Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography


Lucifer's Friend

Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Lucifer's Friend Lucifer's Friend album cover
3.86 | 186 ratings | 15 reviews | 37% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ride the Sky (2:55)
2. Everybody's Clown (6:12)
3. Keep Goin' (5:26)
4. Toxic Shadows (7:01)
5. Free Baby (5:28)
6. Baby You're a Liar (3:55)
7. In the Time of Job When Mammon Was a... (4:04)
8. Lucifer's Friend (6:12)

Total Time 41:13

Bonus tracks on 1990 CD release:
9. Rock 'n' Roll Singer (4:21)
10. Satyr's Dance (3:17)
11. Horla (2:52)
12. Our World Is a Rock 'n' Roll Band (3:20)
13. Alpenrosen (3:53)

Bonus tracks on 2008 remaster:
9. Horla (2:53)
10. Lucifer's Friend (radio edit) (3:39)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Lawton / lead vocals
- Peter Hesslein / guitar, vocals
- Peter Hecht / organ, piano, French horn (1)
- Dieter Horns / bass, vocals
- Joachim Rietenbach / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Juligan Studio

LP Philips ‎- 6305 068 (1970, Germany)

CD Repertoire Records ‎- RR 4059-CX (1990, Germany) With 5 bonus tracks
CD Revisited Rec. ‎- SPV 50902 CD (2008, Germany) Remaster by Willem Makkee w/ 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy LUCIFER'S FRIEND Lucifer's Friend Music

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Lucifer's Friend ratings distribution

(186 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(37%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(36%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Lucifer's Friend reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This debut album by Germany rock band really rocks! If you wanna hear something that's truly classic rock, this one is definitely in. The combination of high octave voice of John Lawton and dynamic, solid and inventive bass lines of Dieter Horns, stunning electric guitar of Peter Hesslein is really hard to compare with other bands. Their music is a blend of classic rock with blues music influence, energetic beat and uplifting mood. Be prepared with the hard driving rhythm section even though it's not as heavy (or as fast) as power metal music that was invented later.

From the album opener Ride In The Sky with upbeat and fast tempo music and elephant sound like guitar / organ work reminds me to later work of King Crimson in Elephant Talk tune (Discipline), the music flows smoothly to another blues-based rock music right through until Lucifer's Friend (track 8). The other 5 tracks are actually bonus material. Everybody's Clown (6:12) is an excellent track with tight bass lines and stunning electric guitar. The bass guitar solo in the middle of the track augmented with electric guitar work is probably the most beautiful segment of this song. Keep Goin' (5:26) is a classic rock track with electric guitar sound reminiscent of Steve Marriott and Peter Frampton styles with blues based rhythm section. It's an excellent track. The electric guitar solo backed with solid bass lines at the back during interlude section is really stunning!

Toxic Shadows (7:01) was once a hit in my country when I was childhood and lately this song has been repeatedly aired in our local FM classic rock station radio, in Jakarta. The opening organ sound and its accompanying guitar, bass and drum work is really memorable and have become legend to those who lived in the 70s era. Wow! I remember vividly the first time I heard this tune - oh man . I kept emulating how the walking bass sounds were played through bass guitar. Especially, when the bass guitar takes solo and then followed with stunning guitar solo. It's so fantastic bass work! Great guitar sound! The sound of the seventies, my friend! Whenever I listen to this song I always remember the glory years of seventies where rock music was the only music that ruled the world.

Free Baby (5:28) opens with staccato style of organ work followed with continuous rocking music with blues touch and powerful singing style. Again, bass still contributes nicely in the song composition. Baby You're a Liar (3:55) continues with blues rock style and dynamic drumming. In the Time of Job When Mammon Was a Yippie (4:04) and the concluding track Lucifer's Friend maintain the same spirit and style of Lucifer's Friend's music. The five bonus tracks are good track as well. It's highly recommended album, especially if you want to hear the true sound of seventies. Yeah, you will find that even the sonic quality of this album truly represents the seventies quality. Keep on proggin' .!!!

Progressively yours,


Review by Sean Trane
4 stars L'sF's debut album cannot escape comparisons with many other superb hard prog- influenced rock of the era and namely Uriah Heep (the obvious link being singer Lawton) , but also Atomoc Rooster , and a bit Purple and Sabbath. But L'sF was a German band and it might be easier to compared this album withg early Birth Control , early Wallenstein , early Jane , early Frumpy etc.... I think you got enough names to get a good idea on how this albums sounds.

