Premiere: Chanid get Miltonian on Lucifer
Metalheads have long cozied up to Ol’ Nick, but far fewer bands pursue the road less traveled of painting Lucifer as the sympathetic, even tragic hero depicted by John Milton in Paradise Lost. Joining the likes of Iced Earth and Pénombre, Chanid are the latest band to follow those hoof prints in the sands of time to find inspiration in the bravery of the adversary. Today, I’m pretty dang stoked to let you hear the whole of Lucifer, a melodic black metal record with diabolic riffs and infernal heart aplenty.
Guitarist Sentinel gives us the scoop on why the old Red Dragon isn’t as bad as we’ve all thought.
Lucifer is in some way a conceptual album, but not to the end. Lucifer tells a story about loneliness and suffering of Lucifer. Continuation of the theme of rebellion from demo. It is a story from His point of view but also a story told from a different perspective than the one commonly known. Musically it is also a continuation of the path chosen in demo. While recording this material the band thought about ways to reproduce emotions and energy that descend upon us during rehearsals or gigs. The right option was to record everything live. Igor Brzeski from Sunstorm Studio captured and mixed everything nicely. And now, straight to your hearts, flows an honest and filled with emotion, black metal with power of Lucifer. The album’s cover art and design were created by Vladimir Prokofyev (Paint-It-Black).
Fortunately for us listeners, that’s not complete bluster. That aforementioned honesty and emotion genuinely shine through in the performance; the vocals crack and sizzle throughout with a raw earnestness while the drums clatter and crunch in a spirited assault. The record isn’t perfect, but somehow the raw production and lack of polish only makes the end result more endearing. Like an anti-hero. Like Lucifer.
Where that raw production really shines to capture the fallen glory of the Morning Star, however, is on tracks like “Evocation of Lucifer” where the earnest performance meets the inspired songwriting. This track follows an austere intro to deliver a piping hot melodic riff accented by a distinctly audible bass. The profane dance between the two lends the song so much power and grace; more black metal bands should feature this type of interplay between guitar and bass. Intriguing moments like this are peppered throughout the album like severe statuary adorning the walls of Dis. Check out the scratchy lead at 3:40 in “Misterium II” or the way the blasts feel like they’re about to careen off the cliff into the lake of fire in “Consummatum Est!” to hear even more benighted mystery.
Lucifer is a mostly straightforward black metal record, but what it lacks in true ingenuity or obsessive polish, it more than compensates with expert songcrafting and engaging performance. Perhaps the most shocking thing about is the very real and palpable human heart beating beneath its calloused exterior, a heart that burns for freedom and ascension. It is that heart that makes it such a rewarding listen.