Lucifer’s Hammer [USA]
The Mists of Time MMXIV
17 years after its original release, Destro Records finally unearths some of the long-lost tracks of cult American black/death metal band Lucifer’s Hammer‘s debut album, The Mists of Time, with the 2014 reissue of the album containing some of the early demo material of the band as bonus tracks.
Befitting to it’s title, The Mists of Time kicks off with an ambient introductory track, shrouding the listener in a thick fog of mystery, before presenting to listeners their atmospheric style of black/death metal. Woodland Realm surprisingly hits the listener’s gut hard and heavy, and with such an atmospheric style one would not expect the musical style of Lucifer’s Hammer to be as heavy as such. The riffs of Mike coalesce together with the hard-hitting drumming of John to ensure that the listener’s ears are constantly under assault, while keyboards are utilised cleverly throughout the record to create this sense of unease that the listener feels. The rather heavily keyboard driven moments on tracks like Phantom Spirit, the usage of haunting hymns at the background, along with the breakneck speed and trebly tone that the band sometimes makes use of shows how atmospheric and symphonic black metal should be done.
The band also displays their whole range of influences in the writing of The Mists of Time. The cover of Bathory‘s Enter the Eternal Fire aside, songs like Sad Birds Midst also manage to showcase not only the folk and viking influences that have gone into the huge mixing pot that is Lucifer’s Hammer‘s musical style, but the doom pace and that rather melancholic keyboards that are on the track even bring in some nice references to early Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride‘s brands of death/doom metal. Furthermore, the demo tracks included – taken off their The Burning Church demo – also show some slight bestial, war metal leanings, reminding one of the chaos and destruction-hungry style of bands like Blasphemy or Black Witchery, and Eternally Doomed also brings in some Incantation or Grave Miasma leanings, taking extremity to the, erm, extreme.
With early extreme metal coming out from Europe or Scandinavia, one would least expect the quality material on The Mists of Time to originate from America. However, Lucifer’s Hammer‘s debut has proven to be one that would have easily been considered a classic, and with the release of The Mists of Time MMXIV, it is about time the band and this release gets the recognition that it deserves.