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Lvcifyre > The Broken Seal > Reviews
Lvcifyre - The Broken Seal

Something about the living dead and the living monsters - 95%

Colonel Para Bellum, September 22nd, 2021
Written based on this version: 2021, Digital, Dark Descent Records

Lvcifyre is a death / black metal act hailing from United Kingdom, though it should be clarified that the band consists of the Polish-born guitarist T. Kaos and bassist Cvltvs, and Portuguese drummer Menthor. "The Broken Seal" is the band's third album, and to describe it concisely, drawing analogies (which is not very beautiful but works very well), this album can be called nothing other than the amalgam of Morbid Angel and Deathspell Omega. A great combination, and it is beyond dispute that "The Broken Seal" is an amazing work of extreme metal art. But strictly speaking, Lvcifyre remained themselves, and everything that they have crushed us with since the debut album remains in force – it's just served in a crystal clear form now.

Let's start with the old school component to make certain of this. Of course, influences from Morbid Angel and the Florida and New York death metal scenes in general could be found on Lvcifyre's first album, "The Calling Depths". But all such touches were almost lost due to the muddy, nearly goat black metal nature of production. As for "Svn Eater", every possible old school effort was submerged there again in a very low end production. In its turn the "Sacrament" EP was already a cleaner recording – it is a real precursor to "The Broken Seal", – however, in terms of production and music, this release was still closer to death / black metal à la Teitanblood. "Sacrament" is real music of deadness, while "The Broken Seal" offers music with a delirious but vital aura. Well, it's the same difference as between the living dead and the living monsters.

Yes, everything is very clear on "The Broken Seal", every sound is carefully measured out, while the production is more high end, nothing less than razor-like – the very thing for bringing creepy tremolo picking lead lines to the fore. But more importantly, production is very intelligible here, almost polished. The frequency spectrum of the recording is wider, so all the old school touches can be made out very clearly. It is easy to understand that a Morbid Angel vibe runs like a red thread throughout the album: giving credit to modern death / black metal tendencies and avant-garde black metal experiments, Lvcifyre constantly return to the legacy of Morbid Angel – within riffs, solos, vocal parts. And although it sometimes feels like Morbid Angel is almost quoted in the riffs, these are riffs from another dimension.

Well, "The Broken Seal" is not Morbid Angel on steroids, as it might seem at first glance, this is Morbid Angel on ecstasy, this is avant-garde Morbid Angel, neo-Morbid Angel, post-Morbid Angel. Did someone say "post"? There is no better time to move on to the second component of our weird amalgam. Well, as for the Deathspell Omega-like characteristics, that is, first of all, their branded sophisticated riffage and their extensive use of dissonance and atonal harmonies, in this case the Lvcifyre progress is also more than impressive. Frankly speaking, Lvcifyre on previous releases seem like a kind of Blasphemy compared to what's going on on "The Broken Seal".

Ah, this is not to say that the weird technical touches of Deathspell Omega were not present on "Svn Eater" – they were present, but more precisely in the sense that Deathspell Omega is sometimes referred to as death metal bands. Also, let's remember that the riff with dissonance was on the very first song of the debut album – almost like now on "Gods Await Us". However, although currently there are more dissonances, and some of them are definitely in the vein of Deathspell Omega (for example, "Black Beneath the Sun"), Lvcifyre do not abuse them at all, they fit organically with old-school templates. Add to all this pinched harmonics from the Immolation classics (like on "Tribes of Khem") – for sure the new and the old get along well together on "The Broken Seal".

Regarding the song structure the tempo is altered multiple times in almost every piece, while sharp changes in pace are characteristic of this work, and riffs are overlapped on each other in their changes. You go hot and cold by turns with these transitions from blast beat to mid tempo groove and back again (check "Wolves of the Great Dark" especially). So the use of a ragged structure can be called a "schtick" of the album, in this sense, especially noteworthy "Tribes of Khem" (poison-filled "slipping" at the end), "Black Beneath the Sun" and, of course, the title song "The Broken Seal". This song is so infatuating that even its old-school licks and bridges are perceived as sophistication – yes, again, very often the old is absorbed by the new here. "The First Archon" also starts out like a skidding bulldozer – what an astounding effect! Nothing like this has ever happened on the previous releases. Even in comparison with "Svn Eater" the new album is a giant leap forward both in terms of the structure's sophistication and production-wise.

It should be clear that there is definitely less purposeless (wink) blasting rampage on "The Broken Seal". Take for example "Headless Rite": the blast beat sections occupy an insignificant part of the song, and due its sophisticated canvas this piece can even be regarded as avant-garde death metal, or something like brutal progressive death metal. In its turn, "The First Archon" bursts into a blast beat only in its middle part, and even then not for long. This song is a bit like the avant-garde "Blessed are the Sick", sorry for repeating. At the same time, these two songs cannot be called an exception on the album, they are fully in the spirit of "The Broken Seal". Yes, the drumming still often turns into a machine gun-like blast beat, the first song "Gods Await Us" after a short chaotic intro immediately dazzles us with a wild assault of the drumming, but now there's a certain aesthetic to it. Right, again the difference between the living dead and the living monsters.

Lvcifyre enjoyed us with solos before, but mostly these were chaotic aggressive sections, very rare, disjointed, rather "symbolic" – just a harsh noise. Now solos are represented across the entire genre spectrum, and there are a lot of them: sharp ear-piercing, old school in the vein of Morbid Angel, and even... melodic. That's it exactly, the biggest progress has been made in the melodic direction. Earlier it was hardly possible to apply the term "melody" to Lvcifyre music. Now, an indiscriminate chaotic grindcore rampage can suddenly be replaced by an old-school death metal tune (check "Black Beneath the Sun"). The short solemn march in "Black Beneath the Sun", a bit Celtic Frost-like, is just a delightful injection in that sense. Well, the brazen clangorous bass produces catchy melodies ("Wolves of the Great Dark", "Black Mass") – can you imagine that on "Svn Eater?

But this is not the whole story: the keyboards are used in the title song, which was also impossible to imagine before. The next song, "Wolves of the Great Dark", is also surprising: it uses guitar picking, besides the guitar is mildly distorted. We hasten to assure fans of the old brutal material (these people, perhaps, are unlikely to be happy with this new stuff) that this pure black metal element is used only once on "The Broken Seal". And although the direction of musical search really snakes, Lvcifyre have a sense of proportion with innovation. They pushed their stylistic boundaries, but, fortunately, it never came to jazz. Well, not all at once, maybe on the next album... Oh, no, please, no! (Ok, it's a joke.)

Summary. Previous releases (with the possible exception of "Sacrament") were geared mainly to fans of the genre, death metal or death / black metal à la Teitanblood. For a more versed audience, as well as fans of old-school death metal, the same "Svn Eater", if we're honest, could get bored in the end phase. Now all this amalgam is really interesting to listen to from start to finish, even for those who do not listen to death metal at all. "The Calling Depths" and especially "Svn Eater" were more atmospheric works, even some avant-garde swirls that appeared on "Sacrament" were drowning in the blast beat mayhem (as for the "Dying Light ov God" debut EP, now it can only be used to state the amazing musical progress of the band). "The Broken Seal" is exactly a musical work. Sophisticated musical work. It is a pure monster.

The Metal Observer