“And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).”
Some groups believe that the ‘devil’ originated as an angel who fell out of favour with God, eventually settling on a path of seducing humanity into the ways of sin and leading us astray. Crucifyre do not hide their identity like Satan. The striking artwork depicts a family of fragile angels drinking blood at a dinner table, from the ‘Bathory’ inspired font dangles a crucifix and the littered track listing declaring the obvious evil within (funerals, fires, Satan, death and revenge).
Black Magic Fire is the sophomore release from the Swedish band; coming four years after ‘Infernal Earthly Divine’. The four piece are experienced musicians and have spent time in bands such as: Afflicted, Morbid, Crematory, General Surgery, Nasum, Kaamos and Repugnant. The band are quite obviously deeply engrained in this style of music, and they make a strong case, but its difficult to believe and take semi-seriously. We have heard this all so many times before.
‘Black Magic Fire’ has plenty going for it though, there are many highlights within. The vocals are at times delivered with such fury and disgust, its quite scary hearing the wrathful screech at the beginning of the title track. The slow Sabbath feel to the beginning of ‘Funeral Pryre’ is well received after the previous thrash ripper ‘Baphomet’s Revenge’ and ‘Faces of Death’ is a Slayer monument if you have ever heard one, the vehement manner that leads up to the vocal “Faces Of Death” is the offspring to ‘Angel of Death’ .
The lyrical phrasing on ‘Pentagram Palms’ shows that this band can seriously write when they want to: “Of course I’ll raise my right hand, because you see I’ve got Pentagram palms” its catchy, but its nice to hear after questioning the efforts on the ‘Apocalypse Whore’ and ‘Black Magic Fire’ whereby those phrases are just repeated upwards of a dozen times. Solo’s accompany the last minute of most tracks, some variety here would have lessened the agitation you can experience, its technically efficient but should be used more sparingly.
The front half of ‘Anneliese’ is an example of killer writing and execution with two interweaving guitar leads, a perfectly placed drum pattern and settled bass line before a rapturous assault in unison ensues. However stagnant vocal and a weak back end tarnishes things somewhat. The closing track ‘One and One is One’ is immediate in its grasp, the introductory vocals are a nice change up; other than the slower murmur of ‘Funeral Pyre’ its like weathering a vocal storm at times, and more of this would have made the album more dynamic. The clutch moment really arrives with the lead guitar riff at 1:41, assisted by Hank Shermann (Mercyful Fate, ex-Volbeat, Force Of Evil) it’s a cracking riff.
The technical aspects of this album are top notch. ‘Black Magic Fire’ was recorded, mixed and mastered at X-Level Studios (ABBA, Roxette, Lady GaGa, etc) and it shows that Crucifier do take their art extremely seriously, it just requires a more rounded effort to take that next step in this genre. Crucifyre have a little refinement to endure, and its mainly centred around the songwriting, structure and placement of ideas and concepts, but the highlights here show that they have the devil within.
Overall a good album, just not good enough to be considered great.
1 – Apocalypse Whore
2 – Black Magic Fire
3 – Pentagram Palms
4 – Baphomets Revenge
5 – Funeral Pyre
6 – Faces of Death
7 – Through The Darkness
8 – Anneliese
9 – Wolfs Hour
10 – One and One is One