The road traveled by Rock-n-Roll bands is almost never straight and narrow. An interaction of varying personalities, some bands work, and others sever ties due to conflicts. Fortunately for Johanna Sadonis (now Johanna Platow Andersson after marrying Nicke Andersson) several now defunct musical projects were not the end of her journey as a singer-songwriter.
Famously known as the leading lady of Lucifer, Johanna’s career in fact began much earlier where she sang in various other bands in the ’90s, into the 2000s. Thinking she had found the right fit when teaming with Guitarist Linnéa Olsson for The Oath, they put out a self-titled album in 2014 through Rise Records and it was rather intriguing. However, that same year The Oath was no more, leaving Johanna unsure what direction to go. Well, that was a decade ago and Lucifer has not only picked up the pieces of uncertainty, but solidified themselves as Heavy Rock leaders.
Rising from the ashes of The Oath, Johanna’s Lucifer put out Lucifer I in 2015, before following up with a more concrete lineup in 2018 for Lucifer II. At this point welcoming in highly accomplished Nicke Andersson (who has played with everyone from Entombed to The Hellacopters), joining them soon would be Martin Nordin and Linus Björklund on guitars, along with Harald Göthblad on bass. The cast for quite some time at this point, Lucifer has consistently moved forward with quality music for 2020’s Lucifer III, 2021’s Lucifer IV, and now in 2024, Lucifer V.
Marking the band’s fifth overall studio record, Lucifer V arrives on January 26th through Nuclear Blast Records. Consisting of nine tracks, much like their prior outputs, the new material is thoughtfully crafted. A mix of Classic Rock-n-Roll from the ‘70s era mixed with Doom Metal tendencies, if you are late to the party, Lucifer would appeal to anyone who enjoys legendary bands such Black Sabbath or Fleetwood Mac from a mystical standpoint, or newer age acts such as Ghost or Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. This in mind, the songs they have written and recorded for nearly a decade are deeply atmospheric, romantically dark, and completely mesmerizing.
With Lucifer V the band continue to exploit these attributes again, but amazingly, without repeating themselves. Something extremely challenging for a band to do, these new songs feature brighter production matched with intricate layering of instrumentation/vocals, and inspired performances from Johanna as the lead voice. This can be heard regularly throughout the near forty minutes that make up Lucifer V, but some of the most captivating listens upon a quick glance would have to include “Fallen Angel,” “At The Mortuary,” “Riding Reaper,” “A Coffin Has No Silver Lining,” and “The Dead Don’t Speak.”
Beyond these, all the songs truthfully offer some great riffs, however, the boldest aspect of Lucifer V as a complete work is the distinctive atmosphere created by the production. Arguably, it is more haunting and witchy than anything Lucifer has put out before… and that is saying a lot! Overall, this is a band that has proven that they can continue to brew up interesting music. And if you are someone who digs the likes of Angel Witch, Satan, or others from the golden age of Metal like Tokyo Blade and Praying Mantis, you must submit to Lucifer. Impressed with album number five, Cryptic Rock gives Lucifer V 4.5 out of 5 stars.