on Bass. Trading The Oath’s punk minded Motorhead worship for full on Black Sabbath influenced groove inflected doom, Lucifer I is as confident and refined a debut as I’ve heard since Ghost’s Opus Eponymous.
It’s hard not to compare Lucifer to Ghost, given the 70’s sensibilities and occult subject matter, I even did it myself the last time I wrote about Lucifer, and though my Ghost fandom seemingly knows no bounds, comparing Sadonis and co. to Papa Emeritus and the Nameless Ghouls does them a great disservice. Lucifer eschews the psychedelic and prog elements leaned on maybe a tad too heavily in Ghost’s attack, especially on 2013’s Infestissumam, for pure unadulterated heaviness, and the retro flavored production makes it sound absolutely massive. The writing here is absolutely top notch as well, with the riffs just as menacing and foreboding as Sardonis’ haunting vocals, behind a crushing rhythm section, always catchy and never repetitive for the entire length of the album’s too-short seeming eight tracks.
If I had one complaint it would be that the previously released single “Anubis” isn’t included on Lucifer I, but that just means I’ll be on the lookout for that record as well, most likely at Lucifer’s Philly gig at the TLA next week opening for High on Fire. Go there, see them, buy the record, listen, and believe. The next big thing is death rock is here, and the hype is real.