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ASTERIX

Krautrock • Germany


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Asterix biography
Based in Hamburg, Asterix is considered by many as a pre-Lucifer's Friend incarnation. It involves several Lucifer's Friend members (Dieter Horns on bass and Joachim Rietenbach on drums). Their music features classy proggy arrengements, a heavy-frantic rockin approach with occasional mainstream melodic-enthusiastic accents.

Similar bands: Lucifer friend, Violent Fog, Dschinn

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ASTERIX discography


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ASTERIX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.82 | 27 ratings
Asterix
1970

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ASTERIX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Asterix by ASTERIX album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.82 | 27 ratings

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Asterix
Asterix Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars ASTERIX was a short lived band that was the precursor to Lucifer's Friend. The band formed in 1969 when British born vocalist John Lawton moved to Germany and met guitarist Peter Hesslein, bassist Dieter Horns, organist Peter Hecht and drummer Joachim Reitenbach, who were members of a band called The German Bonds. These Germans also played in many of the 60s beat groups such as The Giants, The Rattles and many anonymous studio albums released as budget albums through The Air Mail, Electric Food, Hell Preachers etc. After hitting it off with Lawton, the other members found the chemistry was perfect and released one self-titled album under the moniker ASTERIX.

ASTERIX is the logical precursor to the classic Lucifer's Friend sound. While not a progressive band per se, ASTERIX had amply revved up its hard rock creds sufficiently to take it all to the next level where they could develop all the progressive twists and turns of the next incarnation. This is actually a pretty good hard rock album with all the great markers of a great period piece that implements heavy rocking bass driven grooves, bluesy guitar riffing and accompanying percussive drive. While not really progressive at this point, there are touches of jazziness but most of all the music is highly melodic and augmented by Lawton's strong vocal performances which always add a whole layer of zest to a stellar hard rock performance.

Despite being German, ASTERIX sounded more English most likely due to Lawton's British beginnings. In fact, i wouldn't have been surprised if someone told me that this was a Free album or even an early album by The Faces before Rod Stewart jumped on board. While labeled as Krautrock due to nationality, this sounds more like classic turn of the decade British hard rock through and through with even a bit of Little Feat in the bluesy piano and organ use. As it turned out, ASTERIX was simply a warmup act and the moniker was scrapped fairly quickly in exchange for the more ominous Lucifer's Friend which would suit the band's new heavier sound and progressive qualities.

This is a really good album for the period and much better than i could've imagined since the 69-70 timeline has some gawd awful crap that was released in that period. This is highly melodic, heavily charged with all the musicians having honed chops that flawlessly deliver their heavy blues laced rock. Lawton is an under appreciated singer in the history of rock and roll as he had one of the strongest and most powerful voices that was perfect for the style. He even sounds a bit like Robert Plant at times without the whiny nasal thing and all. It's no wonder he would go on to play with Uriah Heep amongst others. ASTERIX was a great start but Lucifer's Friend was better. Nice beginning.

3.5 rounded down

 Asterix by ASTERIX album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.82 | 27 ratings

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Asterix
Asterix Krautrock

Review by Asiostygius

4 stars Asterix was a sort of "proto-Lucifer's Friend" band playing a very good hard rock with some tinges of progressive rock. One of those "one album bands" that in several instances released good to legendary albums. This surely is not a legendary album, but at least a good one.

I am used to evaluate albums according to the pleasure my ears perceive, not if it is more hard rock or less progressive. And my ears, for sure, liked the 9 original + 2 bonus tracks (the singles) of the remastered Minority Records edition in my hands.

We have less Hammond organ than we will hear in the excellent Lucifer's Friend debut, but qualifying the album as "mediocre" or "mainstream pop rock" is, at least for me, an excessive underevaluation. The vocals are good (most by the future Uriah Heep's vocalist - John Lawton), and all instruments are played very well and clearly perceived individually. There are some good riffs and short but skilled solos too.

And last but not least, remember that mainstream in 1968-1975 was far, far better than mainstream is today (not to mention the mainstream rock since the 1980s to these days...). So, for me this "mainstream hard rock" with tinges of progressive is for sure a solid 3.5 stars, not only because the good rock music, but also considering its historical importance showing the band that will originate Lucifer's Friend less than 1 year after their first and last album.

