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Lucifer's Friend - Black Moon

Lucifer's Friend
Black Moon
by Martin Knap at 10 June 2019, 5:47 PM

When it comes to picking albums for review from the Metal Temple promo bin I usually go with bands that I know and enjoy or know I might enjoy. The reasons are simple: first and foremost, I want to have fun listening to the album, which usually translates into having fun reviewing the album, and I have more interesting things to discuss if I know the band’s history and discography. Although one naturally tends to be picky in what one chooses to spend his time listening to and writing about – and what one thinks is worth the reader’s time as well – sometimes mishaps happen and one gets something else then what one has expected. Well this happened to me with the newest LUCIFER’S FRIEND release (I’ve mistaken them for another band with the word “Lucifer” in their name – I guess that is bound to happen when one reviews Metal), but it wasn’t a disappointment, quite the contrary: it was a bit like meeting a long lost friend.

LUCIFER’S FRIEND eponymous album released in 1970 is an undisputed classic. It is a mean and lean beast of an album with a stripped-down guitar and organ sound similar to BLACK SABBATH, LED ZEPPELIN or URIAH HEEP and that is considered a big influence in the development of Heavy Metal. Actually their singer John Lawton later on joined URIAH HEEP as their lead singer with whom he’s recorded three studio albums. LUCIFER’S FRIEND’s sound went into a more experimental direction on their later releases, but the last album that they’ve released before disbanding in 1982 called “Mean Machine” went back to their Hard Rock (or proto-Metal) roots. I honestly wasn’t even aware that the band got back together with three original members in their line-up, including singer John Lawton, but it comes as a good surprise.

Well they are back and they are back to do one thing: to rock and to roll. The new material sounds very much like 70s Hard Rock – it’s not exactly stripped-down, other than guitar and organ there are brass instruments in some songs as well, and there are some really nice instrumental sections and solos (including a trumpet solo), but fans of DEEP PURPLE or URIAH HEEP will feel immediately at home here. Expect no frills Hard Rock with driving guitars, foot-stomping rhythms, big hooks and soaring melodies. The album has ten songs on it which are all very enjoyable and memorable. There are very upbeat songs like the title song, “Rolling the Stone” or “Call The Captain” – I would almost call them “70s party Rock”, but I don’t mean to imply that they are tacky. Other songs like are somber and emotional, I especially like “Passengers” that has an epic sounding chorus that reminds me of DEEP PURPLE or RAINBOW. I even like the ballad “Little Man” which has an almost STEELY DAN vibe to it.

If you’re a fan of the band or 70s Hard Rock you can’t go wrong with this one. It is a well written, well rounded album with great performances and memorable songs. The production is absolutely sweet, everything sounds crisp, warm and organic. This is a comeback worthy a legendary band.

Songwriting: 8
Memorability: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9



4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Black Moon
2. Passengers
3. Rolling the Stone
4. Behind the Smile
5. Palace of Fools
6. Call the Captain
7. Little Man
8. Freedom
9. Taking It to the Edge
10. Glory Days

Lineup:
John Lawton - vocals
Peter Hesslein - guitar
Dieter Horns - bass
Jogi Wichmann - keyboards
Stephan Eggert - drums

Record Label: Cherry Red Records
     


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