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With a third full-length on the way, and a host of other releases in just five years behind them, Comrade Aleks decided to investigate Lucifer's Fall further - and find out more about frontman Phil Howlett's other bands and projects along the way.

Interview with Lucifer's Fall.
"Philip Howlett started Rote Mare in 2005 as a solo project, but a few years later it turned into a complete band, forthcoming with albums 'Serpents Of The Church', 'The Invocation' and 'The Kingdom' recorded by a full line-up including two guitars. The members took the decision to turn in a slightly different direction and, thus, Lucifer's Fall was born in 2013. In comparison with Rote Mare this new band tended not just towards traditional Doom, but also towards old school Heavy Metal. Eleven records of various lengths (including demos) over five years established a good score! Philip joined Dire Fate one year ago, and it seems that he has also started solo project Solemn Ceremony recently - is that too much? What can the frontman of one of the most productive Australian doom bands tell us? Let's see - and, remember, Lucifer falls for your sins!"

Talking to Comrade Aleks today: Phil Howlett of Lucifer's Fall.

Hi Phil! So...you started Lucifer's Fall in 2013. As you already had Rote Mare, what drove you to give birth to one more doomy outfit?

Hi Aleks and thank you for the interview. I guess the main reason was that I wanted to start a band that was in more of a traditional style whilst also being more uptempo than Rote Mare. The aim on the first album was for a cross between Reverend Bizarre and Arkham Witch. Of course other influences such as Saint Vitus always creep in.

Reverend Bizarre and Arkham Witch are excellent choices, but was it easy to persuade the others to follow you to a slightly updated sound?

Yeah it was easy. Everyone involved enjoys the sounds of those bands. Who the hell that chooses to play trad doom doesn't like Reverend Bizarre? Well probably quite a few actually ha ha but not in Lucifer's Fall.

Someone who'd never listened to Rote Mare but saw their album artwork might think that it's a Sludge or Black metal outfit. How would you describe the idea behind the band?

My intention for Rote Mare was always for a traditional doom band but as it went on I guess it became more varied. A lot more Celtic Frost style vocals (both harsh and gothic) and some more alternative sounding ideas got thrown into the mix. Overall though I still considered Rote Mare as basically a traditional doom band but not in the absolute pure sense.

Rote Mare - 'The Stones Of Blood':

But its visual side? How did you work out these disturbing blackened covers for 'The Invocation' and 'The Kingdom' with Sean?

To be honest I didn't have a lot to do with the artwork. I left it up to Sean to interpret as he saw fit. I love the final result though. I do like the fact that the artwork is different for what you might expect for what was basically a doom band. Visually I'm not so concerned if artwork does or doesn't fit into what people expect for a genre. I'd rather do something slightly different to tell the truth.

Lucifer's Fall tends towards a more traditional blend of Doom and Heavy Metal. Are there principal conceptual differences between the two bands in your eyes?

There is definitely a conceptual difference. With Lucifer's Fall I set out to write in the style of Traditional Doom and Traditional Heavy Metal with a small amount of Punk (mainly attitude) thrown in. I wanted Lucifer's Fall to have mostly clean vocals and be quite '80s influenced but not ignoring the doom revival of bands like Reverend Bizarre, The Gates Of Slumber etc. Also in general I wanted to cut the excess out of songs and make them get right to the point. Rote Mare was less constrained by genre or perhaps less focused depending on which way you look at it.

Lucifer's Fall: Ben Dodunski (drums), Jessica Erceg (bass), Phil Howlett (vocals), Blake Stephens (guitars), Kieran Provis (guitars).

By the way, what was the reason for finishing Rote Mare?

Well I was going to keep Rote Mare alive but in the end it seemed a little pointless as the band was at the time the same band as Lucifer's Fall. I thought about taking Rote Mare back to a solo project but that seemed kind of counterproductive as it had evolved from that into a full band. In the end I started Solemn Ceremony as a solo project. I guess you can look at Solemn Ceremony as a continuation of Rote Mare in some ways.

Solemn Ceremony? It's the first time I've heard this name: what is it?

