Spell Forest

Album Title: 
Lucifer Rex
Release Date: 
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Review Type: 

Spell Forest is quite an ‘old’ band, nowadays terrorizing our globe for more than two decades. They were formed in 1995 in São Paolo, Brazil, with members included from other notorious acts such as Mythological Cold Towers, Vobiscum Inferi, Crux Caelifera, Cruor Cultum and other aural greatness. In Summer last year the band did release their seventh full length album (via France’s Drakkar Productions), but this review deals with a re-release of an older recording, not a new one.

Actually, Lucifer Rex was initially recorded in 2004 and 2005 at the Ancient Valley’s Tower Studio, and released in early Autumn 2005 via Goat Music Records by composer / vocalist / guitar player / keyboardist / lyricist / producer Lord Mephyr (the only member still involved with the band in mean time), bassist Daemon, drummer / co-producer Hamon, and guitarists Vlad D’Hades and Shammash. This re-release comes with two live tracks as bonus, and includes the original (hidden) outro too.

I am a fan of several kinds of Black Metal for about three decades (yes, I’m getting old…), but the ‘traditional’ or so-called Second Wave trend must be one of the mostly preferred ones for sure. So imagine my enthusiasm noticing that these Brazilians are still doing the very same thing they were going through twenty years ago. Spell Forest have always been inspired by the Nineties approach, and that has not changed. But what’s even ‘better’ is the fact that 1) their performance is extremely satisfying, and 2) they are distinctive from the grey masses. I will go little deeper into both aspects.

The ‘distinctive’ approach has to do with things like, for example, the use of keyboards. No, it’s not that using synths or keyboards is an original, renewing thing, for there are hundreds of comparable bands that make use of it. In Spell Forest’s case, the keyboards (and samples) are meant as an important addition. They are not the main instrument (cf. the so-called Symphonic sub-genre), but when used, it’s done with a purpose. Sometimes hidden, then again more prominent; the synths are always performed with eye for grandeur.  Actually, the equilibrium in between all instruments is satisfying. Lord Mephyr’s screams are quite presented at the foreground. I cannot exactly refer to another screamer specifically, but let’s say that this guy’s throat is hoarse and rusty, like barb-wire softly caressing one’s vocal cords. The better part of the tracks is led by melodic guitar leads especially, including some fine tremolo riffs and a couple of nicely-performed solos – the latter not of the thrashing kind, yet rather epic, then again atmospheric. All this gets fiercely backed up by a monumental rhythm section, and the rhythm guitars, basses and drums act like one organic entity, like a heavily supportive character being part of this play. It easily leads me to the sound quality, which is beyond average. It maintains the necessary unpolished rawness, yet it lacks of that under-produced tin can alike noise as well. Hurray, hurray, thrice hurray…

In general, Spell Forest come up with a recognizable approach, not exactly totally different or reinventive. However, they succeed to maintain a certain variety, not only in tempo, yet also in execution. About that tempo: in general, everything is quite speed-up. Especially the blasting drum salvos penetrate the whole with an energy that creates a spirit of war-lust and fearless pride. Yet a couple of slower passages, and the use of (semi) acoustic excerpts, are like a great counterbalance in front of the energetic sonic supremacy that defines Lucifer Rex. Also, give a deeper listen to the bass lines as well, for these too are unique and crafted performed.

In conclusion I dare to say that every dark-minded (human) being that appreciates the blaspheme divinity called Second Wave Black Metal will surely be pleased by Lucifer Rex. It withholds everything that this specific style needs, as mentioned. Okay, if you’re looking for a renewing or modern release, then you’ll better skip this sh*t. but that rather has to do with your infantile and pathetic narrow-mindedness. True Metal-spirits will appreciate this grim album (and I recommend to search for the other Spell Forest albums as well!), and that’s a promise! You won’t be disappointed…