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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Lucifer's Friend - Awakening

This 2-CD set considers a welcoming return to one of the most often overlooked bands in the history of Progressive Rock. Lucifer’s Friend are a Hard/Prog Rock band that formed in Hamburg in 1969 and they are perhaps one of the most cult following groups that released their mind-blowing self-titled debut album and were often pioneers of early Heavy Metal in the time period with the essence of Deep Purple and Iron Maiden thrown in, thanks to the voice of John Lawton.

Lawton’s voice captures the essence of Lucifer’s Friend’s music as I could imagine people like the late great Ronnie James Dio of Rainbow/Black Sabbath and Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden looked up to him. He carries the sounds of Ian Gillian and David Coverdale both the in the Purple sound and he nails it through the high-ranging voices that he brings to give it a real jolt!

They went on to release six albums before John jumped ship to join up with Uriah Heep and the band called it a day in 1982. Twenty years later, they are back and are going to headline the Sweden Rock Festival. And I can imagine the fans flying or going there to witness the return of one of the most mind-blowing bands that will make their jaws-drop at the right moment.

Songs like the driven eruptive yet blistering adventure for the Ride the Sky, kicks things off into high gear. Blaring guitars, roaring Organs, and an explosive French horn section done by Peter Hecht and not to mention his touch of Jon Lord’s homage on the instrument, it is a killer! In the Time of Job is raw and a riding adventure that resembles the glory days of Atomic Rooster while they show their softer side on Burning Ships.

On this track, they have a lukewarm acoustic upbeat tempo as John calms his voice so that he along with Peter Hesslein lay down the calm momentum as the horn of the ships sound off for another trip down by the ocean and watch the boats go off into exploration. But then they moved away from the Prog Rock sound, into more of a Hard Rock sound which is evidential in the sounds of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow on Fugitive.

You have to love Dieter Horns bass starting off with a pumping introduction as he goes into an enthralling sound as he takes center stage to go not just into a Metal sound, but a touch of Jazz on his instrument to give it a score for the suspect on the run from the police. But even though they carry the hard rock sound, there’s also the Album Orientated Rock sound which they did extremely well on the piano thumping and ‘80s rocking punch that could have been an FM favorite in the resemblance of the Scorpions for Fire and Rain and heading out into the highway with heavy guitar rhythms and riffs on Hey Driver.

The second disc features new tracks including the symphonic and futuristic orchestral for Pray and the heavy moog done by Yugi Wichman and guitars followed by Stephan Eggart’s drumming is elevated on Riding High. There’s also the thunderous and majestic sounds between rhythm and lead guitar, drums, and keyboards that is soon going to be a sing-along fan favorite for Did You Ever as they close it off in the styles of a sliding bluesy twist on the crossroads to continue for This Road.

While this is my introduction into the music of Lucifer’s Friend, I was on the edge of my seat almost head-banging to each track and just couldn’t get enough of their music. Even the original albums might be either out of print or hard to find, this is a perfect introduction for the band’s music in my opinion. This is an amazing compilation and welcoming return for a group that could have given Led Zeppelin and UFO a big run for their money.

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