But I will spend time trying to make you understand on how the album feels: there is a real sortof enthusiasm , joie de vivre and the funtheyu had on this album is really contagious that it is the antithesis of the grim artwork sleeve. To tell you the truth , I had seen this album from the mid-70's onward in record shops , but this ugly cover never pushed me to discover the band until fairly recently. The opening track with manic and frantic yelling is really perking your attention and the communicative power of the tracks is impressive as are other superb tracks such as Toxic Shadow and Everybody's Clown as well as the eponymous track (funny the Sabbath did almost 12 months before this album a track that that had for title the same as their name and debut album) all reveal excellent ability of the musos at their respective instruments ( but I will point out bassist Horns as especially impressive) and their the feeling however the Satanic name is not somber at all (Black Widow's debut album was very up and joyful also unlike Sabbath's debut album) that personally I never saw this band as Satanic whatsoever .

The five bonus tracks , however are a little out of the context of the great debut album , (some of the titles evoking the third album) displaying correct but brassy rock'n roll except for Satyr's Dance and Alpenrosen which are more in line with the album proper.

Review by LinusW
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars An album that's been lurking in my sub-conscious for a very long time now. I can suddenly find myself humming along to the music and random vocal lines, while not being totally sure what it is I'm singing. And when digging in memory Lucifer's Friend eponymous debut is sure to get another play-through.

It's a noisy, abrasive bunch of tight songs with fuzzy '70s production, comparable to Deep Purple and Uriah Heep of the same period. Massive salvos of sounds such as this one is hard to ignore and works its way into your ears no matter what. It might not be of everybody's liking, that's for sure, but even if that's how you feel, you just can't ignore it. Crushing guitar and rumbling Hammond organ is all over the place and should please every fan of hard rock from the time. My favourite aspect of the album is still the excellent bass player, Dieter Horns. His sound may be drowning behind the flow of the other instruments at times, but it still manages to shine through the thick fog created by the organ.

Speaking of the organ, it's primarily used in creating that power this music is well-known and celebrated for. Constantly bursting out in short and powerful segments, it shouldn't be neglected when the occasional solo or intricacy shows up. And this aside, who can feel honestly disappointed when being the target of a perfectly synchronised attack of Hammond, guitar and bass?

Understandably, this description could just as well be one for many other similar bands. Lucifer's Friend can't be put away in the 'generic' drawer because of this. Next to Purple and Heep, Lucifer's Friend shows its teeth by adding a certain acid/psych touch to the album. Hawkwind often comes to mind, even though they aren't that closely related. But the smoky, trippy and spiritual atmosphere that characterises especially the less heavy parts - calling them mellow is out of question - sends me off in the heavy acid/psych direction. The ethereal screams from John Lawton have exactly the same effect. The man has been gifted with a great voice, as fans of Uriah Heep probably are well aware off.

In between these excellent parts, I do sometimes wrinkle my forehead thinking 'Is this a new song, or am I still listening to the previous one?' They are admittedly quite alike one another, and the constant blaze of organ and guitar does nothing to change or prevent this. Alas, a slight problem with lack of definition is born. No reason to bother, if you're really into this stuff, what does it matter if every song is just as good as the others?

3,5 stars.


Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Any friend of Lucifer's is a friend of mine

To say that this album (and this band) is underrated is something of an understatement. This debut album came out in 1970, the same year as Black Sabbath's debut, the same year as Deep Purple's In Rock, Led Zeppelin's third as well as Uriah Heep's debut - and it sounds absolutely fresh and forward-looking considering the year of release. Hence, this German/British band must have invented Heavy Metal pretty much simultaneously (and independently?) of these more well-known mastodons of early Metal (or Proto-Metal, if you like). And that is quite impressive, I think! But who ever talks about Lucifer's Friend now? Sadly, no too many.

For listening pleasure this is not too bad either, and it is even up to par with some of the more famous bands I mentioned above! This debut is not be the best album by Lucifer's Friend, however. Their second album is even better! But this debut is more important for historical reasons. Had this album been released a couple of years later it could perhaps have been dismissed as a good clone of other bands, but this was released in 1970, after all. Anyone with an interest in the early development of heavy music, and heavy progressive music in particular, should not miss out on this album. Indeed, this is essential listening!

