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Lucifer’s Friend

Black Moon

Review by Gary Hill
Lucifer’s Friend is a band with a long history. They are also an act that is quite hard to classify. They’ve been consider a predecessor for heavy metal in general and doom metal in particular. They’ve also been landed in progressive rock. That’s where I’m putting this set, but it’s more in the AOR zone of that heading. This is a killer hard rocking disc that is very much what you’d expect from Lucifer’s Friend. That said, it’s a particularly effective album.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2019  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
Track by Track Review
Black Moon
There is a dark sort of element at the start of this thing. The cut powers out into a killer hard rocking sound from there. It’s trademark Lucifer’s Friend, but it occupies the same kind of ground you might expect from Deep Purple at times. This has some serious prog rock shifts in the instrumental sections. The horns bring some jazz to the table. There are some powerhouse sections to this thing.
Passengers
More subdued, but not by much, this again makes me think of Deep Purple a bit. As the track works out there are some definite metal elements at play. As it drops down to the verse, this feels very much like Uriah Heep. This has a cool balance between the mellower and more rocking. It’s a classy cut that works quite well. There is a cool shift toward neo-classical mid-track that really brings the prog home. It blasts out with a cool guitar solo from there.
Rolling the Stone
A faster paced jam, this is smoking hot with plenty of classic rock, prog and more in the mix. It’s high energy and so cool.
Behind the Smile
Dramatic and a bit theatric, this rocker works well. It’s a mellower, more AOR power-ballad styled than the previous tracks were.
Palace of Fools
Another powerhouse rocking tune, the prog elements here are more AOR. This is a cut that could land along the lines metal in some ways. This works out to more pure prog in a later movement that works through some intriguing changes. This is a killer rocker.
Call the Captain
A metallic guitar riffing movement opens this track. The powers out from there with a lot of style. There are definitely more proggy elements later in the run, and even some neo-classical-type stuff.
Little Man
A slower, mellower cut, this is a bluesy track that’s much more stripped back early. It gets a bit of a jazz rock sort of element as the arrangement builds out going into the second verse. It gets more into rocking zones at times. There is a bit of a fusion jam at one point, too. There are a lot of different flavors and movements built into this thing.
Freedom
Coming in screaming hot with a hard-edged jam that’s part prog, part metal and part arena rock, this is another killer. This is very dramatic, and one of the catchiest tunes of the set.
Taking It to the Edge
Coming in decidedly progressive rock oriented, this has an AOR vibe. It’s a classy tune that’s sort of mid-line in terms of rocking and mellow zones. It’s another with some great hooks.
Glory Days
Another AOR styled rocker, this is solid stuff. It’s not one of my favorites here, but it has some cool riffs and a great tone. It’s just that some of the other music here is so strong, making this a bit of an “also ran.” Still, it has some good hooks and works well. There are some proggy breaks later in the track.
 
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