Not to be confused with the recent doom dabbling’s of Lucifer, this child is a far more fearsome beast and comes to us courtesy of a couple of greats from within the Hellenic black metal scene namely George Emmanuel (Rotting Christ, ex-Chaostar) and Stathis Ridis (Nightfall). Now side projects of bands you really like can be tricky propositions. You really don’t want them to be bad and sully the name of the group’s that you really love and you don’t want them to be carbon copies of what the people already do in their day jobs. Luckily there are no worries of either of these things happening here and on the first play of The Wiccan I was hooked knowing that there was some dark devilish magic here that I was going to love in its own right. With the aforementioned guitarist and bassist joined by vocalist Marios Dupont and drummer Nick Vell the quartet have constructed 8 hymns of Luciferian majesty without an ounce of fat on them. The immediacy of the album is one of its charms and each and every one of these numbers is chock full of great riffs and burgeoning might that go down a veritable storm and do not leave you feeling short changed in the slightest.
Bouncing straight in with a big groovy backbone ‘Hors de Combat’ rides roughshod with a springing surge to its beat. Gravid vocals join in roaring mightily as it slows down and the main riff then boings back in with snarls backing it up. The melody will already be right in your head and you are going to want to pogo about to this live; luckily the press blurb states festival gigs and tours are to be announced so this is a distinct possibility. Sure there are nuances of both musician’s day jobs to be found here but it is also distinctly different. There is an underlying sense of that dark Nightfall majesty and the stomping demeanour found within RC but the sum parts of the two combined make a new and very potent mass. ‘A true Mayhem’ gets that groove laden beat fired up again over a different and just as infectious tempo, there’s some massive gravity and weight behind it and it’s tempered by some jaunty melodic thrusts and ever more vicious and hungry snarls. It’s impossible to play this album without booting the volume up to dangerous levels and feasting upon it all, to hell with what everyone else in the immediate area thinks, they are going to have trouble keeping still to it themselves.
A sinister and slithering feel is brought into play with the orthodox sound of ‘Spirits Of Amenta’ huge drums boom and symphonic aspects bring palpable atmosphere before it explodes and romps off with a storm of hellish riffs. I can’t find details of where Marios Dupont has been summoned from but his elongated snarls here are excellent and he really plays to the intensity of the instrumentation. Counterpoising this intensity with morbid atmospherics works stunningly on this particular track and makes it into one hell of a banger; once witnessed you are going to be hungering to hear it again. They keep up the intensity throughout too making this one hell of a ride, bristling with fire blazing in its belly. Some of the snarling vocal parts and riff work on tracks like ‘He Who Punishes And Slays’ is a bit reminiscent of mid era Satyricon and tracks like this are just as compulsive as they were at their best. The title track has some great slewed riff-work and the almighty sense of groove could even make this accessible to those who really wouldn’t normally listen to black metal. I could easily see this lot supporting Dimmu Borgir although I doubt they would be allowed as they would probably blow them off the stage. Then again listening to the dark occult atmospheres of ‘Lucifer’s Child’ the track there’s also a bit of the shimmering majesty of Secrets Of The Moon and even Behemoth about its overtly Satanic gaze. With ‘Doom’ bringing things to a craggy ending and the slow stealth of the last couple of numbers glistening with obsidian blackness it’s done at a near perfect 39 minutes after it started and you are going to have real problems not hitting the repeat button and playing again.
The birthing of Lucifer’s child has been a hell of a memorable one and with it comes greatness, all hail the new king!
(8.5/10 Pete Woods)