New partner, same dance, better result
dB Rating: 9/10
Release Date: May 25th, 2015
Label: Rise Above
The swift break-up of the Oath—barely a month after the release of their debut album—had fans of Rise Above, and plenty of us here at Decibel, letting out a collective, Swiper-esque, “Aw, man.” What an opportunity squandered, it seemed back then, because singer Johanna Sadonis and guitarist Linnéa Olsson had created a gritty, mysterious piece of work that stood head and shoulders above the bulk of the “occult rock” bands that had emerged over the previous few years. To call it quits after just one full-length seemed like the biggest waste of a great opportunity since the similar implosion of Amesoeurs in 2009.
It turns out, however, that there’s hope. While Olsson has joined whatever Beastmilk is calling itself these days, Sadonis has partnered with former Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings to create Lucifer, and not only does the new album continue right where the Oath left off—making Decibel staff beam—it’s a marked improvement. The music is fleshed out a lot better, Jennings bringing so much more depth on guitar; Sadonis wants a ’70s hard rock sound reminiscent of early Sabbath, BÖC and the first Rush album, and that’s exactly what the man brings, with authority. “Abracadabra” and “Izrael” are richer songs than the Oath pulled off, giving Sadonis a chance to develop her witchy persona, while “Sabbath” is—surprise!—a towering exercise in doom. There’s no reinvention, no innovation, just a convergence of two tremendous talents, yielding an outstanding piece of music. Hopefully they’ll still be together when this review goes to print.
— Adrien Begrand
Review originally printed in the July 2015 issue (#129).