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Thursday 22 November 2018

Reviews: Lucifer's Child, Chrome Division, Planet Of Zeus, Crevassian

Lucifer's Child: The Order (Agonia Records)

At last the return of the blood-soaked black metal band Lucifer's Child, the bastard offspring of two of Greece's biggest bands. Lucifer's Child was formed by Rotting Christ guitarist George Emmanuel and Nightfall bassist Stathis Ridis and in an unholy marriage of occult iconography and blistering metal riffs they have yet again been unleashed on the wider world. The band have already created on record that is full of ritualistic lyrics of the Wiccan's summoning in 2015, so now in 2018 the dark arts reappear for their second album The Order. Once again it's a record full of fist pumping head banging black metal, Viva Morte welcoming death with frenetic riffing and Marios Dupont (Karma Violens) roaring like a hellion of the underworld as Nick Vell rounds out the devastation with huge blastbeats.

The pace changes on the bouncy title track which commences headbanging as the chorus invites Satan, before the machine gun drumming returns for Fall Of The Rebel Angels. It's not all fire an brimstone though as the 7 minute plus Through Fire We Burn has creeping intro that could have been on Seasons Of The Abyss before acoustic guitars meld into a scream and yest more thundering riffs cascading into more layers of acoustics and some chanting background vocals an awesome mid-album set piece that sets you up for more of a battering as the black metal blasting resumes for El-Drago Un. Greek black metal is something of protected genre, they do it so well so The Order was always going to live up to and even surpass its predecessor, the songs here are more varied with gothic (Haraya), doom (Siste Farvel) and classic metal as well. Become part of the order and pledge your soul to the lightbringer. 9/10     

Chrome Division: One Last Ride (Nuclear Blast)

Chrome Division, the side project of Dimmu Borgir's Shagrath, has always released records sporadically when it’s leader isn’t weaving his black metal majesty. A much more straightforward, down-to-earth band Chrome Division’s biggest influences has always been the outlaw biker metal of Motorhead, their first two albums were aggressive, sex and booze filled chunks of leather clad riffiage however after original frontman Eddie Guz left in 2009, I felt they did slip a little with Shady Blue behind the mic, mainly because their ballsy, blues metal was getting a little tired and I wasn’t to keen on Blue’s vocals. There has been four years since Infernal Rock Machine and in that time a new Dimmu album has appeared so it was about time to get the engines on the Division running again, however as the title hints at this will be the last time those pistons will pump as the decision has been made to put the band to rest after this record.

It’s not been a short run though, 2018 is the 15th anniversary of the band and they have gone full circle recruiting Eddie Guz as the singer for this last ride out. The Chrome Division records are all about spontaneity, they’re essentially jams that stick and are quickly recorded, when Blue left, Guz was brought in and immediately started writing lyrics for his record, all of which are based on the theme of the band being brought to a close. It’s a celebration the only way Chrome Division can do it with pumping guitar riffs that bring back the booze, broads and beelzebub that are the key factors in their doomsday rock n roll! I can’t really pick out one song on this record as to be honest there’s not much separating the heavy riffs, rough vocals and sing along chorus approach with only Walk Away In Shame featuring pop singer Misssela adding a bit of differentiation.

15 years on and Chrome Division are still a big party, yeah it’s mostly simplistic, slightly misogynistic and not reinventing any genres borrowing liberally from Lemmy and co but jump on that hog for the last time because it’s been a hell of a ride! 8/10

Planet Of Zeus: Live In Athens (ihavedrum Records)

Athenian stoner rockers Planet Of Zeus have pretty huge following in their own country, based upon their oppressive tour schedule. On the back of their most recent album Loyal To The Pack they have also established themselves in the UK too having a co-headline tour with Lionize recently. The band is made up of Serafeim “Syke” Giannakopoulos (drums), Babis “Bizen” Papanikolaou (vocals, guitar), Stelios “Yog” Provis (guitar) and Giannis “JV” Vrazos (bass)and no matter how good their records are they will never truly capture the bands impressive live show. So this album hopefully should Live In Athens was culled from two performances in their home town it’s presented here warts an’ all production; no tweaks, no studio trick nothing but the band in their natural environment in front of a baying crowd of mad Athenians, the band’s wolfpack if you will.

It’s an 18 song live set (including a drum solo!) that opens with the storming Macho Libre, then runs through bouncy The Great Dandolous (complete with those Athenian whoas), the speedy A Girl Named Greed, the hazy Something’s Wrong, the filthy Little Deceiver and fan favourite Leftover. You need to take a breath when the songs finish and then you realise why a POZ live show is so revered, it’s also why they sweat so damn much and if you have seen them live you’ll know this. With Giannis and Serafeim taking charge in the back room (Loyal To The Pack), Babis both riffs and sings with wide eyed intensity as Stelios plays those effortless leads that have garnered comparisons to Clutch, Mastodon and QOTSA. If you’ve not heard POZ before and don’t know where to start then pick up Live In Athens, it’s the band at their most natural and vital. 8/10

Crevassian: S/T (Self Released)

I find instrumental bands hard work, not being able to play an instrument I can’t really comment on tone or notation etc so there’s never a lot to go on, I do like to have vocals so stories can be told so when Croydon four piece Crevassian’s debut EP turned up in my inbox I approached it with a hint of scepticism, trying to put my own prejudice behind me and accept it. I’m glad I did so, as Crevassian have a very complex but natural sound it’s almost elemental reflecting the harsh landscapes on the album cover, James Humphries (rhythm guitar), Nick Povey (drums), Luke Fabian (bass) and Cody Gaffney (lead guitar) are tight knit unit utilising their talents to employ as many different sounds as possible but basing it all around the djent chug and post-metal atmospherics. At times it’s ethereal and breezy at others a torrid maelstrom of oppressive riffs (Tempest) but it keeps the attention over the course of four songs. There’s a spark here and one that would be dampened by a singer, this kind of music is all about the ‘feel’ and as the EP comes to an end it’s the feel that brings you back. 7/10

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