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Lucifer's Friend: Live @ Sweden Rock 2015

The reformation of Lucifer's Friend for last year's Sweden Rock came as something of a surprise, the English singer John Lawton, of this German band, stating a while back that their (kind of, only two members were involved) 1994 get together would be their last. Hence it is to his, guitarist Peter Hesslein and bassist Dieter Horns' credit that they decided to give the dice another roll. It's fair to suggest that their numbers well and truly came up; the trio, augmented by drummer Stephan Eggert and keyboard player Jogi Wichmann, hitting the jackpot with what can only be described as a stunning romp through their best moments.

Sounding like a slick, well practiced outfit and greeted (after a lengthy, multi-lingual introduction) as though returning heroes (if they really went down this well on the day, I'm thoroughly impressed), the true class of Lucifer's Friend is a set of songs illustrating what a cracking act this band were. "Prey", "Fire And Rain" and "In The Time Of Job" romping along with a real, genuine intensity. Lawton, for a man celebrating his 70th birthday this year, is imperious, the one time Uriah Heep man having lost none of his power or verve and proving why he's much loved by so many. While the same can be said for Hesslein and Horns, the pair locked in together expertly from start to finish.

"Keep Going" does a superb job of slowing things down a touch, before the staccato piano burst of "Hey Driver" powers into view, the classic UK sounding rock this band specialised in just as potent today as it was way back when. Highlights come thick and fast, the audience responding to every riff and keyboard break as Lawton sprinkles his infectious humour between songs. Seriously, if you've never heard Lucifer's Friend and you love a slice of classic rock infused with a whole manner of keyboards, then you're in for such a treat when the pulsating energy of "Riding High", "Did You Ever" or "Ride The Sky" comes galloping at you; the trio of tracks carrying you along on a vintage sound no one seems capable of recreating these days. "High Flying Lady" closes the album out, the audience roaring the band from the stage, clearly having been impressed by what they've witnessed. It's easy to hear why.

Lucifer's Friend are a long lost, classic act who don't seem to quite hold the respect and renown their music undoubtedly deserves. However Live @ Sweden Rock 2015 ably proves what we've been missing. With the promise of a 'best of' compilation to come, which supposedly boasts some new songs, the chance to set the record straight looks assured. If it's half as good as Live @ Sweden Rock 2015, it'll be quite something.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing

Added: May 17th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lucifer's Friend at Cherry Red Records
Hits: 1938
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Lucifer's Friend: Live @ Sweden Rock 2015
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-05-17 10:33:18
My Score:

Let me just state for the record...I really dig this band, and have for quite some time. Vocalist John Lawton has been one of the most criminally underrated vocalists for decades, whether it be his time in Uriah Heep or fronting Lucifer's Friend, either way you look at it his vocals rank up there with some of the best the hard rock & metal scene has ever had. Thankfully Lawton reunited with some of his old mates in Lucifer's Friend back in 2015, played the prestigious Sweden Rock Festival, as well as recorded some fine new tracks for a compilation album of some of their classics. Needless to say, judging by the power of those new tracks on Awakening (three of which are played here) and this crushing live set, the band are back, and better than ever. Lawton absolutely slays throughout this concert, his commanding pipes stabbing through a wall of crunchy guitars and mighty keyboards on "Pray", "In the Time of Job", "Keep Going", and of course the bludgeoning "Ride the Sky". Guitarist Peter Hesslein is also at his fiery best here, laying down thick, massive hard rock, heavy blues, and proto-metal riffs just like in the old days, charging up manic rockers like "Riding High", "Did You Ever", and "High Flying Lady". A few tunes show the bands proggier side, so it's not all piledriving heavy rock, but throughout it's hard to imagine that this band have been dormant for nearly 40 years.

Lucifer's Friend are back ladies and gentleman, and ready to take their place alongside Deep Purple and Uriah Heep as heavy rock elder statesmen that are still out there alive and kicking some serious ass.

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