The vocals are very good, and the guitars and keyboards are well played and not at all sloppy like many early Heavy Metal contemporaries. Ride In The Sky, Everybody's Clown and the title track are all great songs.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars From the disturbing album cover to the band's name, you might think that this German band is following BLACK SABBATH's lead back in 1970. Well not quite.The music isn't as dark or quite as heavy, and the organ really plays a prominant role in LUCIFER'S FRIEND's sound. British vocalist John Lawton is fantastic here, and I agree with Vibrationbaby who compares his vocals to Ronnie James Dio. Of course Lawton would go on to sing for URIAH HEEP. I really dig this style of music, and it's really well played with some great songs.

The first track "Ride The Sky" was the first single they released in the U.S.A., and it granted them some success there. It's the only song where the organ takes a back seat, and it's the most SABBATH- like. It opens with Lawton yelling out before a SABBATH-like heavy rhythm comes throbbing in. "Everybody's Clown" features more heaviness and the organ and bass are prominant.The vocals are outstanding ! Nice guitar solo after a minute. It settles a minute later before Lawton yells and the song kicks back in.The organ is great. "Keep Goin'" is my favourite track on here. Love the guitar intro.This is dark and sinister sounding. Vocals before a minute are reserved for the first time as it calms down. Check out his vocals as he starts to get more passionate. It kicks back in. Fantastic organ followed by a guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. Nice bass lines too.Themes are repeated.

"Toxic Shadows" opens with organ as a full sound comes in quickly. Raw guitar with vocals before a minute. Nice. It settles before 3 minutes with some steller bass, then this wondrous guitar solo comes in and goes on and on until after 5 1/2 minutes when the vocals return. A top three track for sure. "Free Baby" opens with this cool sounding pulsating organ as bass and drums join in with guitar then vocals. Great sound here. A nice heavy soundscape throughout with the ever-present pulsating organ. Some excellent guitar after 2 1/2 minutes. "Baby Your A Liar" opens with some power before the song settles into a more catchy mode. A calm after 1 1/2 minutes is blown away quickly by guitar and organ. Killer endng ! "In The Time Of Job When Mammon Was A Yippie". What ? This is an uptempo rocker with some vocal melodies before 2 minutes. An instrumental interlude follows with lots of organ. I like this song.

"Lucifer's Friend" reminds me of DEEP PURPLE.Some atmosphere to open with some spooky sounds.The music then kicks in and vocals arrive after a minute. Killer guitar solo 2 1/2 minutes in. Organ solo 4 1/2 minutes in. One of the bonus tracks called "Horla" is a rip snorting instrumental.The guitar lights it up big time to open. Drums take over 1 1/2 minutes in, bass joins in.Guitar is back then more killer drumming. Incredible instrumental display.The only other bonus track on my cd is a radio edit of "Lucifer's friend".

Recommended to BLACK SABBATH and DEEP PURPLE fans.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This rather confidential German band certainly deserves some attention, in particular for the ones who appreciate a band like the Heep with some heavier feel ā la Sabbath ("Ride In The Sky"). Surprisingly enough, their vocalist is not German and will spend a huge time afterwards as the lead singer of ?the Heep (Lawton).

The music is certainly heavy, but the extensive use of keys provides a great feeling. It is amazing to figure out that this album was released some forty years ago and that this band didn't receive more credit neither at the time, nor later for this very good album is quite unfortunate.

To be honest, I had never heard of the band in the seventies; but it was a good surprise to discover them some years ago thanks to PA.

There is not much I can add to the reviews posted before: this is great hard to heavy rock with loads of pumping keys (hi Jon & Ken), strong bass play (Keep Goin') and fine guitar riffs as well. I have to say that John Lawton is particularly convincing as well. Especially during "Keep Going" that is my favourite song of the whole album.

There is indeed a certain Purple affinity as well ("Toxic Shadows"). When you listen to "In Rock" in parallel with this "Lucifer's Friends" debut, the comparison is quite obvious. Great references for sure?

The whole album is quite pleasant to listen to (if you like the early days of hard rock music of course). The comparison of their German counterparts ("Jane", "Birth Control") is totally accurate as well. In all; the music performed should please any old freak that is willing to be sent back to this fantastic early seventies period (and I am a HUGE fan of these hey days of rock music).

There is also a certain psyche feel ("In the Time of Job When Mammon?") which is not a surprise in this time of release. The title track has some acquaintances with "Black Widow" which was also another underrated band.

These guys were truly pioneers and as such deserve a deep respect. This is the reason why I will upgrade their debut to four stars. It is worth seven out of ten on my scale, because song writing is somewhat deficient but as a whole this album is quite a ride and is definitely worth a spin (if I were you).

