Swedish/German retro heavy rock lords LUCIFER are soon releasing their third studio album entitled “Lucifer III” via Century Media Records. In recent years, the band has been embraced by metalheads and rockers alike due to their unique 70s image and sound. As with their 2018’s sophomore “Lucifer II,” the songs were written by the now-married couple Johanna and Nicke Platow Andersson, while Linus Björklund and Martin Nordin made their studio debut after joining the band for the previous tour. Since former bass player Alexander Mayr was forced to leave the band due to health problems last year, Nicke himself recorded the bass tracks, while newcomer Harald Göthblad will join them on the road. You can check our recent interview with Johanna and Nicke here.
“Lucifer III” kicks off with “Ghosts,” a catchy track that summarizes the essence of the band: plenty of proto-metal/hard rock vibes, old-school guitar riffing with some doom elements and, of course, the haunting voice of Johanna, one of my favorite female vocalist these days. She displays such a wide vocal range so effortlessly and puts so much feeling in her performance that it’s hard to ignore. “Midnight Phantom” is one of the songs that has grown on me with every listen. At first, I felt it was a bit watered down for LUCIFER‘s standards but after checking out the cool music video and listening to it a dozen times it has become a personal favorite with its playful melodies and subtle arrangements. A great start.
“Leather Demon” is another horror-inspired track with darker tones that takes us back to the doomier sound of their debut album. Johanna shines once more with a soulful, classy performance and proves that heavy rock female singers don’t need to growl or squeak in order to stand out from the crowd. “Lucifer” is a fast-paced, fun and almost danceable song that reminds me of URIAH HEEP’s classics. An instant hit, and it is definitely meant to become an anthem and a stapler for their live shows. To keep things moving, we have “Pacific Blues,” a well-crafted tune that adds variety to the album with its dynamic guitars and sing-along melodies that will stick in your head from the first listen.
“Coffin Fever” is a bit slower and includes some fine stoner riffing and doomy vocals à la BLACK SABBATH, but also features a refreshing upbeat middle section where I dare you not to bang your head to. “Flanked by Snakes” is arguably the most cheerful track on the album, showcasing playful guitar work by Linus and Martin. But my absolute favorite is “Stay Stray,” with its irresistible beat by Nicke, infectious guitar riffs and Johanna’s charming, melodic vocals and rebellious lyrics. After reaching this climax, the moody and beautiful “Cemetery Eyes” helps to calm things down, ending the party with a mellow feeling. Pay special attention to the fantastic guitars solos towards the final section, which brings to mind the ending of LYNYRD SKYNYRD’s “Free Bird.”
In conclusion, the third installment in the LUCIFER saga is everything the fans could hope for: a fine collection of horror-inspired tracks with plenty of 70s rock vibes, flawless songwriting, and great production, not too polished but at the same time very accessible and pleasant to the ear. The evolution of the band’s sound shows a natural continuation of the style developed in “Lucifer II,” with more feel-good moments than downers. The topics are darker this time though, as if they knew the world was approaching the current global crisis. Let’s hope this situation is just temporary and that we get to see them on the road sooner than later to witness these wonderful black magic spells by the Princess of Darkness and Co.
Written by David Araneda
- Midnight Phantom
- Leather Demon
- Pacific Blues
- Coffin Fever
- Flanked by Snakes
- Stay Stray
- Cemetery Eyes
Johanna Platow Andersson – Vocals
Nicke Platow Andersson – Drums, Bass (studio)
Linus Björklund – Guitar
Martin Nordin – Guitar
Harald Göthblad – Bass (live)
Century Media Records
Interview Phantom Elite – “It’s always good to share that feeling that none of us is alone in hard times”