It's a new slow doom solo project of mine. A friend called Gareth Briggs played the drums. The Invocator from Lucifer's Fall played most of the lead parts. Shayne from Eldritch Rites added some leads and vocals in one song and Phillip from Dire Fate did some guest vocals also. I recorded the rhythm guitars, bass, vocals, keys and some lead. I guess it sounds similar to everything else I've done…. Ha ha. It's coming out on Nine Records in September a week before the Acolytes Of Moros debut.

Solemn Ceremony - 'Solemn Ceremony':

Can you say that you achieved everything you were able to with Rote Mare? I'm referring to the stylistic limits of the band and let's say… recognition…

Not really. Stylistically there was still plenty of room to continue. I never really felt limited by what Rote Mare could do in terms of style. Recognition well that was never really gonna happen. I think that Rote Mare had too many different things going on for most people or perhaps it just wasn't focused enough. We never could get labels particularly interested and it's too difficult and expensive to keep doing it all yourself. The irony is that people seem slightly more interested now that it's over.

Lucifer's Fall has existed for about five years, and you've demonstrate quite high activity. How do you manage to keep it up?

I've always just written a lot of material. For me personally that is the most enjoyable part of being in bands. Now with added and increasing contributions from the rest of the band it's fairly easy to keep it going.

Live, 2016.

One of the good things about being in a band is positive feedback from listeners, and that shows itself better when bands play live. Australia is a difficult place for touring, how do you solve that problem?

Ha ha. Well at the moment I would say that the problem is not really solved. We currently are only really playing a couple of shows a year. We just recently travelled to play in Melbourne which was great. It was a small venue but well attended and a crowd that really enjoyed the show. It's difficult to get people to attend shows in our home town for our style of music. We have played a few good gigs here but they have been with bigger bands like Mournful Congregation headlining. I guess we will be looking to play outside of Adelaide more often and limit the amount of local gigs we do. We can also look at getting some support slots for overseas bands. It's pretty difficult to get those and most of them aren't appropriate for us anyway.

What is Lucifer's Fall's most remarkable gig from your point of view? Do you play abroad?

Probably the one we just did in Melbourne for Doom In June with Dire Fate, Eldritch Rites, Meathook and Field. From our point of view we performed really well and the crowd enjoyed it a lot. Our confidence has grown and we're actually starting to get our shit together as a live band. I guess our biggest show was our first ever that we played with Mounful Congregation headlining. We played fairly well that gig but we're a lot better now. We haven't played abroad yet. We probably would if we could ever afford it.

Tasmania? The Wizar'd? That could be a promising set, if you went to Europe together. Are you in contact with Ol' Rusty and his crew?

No. I haven't really listened to The Wizar'd.

Lucifer's Fall - 'Death Of The Mother':

As Lucifer's Fall you've recorded two full-length albums, and in addition to the high quality of the debut, sophomore record 'II: Cursed And Damned' shows some progress concerning song writing. How did you spend that seconding record session?

It was recorded track by track in the studio with guitar guide tracks, followed by drums, guitars, bass and leads. After that I took the music home and recorded vocals on my own equipment. The vocal tracks were then sent back to the studio and mixed in. The initial recording was basically done in two or three days. The guitar leads were done later in a couple of sessions. I think the main reason Cursed & Damned is superior to the debut is that it's much more of a band effort. Everyone had a hand in the writing process. Also The Invocator's lead playing is far superior to anything I could do. His leads and harmonies definitely have elevated the level of the band making the music both more melodic and interesting. In context the first album was basically a solo recording with the help of Unknown Unnamed laying down the drum tracks.

You tend towards a classic Doom sound as well as to old good Heavy Metal: what are the core elements of these genres you feel necessary for Lucifer's Fall?

That's pretty much the description I would give Lucifer's Fall. It needs to be raw sounding and in your face. It needs mostly clean vocals and to have melody. I love the fact that in the 80's bands often didn't give a fuck if they crossed style lines slightly as long as they had their own sound. It pisses me off when people think that a doom band has to be always slow. Personally I usually find that bands like that bore the hell out of me. Another important thing is that the music should be to the point and not be drawn out just for the sake of it. Cut out the excess and drive the fucking point home! Not sure if that answers the question or not but there it is.

What role does alcohol play in Lucifer's Fall?

Personally I'm not much of a drinker but the rest of the band definitely make up for it. The idea for the track Dirty Shits Dirty Music was born after a gig during a moment of drunken hilarity. A few drinks can get some of the ideas flowing for sure and it's always fun to hang around with your mates in other bands and just enjoy yourself.

