Published on Thursday, 24 January 2013 20:57
Band: Mandragora Scream
Album title: Luciferland
Release date: 21 November 2012
Label: Lunatic Asylum Records
01. The Chant Of Furies
02. Hekate - En Erebos Phos
05. The Illusionist
07. The Veil Of Neith
08. Six Grains Of Pomegranate
09. Night's Master (Azhrarn & Sivesh)
11. Love For Endymion
12. Lucifer's Ballade
13. Titan - Extraterrestrial Suicide
14. Lucifer's Lullaby
And here it comes, the fifth studio album from Italian vampires Mandragora Scream. Till now we have witnessed to two different faces of this group led by charismatic singer Morgan Lacroix. I've enjoyed a lot their third album Madhouse and their own kind of gothic metal, released in 2006, but I was disappoited very much with their popy electro goth on previous one, Volturna. So, my expectations were mixed and of course I was wondering which way they'll gonna go this time.
Luciferland is luckily taking its main vibe from pre-Volturna era and that's good, but it also implements the sound with interesting use of electronics and many modern touches used on previous one. Yes, there are some cheesy popy rhytms, but this album is much more gothic metal oriented than before mentioned experimental Volturna. You can also notice some typical and bravely inserted gothic rock, industrial and classical music lines. Mandragora Scream are not afraid to experiment, sometimes they succeed, but also fail, and Luciferland has both sides.
The first half of Luciferland is amazing, after a dark intro they show all their true creative power in "Hekate - En Erebos Phos", where seductive, erotic, diverse and dark vocals from Morgan, together with nice guitar work, strong drum beats, impressive atmospheric keyboards and all gloom that sorrounds it make an astonishing atmosphere. In a way it brings back the memory of songs like "Nightfall", but in much more modern suit. Also the following one "Persephone" with obscure, playful background electronics and catchy refrain with, again great keys, does the job. As a surprise there comes next one "Anubis", with strange industrial, combative and very dynamic piano touches, enriched with some classic strings is a joy and a refreshment at the same time. Also "The Illusionist" and pop suited hit, sexy "Medusa" offers a lot, although there is something missing and that must be the kind of climax as they used to reach in some songs on before mentioned album Madhouse, for example. Sometimes they are very near to reach that, but somehow they, like that it was intended, pull everything back when they shouldn't. What follows next is not that impressive, though not bad at all. There are a lot of classical string instrumentations used to get everything one level higher, but somehow the band has at this point lost in dynamics from the first half of album. Neither typical metal vocal lines sangt by guitarist Terry Horn in a couple of songs can save the thing and it works out somehow mellow. The real problem is that they can't manage to keep the listener focused and interested. Probably the problem is in too many songs (fourteen) and some songs just don't have enough energy, passion, dynamics and special atmosphere. So, some tracks give an impression to be just unnecessary fillers. O.K. there are still some nice tunes, for example "Night's Master (Azhrarn & Sivesh)" has a marvelous synth job and the drive similar to Swedish goth metal masters Tiamat. Fortunately the ending is also enjoyable, "Lucifer's Lullaby" is a really nice erotic, catchy and seductive popy tune and it settles easily in your head.
Luciferland is still an enjoyable album, you don't have to play all songs as some could be easily missed and album won't lost any of its charm. I'm more than happy to hear Mandragora Scream bringing back that passion which they once had, although it doesn't shine as it should, but it gives the faith in them and most important is that the band still can make great songs. Album is also well done from productional and mixing side. Luciferland is a fresh air and recommended to all past fans of the band, alike to all lovers of modern dark sounds.
Review written by: T.V.