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LUCIFER'S FRIEND

Heavy Prog • Germany


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Lucifer's Friend biography
URIAH HEEP certainly comes to mind when you hear LUCIFER'S FRIEND, as do LED ZEPPELIN, DEEP PURPLE and BLACK SABBATH to some extent, although you can't accuse the FRIEND of cloning them as none had attained their notoriety as yet. The band started off as ASTRIX in 1970, with frontman and future URIAH HEEP vocalist John Lawton teaming up with guitarist Peter Hesslein, keyboardist Peter Hecht, bassist Dieter Horns and drummer Joachim Rietenbach. Through various personnel changes over the course of twelve years - including Lawton exiting in '76 and then returning for a last gasp in '81 - the band released nine studio albums and two compliations. In '82, they split up but reunited in '94 for a night album.

Their earlier releases are aggressive and raw, not unlike The SCORPIONS, JANE or LONESOME CROW. Living up to their sinister name, they performed heavy, mean, keyboard-based rock that should please LED ZEP, SABBATH or PURPLE fans. Then came their absolute masterpiece, "Banquet", in 1974, which focusses on epic prog numbers with complex instrumentation, complete with string and horn arrangements, and Lawton giving his full-throttle vocal performance. This album perfectly pulled together the many different elements of their sound: prog, soul, jazz and hard rock. If you want to sample some LUCIFER'S FRIEND, you could try their compilation albums; if you want to hear LUCIFER'S FRIEND at their proggiest, go for the "Banquet" - their subsequent releases received mixed reviews, particularly "Sumogrip" in 1994.

Fans of URIAH HEEP or those interested in the roots of heavy metal definitely ought to get their hands on some of these items.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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Lucifer's FriendLucifer's Friend
Extra tracks · Import
Repertoire 1998
Audio CD$21.99
$18.23 (used)
Lucifer's FriendLucifer's Friend
Import
Universal Import 2010
Audio CD$19.85
$20.32 (used)
BANQUETBANQUET
PASSPORT
Vinyl$32.99
$26.99 (used)
Where the Groupies Killed the BluesWhere the Groupies Killed the Blues
Import
Repertoire 1991
Audio CD$21.49
$24.98 (used)
Good Time Warrior/Sneak Me InGood Time Warrior/Sneak Me In
Import
Howling Wolf Records
Audio CD$21.50
Good Time WarriorGood Time Warrior
Import
Audio CD$45.09
$45.09 (used)
MIND EXPLODING [LP VINYL]MIND EXPLODING [LP VINYL]
JANUS
Vinyl$9.00 (used)
Mean MachineMean Machine
Import
Howling Wolf Records
Audio CD$21.99
$20.98 (used)
I'm Just a Rock N Roll SingerI'm Just a Rock N Roll Singer
Import
Repertoire 2002
Audio CD$48.90
$29.99 (used)
SumogripSumogrip
Import
2004
Audio CD$50.00
$18.99 (used)
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LUCIFER'S FRIEND shows & tickets


  • Sweden Rock Festival on 3 Jun 2015

LUCIFER'S FRIEND discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

LUCIFER'S FRIEND top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.90 | 85 ratings
Lucifer's Friend
1970
4.12 | 60 ratings
Where The Groupies Killed The Blues
1972
3.12 | 32 ratings
I'm Just A Rock'n'Roll Singer
1974
4.00 | 86 ratings
Banquet
1974
3.20 | 32 ratings
Mind Exploding
1976
2.09 | 21 ratings
Good Time Warrior
1978
2.06 | 15 ratings
Sneak Me In
1980
2.46 | 12 ratings
Mean Machine
1981
1.56 | 14 ratings
Sumogrip
1994

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
The Devil's Touch
1976
3.50 | 2 ratings
Rock Heavies
1980

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.50 | 2 ratings
Ride the Sky / Baby You're a Liar
1970
3.50 | 2 ratings
Ride the Sky / Horla
1970
4.00 | 2 ratings
Hobo / Prince of Darkness
1972
3.00 | 1 ratings
Fire and Rain / Born to the City
1981

LUCIFER'S FRIEND Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Lucifer's Friend by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.90 | 85 ratings

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Lucifer's Friend
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings

2 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. Two stars for prog. But a solidly planted four stars for an early heavy metal album.

