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Lucifer’s Friend

Live at Sweden Rock 2015

Review by Gary Hill

At one time, Lucifer’s Friend was a band that was relegated to history. They hadn’t played together since their hey-day. Well, these days, the band has been reunited, and this live album is a recording of one of their first performances since that happened. It’s an awesome live show. There is a lot of energy and a lot of range here. Not everything is progressive rock, but there is some prog in just about everything. That’s enough to get me to land it there. Even if you disagree with that assessment, this is a smoking hot album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2016  Volume 4 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Intro – Awakening

This starts with an extended introduction is Swedish. Then we get another extensive introduction in English. Classical music takes over from there. This instrumental introduction gets a bit more rock built into it before ending.

Pray
They fire out into a smoking hot jazz meets rock and more kind of arrangement here. It works extremely well. It’s such a driving, powered up jam. There are some cool shifts and changes. The whole thing is just so cool. It’s proggy in a lot of ways, but also mainstream hard rock at the same time.
Fire and Rain
With a catchy hook, this is more of a mainstream arena rock tune. It’s a good cut, but not the proggiest thing here. It’s the kind of rocker that’s likely to get you on your feet and singing along. The instrumental section does seem proggy in the way that Trevor Rabin era Yes was proggy.
In the Time of Job
Here’s another cut where the instrumental section lets the prog flag fly. There is both killer keyboard work and great guitar playing on that section. Outside of that, this is almost a heavy metal song. It certainly shares some musical territory with bands like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple.
Keep Going
This reminds me of the proggier stuff from Deep Purple. It’s hard edged, almost metal at times. Other parts are contemplative, and in the art rock vein. The contrast between the two is great. The whole song is just an incredible thing. It’s one of my favorites here.
Hey Driver
There’s a lot of bluesy hard rock built into this. It also has large helpings of jazz built into it. While it’s not the most blatantly proggy thing here, there is definitely some prog built into it. It rocks like crazy no matter how you classify it, though. I really love the guitar soloing on this. The closing jam is a short, but purely prog rock thing.
Riding High
Mellower, intricate picked guitar starts this and grows from there. Around the one minute mark some scorching guitar is heard. Then the cut explodes into a killer prog rock jam with some metallic edges. It’s a bit like a more proggy version of Rainbow to me. There is a bit of a Middle Eastern element to this in some ways. There is also a mysterious quality to it. This just plain rocks in style. There is an extended piano solo (unaccompanied) at the end. It takes us into the next song.
Moonshine Rider
The piano from the last one continues. As guitar joins we get a real jazz-like section. As that introduction ends they launch into some more smoking hot fast paced rocking music. There is definitely a bit of a Southern rock groove to this along with more jazz. Yet, it’s a straightforward rocker with some proggy tendencies more than anything else. The guitar soloing is particularly soaring.
Did You Ever?
Another that makes me think of Rainbow a bit, this is mainstream rocking stuff. It’s a strong rocker, and one of the more accessible ones.
Burning Ships
With extremely active percussion, this is a nice balladic number. It’s evocative and powerful. It is definitely rather proggy. The more powered up jam, in particular, gets proggy.
Ride the Sky
Merge Dio with ELP. You would probably have something close to this stomper. This is just such a cool tune.
High Flying Lady
This is a good time rocker with a real 1970s vibe. It’s not overly proggy, but it’s definitely a lot of fun and packed with energy.

 

 
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