Lucifuge – Infernal Power Review

When I reviewed Lucifuge‘s last effort, The One Great Curse, it was a different age. OK, it was February 2020 but it feels like it was a different age. I remember sitting in a riverside bar — indoors, no less — sipping a craft beer, while tapping out my thoughts on what was the third full-length in as many years from this Germany-based four-piece. Well, one year (and a global pandemic) on, and Lucifuge is back with their fourth offering, Infernal Power. Over the years, the band has consistently evolved its sound. The debut, Ride the Beast, saw Lucifuge delivering a curious combination of rough proto black metal — think early Hellhammer — (“Destruction of the Sword”) with the sound of a poor man’s Opeth (“Midnight Sun” or “Perdurabo”). Since then, the sound has moved steadily toward thrashy speed metal, with the first-wave black metal influences of Bathory et al becoming increasingly vestigial. The One Great Curse was fun and well-executed, if not very original or challenging, listen that I enjoyed my time with.  What difference does a year make?

Not much it would seem. Lucifuge‘s debut can be seen as something of an aberration in the catalog, the product of the then one-man project of main man Equinox. Since the line-up expanded to a four-piece, leaving Equinox to focus on guitars and vocals, the progression in sound has been steady and very much continues on Infernal Power. Pounding out thrash-adjacent speed metal, thick with melodic leads and chugging bass, Lucifuge is simply out for a good time. There remains just a hint of Venom around the edges of Infernal Power, while Bathory continues to be conjured, if only because of the Quorthon-esque vocals favored by Equinox. Instead, the punky noise rock of Kriegshög is combined with the speed-thrash of Warfare and the upbeat heavy metal of Inepsy to create something that feels instantly familiar but not tired.

Just like its predecessor, Infernal Power is not going to win any awards for originality or challenging the listener. At the same time, this is great music to throw down a beer to — as I am currently doing while writing this. It’s infectiously energetic, never taking its foot off the gas across its pleasingly crisp 34 minutes, as the dual guitars of Equinox and Berenjenix compete to outdo each other’s fretboard frenetics and the dbeat rhythms thumped out by Matorralix behind the kit ensure that the headbanging party vibe never lets up. The frantic blackened tempos of “Black Battalions” and more restrained closer “Midnight Sun,” which just hints at something approaching atmospheric black metal, are particular highlights, while Lucifuge does justice to its raucous cover of G.I.S.M.‘s “Good as it is.”

That said, with the exception of “Midnight Sun,” the mood and tempos across Infernal Power are fairly even. The energy is there throughout, no doubt about that, and the band all handle their instruments well, but for my money, on a record like this, you need a few special moments that slap you round the chops and which you know you’ll remember. These are largely absent across Lucifuge‘s latest, which is just consistently … good. And that may sound like faint praise but it’s not meant to be. It’s no small feat to deliver a solid, well-crafted record, that’s vibrant and vital throughout, which neither grates nor has any notable blips in quality. The production is decent throughout, with everything audible and well balanced in the mix, and a good tone on the guitars that works well for this style. There is an annoying echo effect on some of the vocals that I could do without but it’s not enough to dent my enjoyment of Infernal Power.

For all positives about Infernal Power, I am faced with the same dilemma I was on The One Great Curse: Lucifuge does everything well but feels somehow a little derivative and altogether too safe, meaning I like it but really struggle to get excited. Everything is well written, there’s nothing to criticize in the performances and the band is disciplined in terms of not overwriting its records1. For all that, there is something missing, some spark that would carry this from just good to very good or better. The closest Lucifuge comes to delivering that is probably on “Black Battalions,” which lends a blackened edge to the speed thrash that dominates. I continue to like Lucifuge and Infernal Power delivers another dose of fast, beer-swilling fun that I have no hesitation in recommending for your party playlist.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dying Victim Productions
Websites: lucifuge666.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/lucifugeblackmetal
Releases Worldwide: April 30th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. Their longest outing so far — 2019’s Der Antichrist — still came in under 45 minutes and this effort is much pithier.
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