“For the terror had not faded with the silhouette, and in a fearsome instant of deeper darkness the watchers saw wriggling at that treetop height a thousand tiny points of faint and unhallowed radiance, tipping each bough like the fire of St. Elmo or the flames that came down on the apostles’ heads at Pentecost. It was a monstrous constellation of unnatural light, like a glutted swarm of corpse-fed fireflies dancing hellish sarabands over an accursed marsh;” H.P. Lovecraft, The Colour Out of Space
Eerie light poured from the pursed hole in the sky, the loin of Aurōra birthing the son of dawn, his splattered entrance careening into the third circle of our depths… — Risen from the sea–er, the gulf, or let’s say the greater reaches of Adelaide in South Australia circa 2013 as a sort of second wind beyond musician Phil Howlett‘s (Solemn Ceremony, Dire Fate) earlier solo-gone-full-sized doom metal project Rote Mare, we can frame Lucifer’s Fall as the sort of band an artist puts together after their first decade of figuring it all out, cutting their teeth, and finally honing in on a major goal worthy of long-developed skills. The doors were opened anew but the craft itself was, and will likely always be, aligned with that of traditional 80’s doom metal ideals and their refraction via the boon of Suomi ilk in the mid-2000’s. For their third full-length album, ‘III – From the Deep‘, the quintet are no less driven by classic rhythms though they’ve taken to a freshly salt-aired bout of derangement, cosmic frustration, and psychic drain which aligns perfectly with that of a doom cult driven toward a state of frenzied awe as they will the long-prophesied rise of sun-devourer, Cthulhu.
Fuck you. Yeah, instead of getting a squirrely bio or anything too seriously aggrandizing to drum up in terms of gestational interest we’re most often served a verbal middle finger by Lucifer’s Fall during even the quickest glance. Well deserved, and perhaps because their music has always spoken clear enough for itself as traditional doom metal. The first impression is expected but not entirely accurate as we can see their larger discography as a fine example of post-Reverend Bizarre doom metal complete with numbered album titles and vocals that make late 90’s Scott Reagers seem a bit less over-the-top than he might’ve been. This is the same illusion a first impression affords bands like Cardinal’s Folly, Pilgrim (R.I.P.), and Church of Void though each have their own signature and in the case of Lucifer’s Fall there are shades of heavy rock, traditional heavy metal, and even a bit of punkish stirring when the defiant side of the band overtakes their theatric sermons. That said, it’d be fair to suggest that their releases have found their own singularity over time as Howlett‘s expressions become more brazen beyond ‘Lucifer’s Fall‘ (2014), which was recorded as a duo, towards the stable full line-up of ‘II: Cursed & Damned‘ (2016). There was a raw, ‘live’ feeling to some of their compositions early on wherein small nods to classic Sabbath riffs or “fun” songs that work best in a live environment gave the impression these guys were a good time, or at the very least entertainers beyond a group of folks spanking out doomed tradition. Taking this into account it’d make sense to throw The Lamp of Thoth and The Wandering Midget into the greater stew of consideration for how one could best angle their way into ‘III – From the Deep’, that next level of storytelling atop boisterously shouted intensity.
My introduction to this band was actually an odds-and-ends compilation (‘Tales From the Crypt‘, 2018) wherein I’d gotten the gist but not taken a serious enough gander at the group and heard their development in stages ’til their split with Cardinal’s Folly in 2019 had solidified me as a fan. This meant ‘III – From the Deep’ landed on me with fevered expectations a few weeks ago, delivering a strong boost in fidelity implied by their preceding split yet still landing as the rightful third portal in a line of wild-eyed, theatrical and classicist heavy/doom metal records. Once the excitement of jamming Lucifer’s Fall‘s latest record settled I’d have to admit Howlett‘s feral and lung-curdling vocal delivery are both the product of tradition and a bit of required taste for their “extra” performances; They’ve been mixed so prominently here that the guitars often appear as a lesser, secondary force at times and this isn’t ideal for my own taste. That said I do not think the loose theme of the album would’ve developed as a core takeaway in my mind if he’d not been shouting at the top of his lungs in both ears the whole time. The trek from opener “Trident Steel” through “Man of God” actually show a fair amount of variation though some of their profundity is lost by the all-in shouting. Granted, I’ve been a Cathedral fan since the mid-90’s so, who knows what I’m whinging on about — Once I’d acclimated to the vibrating ten foot neon skull that narrates the full listen the songwriting did ultimately shine beyond the obvious appeal that this style of ‘modern traditional’ doom metal holds. The aforementioned “Man of God” being a fine example of both this narrative harangue and some ‘extreme metal’ elements which contribute to the greater character that defines Lucifer’s Fall.
You’ll find me hanging out on Side B this time around wherein “Across the Void” serves some of the biggest riffs and finest, most resonant leads on ‘III – From the Deep’, “Reverend Revenant” becomes the major apex of the perceived narrative, and brings us the most memorable piece of the full listen. As a listener I have developed the habit of the full, uninterrupted listen as a strict rule but Lucifer’s Fall repeatedly slapped my hand back to repeat these two songs in succession countless times for the sake of how slickly they make their case between a doomed pillar, heavy metal high-rise, and the intense jog through purgatory beyond. Of course any record worth its weight in plastic sends us off with a bang and “From the Deep” is the slow-building heavy metal epic at the end, a major contribution toward the sense that the ~8-10 minute range is where these folks are most at home. Even though I’d stepped off Side A needing a break after “Doom n’ Roll”, these last three pieces are some of the best material from the band to date, perhaps because they’ve given themselves enough room to breathe and writhe within the atmosphere.
With consideration for the whole package, including an incredible cover image from Coven Illustración, my recommendation is both tempered for the general audience and amplified for folks who love this sort of tentacular angle upon traditional doom metal. It’ll be “too much” for folks seeking catharsis and moody post-isms in modern doom but an overjoyed revelation for we who love a good diaphragm-punching dark fantasy storyteller leading the gloomy charge and are willing to engage ‘modern’ standards of fidelity and dynamic applied to what are ultimately classic forms. Even if the tonality of the record isn’t for you, I can guarantee the experience will be engaging in the moment and memorable beyond. A moderately high recommendation.
|TITLE:||III – From the Deep|
|LABEL(S):||Sun & Moon Records|
|RELEASE DATE:||August 8th, 2021|
|BUY & LISTEN:||Bandcamp|
Traditional Doom Metal,
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