Salutations, Trav’lrs. The closing of the year is nigh, and the night hath brought with it one final gift, a closing sacrament before Last Rites begins its end-of-year rituals of reflection. This cursed gift is the first glimpse at the rabid beast that is Lucifixion, a band that evokes the bestial spirit in the old ways of black metal. This glimpse comes in the form of their aptly titled debut demonstration, Feral Mass.
The title of the demo is certainly appropriate, as Lucifixion’s sound is that of an unholy liturgy delivered in the name of all that is violent. Terrifyingly rabid, the second-wave tremolo riffs are spawned with animalistic intensity, frothing at the mouth with bone-chillingly grating distortion. There’s a lot of emphasis on the high end, but it still has fangs: There is so much bite to the sounds on this demo! The drums match the frantic pace of the guitar. Crisp snares strike with precision in an instinctual, frenzied rhythm. Quick switches from manic blasts to pulverizing running kicks fuel the violent heart of the Feral Mass. The moment the blasts return out of the heart-pounding transition just around the 1:45, coupled with the whooping, wolf-like howls in the vocals, sends a sadistic wave of satisfaction across the spinal column as the violence returns. It’s a stripped-down kit, with little-to-no tom work, but so much attention is given to the occasional inspired rimshot or use of accents in the snare fills that it never feels wanting of anything. It’s as though the playing itself is fed by the violent spirit of the music.
The singular, nine-minute track does show a bit of diversity without losing the adrenaline-addled virus that pumps through its blackened heart. The mid-section breakdown continues the tremolo storm, but evokes less animalistic violence and more a feeling of oncoming doom before the climax rips the victim to pieces. It’s a moment that feels like a surrender to total bloodlust before the madness returns in chaotic furor. The song’s conclusion, with its steadier, driving tempos and hopeless, desperate cries feels like the rabid infection finally bringing it’s hold over the murderous soul to a torturous demise. It’s truly a cruel and fitting end to the maniac rampage.
No melancholic, thoughtful piano. No somber atmosphere. No heart-wrenching melodies or romanticizing a past that never happened. Lucifixion is fucking raw and immediate. No frills, no bullshit, strictly the worship of instinctual, animalistic violence. Something timeless, something bestial that lurks within the more primal section of the human mind. Something wicked has been unleashed with Feral Mass. The demo comes with a promise of “a venomous prelude of greater things to come,” and if the music within is any indication, the first LP is already something to look forward to in 2022.
Feral Mass is available on cassette and digital formats on the Sentient Ruin Laboratories Bandcamp page.