The band Lucifer has a hell of a name to live up to. Naming themselves after the fallen angel and evil incarnate, the band currently consisting of vocalist and frontwoman Johanna Sadonis, drummer Nicke Andersson, guitarist Martin Nordin, guitarist Linus Bjorklund, and bassist Haral Gothblad nearly set themselves up for failure. As a genre, metal is imbued with dark and serious subject matter, and from my perspective as a first time listener of this band, Lucifer needed to reflect their wicked nomer in both skill and theme. Otherwise, they would’ve wasted a good band title.
Thankfully, Lucifer proved their worth on Lucifer III. The band’s good newly released third album features plenty of delectable guitar riffs and catchy vocals to sing along to. The tracks like the opener “Ghosts” and the groovy following track “Midnight Phantom” introduces the listener to slow, methodical, and deeply resonant guitar play that perfectly complements Sadonis’ beautiful clean singing. When the instrumentals and vocals combine, Lucifer III’s Blue Oyster Cult and Ozzy Osbourne era Black Sabbath influences become abundantly clear like on the songs “Coffin Fever” and “Pacific Blues”, and damn, it sounds really good.
Lucifer III’s best tracks, however, allow Sadonis to cut loose on her vocal performance. On the LP’s greatest songs “Leather Demon” and “Lucifer,” Sadonis’ vocals soar above the terrific fret work. The vocal performance lets Lucifer’s sound go beyond that of simply being a good Black Sabbath nostalgia band, allowing these musicians to stand up on their own merits. Even non metal fans would find these tracks worth listening to.
With that said, Lucifer III isn’t a perfect album. The LP is front loaded with the best tracks, and while the back half of the album remains good, it doesn’t match the earlier tracks in terms of inventiveness. Even though tracks like “Flanked by Snakes,” “Stray Astray,” and the closer “Cemetery Eyes” still contain great vocal performances from Sadonis and bluesy style guitar riffs, the songs just don’t match with belters like “Midnight Phantom” and “Leather Demon.”
Still, Lucifer III remains a good listen. If you enjoy bands like Black Sabbath or Electric Wizard, you’ll likely enjoy Lucifer III. Whether for nostalgia or its contributions to the subgenre, Lucifer III is a good album with a few great moments and would make the actual Lucifer proud. Horns up.