Lucifer Was (Norway 1970/1997)


"According to this Norwegian bands history, Lucifer Was came together in 1970 and toiled around for many years without releasing any recorded material. Upon being discovered by the Record Heaven label, the band was convinced to record songs written back in the early 70's which were only played live at the time. Underground and Beyond is the culmination of those songs, a raw and aggressive collection of songs that owes to many of the great bands of that era, including Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Cream, Mountain, and early Scorpions.

Led by guitarist/vocalist Thore Engen, the band featured his pounding and savage riffs complemented by dual flutes. If one can imagine what Jethro Tull would have sounded like if Tony Iommi had chosen to stick around instead of going back to Black Sabbath in 1969, Lucifer Was would be a good example. Hearing the bludgeoning guitar licks dueling it out with manic flutes throughout the bands first CD is quite impressive, and a precursor to the surprise the group had in store for the follow-up, In Anadi's Bower. Here the band brought in a full-time singer named Jon Ruder (previously vocals were shared by Engen and flautist Dag Stenseng), whose vocals sound like a cross between Ian Anderson and Klaus Meine from the Scorpions. In addition, the band now has two Mellotron players, who add even more depth to the songs. One listen to the title track, with its waves of cascading Mellotrons that ultimately gives way to a classic, evil guitar riff from Engen, will send shivers up your spine. Another highlight is the four-part epic "Little Child", that is the most progressive and adventurous song the band has yet recorded. Listeners who love crunchy guitars, wild flute playing, and tons of Mellotron will find much to like with Lucifer Was."

grande-rock.com interview with Thore Engen (guitars and vocals):

Q: Since some people are not familiar with the band, would you like to introduce it to us?

T: The band debuted in 1970 and disbanded in 1976, without any studio-recorded legacy. We belonged to the limited scene of progressive bands in Norway at that time. We played original material but also a few covers. Uriah Heep, (considered very progressive in 1970/71) Jethro Tull, Colosseum etc. The original Lucifer Was Mk. I line-up were two basses, drums, two guitars and organ. Three of us were also handling vocals. Then a change came in 1972, when the line-up became bass, drums, organ, guitar and two flautists who also doubled on saxes. One of the flautists, Dag Stenseng, handled lead vocals, while the other flautist, Anders Sevaldson, and myself also did some vocals. Both versions of the band had Einar Bruu on bass and Kai Frilseth on drums. The entire Mk II version, with the exception of the keyboard player, re-united in 1996 for some live work and also released the CD “Underground And Beyond” in 1997. The follow-up, “In Anadi’s Bower,” was out in 2000. This record featured an expanded version of the group including two mellotron-players. And now, “Blues From Hellah”, with an even more expanded line-up, including two basses again, mellotron, a string quartet and quite some other stuff.

Q; What I find unique is that the band, despite playing this mixture of dark blues-rock makes the listening quite distinct. I guess that one who listens to the album won’t have troubles recognizing the group in the future. What contributed to that?

T: A lot of praise has to go to our producer Rolf Kjernet, as we built a good 75% of the album on an already mixed two-track master tape recorded and mixed down without vocals twenty years ago. The drums, bass, keyboards, background vocals and guitars were there. We transferred the two-track master onto 48-track machinery and added Jon Ruder’s vocals, the string quartet, flutes, etc. I overdubbed some of the guitar parts from the days of old, to get a fatter sound, but still making it sound like one guitar. For both “Armworth” and “Za Za Banshee” we had the original analogue 24-track to work with. I think Rolf did a marvelous job blending the old two-track master seamlessly with all the new music that was added. Also the bits and pieces of mellotron are new digital recordings. When it comes to being recognisable in the future, I’m sure we will be, even if the next one will be a more up-tempo work. I am also currently working in the studio with the recording of another really Grande project called “The Crown Of Creation”. The band name for the rock part of this quite big scale piece are “Raphael”. This is suite written for a chamber-orchestra with 29 musicians plus recorder, solo violin and metallish rock. The classical orchestration is done in collaboration with a present day composer that refuses to die: Dagfinn Koch. He is also the man behind the arrangements for the string quartet on “Blues From Hellah”. Well, this was straying away a bit, but since we were talking strings... and recognition in the future... There will be something from the bad guy, Lucifer (Was), and something from the good guy, Raphael... (buy it)


Lucifer Was - Teddy's Sorrow

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