Lucifer’s Hammer – The Trip (High Roller Records)Monday, 21st June 2021
Taking their name from a Larry Niven/Jerry Pournelle novel from 1977, Lucifer’s Hammer comes from Chile, establishing a traditional heavy metal pedigree since 2012. They’ve recorded a demo, EP and two full-lengths prior to this third album The Trip – which features a new bassist Tyr coming into the fold last year. Choosing to invest a bit more money in the production/studio time pays dividends, as most listeners will find these seven songs very electric, expanding on their conventional outlook with a bit more larger than life hooks and AOR/steel charm that could have this be the most successful record to date for the group.
Tom rolls and mid-tempo marching components signal the opening strains of “The Oppression” – guitarist Hades hitting a King Diamond-esque falsetto while his smooth mid-range/upper register delivery matches the driving nature of the music a la Iron Maiden and Satan, some of the guitar/rhythm section interplay a bit progressive in nature. At other times the twin rhythms and harmony hooks capture a Teutonic/Accept-like flavor, while the vocals can mesmerize in this special/AOR-ish universe, “All Stories Come to An End” a winner in that regard. The counterpoint measures and guitar melodies from Hades and fellow axe man Hypnos provide plenty to hang your ears upon throughout the record – whether at the start of the song, in specific lead breaks, or supporting key verse/chorus portions, they definitely know the traits necessary to drive home memorable, catchy, and headbanging material. The closing cut “I Believe in You” contains some interesting clean instrumental parts where drummer Titan flexes a bit of his versatile time signature drops and chops – plus the band execute some 70’s Rush meets NWOBHM musical moments. Most will also appreciate the improved nature to the tones and final production values – along with cover art in an interesting purple/grey color scheme plus picturesque for that old school, painted nuance perfect for bigger vinyl viewing.
The Trip allows Lucifer’s Hammer to showcase their abilities in the best light possible – taking the greatness of 80’s heroes into another generation to treasure.