Lucifer Over London

i-19aaa168a72796b846ffce341654bbde-current9308020312.jpgDear Reader, have you lately heard much merry folk rock with apocalyptic lyrics about the coming of the Antichrist over London?

My dear friend Asko is, among other things, a war gamer, a geocacher, an antiquarian amateur, a fiction writer and a musician. Hear him play the bass on releases by 90s stoner rock outfit Dear Mutant! (I have heard kickass stuff from the band’s final unreleased album sessions…) Asko recently recommended me a track by Current 93, a band I’d never heard of. Turns out it’s a huge body of recordings from the early 80s onward by occult Englishman David Tibet with various co-musicians. These people link the project to Nurse With Wound, Psychic TV etc.

The song Asko told me to start with is “Lucifer Over London”. I found a live recording from 1994, and as far as I can tell it wasn’t released in any studio version before that. A gothy distorted feedback-laden guitar first plays briefly with the intro to Sabbath’s “Paranoid”, then settles into a folky three-beats-to-the-bar groove, accented by a tambourine. And then David Tibet comes on, a wild-eyed seeker of cosmic truth, not without humorous distance to the dreamy lyrics, yet sounding dangerously prophetic and unhinged. “Current 93” is a concept out of Aleister “Evilest Guy” Crowley’s writings, and Tibet clearly half-believes in it all, Satanism, Christianity or both or none.

Allmusic lists 47 albums by this guy so far, generally giving them very high marks for quality and originality throughout. This is not a musician who bloomed early and then settled into complacency and increasing irrelevance: the reviews imply that he suffered a bit of a quality slump from about ’85 to ’95 (around the age of 30), releasing stellar stuff in great profusion before and after that period. And the excellent “Lucifer Over London” belongs to the slump! Looks well worth delving into, and deliciously underground.

The versions of the lyrics available on the web are much longer than the original and more or less corrupt. They indicate that a 2000 cover version by Greek death metallers Rotting Christ is more popular (or simply more easily available) than the original. I’ve put the lyrics below in line with the Current 93 track. (Isn’t it unbelievably metal for a death guitarist to be named Kostas Vassilakopoulos?)

Lucifer Over London
Lyrics by David Tibet

Twisted wings and clouds unfold
And the great taint of He who fell
Makes darkened shadows
Over pointed spires

Little children point and sing
Little children run and dance
Over there the setting sun
Over there the setting sun
Lucifer over London

Under that the silent stars
Under they the laughing world
Under that the silent skies
Balance sits

In western parts and piles spare spares
In his gabled room
Lucifer over London

All the little Christs I count
Laughing in the green green fields
Some of these angels have the face of Gods
Some of them the face of dogs
Lucifer over London

A golden seabird
Half dead with spray
Evil incense moons
The glint of dead fruits
The shining stars topple

And all this falls
Under his cloak
Lucifer over London

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