Lucifer’s Dungeon – The Dark Army Raises Review

Band: Lucifer’s Dungeon
Album: The Dark Army Raises
Label: GrimmDistribution
Genre: Black Metal/Dark Ambient
Country: Russia
Release Date: May 7th, 2017

What are you going to do with a band named Lucifer’s Dungeon? The name alone sounds like they’re a long-lost group from the 1980’s who maybe did a split EP with Grim Reaper or someone similar, and I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. The album art is simplistic in that Possessed, Seven Churches kind of way (and again, that’s a compliment). I imagined the album would open with someone shrieking, “Welcome to Lucifer’s Dungeon!!!!” followed by slicing guitars and over the top Speed Metal. What I got was something completely different and something really good.

“Dungeon” opens the album with a nice, atmospheric piece that slowly grows and builds in power. It’s an ambient track, setting the mood for what is to come.

“Unconscious Faith” hammers in next, galloping in a mid-paced Manowar kind of way until it takes a deep breath and then roooooaaaars into some volatile Black Metal. Man, this is fantastic stuff. The vocals edge a bit towards Abbath territory, giving the band that feel of being serious as hell but also able to keep their tongue firmly in cheek. Special kudos to the drumming, where Cerberus keeps it straight-forward and powerful, really hitting those skins, while sliding back into the blastbeats where appropriate. Usually with this kind of music, you get guys going full-bore and that’s it, no variance, but Cerberus brings us a traditional approach, with timely pauses and hesitations, and terrific cymbal work.

Some album highlights:

“War” rumbles in on a killer bass riff, which is something you just don’t really hear in Black Metal much, if ever. The guitar riffs keep the mid-pace going until we get more Black Metal riffing at about the minute mark. Everything about this song is professional and keen, like these guys have been doing this all their lives. This certainly doesn’t feel like a debut album.

“Burn Your Dogma” (nice title) slips into your ears with a dark, almost acoustic passage that builds and builds, gathering steam and momentum as the song rolls out. But don’t worry, you’re not going to fall asleep, the Black Metal just around the corner, lying in wait to bring the cold, grim, Satanic feels. Love the vocals in this song, just love them, Cain Black really sounding like a demon from Hell. Cain actually handles just about every chore on this record, other than the drums, and the vocals on the song “Destruction,” which are done by KoNo.

And speaking of “Destruction…” here we have another atmospheric beginning, the lone guitar sounding like it was recorded inside a cave buried deep in an iceberg; it really is that cold and lonely and dark. KoNo gives us shrieking vocals, sounding more desperate and less evil than Cain, and it works for the song. A real treat, “Destruction” sounds almost like it doesn’t belong on the record, and yet it fits in well, adding some layers to an album that is pretty straightforward in much of its approach.

“The Forest” comes right out of the gates with some metal in your face, but still mostly mid-paced, like most of the record. It quickly kicks into that extra gear and we’re swooping off into some faster rhythms and dynamics. The guitars are really up front in the mix, punchier and urgent, with the drums and vocals a tiny bit buried, but certainly not lost.

Final track “Beyond Good and Evil” has another bass intro, letting the song breath as it comes to life, riffs hanging in the air like cobwebs in a haunted castle. The drums move the composition forward, the riffs picking up some wallop, this band really finding its groove, like they’ve been doing this very thing for a decade now. At the 2:25 mark they hit another gear, moving faster, before dropping back into the bass atmospherics about 3 minutes in. There’s plenty bashing over the head to come, as the song barrels towards its conclusion, lots of melody, lots of heaviness. A perfect summation of the entire album that came before it, minus the vocals.

Lucifer’s Dungeon brings us a good dolloping of Black Metal with some Traditional Heavy Metal and Dark Ambient thrown into the mix, all to good effect. I loved everything about it, the drums and the guitars standing out the most. This is a highly enjoyable album with decent songs and performances, a solid effort that, while it never reaches heights of great glory, surely does bring a smile to the face. These guys have a great future ahead of them and you would do yourself a disservice if you didn’t pick this one up, providing you are a fan of the aforementioned subgenres. With this solid of a debut, it will be interesting to see where the band goes next.

Rating: 7/10

1. Dungeon (Intro)
2. Unconcious Faith
3. The Dark Army Raises
4. War
5. The Last Day Of Life
6. Burn Your Dogma
7. III Lifes Of Dark Angel
8. My Eyes
9. Destruction
10. Darkness
11. The Forest
12. The Secret
13. The Answer
14. Beyond Good And Evil
15. Outro

Total Playing Time: 58:18

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