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Lucifer's Fall : II: Cursed And Damned

Lucifer's Fall's second full-length is absolutely everything a modern Trad Doom album should be.

If you're a big fan of Reverend Bizarre but would have liked to hear them play at twice the speed every now and then, then Australian quintet Lucifer's Fall are here to turn your head with their second album.' II: Cursed and Damned' kicks down the door and rides in on its warhorse, announcing itself in a brazen show of metal muscle with no need for scene-setting album intros. This is Doom metal in its jauntiest, NWOBHM-rockingest mode, where brickweight riffs and driving drum beats don't mind seeking a faster tempo lane now and then.

Like all traditional Doom bands, Lucifer's Fall obviously take influence from the genre's grandfathers as well as classic Heavy Metal bands like Manilla Road and Virgin Steele, but it's easy to hear that their most immediate cues come directly from the more recent COTD bands including Gates of Slumber, Reverend Bizarre, and Spiritus Mortis. Ratcheting up the total energy level a few big notches, Lucifer's Fall also make good use of having two guitar players, building harmonic elements into their riff structures that make for more engaging listening than your average power-chord plodder. Above the music, the singer - named as "Deceiver" in the booklet - belts out gritty but always tuneful vocals that are a perfect fit for the style, similar to Albert Witchfinder but with a bit more grit from the throat. (Indeed, I would have guessed Lucifer's Fall were a Finnish band at first impression.) The second half of the album showcases Deceiver impressively stretching his vocal range clear into the stratosphere.

Listeners of the first two songs may question if this is really a doom metal record, but concerns are allayed starting with 'The Mountains of Madness', a song as traditional-doom as it gets, walking through its length unhurriedly, taking advantage of opportunities for guitar interplay to keep things interesting. The stage is set for the sinister, wailing hellscape of 'Cursed Priestess', a song that transports the listener to a realm of enveloping fire, silhouetted demons dancing atop barren cliffs into the distance. (It's also the moniker of the band's bassist, newly joined for this album). After exploring its scorched territory for five minutes, the song suddenly leaps into the best kind of frenzied headbanging abandon. It's the kind of song that reminds me why I love Heavy Metal so much to begin with. A cliche device to be sure, but irresistable when deployed with utter conviction. 'Cursed Priestess' is followed by the no-holds-barred punk onslaught of what is clearly the band's anthem, '(Fuck You) We're Lucifer's Fall'.

Despite drawing from the same small well of ingredients, every song on 'Cursed and Damned' brings a distinct identity to the table. 'Sacrifice' may be the album's most unexpected moment, and not in a bad way: a zany, manic blend of Blue Öyster Cult and Cirith Ungol on steroids. All things considered, 'Cursed and Damned is about as good as an old-school Doom record should be today: top quality always on display in style, songwriting, conviction, and performance, while embracing the appeal that a full, modern production can bring. For a traditional Doom fanatic to find any fault with this album would require an unthinkable level of hair-splitting; the album simply shines on every level. Hats off, horns up, and well done, Lucifer's Fall.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Mother Superior
2. Damnation
3. The Mountains Of Madness
4. Cursed Priestess
5. (Fuck You) We're Lucifer's Fall
6. The Necromancer
7. Sacrifice
8. The Invocator/Cursed Be Thy Name
9. Homunculus

Duration : Approx. 55 minutes

Visit the Lucifer's Fall bandpage.

Reviewed on 2017-01-29 by Mark Rzeszutek
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