Lucifer's Friend
Lucifer's Friend



by Travis Marmon USER (32 Reviews)
June 1st, 2014 | 7 replies

Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Germany takes its first steps into the realm of heavy music, with mostly positive results.

Every week for the foreseeable future (or until I get bored of the project), I will be reviewing a handful of albums from a given year. They may be albums that I feel are overlooked; that are in need of a review; or are just something that I want to write about. This week: 1970

In 1970, heavy rock was making the transition into heavy metal, marked most famously by the debut of Black Sabbath. In the future, Germany would be a big name in metal, from Running Wild and Helloween to Kreator and Destruction. But before the Teutonic hotbed warmed up, there was a five-piece from Hamburg called Lucifer's Friend, and they were determined to kick ass.

Lucifer's Friend were:

John Lawton - vocals
Peter Hesslein - guitars, percussion, backing vocals
Dieter Horns - bass
Peter Hecht - keyboards, piano
Joachim Rietenbach - drums

Lucifer's Friend opens with a scream, a guitar riff and some elephantine horns that sound almost exactly like Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" (released in the same year). But Lucifer's Friend don't sound all that much like Zep. They do however, sound of a hell of a lot like Deep Purple. They had the keyboard tone; the jammy instrumental sessions; the singer that wasn't afraid to go high (although John Lawton is no Ian Gillan). It would be forgivable to hear this album and assume it's some Mk. II-and-a-half line-up of Deep Purple that did an album between In Rock and Fireball.

The nice thing is that Deep Purple were a great band to emulate. Lucifer's Friend is chock full of strong riffs and fluid basslines (courtesy of Dieter Horns, who is the one member that I will say is better than his English counterpart). They also differentiated themselves by being a bit stranger and darker. They didn't consistently go for devilish imagery that their name implies, but the eponymous closing track details a visit from some kind of demon not unlike the one in Black Sabbath's self-titled song. Then there's the bizarre hard rocking biblical track, "In the Time of Job When Mammon was a Yippie." That mouthful contains the lyric "Screw me I'm a tuba/Free as a beanstalk/Coogan flipped for, get down on your knees and love/Love the man." Maybe this has to do with English being their second language, psychedelic drug use. Regardless, you won't find much like that in their British or American contemporaries.

Overall, Lucifer's Friend is not the most essential proto-metal album, but it's worth looking into for anyone that has an interest in metal's origins. The band has a great groove and instrumentation that should satisfy any fan of the era's hard rock bands. This is the album that put German heavy rock on the map, two years before Scorpions debuted and right as Krautrock was about to hit its peak. Come take the hand of Lucifer's Friend.

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user ratings (34)

Comments:Add a Comment 
June 1st 2014


really cool review dude, looking forward to this series you're doing. going to have to check this one out, I love all 4 of the albums in the "recommended by reviewer" section

Digging: Y&T - Earthshaker

June 1st 2014


this sounds very cool indeed

nice review

Digging: Giles Corey - Giles Corey

Contributing Reviewer
June 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Props for reviewing this one man, have a pos. Will you go for Banquet as well?

Digging: Fates Warning - Theories of Flight

June 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Probably not. This is the only album of theirs that I've heard.

June 4th 2014


Album Rating: 4.0

Banquet is like a drug for me. I bought the American print from 1975 on amazon and it was still in it's package. Clearly a magical moment! Give a listen to "Where the Groupies Killed the Blues" too.

Awesome review! Please continue.

February 26th 2015


This is so nice.
With German efficiency, Purple, Zep and Sabbath was compressed into Lucifer's Friend.

May 29th 2015


Album Rating: 4.0

Love most of LF's albums, have not heard Banquet though, I love this LF album, the first side is killer, everybodies clown, toxic shadows; fantastic

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