Lucifer – Lucifer V Review

Nuclear Blast

In case there was any doubt where their allegiance lies, just refer to their moniker. Sweden’s Lucifer continue to ride this century’s version of a “Satanic Panic,” one that thankfully, with a knowing wink and a nudge, embraces the outright ludicrousness of what happened in the early ’80s.

Luckily for us metal fans, this trend also witnesses one band after another continue to top each other. Starting with Ghost’s pop metal masterpiece, 2022’s Impera, and continuing into 2023 with stellar releases from Twin Temple (God Is Dead) and Green Lung (This Heathen Land, my pick for album of last year), Lucifer V finds the Swedish melodic doom-mongers at the top of their wicked game.

Whereas Twin Temple’s self-described “Satanic doo wop” harkens back to the 1960s and Ghost has fully embraced an ’80s “arena rock” aesthetic, Lucifer bust out the bell-bottoms and tambourines for a groovy, demonic rave-up that hews closer to Green Lung than Witch Mounntain – an alternate universe where Stevie Nicks fronts Vol. 4-era Black Sabbath.

What makes V such a thoroughly engaging listen, besides the catchy tunes, solid riffs, and stellar musicianship, is the manner in which they pillage the best of ‘70s hard rock and metal to create a sound all their own. V kicks off with “Fallen Angel,” featuring a guitar riff that’s a galloping take on the Alice Cooper classic, “School’s Out.”

“The Dead Don’t Speak” introduces a staccato riff straight out of the Angus Young playbook, and after the gentle acoustic intro to “Maculate Heart,” I challenge you to not sing “God bless the children of the beast,” an homage to Motley Crue’s contribution to the original Satanic Panic, Shout At The Devil.

“At The Mortuary” stands as the album’s centerpiece, with a riff that wouldn’t have been out of place on Sabbath’s immortal Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, swirling organ, and vocalist Johanna Platow Andersson’s darkly tongue-in-cheek lyrics – a paeon to a lover thought deceased, but somehow resurrected.

“Slow Dance In A Crypt,” perhaps the finest power ballad in all of doom, features a riff that echoes Led Zeppelin’s mighty “Dazed In Confused” meshed with Elton John-esque piano flourishes and a soaring chorus destined to get everyone at the School for Witches and Warlocks sock hop swaying back and forth to its melody – and (bonus!) – no need to leave room for Jesus!

Ultimately, Lucifer V provides further evidence that no matter what name you call him by, he still has the best tunes.

(released January 26, 2024 on Nuclear Blast)

Heavy Music HQ Rating:

Watch Lucifer – “Slow Dance In A Crypt” Video


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