Lucifer — Lucifer V (Nuclear Blast)
It’s a decade since the charismatic Johanna Platow Andersson debuted Lucifer’s darkly affecting brand of proto heavy metal.
And from day one the enigmatic Swede — who cut her teeth with The Oath — has been hotly tipped as occult rock’s next big thing.
In truth, Lucifer’s early days revolving door line-up didn’t help Platow Andersson deliver on her prodigious potential.
But the current gang’s been in situ for five years now and this is the third long player they’ve laid down together.
There’s a confidence coursing through nine terrifically taut tracks that inspire tension and terror in equal measure.
Platow Andersson’s reassuringly sinister tone only serves to ratchet up a sense of deep foreboding.
And all the while the dual axe attack of Martin Nordin and Linus Björkland evokes memories of classic Iommi — only twice as menacing.
With more than 200 shows under their belt and a whole host of awards in the bank, Lucifer appear primed to reach the next level.
Hell, the band’s fifth album is on fire from start to finish.
Platow Andersson draws on gallows humour, haunting narratives and a magical, mystical allure to deliver the performance of her life.
Like the progeny of Pentagram and the bastard child of 70s Black Sabbath, Lucifer’s all-powerful frontwoman has paid her doom metal dues.
It’s time to cash in on that deal with the devil.
There’s a Purson-esque presence on The Dead Don’t Speak that must remind Rosalie Cunningham of headier, heavier days.
When Platow Andersson channels her inner Jill Janus on Lucifer V’s more robust material it’s a sad reminder of Huntress’s much-missed heavy metal heroine.
At the same time there are a bunch of tunes here that belong to the Blues Pills school of heavy blues rock.
Nothing’s off limits as these genre fluid throwbacks lay every card on the table.
Fast-rising Geordie spellbinders Crowley could do worse than take a leaf out of the Lucifer songbook.
In fact, it’s not difficult to imagine a Platow Andersson/Lidya Balaban collab in the not-so-distant future.
Wouldn’t that be something special?
For now revel in the six-minute epic that is tenebrous anthem At The Mortuary.
Dare to lose yourself in suffocating ballad Slow Dance In A Crypt.
And stick those horns in the air as fast-paced fist pumper Strange Sister stacks riff upon riff in a Girlschool-style assault on the senses.
A slew of bands have sought to replicate Andersson’s blueprint for deliciously doomy trad metal during the last decade.
But when it comes to Lucifer, it’s a case of better the devil you know.