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Lucifer's Friend: Too Late to Hate

They're back!!! Too Late to Hate is the first studio album of all new material from the British/German hard rock/prog act Lucifer's Friend since 1981, and comes just one year after their reunion in 2015. Featuring the classic line up trio of Peter Hesslein (guitar), Dieter Horns (bass), and John Lawton (lead vocals, ex-Uriah Heep), the band is rounded out by Jogi Wichmann (keyboards) and Stephan Eggert (drums). With a host of live festival appearances, a live album, and a best-of compilation featuring a few new songs, the last year has been busy for this classic band, all culminating in this welcome studio album return.

Lucifer's Friend were always one of those groups that kept their fans guessing from album to album, blending many styles into a hard hitting yet melodic sound that still sounds fresh today. Lawton's vocals are as impressive as always, as he soars over majestic hard rockers "Jokers & Fools", "Straight for the Heart", and "When Children Cry", Hesslein's riffs thick & crunchy and Wichmann's array of synths and organ providing for plenty of proggy goodness. "Tell Me Why" is an upbeat Deep Purple/Uriah Heep styled heavy rocker, and the band ups the groove factor for the melodic yet quite hard rocking "Don't Talk to Strangers". You'll be taken right back to the '80s with "I Will Be There", a catchy slice of hook laden melodic rock, as well as the emotional ballad "Tears", but the real highlight here is the snarling heavy rock cut "Sea of Promises", fueled by rampaging Hammond organ, heavy riffs, synths, tasty lead guitar, and Lawton's potent vocals. Fans of classic Lucifer's Friend material from the '70s, as well as Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, will love this dramatic, heavy hitting song. "Brother's Without a Name" and "Demolition Man" also both rock quite hard, though the latter has a bizarre little rap section by Lawton that we probably could have done without.

As the first new studio album since 1981's Mean Machine (if you don't count 1994's Sumo Grip, which though under the name Lucifer's Friend II, featured three of the current members), Too Late to Hate is a resounding success. The band have written new material that draws on both their '70s and '80s era, yet also injects some modern influences for a style that works on all levels. Lawton still can sing with them best of them, and the band overall are firing on all cylinders. Now, if they can finally bring themselves over to the US for some live shows things will really start to get interesting. Well done, and welcome back!

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1 Demolition Man 4:16
2 Jokers & Fools 4:21
3 When Children Cry 4:22
4 Straight for the Heart 3:22
5 Tell Me Why 4:07
6 Don't Talk to Strangers 3:45
7 I Will Be There 4:00
8 This Time 5:03
9 Tears 4:18
10 Sea of Promises 4:53
11 Brothers Without a Name 3:21
12 When You're Gone (Live) 2:06

Added: January 2nd 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 3922
Language: english

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Lucifer's Friend: Too Late to Hate
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-01-01 19:55:26
My Score:

The return of Lucifer's Friend in 2015 really was quite a surprise, the last album from the band under that name having arrived nearly thirty five years previous. A live album and best of adorned with some new tracks followed, but neither really suggested that their full studio comeback, Too Late To Hate, would be quite as splendiferous as it is.

For fans of Uriah Heep (and classic rock in general), the voice of singer John Lawton has been a weapon we simply haven't heard enough of over the years and with his performance here quite stunning (especially for a gentleman of his vintage), we can only be thankful that he's back. What makes that resurgence all the more special is that between him and his original Lucifer's Friend-mates, Peter Hesslein (guitar) and Dieter Horns (bass), the songs they've come up with are fit to rival anything from their late 70s and early 80s heyday - and other than Lawton's other old band, Uriah Heep, not many can really say that with any conviction. However that Too Late To Hate somehow sounds retro and current at the same time may well be where the magic really happens. Yes, this is a band utilising a sound that we've lived with for many years, however with the power and passion that the clever keyboards and riff take a classic era-Magnum framework and, through "Straight For The Heart", wire it to the mains, there's no denying just how vital it all sounds. "Tell Me Why" adds a theatrical thump, the bold guitars evoking brash stabs of brass, while "Don't Talk To Strangers" hunts out the album's thickest groove and drives it home with a real sense of purpose. That this song's chorus has a deftness of touch not heard for many a moon, illustrates why so many bands still mine this sound, it's just that few do it quite this well.

The Hammond organ is set for stun on the knock you sideways hammer blow of "Sea Of Promises", this track a glorious mid-paced illustration of controlled, melodic aggression. But with "Demolition Man" a darting keyboard driven delight and "Jokers And Fools" unearthing the magic Purple potion The Purp's have been hunting for, for many a decade, there really isn't a weak spot.

The return of Lucifer's Friend may well be one of the more surprising reunions of recent year, but with this stonking album, it's one of the most welcome. It may well be Too Late To Hate, but it sure as hell ain't too late to celebrate and that's exactly what you'll want to do every time you hear this!

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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