Gazing at the Flocks is the third full length from Martyr Lucifer, the project of the eponymous leader of Hortus Animae. As we’ve already seen in the past, here we don’t find traces of black metal, but a mature and well-groomed sound, straddling dark wave and gothic with more than one alternative digression; also for this reason, the album flows in a rather linear and pleasant manner, without needing several listens to appreciate the good melodic cues and choruses scattered within it. Here, perhaps this deceptive sensation of lightness may be the only limit to a well-crafted work that features, in addition to the Romagnolo musician with his deep timbre and very well suited to the genre, the Ukrainian vocalist Leìt, the well-known Adrian Erlandsson on drums and the excellent Hungarian Nagaarum on guitar, as well as Simone Mularoni to provide his contribution in the recording studio not only on the other side of the glass but also on bass. The result is therefore more than satisfying, all the more so after realising that, in fact, with each successive passage through the player many tracks reveal interesting nuances that escaped the first approach; if, on the one hand, we are not faced with an epochal work, Martyr Lucifer must be acknowledged for having assembled a work devoid of particular weaknesses but, if anything, with several peaks represented by the persuasive Benighted & Begotten (the vocal duet is remarkable) and the central Feeders, aka Heterotrophy / Saprotrophy and Leda and the Swan Pt. In the end, one is left with the impression of having listened to quality music, undoubtedly in the wake of the guiding bands of the genre (Tiamat, The 69 Eyes) but also, at times, of soloist Peter Murphy, which is indicative of a diffuse obscurity that envelops Gazing at the Flocks, giving it an aura that is in its own way different from the models mentioned. In essence, Gazing at the Flocks is an album that deserves different attention from that which is very often paid to impromptu parallel projects; Martyr Lucifer, despite the monicker referring to the individual musician, has all the features of the band proper and should be considered as such, with all the positivities that this implies.

2018 – Seahorse Recordings