At some point, every Metal fan has come to the precipice where the band just discovered is the real deal, the next level, a landmark of authenticity. Though it does not happen often in an overwhelming manner, there are certainly points in each’s history when a genuine practitioner of Metal in song, spirit, and effect is unearthed thereby broadening one’s appreciation of the art. Looking back through my own personal Metal history, there are a few times when this happened. Coming across King Diamond in my youth for the first time was just such a discovery. I realized that this was a face-painted Metal maniac genuine to his lore. Later, that same feeling heralded my discovery of Morbid Angel’s Altars of Madness, and of course when I first heard Mayhem. The aforementioned artists are the real deal and have stood the test of time because of their brutal honesty – truth in darkness, if you will. Over the years, there have been many bands to consider and review but yet it is so rare to get that feeling.
Enter Lvcifyre. Formed in 2007, the current two-piece hail from the gloom of London’s foggy streets. There could hardly be any location to better feed the frenzy of rabid creators of the darkest of Death Metal. Another London-based band worth mentioning is Akercocke for their vibe is quite similar despite the chasm between the two band’s approaches to their art. Upon first hearing Lvcifyre’s new EP, Sacrament, released just yesterday via Dark Descent Records, I was immediately hit with that unmistakable feeling previously described. That this was a band that takes its ethos seriously, exuding primally-forged darkness was simply undeniable. This five-song EP should be included in any and every fan’s discography, at least those looking to do more than simply shout at the devil.
The longest-running song, “The Greater Curse,” heralds the beginning of the ravishing proceedings. The track begins with some very strange noises that could be heavy breathing or even a reaction to torture. It certainly sets a mood, though, one that will pervade throughout the recording. At the 1:45 mark, the music comes in and it is nothing short of abrasive. One could even deem it choking, though this is meant truly as a mark of praise. The music is heavily layered and performed from an area the band have clearly carved out just for themselves from the annals of Death Metal technique and lore. With biting dissonance, the riffs fill the sound spectrum sufficiently painting a morose picture of artistic intent. At the 4:45 mark, the band launch into what could be labelled as a breakdown of sorts with persistent palm-muted, chunky riffs that still maintain the intended lack of melody. This is not lack of melody just for its own sake, though, for Lvcifyre manage to maintain musical integrity throughout. At one point, I was led to remember first hearing Morbid Angel’s “Chapel of Ghouls” while another pointed to Deicide’s “Dead but Dreaming”. These are far, far fewer musical invocations as they are truly remembrances of the feeling acquired from past bands with similar ideologies and vibes altogether.
As the EP rolls along, the intensity is successfully maintained. There is some exceptional guitar work at play here. Dive bombs sound less like Kerry King and more like legitimate nocturnal howls of tormented souls. The interplay between palm-muted sections and tremolo-picking is also commendable. At no point does the music delve into the tired and overdone. With such a broad example of layering, Metal fans will be rewarded each listen with newfound riffs, changes, fills, etc. Also of note is the final track, a cover of Kat’s seminal 1986 song, “Morderca”. This is a noteworthy selection in that it is a Speed Metal song thus showing the breadth of this band’s interests and capabilities. Any who are tired of weak, repetitive, trendy Death Metal and Black Metal should definitely look toward Lvcifyre for their next unholy carnal fix!