It has been close to four years since the last time Dutch death metal band Lucifericon released material, but that’s about to change with the upcoming ‘Brimstone Altar’ EP. Due out later this month on CD from Invictus Productions with a vinyl version from Blood Harvest Records on May 2nd, this is the type of dark death metal where you can feel the evil and otherworldly atmosphere pouring out each and every note.
We’re excited to have the chance to premiere The Jaws of Time, which is exactly the type of track that makes it clear Lucifericon is a band you should be paying attention to. It comes roaring out of the gate with faster death metal riffing that grabs you right by the throat, with a slower ominous sounding section that is well placed about halfway through. Check out the song below as well as an extensive interview with bassist/vocalist Rob Reijnders that talks about ‘Brimstone Altar’ as well as the band’s future plans.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): Thanks for taking time to answer these questions, I know a lot of people are going to be psyched to hear ‘Brimstone Altar’ since they’ve been waiting four years for new material! It looks like you spent a good portion of last year recording, but when were the three songs for the EP written and when did they start to really take shape?
Lucifericon: HELL-O at TOMetal.com; yes we hope that the gap between the 1st release and the new one wasn’t too long for people to lose interest in us. We didn’t plan to take this long but things took a different turn unfortunately. Most of the new EP’s material was written still with our first drummer…albeit in very rough form some time in 2013 and early 2014. We started shaping them a bit more in first half of 2015 when we changed some riffs and started fine-tuning the details until they were finished. We started recording the drums in August and we did everything ourselves recording the rest and making a rough mix for ourselves. That was about done at the end of November and we sent it all to Underworld Studio to get it re-done properly.
TO: Compared to the recording sessions for ‘The Occult Waters’, is there anything you approached differently this time around?
Lucifericon: Yes, very much so. For ‘The Occult Waters’ we recorded all the basics as a band fully live in the studio and recorded the arrangements ourselves later. This time we recorded everything separately. Recording in a live fashion does really suit us very well…but we thought we could improve our sound a little more since you have more control on the recordings compared to live recordings. The only thing we needed to keep in there is our “dynamics” and “feel” that we had on ‘The Occult Waters’. That sounded very natural. But I think we succeeded in that.
TO: Since ‘The Occult Waters’ came out in 2012, you’ve had some line-up changes, with drummer Tim Verheijden joining your ranks last year. How did you recruit him and what made him the right guy for the job?
That is correct. Our first drummer left some time around April 2014. After we had played Neurotic Deathfest over here in Tilburg. We we’re already in touch with Roel from Inhume (ex-God Dethroned, Asphyx etc.) for a possible collaboration in case our drummer decided to leave. But because of busy schedules and the summer holidays, it took until late September 2014 for him to try out a rehearsal with us. But after that …he joined…and we started rehearsing for him to learn our songs and to prepare for our first 2 shows in 2015. Things went well and we felt we were back on track with full firepower. When the summer of 2015 approached we had planned to start the ‘Brimstone Altar’ recordings at the end of June, starting with the drums. Then we got a call from Roel saying he had some personal issues that needed to be addressed and he had to drop some of his projects in order to do so. So there we were again, back to square one, without a drummer. Around the time our first drummer left and before we were talking to Roel we had already asked Tim Verheijden if he would be interested in playing drums for us but he said he was too busy at the time so it was impossible. I didn’t know him personally back then but I knew him from some of the bands he was in so I knew that he was a good player. So when Roel left we contacted him again to see if this time around he would at least do session work to record the new EP and do the last 2 gigs for 2015 with us. After he rehearsed throughout July with us, preparing for the recordings that we had postponed until the middle of August, Tim said he really liked our stuff and he was enjoying the vibe in the band, and asked if he could say as a permanent member in case Roel wasn’t coming back. I called Roel to hear his thoughts and he said… go for it. So here we are again finally complete again… and back on track. That’s the story of why it took so long to get a 2nd release out.
TO: Your previous material kept things on the shorter side, but this time around you’ve written a much longer song in the form of the almost eleven and a half minute Witch of the Cosmic Grave. There’s a noticeable shift towards even more occult atmosphere that is given more time to spread outwards and it comes together perfectly with the heavier hitting sections. Were there any particular challenges writing longer tracks, and can we expect more of these in the future from Lucifericon?
Lucifericon: Well, I think Moon Over Fading Statues had some epicness on the 1st EP. But I have to say all the writing that has been done was all natural progression for us. Not something we chose to do on purpose. It just happened that way. We don’t really follow any rules of looking at other genres when it comes to writing. We just come up with riffs and see if they are good enough no matter if it is black, thrash, speed or death metal. If it’s good… then we’ll use it. We don’t wanna limit ourselves to just one playing style. The only thing we do look at is that we try and make all the music we write as dark as we possibly can. As for the rest… you never know what you can expect from us …but that the music will be dark, is a sure thing.
TO: Blood Harvest will be releasing ‘Brimstone Altar’ on vinyl with Invictus Productions handling a digipack CD version later in the year. I would say those are two of the best underground metal labels out there right now, so it’s great you’re able to work with both! How did this collaboration with both labels come about?
