Album Review: Lucifer – “Lucifer II”

Like this with the devil

From the logo’s obvious homage to early ’70s Rush to Johanna Sadonis’ Jinx Dawson-meets-Stevie Nicks persona, Lucifer’s aesthetic is established well before listeners actually delve into the music. The brainchild of Sadonis, the project is all about paying homage to the great heavy rock and proto-metal of 40-50 years ago, and as she proved on the band’s self-titled 2015 debut, Lucifer the band arrived fully realized, both visually and sonically.

Three years later, Sadonis’ primary collaborator on Lucifer II is guitarist Nicke Andersson, best known for his work with Entombed and Hellacopters, which provides a distinct contrast from the previous record’s guitarist/songwriter, former Cathedral luminary Gaz Jennings. While Jennings played a key role in the first album’s convincing psychedelic doom feel (with touches of New Wave of British Heavy Metal influences thrown in here and there), Andersson steers Lucifer’s music more toward a strong rock sound. You hear that difference on the rampaging Uriah Heep groove of “California Son,” followed by the Peter Green-influenced Fleetwood Mac blues of “Dreamer.” When the music does steer toward the more acid-tinged doom sound, as on “Eyes in the Sky,” the bombast is dialed down just enough to allow room for Sadonis to showcase her vocal versatility. And not surprisingly, Lucifer II works so well because of Sadonis’ presence: It’s her singing that ropes listeners in, and more than the previous album and the Oath’s sole 2014 album as well, there’s a lot more personality and passion coming from that voice. Seductive and groovy, it’s an impeccable tribute to a classic sound.