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 Lucifer's Friend by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.90 | 85 ratings

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Lucifer's Friend
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by thwok

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, based on the overall ratings for those albums. I haven't listened to the band's second album, although it has a slightly higher overall score. If reviewers had the option of giving albums quarter stars, I would give LUCIFER'S FRIEND 3.75 stars. I don't believe it's quite as progressive as LF's second or fourth albums.

This is top shelf heavy prog; it's fully recommendable to fans of the subgenre. Every track on LUCIFER'S FRIEND is good. However, one could say there's some justification for the fact that the last five tracks were just bonus tracks for many years. My favorite tracks are "Keep Goin" and "Lucifer's Friend:. I think it's because of the menacing atmosphere of these songs. It injects some variety into the overall intensity of the band's sound.

I stated that I'm not a big fan of keyboard-driven music, but all the band members are brilliant. Peter Hesslein's a terrific guitarist, and the other players sound just right for this type of heavy metal. John Lawton is just amazing, one of the best singers in hard rock. I haven't listened to much Uriah Heep, but I have a feeling that I'm really missing out. In conclusion, this is an excellent album for prog fans with any love for hard rock. Only BANQUET would earn the extra quarter star for being more progressive on a track-by-track basis. 3.75 stars rounded up.

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 Lucifer's Friend by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.90 | 85 ratings

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Lucifer's Friend
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by JellySucker

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 harsh sound of this band. The theme on this album are rather Black Sabbath-esque and the music are rather Deep Purple-esque which is great from what i can recall. I rarely found any albums like this.

Straight 5/5 stars rating for this awesomely heavy album!

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 Lucifer's Friend by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1970
3.90 | 85 ratings

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Lucifer's Friend
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Banquet by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 86 ratings

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Banquet
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It seems that in the process of making Banquet Lucifer's Friend must have been listening to a lot of early Santana, because opening track Spanish Galleon - one of the album's two major centrepieces - sounds uncannily like Santana's Latin-infused jazzy psychedelic rock. Although Lucifer's Friend are mainly known as trailblazers for metal, this album really isn't that heavy, but it's still a grand showcase for Peter Hesslein's guitar skills and in general offers an interesting listen which expands and builds on the sort of musical territory Santana had opened up on their first four or so albums. Not essential, but not one to overlook by any means.

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 Good Time Warrior by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1978
2.09 | 21 ratings

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Good Time Warrior
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by Gatot
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

2 stars After a successful album (my view) 'Mind Exploding' (1976) John Lawton left the band to join Uriah Heep. Mike Starrs, previously with Colosseum II, joined the band and recorded two albums 'Good Time Warrior' (1978) and 'Sneak Me In' (1980). When I purchased the cassette of Good Time Warrior I was shocked knowing the band changed its direction into much more commercial approach. I thought it was a good strategy as Mike Starrs voice quality more appropriate to this kind of straight rock or AOR kind of music. There is no longer stunning and long guitar solo backed with solid bass lines like the one I could hear in previous albums. Unfortunately the album did not reach commercial success either.

That's the story of the band and let's talk about the music. Despite the change in musical direction, the Lucifer's Friend name had already big when this sixth studio album was released. I was so fortunate could buy this album in the year of its release even though I lived in a small town, Madiun of Indonesia East Java. To me this cassette meant so much as everyday I always visited the cassette stores in town to check new release of rock band at that time. I purchased the cassette of Good Time Warrior without asking how the music was because I trusted that something from Lucifer's Friend must be good. Overwhelmed by that big name I forced myself to like it. In fact one of the radio stations kept playing track number 2 "Meet You in L.A." (4:03) and also the third track "My Love" (5:57) was featured in compilation cassette well known and popular in my country at that time called Dream Express 2. What a great time.

Of course, this album is for collector or die hard fans of Lucifer's Friend. Keep on proggin' ...!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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 Sumogrip by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1994
1.56 | 14 ratings

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Sumogrip
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

1 stars This is a pretty bad album.

The band never really convinced me (except their first two releases) and in terms of prog this one rates below zero. This is a pure and poor AOR stuff from start to finish. There are NO needs to write a long and detailed review about this crappy work.

Lawton can't help either: the vocal department is OK but gosh!!! What about the songwriting? Just poor I am afraid. The band should have called it quit a long time ago already.

