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Lucifer's Friend: Awakening

With the reformation of German/British hard rock legends Lucifer's Friend comes this new CD Awakening, which combines 10 classic songs from the bands early albums along with 4 newly recorded songs by founding members John Lawton (vocals), Peter Hesslein (guitars/keyboards), Dieter Horns (bass), and new drummer Stephen Eggert. Original keyboard player Peter Hecht has essentially retired from the music business and chose not to participate, but the band have recently added keyboard player Jogi Wichmann for future live gigs and recordings.

Starting off with the first CD, a selection of tracks from the first few Lucifer's Friend albums are on display, covering the albums Lucifer's Friend, Where the Groupies Killed the Blues, Mind Exploding, Banquet, and Mean Machine (what, no I'm Just a Rock 'n' Roll Singer ??). Some really fine tunes were chosen, including the rampaging "Ride the Sky" (Uriah Heep meets Scorpions), the Deep Purple influenced "In the Time of Job", the blistering proto-metal track "Keep Going", Hammond organ/guitar gem "Toxic Shadows", the prog & folks leanings of "Burning Ships", and the early progressive metal sounds of "Fugitive". The band were also adept at delivering symphonic & classy hard rock, as evident on "Moonshine Rider", and both "Fire and Rain" & "Hey Driver" are great examples of the more commercial heavy rock as well as NWOBHM that was prevalent in the early '80s. Through it all, Lawton is stupendous, easily showing the vocal prowess that made him one of the most underrated singers of the '70s & '80s, and the rest of the band absolutely cooks beside him. If you love heavy rock permeated with big, bluesy hard rock riffs and kickin' Hammond organ, you've come to the right place.

The four new tracks included here are very strong, with Lawton still showing those supreme vocal chops he had back in the '70s (he must be drinking from the same water as Glenn Hughes these days!) and commanding every second on each of these songs. "Pray" is powerful & majestic, with soaring Lawton vocals, big guitar riffs and orchestral keyboards over driving rhythms...if you love the early Lucifer's Friend material, or even Lawton's stuff with Uriah Heep in the late '70s, you are in for a treat. "Riding High" is more of a moody prog rocker, complete with a 'heaping' amount of keyboards and more of those exquisite Lawton vocals, while "Did You Ever" rocks very hard, a melodic but heavy tune with great hooks and that fantastic combination of guitar thunder & alluring keyboards. Again, if someone told you this tune was a long lost Lucifer's Friend or Uriah Heep track from the '70s, it would not surprise one bit, as here the band has channeled that era quite nicely. Final track "This Road" is more of a bluesy hard rocker with a bit of a Led Zeppelin/Deep Purple feel, probably the weakest of the four new tracks but still very solid.

Overall, Awakenings is a very strong set, but I wonder why the 'compilation' CD was kept to only 10 songs and roughly 45-minutes, as there was ample room for more tunes from the classic period. Either way you get a nice sampling of older material and four very good songs from the current version of the band, clearly meant to whet the appetite of Lucifer's Friend fans worldwide who no doubt will flock to check them out live and count the days to a full-length studio album of all original new material.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
CD 1 (Compilation)
1. Ride the Sky (2:56)
2. In the Time of Job (4:06)
3. Keep Going (5:26)
4. Toxic Shadows (7:00)
5. Burning Ships (4:32)
6. Fugitive (4:54)
7. Moonshine Rider (4:47)
8. Dirty Old Town (4:49)
9. Fire and Rain (4:43)
10. Hey Driver (4:12)

Total time 47:25

CD 2 - (Four new studio recordings)
1. Pray (4:13)
2. Riding High (4:59)
3. Did You Ever (4:15)
4. This Road (3:47)

Total time 17:14

Added: July 2nd 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2891
Language: english

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