While Cult of Sorrow’s second full-length album Invocation of the Lucifer keeps to the same traditional doom style as seen on 2017’s Ascension, the group’s approach has beefed up considerably between releases. This is demonstrated right off the bat with the opening “Come Infernal,” the band’s most aggressive track to date. A ripping chug reminiscent of Candlemass’ “Black Dwarf” is noteworthy in itself, but the guitar tone is much more powerful, and the drums hit harder than before.
None of the subsequent songs ever reach those speeds but thankfully the energy doesn’t diminish. The hooks on “Invocation” and “Witch Dance” are particularly potent as the former’s easygoing mid-tempo riffs get an extra push while the latter rides a series of in your face yet groovy rhythms. The album’s second half isn’t as overly active aside from the Dio Sabbath-esque bounce on “Burn” and the stomp on “Satan’s Eyes,” but I can appreciate the mysterious Beelzefuzz-style swings on “Souls of the Damned” and “The Mirror.”
The songwriting also reflects this shift even if the core elements haven’t changed all that much. The vocals still have a wispy timbre and the structures are driven by catchy, linear doom riffs, but an emphasis on leaner songwriting keeps the songs themselves lively and engaging. Ascension could be a little stiff at times, but it was great to see a traditional doom band offering some no-bullshit songwriting and I’m glad to see their method getting more codified on Invocation of the Lucifer.
Overall, Cult of Sorrow’s second album keeps to their debut’s occult doom formula while offering several improvements. There are a couple of times where the band might’ve still needed a little extra oomph, but the energized playing and snappy songs really help make this an enjoyable effort. If you’re unfamiliar with Cult of Sorrow and enjoy bands like Hour of 13, then this is the strongest entry point.