 Asterix by ASTERIX album cover Studio Album, 1970
2.82 | 27 ratings

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Asterix
Asterix Krautrock

Review by ozzy_tom
Prog Reviewer

2 stars "Asterix" isn't a name which can be easily recognized by casual 70s rock fan. But what about "Lucifer's Friend"? Yes, now much better! So I'd like to inform you that "Asterix" is just pre-"Lucifer's Friend" band which includes the same bunch of guys. In fact "Asterix" isn't the only project constructed solely or mainly from "Lucifer's Friend's" musicians, the others are: "Bokaj Retsiem"(heavy psych), "Electric Food"(heavy prog, the most similar to "Lucifer's Friend" output), "Pink Mice"(ELPish symphonic prog) and "Brother T & Family"(heavy psych/prog). All of them are quite decent, but there is one exception: "Asterix", 'cos under this moniker was recorded the weakest material these guys ever written! While on other projects/bands output we can enjoy various forms of prog/psych/hard rock music, "Asterix" is a completely derivative basic rock'n'roll meets adult pop mix of generic "easy-listen" songs. In fact "Asterix" is the only pre-"Lufier's Friend" including their vocalist John Lawton, but believe me, it's the only element which reminds me of LF's classic stuff.

Anyway let's proceed to detailed review (based on CD version with bonus tracks):

1. "Everybody" - album starts with ultimately unmemorable mainstream pop-rocker full of lackluster soul music inspired refrain "Everybody" which is repeated too many times... The only good thing I can say about this turkey is that it includes very tasty (but surely not long enough!) Hammond solo. Enjoy it 'cos it's the only damned B-3 solo in the whole album! Only one organ solo on recording with Peter Hecht? Strange, but it's true. BTW this one and next song feature George Monroe (AKA Georg Mavros) as a lead vocalist.

2. "If I Could Fly" - this one starts promising with some catchy guitar and organ riffage, but after a while poppy rock comes back. George Monroe sounds really ugly in this one...

3. "Look Out" - ...it's good that from this point John Lawton finally took over vocal duties. Unfortunately except not bad, harder guitar riffs they don't offer here anything more than another mainstream sounding pop rocker.

4. "Gone From My Life" - simple guitar riffs and even simpler piano lines. In the middle some nice jazzy-bluesy piano solo but that's it.

5. "Broken Home" - as usual on this album song starts quite promising but after a while guys came back to play another standard rock'n'roll crap. Some extended guitar soloing here can't change my mind about general value of this dud. Compared with this material, Uriah Heep's albums recorded with John Lawton are masterpieces of progressive rock...

6. "Time Again" - finally better composition with slightly dramatic & psychedelic atmosphere. Extended classical inspired piano passages are really great here. Finally some element linked to progressive rock music! Star in a gutter of mediocrity.

7. "Jump Into My Action" - generic fast rocker built upon basic piano & repetitive guitar licks. Why the hell I didn't hear any organs from 4 songs in a row?! Peter Hecht is well known to constantly torture his Hammond in "Lucifer's Friend" or "Electric Food" LPs but we can't listen too much organ on this record. What a pity...

8. "Open Up Your Mind" - another piano and guitar led mainstream rock'n'roller as many others on this disk.

9. "Corner Street Girl" - just like couple of songs before, absolutely nothing interesting here and even a little offensive for our good taste.

10. "Change In You" - slightly similar to material recorded by Lawton with Uriah Heep in late 70s. Not totally bad but also not memorable at all, however guitar riffs are quite catchy so you can tap your foot a little.

11. "Morning At My Dawn" - the longest composition is closing the whole album with slightly better manner. Finally organ came back (not heard too much on this record from "Look Out" song, back there...) to create eerie atmosphere. But about 2nd minute Hammond disappears again and we can listen to nice piano & guitar solos. Later vocals come back again and mellow mood too. Anyway "Morning At My Dawn" sounds a bit like prototype of UH's song "Firefly" but it's not as compelling and successful.

In general "Asterix" is totally mediocre album which almost completely lack significant for "Lucifer's Friend" trademarks, and is nothing more but a collection of simple pop-charts oriented short songs. If you're looking for organ-driven madness you won't find it 'cos only first 3 songs feature reasonable amount of Hammond moments, if you're looking for symphonic elements you can find some traces only in Hecht's classical piano passages in "Time Again" song and if you love Lawton's voice I have to warn you that large portion of these songs are sung by George Monroe and Tony Cavanna instead of your idol. To sum up, I really don't know who can be interested in "Asterix's" music. If you like "Lucifer's Friend" and you want to know other projects connected with that band, please proceed to "Bokaj Retsiem", "Electric Food", "Pink Mice" or "Brother T & Family" records and leave "Asterix" alone. It's not a coincidence that for such a long time there was no review of this album on Progarchives.com website... And I still wonder why so much better and more prog-oriented "Lucifer's Friend"-connected bands as "Brother T & Family" & especially "Electric Food" still aren't included in this website's (prog)archives... Hopefully some day they will be!

However it's not very offensive stuff at all, so I can give these 2 stars for this mediocre effort. Bur remember: (almost) NO PROG-ROCK HERE!

Thanks to Philippe Blache for the artist addition.

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