Here we have the debut from UK metal act Lucifer's Chalice, a four piece band that take their inspiration from '80s doom and the NWOBHM. Rather than deliver your normal Black Sabbath, Pentagram, or St Vitus styled affair, The Pact instead revels in elements of Witchfinder General, Candlemass, Cirith Ungol, Iron Maiden, and Satan, the Shadow Kingdom release containing only four lengthy songs that allow the band to really stretch out and craft some ominous dark heavy metal. The 11-minute opener "Hung at the Crossroads" mixes near operatic vocals with some twisting riffs for a wild ride that features plenty of tasty guitar work, and the near equally lengthy title track ups the tempo a bit but still delivers plenty of dramatic riffing that seems hatched from a 1983 time capsule. There's a certain 'chug 'n' gallop' to "Full Moon Nights" that brings to mind early Iron Maiden...in fact, much of The Pact I wouldn't even really call doom at all, at least not what most of us label as doom these days. Most of the arrangements here at mid-tempo or faster, the bass rumbling, the drums acrobatic, and the guitar riffs heavy yet not dirge laden. "Priestess of Death" starts out somewhat plodding but then kicks into high gear with more of those Maiden/Satan styled weaving guitar riffs, which are really well done and some of the best on the album.
One thing I'm not completely sold on are the vocals of rhythm guitarist CW. At times he has a sort of non-melodic operatic style, and though in spots it kind of fits the music, he's not always pleasing to the ears. I just feel this band would be better served with an actual frontman with a different vocal style, but perhaps CW just needs more time to mature and figure it all out. Either way, this is an intriguing debut for this young band.
01 Hung At The Crossroads
02 The Pact
03 Full Moon Nights
04 Priestess Of Death