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Progressive Rock CD Reviews

Lucifer Was

The Divine Tree

Review by Gary Hill

Never heard of Lucifer Was? That’s probably because you, like me, are not from the Norse lands. Apparently these guys were formed in the very early 1970’s in Norway and built up quite a following. This new release is my first taste, and I have to say I’m hooked and can’t wait for my next helping of Lucifer Was. With a sound that seems to wander between 1970’s hard rock ala Deep Purple and prog along the lines of Jethro Tull, these guys are pretty awesome. Fans of classic rock and vintage progressive rock should really enjoy this album. For those who might be turned away by the band’s name, I don’t have any kind of lyric sheet, but from what I can make out of the words, I think these guys are actually Christian rock.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
The Divine Tree
Ambient keys start this off. Then they move up into Gregorian chant type vocals. After this a hard-edged guitar takes the track into some decidedly Jethro Tull-like territory. This turns pretty crunchy as they carry on. The take this through a number of varying textures and changes, but never lose direction or a sense of cohesiveness. It’s a killer rocker and a great way to start things off in style.
Determination
They come in with a more traditional blues rock sound, a bit like Deep Purple on this one. A harmonica comes over the top of this backdrop as they kick it into high gear. Combining some vaguely prog like changes with a texture that calls to mind Mountain a bit and some awesome retro keyboard textures, this isn’t the most progressive rock oriented music on the CD, but it kicks, nonetheless. I hear some Uriah Heep at times on this one. The guitar solo here is simply a scorcher.
On Earth
An almost metallic guitar riff leads off the festivities here. They power it up from there, pulling it into a more pure rock and roll approach. The vocal line, along with some of the overtones, bring in the more progressive rock textures. This thing rocks out like crazy. The bridge later reminds me a bit of Spock’s Beard in terms of the musical arrangement. They pull some killer keyboard work into this mix. This is a very intriguing piece of music combining old school sounds with a more modern texture in fine fashion. It’s possibly my favorite track on the disc. It has it all, great music, a killer vocal arrangement and everything just where it should be. The instrumental excursion that fades out to end the piece just plain kicks.
Almost Home
This one pounds in feeling almost like Black Sabbath. The Uriah Heep-like textures return as the keys and vocals take their place. It moves to a cool, more melodic mode later. They move the track along with variants on these basic themes. A nice keyboard solo comes in later. They turn this into a great dramatic movement later that just seems to keep building for a while until it returns to the main riff.
The First Mover
While this one is metallic, it runs through a lot of interesting changes to keep the prog rock fan happy. They turn in some cool instrumental work for good measure. The guitar solo that comes in later is killer for a couple of reasons. First when it first starts the vocals are simply soaring at the same time. Secondly, the melodic tones and progressions of the music itself is brilliant. They turn it a quick, fast paced staccato pattern to end the piece.
Crosseyed
At almost eleven minutes in length, this is the longest track on the disc. The intro to this feels a lot like mellow Pink Floyd. They slowly build on this format to bring the track upward. The vocals come over with an almost folk texture. They bring this up in melodic ways with a style that’s rather in the folk rock vein. It builds gradually upward as they keep moving forward. A harder rocking, more metallic guitar sound joins later on, upping the ante. They drop it back to the more melodic, though. Then a killer, crunchy prog rock line serves as the punctuation to the next lines of lyrics. The Uriah Heep comparisons come into play again later. A chorale vocal type section takes it and then they lead off into another Tull like jam. It shifts out to more melodic, balladic sounds beyond this point. The Pink Floyd like elements return to take it to ambience that finally ends it. This is a killer piece of music, my favorite on the album.
Untitled Track
While only six tracks are listed on the booklet, there is actually a seventh number, this one. A hard rocking number with a killer riff, this feels a bit like Crest of A Knave era Jethro Tull. It turns to more melodic progressive rock sounds later and a cool keyboard solo takes into new lands. Then the guitar fires out into its own show of power. The keys are not to be outdone, though, moving into an even more inspired solo that takes it back to the verse section. As good as this song is, and it’s pretty darned good, I have to think that “Crosseyed” would have made a more effective closer.
 
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