November 6, 2018 Lucifer’s Child – The Order (Album Review)
The Hellenic supergroup known as Lucifer’s Child are set to return with The Order, due out on Friday, November 9th via Polish label Agonia Records. Building on the strength of their 2015 debut, The Wiccan, has the band, based in Athens, Greece, put forth another dark diatribe of crisp Black Metal, gloomy death, and floating genres? Read on and find out!
First and foremost, The Order again includes founders Stathis Ridis on bass (who handles the same duties in Nightfall, now that founder Efthimas Karadimas has evolved into a proper frontman) and George Emmanuel on guitar (known for his work with Rotting Christ, and previously Chaostar), as well as Marios Dupont (also of Karma Violens) handling vocal duties. Then, their Drummer Nick Vell (a current member of Chaostar, as well as Descending) is a relative newcomer, and Emmanuel again handles production duties, recording the effort in Pentagram, his home studio.
Eight songs in total, from the first notes of opener “Viva Morte” (translated as “hail death!”), followed by the gripping title-track, and continuing through the end of the album, the band appears at cross-purposes: on the one hand, a solid retro low-fi Black Metal album is easily within their grasp, but the skill and experience of the band members continually breaks that mold to add layers of color and depth, and the band fruitfully struggles to restrict themselves to a single genre.
“Fall of the Rebel Angels” picks the viva morte theme, and a rollicking slab of blackened Death Metal suddenly breaks down to reveal strong guitar and drums, setting a gloomy ethereal mood as the vocals eventually fade into the background. This track would not be out of place on the immortal Emperor 1994 breakthrough In the Nightside Eclipse, but retains its own sense of raw power that keeps imitation at bay. The ethereal tone seeps through to “Through Fire We Burn,” a track which opens with nearly solitary guitar work, even dabbling into acoustic, before a driving guitar riff drags the listener off to a hellish doom. Dupont again keeps his vocals somewhat reserved, aided by a mix that keeps his contribution neither muted nor overpowering.
“El Drágon” continues on the blazed path of transforming riffs, blast beats, and disconnected vocals into a dismal setting of loneliness and agony. The guitar here manages to both stoke rage and envelop the song in a sullen calm. “Black Heart” is a slow dirge that drags the listener into the energetic “Haraya,” another melodic track that is eventually overtaken by symphonic elements and a demonic backing chorus. Finally, “Siste Farvel” (roughly “last goodbye” in Danish) closes the album, beginning with some literal thunder before a haunting acoustic guitar builds into a slow sludgy avalanche, topped later by harrowing guitar coupled with vocals screamed in agony.
Overall, The Order falls in line with fellow Black Metal titans Behemoth, without aping that more recent style, and runs laps around other bands in the wide net cast by that genre, most notably veterans like Dimmu Borgir. That in mind, the most impressive feat of The Order may be the skill with which Lucifer’s Child has wrapped such a varied stable of genres into a mere 45 minutes. As noted earlier, “Viva Morte” opened the proceedings with punishing blast beats and raspy vocals, but by the time “Siste Farvel” comes to a close, the band is exploring Funeral Doom, and there are melodic portions in between that could stand with other, more established bands. Perhaps their next effort will emerge in a span shorter than the three years since The Wiccan, or, at least, the time will pass more quickly. Until then, CrypticRock gives The Order 4 out of 5 stars.