I guess that no progheads could bear this sort of treat: poor & basic FM music. This is all you are going to get. No more. Avoid it by all means! On top of all, this album is damned long as well!

One star of course.

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 Mean Machine by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1981
2.46 | 12 ratings

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Mean Machine
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Dear old Lawton is back on the vocals after a five years hiatus. I wouldn't blame Mike Starrs who was responsible of the vocal department for the last two albums; because the descent of this band started far beyond this replacement.

Anyway, what one gets here is straight forward hard-rock music with little angle for sophistication ("One Way Street To Heartbreak"). And I am not even talking about prog of course. To compare this album with the giants of the genre (Led Zep, Purple or Sabbath) is quite daring as far as I am concerned?

It holds much more the comparison with second or better said third tier bands and it definitely leans on AOR sounds for most of the time ("Fire & Rain"). The best song from this work is undoubtedly "Cool Hand Killer" which is a real ? killer for sure: a superb beat, incredible guitar and great vocals. In one word: solid.

The poppish "Action" also features some great guitar lines and a frenetic beat. The more diverse track is "One Night Sensation". It holds some nice rhythm changes, powerful vocals and fine synthesizers.

Globally, this is not too bad an album: zero on the prog scale but five out of ten in terms of good old hard rock. Still, it lacks something to reach the three star levels.

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 Sneak Me In by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1980
2.06 | 15 ratings

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Sneak Me In
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars The heavy prog genre in which this band is categorized on PA was only suitable to their first two albums. What came next was not really impressive to say the least.

It would be daring to say that this work is remarkably progressive but I have to say that it shows some good rock songs with powerful vocals ("Goodbye Girls", "Foxy Lady"). It has been ages since the band didn't propose something as close to rock as this album. No more brass, no more orchestrations: thank god!

Of course, there are some pop-rock tunes available which are not of the best level ("Stardancer") but the global feeling is rather pleasant. "Indian Summer" shows some links with the Heep (keys and vocals). It is one of my fave from this album (good guitar break) even if it also sounds AOR at times (on the contrary of the title track which is far too much AOR oriented)

One of the most attractive elements of the band at this stage is the vocal department. They have pretty well digested Lawton's departure (after "Mind Exploding"). Their new singer (who joined already for "Good Time Warrior") is leaning towards Mercury and this is not bad at all!

The most melodic, crafted and passionate song of the whole is definitely the closing number: bombastic, skilled and powerful. It could have sit on a "Queen" album. What a pity that not more of this type of song was available! I would rate this album with five out of ten but reduced to two stars for its obvious AOR orientation.

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 Banquet by LUCIFER'S FRIEND album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.00 | 86 ratings

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Banquet
Lucifer's Friend Heavy Prog

Review by Sinusoid
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Prog Rock: The Musical

Ever wondered how that would turn out? Maybe BANQUET isn't the best representation of a ''prog musical'', but I hear a lot of theatre music that sounds so campy it works. Listen to ''Our World Is a Rock and Roll Band'' and try not to imagine ''Chicago'' (the musical, although the band might also come to mind). I also see the high octane dance number in ''High Flying Lady-Goodbye'' and the cheeky finale in ''Dirty Old Town''. Then again, I've performed in numerous community theatre productions so I have that kind of bias.

But with three campy musical numbers, are we still dealing with prog rock? To an extent. ''Thus Spoke Oberon'' is the big prog track both in sound and development. The beautiful piano and orchestra parts bring the pomp while the faster paced middle section most closely depicts the Lucifer's Friend of old; one that can let a mean guitar solo go.

There's also two longer numbers that are more jazz fusion with a good Broadway vibe to them. You can easily dance to the vocal sections, yet there's plenty of space for the musicians and brass orchestra to breathe. Bassist Dieter Horns makes great use of the space; listen to some of the licks in ''Spanish Galleon''. And I have not once mentioned how powerful and dominating the vocals of John Lawton are. Rarely matched in the rock world, Lawton is a terribly underrated vocalist that brings life to the whole album.

It's a ton more enjoyable if you get a mental picture of a Broadway show while you spin BANQUET. Lucifer's Friend as a band came from a heavier rock sound earlier in their career, but they seem to have stripped most of it away for BANQUET. Not head-banging but toe-tapping, and certainly one of the most unique prog rock experiences. I have to restrain the rating though, because the showtune-y sound many of the numbers have might be off putting to many prog fans.

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