Is Lucifer here to save rock ’n’ roll?
Lucifer IV, the new album from German-Swedish band Lucifer drops this week, just shy of 20 months after Lucifer III last year. It wasn’t necessarily planned that way, though.
“Due to the pandemic, obviously we were like all the other bands; not able to go on tour. So we were aware that we will have quite a big span of time ahead of us and we thought we’d make use of it,” said Johanna Andersson, vocalist. “I think we probably would have waited a little bit longer, though we are fans of how bands used to release albums back in the day which was way more frequent than nowadays.”
How bands used to do X back in the day is something of a theme with Lucifer. If you’re not one of those people who was listening to them before it was cool (hey, it was always cool) you might not know their sound. It’s not exactly a throwback but it does call back to the days of touring rock bands in the late 70s. Simply put: Lucifer is a rock ’n’ roll band. Not a metal band, not a pop band. A straight-up rock ’n’ roll band, which is a rare thing these days.
And like a rock band back in the day, something that comes across in the record is the way it hangs together like a cohesive piece of art. This isn’t a collection of singles. It’s an album experience.
“I think we are really an album-type band,” said Nicke Andersson, Lucifer’s drummer. “That’s getting a little lost these days with streaming but there’s still fans of albums out there, and I think that’s how we see the music.”
It is meant to be put on and played all the way through, but while the album hangs together as an experience there are some twists and turns that shake up the sound a bit.
“The songs are very diverse in style, there’s a southern rock number on there, which we haven’t had before. There’s two songs written by Linus [Lucifer’s guitarist] and I, which is new. He wrote Crucifix and Nightmare with me. I was surprised when he came with those songs and I said to Nicke that this sounds more Lucifer than Lucifer.”
Johanna also mentions that this is more of a mutual effort on this album as opposed to the songwriting duo of Johanna and Nicke from the past two records. Apart from co-writing songs with Linus, Lucifer’s other guitarist Martin wrote an interlude for the first time on this record. As it turns out, the global situation gave the band a unique experience working together.
“…like a rock band back in the day, something that comes across in the record is the way it hangs together like a cohesive piece of art. This isn’t a collection of singles. It’s an album experience.”
“We also, because of the pandemic, had time to rehearse together as a band before recording, as opposed to the other two records,” said Nicke.
“[Before], we kind of had just the demos out to the other guys. They had to rehearse on their own and we just met in the studio to record,” Johanna said.
“Not even that! I sometimes just went in and recorded the drums when a song was ready by myself, which is quite boring but it works,” Nicke said.
Nicke, who is a veteran of what feels like thousands of bands but it’s really a lot of great stuff you’ve heard — Entombed, Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric, and on and on (it’s a long list) — is a multi-instrumentalist and the masterful drum skills he brings to Lucifer are apparent on the album.
“Linus also has a studio. So this time we thought ‘let’s do the drums at his studio’ because I think his room is ten times as big as my room. So let’s try that to get a little bit of a different drum sound. I don’t know how audible it is for outside people but I think it’s a pretty big difference, probably the main sonic difference on this album,” Nicke said.
Spoiler: It’s very audible. The drums have a crisp urgent sound to them that really amps up the energy on this record.
Touring is slowly getting back on its feet and Lucifer is embarking on a huge European tour in 2021 through summer 2022.
“…don’t expect a rusty show; it’s going to be great and people are hungry to see shows. I’m hungry to see shows. We’re hungry to play shows.”
“Both the band and the audience will be a little bit rusty. How do we do this again?” Nicke said. “But it’s also a little bit like riding a bike.”
“It is very weird,” Johanna said. “Of course we’ve been rehearsing a lot, just to kind of stay together as a band. But it’s such a different story to go out on stage and play for an audience. You can’t rehearse that. But don’t expect a rusty show; it’s going to be great and people are hungry to see shows. I’m hungry to see shows. We’re hungry to play shows.”
Lucifer has its sights set on a return to the US but until that day, American fans will at least be able to spin the band’s fourth record starting October 29 on streaming, CD, and appropriately for a band like Lucifer, vinyl.