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(44:50 / Transubstans Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. The Divine Tree 6:06 2. Determination 8:08 3. On Earth 5:04 4. Almost Home 7:10 5. The First Mover 7:28 6. Crosseyed 10:54 LINEUP: Jon Ruder - vocals Thore Engen - guitars Freddy Lindquist - guitars; Mellotron; programming Arne Martiniussen - Hammond, keyboards; b/v Andreas Sjo Engen - guitars; b/v Svein Greni - flute Einar Bruu - bass Rune Engen - drums
Prolusion. LUCIFER WAS is a Norwegian band with a long history. They started out in 1970, and played regularly until 1976, though without releasing any music. For the next 20 years the band was more or less dormant, before the original line up reunited in 1996. "The Divine Tree" is their fourth CD since reuniting, and was released in 2007. Related review.
Analysis. Musically, Lucifer Was are highly influenced by some of the bands that were popular in the first half of the 70's. On this album, the main influence seems to be Deep Purple. The Hammond organ, the guitar riffs, the melodic overlays by the guitar and the (clean) vocals here are all very much in the vein of Deep Purple. On some tunes, influences from Black Sabbath are noticeable too. This is audible first and foremost in some riff patterns that have a distinct Tony Iommi feel to them in style, although not in sound. Some influences from folk rock can be found here as well, and the inclusion of flute on a couple of tunes will make many think of Jethro Tull. Lucifer Was concentrate on melodies and carefully crafted atmospheres rather than the often hard hitting rock of their influences. The guitar sound is slick more than hard or heavy, the soloing harmonic and structured more than wild and frenzied, the vocals are clean and melodic at all times. There are some moments here where the band rock out hard, but more often than not the tunes are then melodic hard rock in style, with some progressive rock elements added to create variation and complexity. The individual songs come across as well crafted: the melodies are catchy, the explorations are interesting and rarely drawn out too long, and the mix and production are high quality, highlighting the strengths of each individual composition. Although a couple of the tunes do come across as more average fare, most songs are clearly above average, having both captivating melodies and intriguing atmospheres.
Conclusion. "The Divine Tree" is a good album and should be an interesting acquisition for fans of early 70's influenced melodic hard rock, as well as people into Deep Purple and Black Sabbath who don't mind music more melodic in style and sound.
OMB=Olav M Bjornson: January 15, 2008
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