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Lucifer's Friend - Lucifer's Friend CD (album) cover


Lucifer's Friend


Heavy Prog

3.86 | 186 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars If this album had come out in 1973 I would have called these guys a rip off of Uriah Heep's heavy rock numbers. It would have been as though they had listened to songs like "Gypsy", "Time to Live", "Look at Yourself", and "Love Machine" and said, "That's the kind of band we want! Let's make music like that!"

Only the album is from 1970. Uriah Heep had only just released their debut with "Gypsy" and Deep Purple's "In Rock" album was still fairly fresh. There was no excuse; no one to blame. Lucifer's Friend, with its bone- reverberating, fuzz-toned guitar, power chords, its rumbling Hammond organ, its pounding drums and bass, and John Lawton howling and screaming at the mic, was quite simply right there are the starting gate when 1970 delivered this new European take on high-powered, heavy rock music.

I found this album after checking out a playlist of proto-metal bands of the early 70's on YouTube and was floored. I had already heard and acquired albums by several proto-metal bands whose existence I had never heard of previously, but this was something else. Why hadn't I heard of these guys?! As a 1970 album this should have been ringing in the annals of heavy rock history straight through the 70's and into the 80's. But this album, among dozens of other enjoyable but less impressive, never crossed my path until late 2013.

There are no slow songs here. Everything is charged and powered up to full. There are some great heavy riffs and a consistent feeling of power behind the music. The title track features John Lawton wailing out some fantastic screams and there are some superb heavy guitar chords. The album opener pays tribute to Led Zeppelin's "The Immigrant Song" using French horn for Robert Plant's classic vocal intro. There are some short rockers and some longer developed pieces and nothing is short on early metal energy and volume.

This is one hekuva proto-metal album and worth a solid four stars for that. However, this here is a prog site and I honestly hear very little that sounds "progressive". If you consider that what gave progressive rock its name in the first place was the music by bands like King Crimson, Yes, Genesis, ELP, Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator, and Premiata Forneria Marconi then Lucifer's Friend has almost nothing to offer except for the instrumental "Horla" which appears as a bonus track and features some more advanced time signatures. But that's alright because this album doesn't sound like that of a band trying to prove themselves as a rock group performing music for an orchestra. This is pure and simple proto-metal at its finest. I'd give it two stars for prog. But a solidly planted four stars for an early heavy metal album. Split here to three stars.

FragileKings | 3/5 |


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