Johanna Sadonis and company went through wholesale changes after the critically acclaimed Lucifer I, but with album number three the only change is the addition of a second guitarist, namely Martin Nordin.
Lucifer have always been about occultism and fun, perhaps that’s why the reception to Lucifer II was a bit more lukewarm, with a Rolling Stones cover song purveying a little more fun than the fans of the first album were willing to have.
Both albums are great driving heavy metal and by driving I mean either on a motorcycle or windows down on a warm sunny day, speakers blaring, joining Fu Manchu and Goatsnake as part of my regular spring/summer rotation.
Lucifer III‘s “Midnight Phantom” has a wonderful retro vibe about it, complete with sections of clapping and tambourine, used to break up the main heavy riff, which kills with its designed simplicity. Fans of Ghost in particular will appreciate this hook-laden overt satanism. If Sadonis’ vocal performance was your way in to this band, make sure you pay close attention to the guitar work on repeated listens. The tandem of Nordin and Linus Bjorklund continues to channel sounds of The Hellacopters to absolutely decimate with crunchy, easily-digestible riffs such as on their eponymous song.
Lucifer also have a penchant for having killer songs tucked on their LP’s B-side, whether it be “Morning Star” or “Aton.” This time around it’s “Stay Astray.” Nicke Andersson’s drumming, while simple, serves as the glue that holds the band together as the rest of the band trades in their guitars to take part in excellent vocal harmonies and tremendous retro vibes.
Lucifer III is truly a combination of the band’s prior works, all the fun, occult and Johanna Sadonis you can shake a stick at. This might be the album fans wanted last time, but didn’t get. Regardless, Lucifer continue to showcase that they are at the top of their game. This is one of the most fun albums you will hear all year.
(released March 20, 2020 on Century Media Records)
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Watch Lucifer – “Leather Demon” Video