Before getting into this review, a little background information is necessary; despite having a history that reaches back to 1970, not many hard rock fans are even aware of this band’s existence.
Lucifer`s Friend was formed in 1970 in Hamburg, Germany by guitarist Peter Hesslein, singer John Lawton, bassist Dieter Horns, keyboardist Peter Hecht and drummer Joachim Reitenbach. The band’s self-titled debut was ahead if it’s time, filled with dark lyrics and a real heavy sound... competing only with Black Sabbath in that arena!
In 1976, the band had quite a shakeup when vocalist John Lawton left to join Uriah Heep. He was replaced by Mike Starrs. Lawton returned in 1981 to record the album Mean Machine, but it was a case of ‘too little too late,’ as Lucifer’s Friend officially broke up in 1982.
In 1994 John Lawton and Peter Hesslein briefly reformed to record a new album called Sumo Grip under the name of Lucifer`s Friend II. After that, they broke up once again. In June 2015, the band got back together once again... this time without keyboardist Peter Hecht, who refused to participate, and drummer Joachim Reitenbach, who had passed away a few years earlier. The band played a few live dates including the illustrious Sweeden Rock Festival. Today the band line up consists of Lawton on vocals, Hesslein on guitar, Dieter Horns on bass, Jogi Wichmann on keyboards and Stephan Eggert on drums. They are back and kickin` some ass!
Having never listened to the band before, I wasn't sure what to expect out of this album... but I really liked it. Each track had me wanting more. Awakening is a ‘greatest hits’ type album with four new tracks thrown in for good measure. The older songs are all really great. From the opening scream to the heavy guitar riffs on "Ride the Sky," to "Dirty old Town" to "Hey Driver" the band proves they should have been more successful than they were. One of the best tracks the band ever wrote is "Toxic Shadows," a guitar driven song with great lyrics.
As good as the oldies are, it’s the new songs that the band’s fans have been longing to hear. The new tracks are really good and stay true to the original vision of the band. In fact, "Did you Ever" and "This Road" are songs that could have come out on the first album in 1970!
One of my favorite new songs is "Pray," a song with great sounding guitars, pounding bass and John Lawton`s trademark vocals. "Riding High" is another good track with strong vocals and lots of great guitar work on it.
Awakening is a great compilation album with four new tracks that prove old hard bands never die… now, they just crank it up to 11.
1 Ride The Sky
2 In The Time Of Job
3 Keep Going
4 Toxic Shadows
5 Burning Ships
7 Moonshine Rider
8 Dirty Old Town
9 Fire And Rain
10 Hey Driver
2 Riding High
3 Did You Ever
4 This Road
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