Lucifist have consistently been one of my favorite metal exports out of Indiana. Although I’m generally a death metal guy, there’s something fun, authentic, and infectious about Lucifist’s brand of crossover party thrash that wins even me over. This review is of their debut album, Goat Slaying Devil Party Music Vol. 666, which was independently released earlier this month. Although this is their first LP, they’ve released two EPs, a live album, and a split since their inception in 2012. I picked up the album on CD, which I used for this review.
Included with the CD version of the album is a single-page, front-and-back card insert. The front has the album cover, which depicts a zombie priest sipping from a goblet engraved with the Lucifist logo at an altar, similarly utilizing the Lucifist logo and inverted crosses alongside images of Lovecraftian and demonic entities. The back of the card includes recording information and thank-you lists. The backside of the case has a cross next to an upside-down tracklisting. Presumably, the second track, ‘Invert the Cross,’ should serve as sufficient instruction for rotating the album so that the tracklisting can be read upright. Although lyrics are not included, Stephen Dilden’s well-enunciated vocal approach is easily discernible. Lyrical themes include poking fun at religion and metal’s take on it (‘Invert the Cross,’ ‘Satan’s Satanic Satanists’), partying (‘Menace to Sobriety’), corruption and societal issues (‘Province of the Superstate’), and more.
The mix is clear and warm, and each instrument can be heard. My only complaint would be that the vocals are really high in the mix, especially on the first few tracks, and I can’t help but feel that the album would feel a lot more crushing if the instruments were at the forefront of the mix rather than the vocals.
Musically, the album is a mix of fun thrash beats, large grooves, and it has a multitude of melodic leads over top all of that. There are also some prominent breakdowns, including in ‘Satan’s Satanic Satanists,’ ‘Mortification of the Flesh,’ and ‘Darkwoods Goatsman.’ Some songs go into almost blackened territory, such as in the catchy ‘Darkwoods Goatsman.’ The vocals are mostly thrashy shouts, with occasional death metal gutturals and backing vocals on tracks including ‘Wretched Retribution,’ ‘Province of the Superstate,’ and ‘Mortification of the Flesh.’ There are solos throughout compliments of guitarists Van Smith and Jakub Wakczak, but these are of the more classical, melodic variety rather than divebombs with random notes played as quickly as possible. The bass playing of Tony Davis also receives moments to shine through, such as on a bass lead two minutes and forty seconds into ‘Satan’s Satanic Satanists,’ which is also a section that highlights the creative battery of drummer Zac Flynn over top of it.
One of the highlights is ‘Legend of the Moshman’, which feels like a stadium-ready anthem. It begins with a melodic passage followed by a theatrically spoken introduction akin to the opening moments of a carnival before the full band jumps back into thrash mode. The lyrics are about a legendary thrasher that goes above and beyond in his devout support of live music. It culminates with a return to the theatrical-style vocal from the beginning while an audience chants in the background atop a slow groove. This is one of my favorite songs on the album due to its fun topic, more dynamic structure, experimentation, and inclusion of a slew of short solos.
Also of note is the album’s closing track, ‘Pronucleatron.’ This song has Stephen sounding his most Tom Araya-esque in the beginning following a solo that brings the track in. This is the longest track on the album by far, at six minutes and forty-five seconds, but it also adds a good amount of variety to the album, as the longer section allowed the band to switch gears throughout the length of the song, including a section that features a multitude of guest solos back-to-back, including one on an electric kazoo, because of course, and a psychedelic-sounding outro. Featured guest solos include Scott Bronner (Demiricous, Summon the Destroyer), Brian Boszor (The Mound Builders), and many more.
My favorites: ‘Legend of the Moshman,’ ‘Province of the Superstate,’ ‘Mortification of the Flesh,’ ‘Darkwoods Goatsman’
One peculiar aspect of the album is that the second half, at least in my opinion, is much stronger and more consistent than the first half. Overall, this is a great album that I’d score even higher if the mix got some tweaking. Check these guys out; I can confirm that they’re great live too. Follow them on Facebook and Bandcamp. Stream this album through Spotify.