"A mildly amusing and redundant occult rock project": A review of Luciferian Light Orchestra's "Luciferian Light Orchestra"
Ladies and gentlemen!
As most of you know, symphonic metal group Therion is one of my favourite bands. When I heard that their mastermind Christofer Johnsson was working on a side-project I was quite intrigued. As it turns out, Luciferian Light Orchestra is an occult rock band inspired by the wirst wave of psychedelic rock acts in the sixties and seventies as well as by the new wave of occult rock and metal bands. Sadly, this project fails to stand out among the elevated number of contemporary genre bands and falls rather flat with nine more or less exchangeable songs in a little bit more than thirty short minutes. Please read on for a more detailed review of this brand new record and open up your mind about it.
Luciferian Light Orchestra is an occult rock project with a strong vintage sound inspired by the seventies that has been created by Therion’s mastermind Christofer Johnsson. It shows what Therion could have become if they hadn’t decided to take the path towards a more sophisticated symphonic metal approach twenty years ago. Apart of Christofer Johnsson himself who performs guitars, Hammond organ, keyboards and some additional vocals, the only other known member is female lead singer Mina Karadzic from Montenegro who has a very clean, enchanting and psychedelic voice. All other band members remain unknown but are mostly related to the past and present of Therion and the Left-Hand Path initiatory organization and a Draconian Tradition Order called Dragon Rouge.
Even in this more simplistic approach, Christofer Johnsson wouldn’t be himself if he didn’t add anything ambitious to the project. In total, twenty-two musicians were involved in the recording process of this album. In the future, Luciferian Light Orchestra might perform and record further albums in a smaller regular line-up.
An interesting artistic element of this limited release is the fact that the album art has gold foil on the back and front and some of the disks have a gold plated reflective coating. These disks are expected to last at least one hundred years as opposed to thirty to fifty years for regular disks.
Let’s take a closer look at what matter most which is the music itself. Luciferian Light Orchestra’s debut offers nine tracks between roughly two and five minutes for a total running time of slightly below thirty-four minutes. In my opinion, this is an extremely short running time and almost closer to an extended play than to a full length effort.
The tracks are rather solid but sound somewhat exchangeable and repetitive after a while. First of all, this album hasn’t much to do with Therion’s symphonic metal sounds and should be considered an occult rock album. The style can be compared to similar contemporary artists and bands such as Blood Ceremony, The Devil’s Blood, Ghost B.C., Jex Thoth and Rose Kemp. The vintage influences remind me mainly of Coven but also of Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, King Crimson and The Zombies. Obviously, a few inspirations from Therion’s calmer occult tunes also shine through.
While all the bands mentioned above have something unique to their sound and approach, Luciferian Light Orchestra fails to stand out of the mass of occult rock groups. The light and yet vivid “Church of Carmel” is probably the catchiest tune on the album and has a dreamy, mysterious and soulful vocal performance. It’s probably the best song on here because it’s the only one that is truly to the point and which doesn’t have any unnecessary lengths or repetitions. “Dr. Faust on Capri” comes as a close second and has a nice rocking vibe with great guitar and bass play and a cool vintage conclusion.
Most songs have considerable lengths and repetitions though and fail to grab your attention from the beginning until the end despite a certain amount of diversity. “Venus in Flames” has a hint at Middle Eastern folk chants and sounds and is one of the more interesting tunes but its constant mid-tempo rhythm is a little bit dull over five minutes. The dragging “Moloch” has an intriguing psychedelic atmosphere with distorted guitar sounds and disturbing male choirs performing low chants but the apocalyptic song goes nowhere over a length of four minutes and ends up being rather nerve-wrecking.
As atmospheric as they might be, the constant occult topics end up being rather annoying, especially when meaningless passages as “We hail Sathanas, Venus, Lucifer” or even worse like “Teufel – Tiufal” are repeated to death. I get that these kind of lyrics fit to the concept but they sound really stereotypical, redundant and even mildly amusing after all.
In the end, occult rock fans could find this short release a little bit above good average quality and might think about purchasing this rare gem. Symphonic metal fans might give this record a spin and two and should find it enjoyable at best which doesn’t really justify a purchase. I hope Christopher Johnsson focuses on his truly outstanding music with Therion instead of going on with this project that should remain a one-off experiment only.
Final rating: 6/10
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