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It really pains me to rate this album as I did. I only did so because this album had so much potential to be greater. The four new songs that begin the album are four of the best songs ever to emerge from the death metal genre. Had Wojtek Lisicki made the entire album out of new compositions of as high quality as the first four songs, I would say without a doubt that this is the best death metal album ever. But this is not the case. Yet the existing result is hardly a bad album at all.
For those unfamiliar with the band, Luciferion hails from Gothenburg Sweden, and was the side project of Lost Horizon’s Wojtek Lisicki and Martin Furangen. Both these facts may come as a surprise to many, as Luciferion’s sound is so distant from the infamous watered down Gothenburg sound, that Gothenburg would be the last place one would guess for the band’s origins. Despite the fact that Luciferion is death metal, the band still bears many of the hallmarks of Wojtek Lisicki’s composition, particularly in the lead guitar work (Lost Horizon fans should recognize Lisicki’s guitar tone and playing style), the keyboards (which give the music a powerful other-worldy or spacey atmosphere) and the lyrics (which bear Lisicki’s anti-religious sentiments and advocating self-empowerment, perseverance and freedom of thought – best summarized by the statement “No fate, only the power of will”).
Musically, Luciferion is the best fusion of death metal styles that I have heard. It combines the atmosphere of blackened death, the aggression and unrelenting fury of brutal death, the compositional skill and skillful performance of technical death, all with a good sense of melody (without resorting to a compromise of extremity as per the Gothenburg style). The songs lack a consistent structure, making each composition truly unique from the next, and following a concept. The music of Luciferion is interspersed between clips from the movie Dark City, which while normally annoying, yet the way that Luciferion uses them is perfect as a unifying element to the first four songs.
As far as the songs go…
After a short intro from Dark City, Luciferion unleashes the title track, beginning with a furious opening of drums and the opening riff. This is the epic of the album, spanning nine and a half minutes, containing a multitude of riffs and thematic ideas. There are segments in this track that use only the keyboards to create an atmospheric break and the riffs, which then flow seamlessly into the next thematic idea. The first guitar lead occurs at 2:34, and it’s a good one, featuring a nice duet between the lead guitar and keyboards before speeding up into the shredding section of the solo. Some passages to follow feature haunting keyboard passages before the next guitar lead. This one has a very different feel to it, reminiscent of the frenzied lead work of Hanneman and King of Slayer. The song closes with a powerful riff and cadence similar to those in the opening.
Become or Be Gone begins with a riff similar to those used by Morbid Angel (sounds similar to the beginning of Fall From Grace), supported fanfares on the keyboard. This song is probably the most catchy of the first four. Hans Nilson’s vocal delivery is particularly vicious after the intro riff segments. The song also has technical death tendencies, as evident in the high speed scalar/arpeggiated riff (sounds similar to some riffs used in the Polish scene – Decapitated and Dies Irae come to mind) at 1:07, and the guitar solo at 1:21. The piece slows down at 2:04 offering a darker and more brooding atmosphere before speeding up again and ushering in dueling style guitar lead. Lots of interesting drum patterns can be found throughout.
Destroying By Will is the band’s brutal death opus, coming complete with the brooding and dark atmosphere introduced on the previous track. A cool opening riff begins the song, once again supported by fanfares by the keyboard. The guitar solo in this song is very different than in the others, opting for a less complex style that enhances the atmosphere rather than the music itself. Overall, a very good brutal death track, though it is a little short.
New World to See is my personal favourite. Combining quality riffs, with the haunting atmosphere implicit within this album, skillful solos, and the best lyrics on the album, this song is easily the best death metal song that I have had the pleasure of hearing. The song begins where Destroying by Will left off, with a brutal deathish sound at a high speed. Hans Nilson’s drumming is quite good and fast. But the song really picks up as the tempo slows down, allowing the bands ability to evoke emotion to really shine. The guitar solo that begins at 3:18 is where Lost Horizon fans will definitely recognize Lisicki’s guitar playing - melodic, but not overly, technical, but not to the point of wankery, very emotional, and very very catchy. The solo ends with the onslaught of the double bass and crashes of the symbals under a middle eastern sounding keyboard/rhythm guitar passage (they even got folk elements into the music). The next guitar solo, almost as good as the previous one is continues with this musical theme. The last verse passage has a nice touch, with the last line of the verse changing each time. The last verse of the song is probably the most powerful moment of the album, representing the culmination of a great album, so powerful that it makes you want to shout along with it.
The next part of the album isn’t really worth listening to in my opinion. Following the culmination of “The Apostate” section, there is a Celtic Frost cover, which simply put, is crap. Hindered by horrendous production and sloppy musicianship, it has no place on the album. The next section is Luciferion’s demo material, containing early versions of some songs on the first album – Demonification – The Manifest. While not bad songs in and of themselves, they are harmed by lack of decent production, and by the fact that the first four songs absolutely slaughter anything that came before them. Still, the demo material offers an interesting insight into what early Luciferion sounded like.
Despite the flaws , this album is definitely worth your purchase for the first four songs alone, especially if you are into any form of death metal, or even for fans of black or progressive metal, or simply if you’re a fan of Wojtek Lisicki as I am.