Given there’s a new throwback stoner doom band seemingly releasing an album every day, it seems what was once old is new again. Instead of treading down that old familiar path, the English quartet Lucifer’s Chalice embarked on a different path. Their trek takes them through the glory days of Mercyful Fate, Iron Maiden, Angel Witch, and other metal stalwarts from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. Throw in some Candlemass-style extended track lengths, and you’ve got their debut album, The Pact.
Lucifer’s Chalice is comprised of Sergio Ramírez Mendoza, Charlie Wesley, Dan Hughes (Winds of Genocide), and Kat Shevil Gillham (Uncoffined, Wings of Genocide). I was a fan of Uncoffined’s sophomore release, so I had high hopes for this one.
Opener Hung at the Crossroads tells the story of a murderer found in the eponymous state. The riffs are solid NWOBHM throwback, and singer Charlie Wesley reminds me a lot of Luther Beltz (Wytchfynde). If someone didn’t know better, the song could be mistaken for one released in 1983 rather than 2017.
The Pact continues the NWOBHM feeling with a riff evoking Iron Maiden’s The Trooper and making several tempo changes throughout its ten-minute runtime. Full Moon Nights and Priestess of Death give off much of the same vibe, with Priestess giving off a Pentagram groove rhythm for good measure.
For all its doomy, throwback goodness I do have one big issue, namely the songs just feel too long for this style of music. I’m no stranger to extended track lengths, but with no song under seven minutes and relatively straightforward riffs, the songs begin to sound repetitive after four or five minutes, and I’m wondering if Lucifer’s Chalice should take a few notes from the bands that inspired them1 and go for more traditional song lengths. Additionally, they commit the same sin as Uncoffined with the horror movie samples at the top of most of the songs. When it’s done all the time, the clips lose their impact.
Given that’s my only complaint, however, Lucifer’s Chalice have put out a solid debut. Their love of the classics shines through, and if you are at all a fan of the older bands mentioned throughout this review, give The Pact a listen.
Available at Bandcamp and other select retailers.
Special thanks to the band for the complementary review copy.
1 Excluding everything Iron Maiden did after Seventh Son of a Seventh Son.