And what about lyrics - what do you put into them? Is it a kind of entertainment, a practice in poetry or an addition to the music? How serious are you about them?

It's all of those things. Mostly the kind of entertainment point though. In honesty I'm less serious about the lyrics than the music. For me the lyrics are all about fun and atmosphere in Lucifer's Fall. Horror, fantasy, death, spite, satan and attitude. Some of it is tongue in cheek and some not. I will most likely spend a little more time on lyrics for the next album and try and write some better ones. The main thing for me is that the whole package should make you want to bang your head and yell out fuck yeah!

We started the interview mentioning Reverend Bizarre and Arkham Witch, two bands which really care about their texts. I always saw each album as a complex piece of art: it started with the artwork, then the music and vocals, then the texts and some nuances to the sound. Do you see Lucifer's Fall as a complex piece?

In some ways it is and in some ways it isn't. Definitely not consciously but I do feel that we manage to combine the feel of the music and the artwork in what we do. I've been toying with making it a more conscious effort with the third album. I'm thinking about basing the album around various ideas that spring from the epic title track. This may or may not happen. It depends what musical and lyrical ideas come forth and if I can link them.

What does the image of Lucifer personify for you? Why did you choose it for the band's banner?

I do like the story and the imagery. Mostly I just felt the name had a nice ring to it plus it's a nod to Mercyful Fate. I got the idea for the name after seeing the Gustave Doré The Fall of Lucifer illustration.

The story? Do you mean an opposition to "organized" religion or the Christian god, or just sacrificing chicks?

Both I guess. I am very anti-religion in general. I'm not a believer at all. I'm an equal opportunity anti-religionist. All religions suck! For me the supernatural is a load of bollocks but I do love it from the perspective of entertainment. I've always loved reading fantasy, Sci-fi and horror and am a big fan of Heavy Metal imagery in general. Rote Mare spent a lot of time with lyrics directed at the greed and self interest of organized religion. Lucifer's Fall does to some extent also but when it does it's not as direct. As an example A Sinner's Fate on the debut may sound like it's just a song about burning witches but it's actually about the brutality and injustice of organized religion. Most of the time though the lyrics are just a bit of tongue in cheek fun and a bit of Fuck You we do what the hell we want.

I guess that it's the right moment to ask a question about Lucifer's Fall's third album. What's your progress?

At the moment we have one song fully written which is a 13 minute song called From The Deep which will most likely be the title track. Our intention is to make this next album doomier than Cursed & Damned although it will still contain plenty of variety. Apart from this track we have a number of partially written songs and a number of ideas for riffs lying around. The aim is for the next album to be less than 45 minutes long as this makes it more likely to get a vinyl release somewhere. We're looking at writing 8-10 songs and recording them all during the album sessions. This will result in extra material apart from the album to be released as splits, singles, EPs etc. following the album release. There's no set date yet for recording though we are looking at probably early to mid 2019. There's no hurry as we have a couple of splits with Acolytes Of Moros and Cardinals Folly to be released in the meantime.

An irrefragable answer! You were on Nine Records, have you already had invitations from bigger labels?

Well as we speak Sun & Moon records will put out a compilation of some rehearsal demos and split tracks in October this year with a view to releasing the third album on both cd and vinyl in 2019 if things go as planned. So we'll see what happens with that.

Well, maybe this interview will help you to attract the attention of Napalm or Nuclear Blast? However, the text looks good, so I'd like to thank you for your time Phil! What kind of words of illumination should we put as an afterword?

Ha ha ha Fucking unlikely. Doom metal and superstardom don't mix. Thanks very much for some very interesting and thoughtful questions Aleks. We have a load of stuff coming out in the near future. A split with Acolytes Of Moros on Canometal and one with Cardinals Folly on an as yet unannounced label. We also have a couple of copies of a 7inch single split we did with Reclvse available. So look out for those. Thanks to everyone who listens to or buys our stuff and thanks to all the great labels, people and bands that we have dealt with….. Fuck You, We're Lucifer's Fall!!

Lucifer's Fall - 'Fuck You, We're Lucifer's Fall':

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Visit the Lucifer's Fall bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-07-04 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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