Lucifericon: After we had released ‘The Occult Waters’ on CD ourselves, somehow Blood Harvest had heard it and contacted us that they wanted to release it on LP. We discussed a contract…all agreed…and that was it. They have been very cool with us and have been very patient since it took so long for us to get going again after all the drummer debacles. Darragh from Invictus is a longtime friend of mine and he showed interest from the start also. So when we were ready to record the ‘Brimstone Altar’ EP we contacted each other again and the deal was done. The CD will actually be out before the LP. Thus very soon..!! I’m very pleased to have the release out on 2 labels that are fans of the underground and true to what they do and stand for.
TO: Manuel Tinnemans from Comaworx did the artwork for ‘Brimstone Altar’ as well as your newest shirt design, and both look absolutely incredible. How does what he’s put together for the art tie in to the elements of the occult you’re exploring on this EP?
I’ve known Manuel for a long time. He’s done the artwork for our good mates in Pentacle for many years now. I have always liked his work so it was more than natural that we asked him to do some work for us. I think about my lyrics quite a bit along with the art for the band. Everything you read and see for Lucifericon has some thought to it all. When Manuel starts working on material for us we always discuss what the content of the idea is. He is into the same stuff as I am to a certain degree so he understands me quite well and the results of the works for the band come out killer. The cover for the new MLP is absolute madness !! There are more shirt designs in progress as we speak with designs by him. So keep an eye out…!!!
TO: Going along with the previous question, there are so many elements of the occult and different paths that one can head in. What are your primary influences that are explored through your music?
Lucifericon: Very good question. I took an interest in the occult/esoteric/magic ever since my teenage years but there was never a time where I had the ability to express them. The first chance I had to do so was my previous band Sun’s Blood but that band died before making a name out there. So when we started Lucifericon I picked it up and expanded on it. Besides occult topics (Crowley, Spare, Levi, Grant, etc. etc.) I’m also interested in science and a few other things. To be a follower of a path is to limit oneself. So I look around and delve into what I find interesting, and I use it to strengthen my own path that I pave for myself. No rules, no following, only creating and uncreating. It is the only way to exalt and become a higher self !
TO: The ‘Vestibule of Hell’ compilation from Wolfsbane Records recently came out after being in the works for two years, and you contributed a song titled Omega Therion. Was this song from before the ‘Brimstone Altar’ time period, and what can listeners expect from this track?
Lucifericon: Yes it is from way before. We recorded the drums 2 years before the release finally came out a few weeks ago. We finished recording and mixing and mastering it some time in June/July 2014. We delivered it to Wolfsbane Records in August 2014 if I’m not mistaken. The track is based around one thrashy riff that is very Slayer-esque. It’s got a few real headbanger parts in there and a chorus that is heavy and atmospheric at the same time. The lyrics are Crowley inspired and deal with becoming the master of self (Master Therion), the magician of magicians (the Magus) and eventually evolve into god-hood.
TO: One of the elements I like the most about your material is that otherworldly atmosphere that is pouring out of every note. You’ve nailed it on record, how are you able to replicate this particular element of your music in a live setting?
Lucifericon: Thanks for saying so. We think that is one sole character that sets us apart from a lot of bands out there. I think we have a natural distinct sound and we use no trickery to record anything. We are exactly the way we channel all this stuff. When we play live this is just the same.
TO: You’re heading over to Dublin for Unconquered Darkness Fest at the end of April. How’s it feel to be part of such a killer lineup? What else do you have planned as far as live performances for the rest of 2016?
Lucifericon: We’re looking forward to going there. The line-up looks very promising. A lot of bands that will be playing then are also very dark entities…so we would fit in pretty well I’d say. In the summer we are booked for Metal Magic Fest in Denmark. At the moment nothing more is booked. I haven’t been out there much this year to get a lot more gigs. We finally have some time (and a drummer to try out stuff) to write more music. We don’t wanna wait so long again before the next release and hopefully it will be a full-length this time. We have set out frameworks for 4 new tracks and there’s more riffs in the cauldron to be stirred up.
TO: In recent years there have been more and more reissues of old death metal albums from the late 80s and early to mid-90s, with Vic Records in particular unearthing a lot of material from the Netherlands. Since you’re from there, what are some of the most under-appreciated Dutch death metal albums that you feel haven’t gotten the attention they deserve?
Lucifericon: I’ve noticed the releases on Vic Records. In fact, they showed interest in releasing ‘Brimstone Altar’ which was very cool of them, but I had already come to an agreement with Invictus. Well one that comes to mind is a band that should’ve become more well-known, and definitely outside of the Netherlands is Acrostichon. They did a kazillion shows over here and almost got signed to Peaceville Records. Sold quite a bunch of demos and were overall appreciated, but a certain amount of success never came for them. Inquisitor is another example. But there are a lot more like that.
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Brimstone Altar’ or Lucifericon in general?
We’re happy to have a drummer back in the band and to be able to proceed with the writing process and do a bunch of gigs. Writing is our priority at the moment and then we’ll see what happens next. The CD version will be a digipack and is out at end of this month on Invictus Productions and the LP version on Blood Harvest is set for release on May 2nd. We have 2 shows lined up. One is on Unconquered Darkness Festival in Dublin on May 1st. The other one is in the summer on Metal Magic Festival in Denmark 7-8-9 of July. See flyers below. If people wanna contact us then here’s some info for that:
Thanks a lot for the interview,
All the beast !!!