Bonus tracks are not on par to my opinion even if the instrumentals "Satyr's Dance" and "Horla" are quite decent).

Review by Warthur
4 stars With Peter Hecht's stalwart Hammond organ underpinning a set of heavy psych-prog compositions, you could almost be forgiven for mistaking the debut album by Lucifer's Friend for a lost album from Deep Purple's In Rock lineup. In fact, I think it's markedly more consistent than In Rock-era Deep Purple ever were, with the band successfully establishing an intriguingly dark atmosphere. At other points - particularly with John Lawton's vocals in the picture - the band resemble a somewhat more Satanic Uriah Heep. For those who like the heavier side of psych-prog or the trippier side of hard rock or proto-metal, this is a real treat.
Review by FragileKings
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.

Review by friso
3 stars The sixties proto-prog group Vanilla Fudge is one of the most influential bands to never have become famous itself. Deep Purple would even rip off their cover artwork on their breakthrough album 'In Rock' - which was released in the same year as Lucifer's Friend's self-titled debut album. From the womb of Vanilla Fudge one can stylistically & soundwise trace groups like Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Birth Control, Fuzzy Duck and many others. The combination of heavy guitar(s), distorted organ, minor classical influences, intense male tenor vocals (often slightly operatic), and a pumping rhythm and blues foundation would appear in many bands in the early seventies. From these groups the Lucifer's Friend album from 1970 sound surprisingly modern, with an almost stadium (hair) metal type feel reminding me of Rainbow Rising. Vocalist John Lawton even sounds a lot like Ronnie James Dio and is just as talented as well. There is little trace of the German roots of this band and no krautrock influences whatsoever.

This type of heavy psych / proto-prog / early metal has a given Achilles heel; with its pentatonic rhythm & blues roots its quite hard to keep it interesting for a full record. Bands like Heep and Purple would excel in songwriting and therefor became famous, whereas Lucifer's Friends great sounding album suffers from a lack of gripping songs after the initial run of three rather good songs ('Ride The Sky', 'Everybody's Clown' and 'Keep Goin''). The second side of the vinyl is a bit tiring to listen to, even if its hard to point out its precise faults. 'Baby You're A Liar' has some great heavy psych/prog parts though. After this album the band would record a more progressive and jazz-infused record with a poor sounding production when compared to this one. I would rate this record 3,5 stars. A must-have for heavy psych collectors and fans of this brand of Vanilla Fudge-type hardrock.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I am generally not a fan of keyboard-driven rock. I don't care for organ or synthesizer music, and I never listen to Emerson, Lake and Palmer.. However, Lucifer's Friend are an exception. That's especially true of this self- titled album and Banquet. My fellow reviewers on PA seem to agree, b ... (read more)

Report this review (#1086605) | Posted by thwok | Saturday, December 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars What do you got when you try to blend in Deep Purple and Black Sabbath together? This album. This debut album from the straight Heavy Prog band truly blows my mind right when i first started listening to it. With the blend of Jazz and Hard Rock off from this album, it creates a truly beautiful yet h ... (read more)

Report this review (#1077942) | Posted by JellySucker | Sunday, November 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This is the debut album of this very talented group featuring John Lawton's amazing vocals (he sounds better here than he did with Uriah Heep), heavy organ and guitar riffs and good songs. The sound on this album is similar to Deep Purple or Uriah Heep but has a more dark and haunting atmosphe ... (read more)

Report this review (#39322) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Iīve brougth this CD by an extraordinary accidental situation but I must say itīs a lucky one because I think that Luciferīs Friend is that kind of band that is not well know (at least on my friendship circle my number one source for commentary on bands) but is a high quality band that suprise ... (read more)

Report this review (#28924) | Posted by | Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Another "catalyst" release that changed my life in terms of music listening and truly understanding" who was who" out there in the world...The first effort by germany's LUCIFER's FRIEND just pleasurably burns through the listener's mind and heart with some of the most fantastic musicianship ev ... (read more)

Report this review (#28922) | Posted by | Saturday, June 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Manic sreaming from power vocalist John Lawton appropriately initiate the proceedings on this prototypical metal album which has the evil twins of Lurch and Uncle Fester on the cover. The funny thing about this 1970 debut album from German band Lucifer's Friend is that it pre-dates anything that it ... (read more)

Report this review (#28921) | Posted by Vibrationbaby | Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of LUCIFER'S FRIEND "Lucifer's Friend"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.