Knockin' On Hell's Door
I've been following the development of this project since I heard the Dungeon Demos 2013 rough rehearsal. My crave for their traditional doom approach has finally been fulfilled with the release of their first self titled album (out digitally for now, out physically this Autumn.) The main dude, Phil Howlett has been quite active since the formation of Rote Mare in 2005 but I never quite got into this band. I thought it was usually long-winded and that it didn't have the trad doom passion found in grander oeuvres. It wanted to be more than what it was with the inclusion of harsh(er) vocals and it didn't quite work.
Fast forward to 2014 and we have Lucifer's Fall, a neophyte could question the need for a new doom project created by Howlett but I really won't since this is widely different in its approach. It's like he stumbled into Wino, Chandler and Albert Witchfinder and ate some shrooms all night. It's way more focused, full of might and, primarily, doesn't try to reinvent the wheel by adding unnecessary estranged elements. The raw production compliments the carefully composed bass and guitar lines very well, it's heavy, never too slow and it knows when to be groovy. It's textbook trad doom of the higher calibre and considering that's perhaps my favourite metal genre, this album is freaking marvellous.
As Satan is my name! Lucifer's Fall! Cast down from Heaven!
I kind of believe that the whole Satan subject is tired but it's definitely a classic one that I'll always welcome. I'd like bands to be a bit more original theme wise but there's nothing wrong with sticking with the good old formula and Howlett does it well. He's proving that he really feels the genre, doom is about guts and feeling and it's the case here. His vocal delivery is top notch, clean and adequate vocals with a lot of power and personality. He's even delivering some high pitch lines similar to the The Wizar'd's latest doom masterpiece. The slower moments of tracks like “A Sinner's Fate” almost reminds me of the atmosphere bands like My Dying Bride were able to convey early during their career. It's emotional, well written and doesn't drag even though some tracks are on the longer side (nonetheless, never more than ten minutes.) The editing is good unlike many of their current peers and their blend of doom and heavy metal has a clear sense of direction.
Australia is not well known for its traditional doom metal but rather for its more extreme doom with bands such as Mournful Congregation. Hence this fact, the band worships at foreign but interesting altars. The main one being located in Finland, you can certainly hear Reverend Bizarre and their disciples (The Wandering Midget, Caskets Open...) on Lucifer's Fall's music. There's this sort of cold tongue in cheek darkness particular to this Northern Europe (or Scandinavia depending of your point of view) and the Aussies have it too, they probably spend a lot of time in the desert at night.
The album respects the forty minutes unwritten rules and is a blistering, catchy, intense doom release deserving to top the best of lists of 2014, a feat I never thought possible of Howlett's Rote Mare project. He lets everything loose here, like the best doom albums, it's emotionally draining in its self pity and its classical darkness.
Mandatory doom, gentlemen.