Genre: Death Metal
Release Date: October 5th, 2018
Lucifericon is a four-piece death metal band from the Netherlands with a ferocious blackened style and occult themes featured prominently in the music and lyrics. Formed in 2009 by veterans of the scene, and releasing two EPs in that time, Al-Khem-Me is their first full length release. Musically they are a furious death metal riff-fest with all the edges thoroughly blackened; reminding me of a favorite band, Sulphur Aeon, almost instantly with the eerie atmosphere and guitar playing. Lucifericon have a unique sound that commits entirely to its motif, and creates a damn compelling album.
The guitars are handled by Alex Verhoeven and Anton Heesterbeek like demented sorcerers summoning otherworldly beings. From maniacal twisting riffs, to more haunting slower melodies, and with solos varying from dizzying to beautiful; these axe-wielders are as proficient as they are vicious. In a section of Szin-Niaq-Sa there is even a bluesy quality to some of the riffing going on in the background leading to a matching solo later. There is diversity with the guitar playing as well; on the track Intrinsic Being there is a great groovy section that really got me hooked every time I heard it. Whereas on the opener Inside The Serpent’s “I”, the fast and fiery riffing at the beginning of the song is catchy with an acidic melody; accompanied by a brief vertiginous solo, this song displays how well these two handle the speedy end of this style.
Vocals and bass fall on the shoulders of Rob Reijnders, who kicks off the album with an evil scream with an electronic quality making it sound like he’s ripping through your speakers. The bass playing creates a solid low end and is well performed, but is often outshined by the rest of the music. The vocal style is a blackened death metal scream that manages to be both mostly intelligible and horrifying at the same time. He also employs a creepy whisper to great effect on Flesh unto Void, Void unto Flesh (The Twofold Gate). Throughout the vocal performance there is a spectral quality; I really got a sense of the occult in the sound of Rob’s throat splitting screams.
Szin-Niaq-Sa was far and away my favorite track on the album; often repeated, and always demanding my full attention right from the beginning. This track just kept getting stuck in my head, for all the reasons I mentioned before and the flawless vocals. Flesh unto Void, Void unto Flesh (The Twofold Gate), was another burrowing deep into my mind on every spin; the ominous refrain captured me every time. The drums put on a real show on this track with unrelenting pounding and plenty of cymbal play. Sevenfold is the final song I’d like to single out for praise and the album closer. At 6:29, it is the longest song, and though slower than others at times, it is no less ruthless. It features blackened death riffing made into an atmospheric realm of occult horrors; the way this song fades out with the vocals still chanting, and the sustained guitar note is a perfect close to Al-Khem-Me.
There are some noticeable spots of repetition, even on a favorite song, Sevenfold. A few moments are also sprinkled about this album where it seems like it is about to progress into something but falls back on the rails of the song before hitting it. For me this sense of unevenness is furthered by how much talent and musical acrobatics are in some songs, and somewhat absent from others. Al-Khem-Me is a great release in the realm of blackened death metal, and has surprising touches throughout which help them stand out in an overcrowded field. I find more enjoyment out of their mid to slower paced songs, though they have shown great examples of speed as well. Lucifericon weren’t on my radar before, but they are a name I won’t soon forget.
1. Inside the Serpent’s “I”
2. Succubus of the 12th Aether
4. Flesh unto Void, Void unto Flesh (The Twofold Gate)
5. Intrinsic Being
6. Azothoz: The Alpha & Omega of Zoa-Azoa
Total Playing Time: 37:26