Thursday, September 25, 2014

Lucifer's Fall: Lucifer's Fall (2014)

Checking All the Right Boxes

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

All hail us some doom metal, probably my favorite of the sub-genres in metal. "Traditional" doom. This wizard of a genre is (not really) suffering a lot lately from offshoots of the death, sludge, and gothic variety. Not counting Pallbearer, there are only a couple of bands out there doing it - Hour of 13 and Magic Circle spring to mind.* The thrash revival came and went (and maybe never left us)? But there's not been a traditional doom revival. It has been a long time since this author has heard some recently recorded straight up doom, a la Reverend Bizarre and Candlemass. Enter Lucifer's Fall, with their self-titled debut.

Lucifer's Fall tick all the right boxes for the traditional doom category. Band name: suitably epic and downfallen, this is a straight up homage to Milton and that short poem he wrote about losing paradise. Check! Album artwork: putting a Paradise Lost painting right on the cover, keeping with the Milton theme. (Of course one thinks of Candlemass looking at it, as well). This is the right thing to do. Well done, Lucifer's Fall. Check! Song titles: Having a band name song (and by default the album name as well) is not really a traditional doom metal endeavor, but I'll give them a pass because otherwise the songs are about suffering wizards, summoning things, sinners, things unknown, death and deceivers. Traditional doom box: checked. Music: check!

Yes it's a guitar, bass, and drums. The pace is slow but not slumbering, and there are the occasional gallops, like at the end of "The Summoning." There's nothing technical about any of this but it's not exactly analog sounding either. I did not enjoy my first Hour of 13 release because I could not get into the production. That's not the case here. It's well produced. Each instrument is distinct yet pronounced. The singer is - if we are being frank - not that good. Ordinarily it is no detriment to heavy metal tunes to have an annoying voice. That is not the case with doom or if the songs are not great. His shriek at the beginning of the self titled track just does not work, irrespective of the effort put in. Otherwise it feels almost like he is talking over the music.

Unfortunately, that music is also not great. The songs are not bad. But there is nothing here to get the listener out of his seat. Perhaps the lesson from this is that while doom appears simple and easy to play, producing the awe inspiring greatness in the genre is all the more challenging because everything is laid bare. This makes Pallbearer's two more recent releases all the more impressive.** In summary, Lucifer's Fall is an album that I wanted to like but didn't, really. The whole album is just kind of "meh"***

The Verdict: 2.5 out of 5 stars****

*If you haven't checked out Magic Circle, do so. Now.
**Go listen to your copy of Candlemass' "Nightfall" now. You won't be disappointed.
***Kind of like this review?
****FMA: joanismylover didn't assign a score, but based on his review this sounds like the right score to assign.

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