Never underestimate heavy music’s transformative power. The might of the riff, the melody and the insistent groove creates a curious magic that only the truly inspired can harness. And that’s where Lucifer come in.
The brainchild of vocal powerhouse Johanna Sadonis (ex-THE OATH), these woozily psychedelic rock’n’roll renegades are poised to return with a brand new album, a brand new sound and a revitalised spirit that promises to propel them all the way to the top.
Formed in Berlin in 2014 in the wake of an abrupt split with her former band, Johanna created Lucifer with the aim of channeling her love of the dark and bewitching heavy rock of the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Inspired by everyone from Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Blue Öyster Cult to Steppenwolf, (70’s) Heart and Fleetwood Mac, she teamed up with legendary former Cathedral guitarist Gaz Jennings to conjure a sound that owed plenty to her collaborator’s doom metal roots while also tapping into the untamed rambunctiousness of the post-Sabbath set. The result was an eponymous debut album that received widespread praise and media attention: the first fruits, you might say, of a rapidly expanding vision.
Fast forward to the end of 2016 and Sadonis found herself at an unexpected crossroads, following the amicable departure of Gaz Jennings. Determined to see her creative plans through to their logical, euphoric conclusion, the singer kept moving forward and eventually, by a stroke of fate, stumbled upon her perfect songwriting partner for the second chapter of the Lucifer saga. A casual conversation with friend (and rock/metal luminary) Nicke Andersson led to a box-fresh meeting of mercurial minds.
“We were talking and I was interested in how she and Gaz wrote songs together, because I always write by myself,” Nicke explains. “I’m interested in how people collaborate and I thought it was really intriguing. When Gaz left, I thought, ‘Hmm, maybe this is something Johanna and me can do together.’ We started talking more about specific directions and all these ideas started pouring out of us.”
With his varied musical background that includes everything from brutal death metal (ENTOMBED) to wildly poppy rock’n’roll (Imperial State Electric, The Hellacopters), Nicke’s pedigree is beyond dispute. What was not certain was how this new songwriting partnership would work – or if it would work at all. But after working on just one song together, it was clear that this collaboration was perfect for Lucifer and that this would be the start of something truly special; something that transcended lazy subgenre categorisation and instead flew the flag for classic, dark-hued and heavy rock’n’roll.
“Everything was perfect.” laughs Johanna. “There was more room this time to write catchier vocal melodies for me over these new foundations. The original idea for Lucifer was to be way more in the vein of what we’re doing now. It was definitely something new for Nicke to tune down to C sharp when playing rock’n’roll!”
“And I fucking love it!” laughs Nicke.
Although still recognizable as the band that released Lucifer I in 2015, Lucifer II is a very different beast from its predecessor. A celebratory riot of none-more-classic riffing, soaring vocal soul and countless ingenious psychedelic embellishments, it amounts to a black-hearted paean to the chaotic disintegration of the hippie dream; full of goosebump-inducing dynamics, anthemic choruses and moments of freewheeling acid rock abandon. Veering from instant sing-alongs like turbo-rumbling opener “California Sun” to the moodier, bluesier strains of “Reaper On Your Heels” and the prog-tinged grandeur and lysergic flair of closing brace “Faux Pharaoh”, it’s the sound of a band that have reached a sublime point of compositional equilibrium.
Recorded in the summer of 2017 at Nicke’s studio The Honk Palace, in Stockholm, Lucifer II was very much a labour of love that enabled Johanna and her new musical partner to develop a strong creative bond. With no time to recruit new band members, Nicke performed the drums, bass and half of the guitar parts himself, with lead guitarist Robin Tidebrink eventually adding his distinctive six-string flair to the tracks. The album was mixed by Swedish producer Ola Ersfjord (Tribulation, Primordial, …) at Cuervo Recording Services in Madrid. Once it was finished, the next task was to recruit the right men to perform these explosive new songs live.
“The three of us recorded the album but now we completed the line-up with Martin Nordin, from the Swedish band Dead Lord, on second lead guitar and Austrian wild beast Alex Mayr on bass.”
Music’s transformative power has led to many great sonic wonders over the decades: “Lucifer II” is one such marvel, the sound of a great rock’n’roll band mutating and expanding into something unique and extraordinary.
Now signed to Century Media Records, Lucifer are a band transformed: the undying spirit of the ‘70s hard rock era has found its most passionate and gifted new proponents and they’re only just getting started.