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Though the band has never issued a bad album, I must admit that I'm not a fan of the aesthetic sinkhole that Necromantia flung themselves into post-Scarlet Evil Witching Black. Where once the band shelled out for these diabolic, colorful covers that wonderfully mirrored their brutal and sadistic bass-symphonies, they seem to have dropped the ball with a series of bland, symbolic standards that felt like something any random underground act could spawn. Of course, once you actually start spinning the disc, you're treated to an appreciable act of occult, pounding madness, but admittedly, even the music upon The Sound of Lucifer Storming Heaven seems to lack the sinister luster of its predecessors.
The intro is a symphonic jumble of war samples, big orchestral keypads and forgettable riffs that don't really build much anticipation for the rest of the record, while "The Order of the Sphinx" is simply not one of the more memorable constructions of their career, a largely blasted piece with fairly mediocre riffing, grimy rasped vocals and blaring horns that don't really do the trick. Once you delve a little deeper into the heart, there are more varied and engaging pieces like "For the Elder Magi: I - Eibon the Necromancer" and the roiling, heavy metal charge of "Knights of the Black and White Eagle", but even at its most immersive and engrossing ("The Invisible Empire") the writing seems scattershot and unable to match the epics from the first two records. Granted, this is still much of what you pay for on a Necromantia effort, a merger of blasphemous bass and cheesy but fitting orchestration.
By this point, the novelty of the band's approach had worn thin, so the onus was on the the duo to use their unconventional instrumentation to write their bloody hearts out, which they just do not accomplish here. Where the older records (even IV: Malice) had excellent bass riffs and a creepy if campy atmosphere, this just feels like the same ingredients were mixed in a blender with no care as to the results. They were never a band high on production values, yet with the 90s fare, there was still an inescapable charm to each release. Here, it feels like Baron Blood and Magus Wampyr Daoloth were attempting to write something more chaotic and disjointed, but instead of transporting to a limbo of rituals and dark arts, they come off brash and churlish. The lyrics are more solid than the music. The Sound of Lucifer Storming Heaven isn't terrible, but it's the worst of their full-length albums, and a bit of a letdown after a seven year wait.
Necromantia’s newest album is slightly different than the Necromantia I know. The band has definitely tried to expand on a style on this album, which isn’t necessarily bad.
The band uses their awesome evil sounding basses and song arrangements throughout the album. The Sound of Lucifer Storming Heaven is quite riffy like a lot of Necromantia, but they are relying on they keys and extra orchestra stuff more than I expected. The album is kind of like Scarlet Evil Witching Black, but with more orchestra and keys and a orchestra breakdown in almost every song; moreover, the only difference is that the song writing is a bit lacking while trying to expand on the orchestra and keys. They tend to repeat a lot of the riffs that don’t really accomplish what they want. Usually the circular songwriting works very well with black metal because it makes the atmosphere and keeps the ideas together, but The Sound of Lucifer Storming Heaven seems to lose focus in the middle of some songs, which make the 41 minute album slightly tedious. The album definitely has the standard dark, Hellenic and sinister atmosphere, that Necromantia does so well but it just doesn’t capture it as well like Scarlet Evil Witching Black. The riffs in the album are catchy, the break downs are solid like in Scarlet Evil Witching Black, and the band can really does create and atmosphere; however, I do not ever see myself coming back to this album, like I constantly do with their early material.
I have been knocking the album during this review, mainly because I hold Necromantia so high in terms of black metal, but this album is quite solid. It is definitely an above average black metal album, with some bits that can be unfocused. Fans of Necromantia will enjoy the album through for a few listens, because Necromantia’s song arrangements are always interesting and intriguing. I doubt the album will catch repeat listens; however, I highly recommend at least a few listens.