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LUCIFER - Lucifer II

Release date July 6/18 (Century Media)

Second full length from doomsters Lucifer finds a wholesale lineup change with the exception of vocalist Johanna Sadonis. Of biggest note is the turnover at the guitar slot, with ex-Cathedral riff-master Gary Jennings giving way to ex-Entombed/Hellacopter dude Nicke Andersson (who also drums here). Talk about an embarrassment of riches. At this rate can we expect Tony Iommi sitting in for the Lucifer III recording sessions?

Anyhoo, onto the album in question. 'California Son' proves to be a fabulous opener, a moog synthesizer flourish and then a quick, rollicking guitar lick introducing us to the album, subsequently switching into a memorable, head banging doom riff. Unfortunately, it proves to be the lone straight ahead, heavy doom track, as most of the remaining tracks ply more of a laid-back approach. The focus here is building an evil aura, with single note piano plucking and some great lead guitar work, coming off like a doom rock option to Danzig's doom metal. Sadonis' smooth croon is then placed on top, adding to the overall foreboding vibe.

In conclusion, Lucifer II proves to be a very listenable doom rock record, but lacks the intensity and aggression that doom metal fans (like myself) crave. Hopefully, the 'Eyes In The Sky' track will be used as a template for the third full length, mixing their relatively mellow stock-in-trade riffage with an uptempo riff change straight out of the Sabbath songbook. A whole album of that type of material would be very interesting indeed.

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