Since German based rockers Lucifers Friend reunited 4 years ago they’ve been very busy. what started out as a ‘best of’ compilation with a few new songs grew into a few live shows, a live album, more live shows, a new studio, and now their latest – “Black Moon” – the band’s 4th release in as many years. Founding members – Peter Hesslein [guitar, keyboards], Dieter Horns [bass], and John Lawton [vocals], along with [drummer] Stephan Eggert, and a handful of guests on this album.
First off – love the album artwork, paintings by Damian Bydinski. LF had a few classic album covers in the 70s, and I love this one, even including the original characters from the debut album [nearing 50 years]. My only beef is there’s no vinyl LP available for this album. Oh well…
Too Late To Hate was released in 2016. It was a decent album, but I think Black Moon is a step up. The title track is great opener; LF fans will easily dig this rocker; added trumpet solo and congas are a nice touch [this band usually mixed it up with brass, and different instruments on early albums]. The 2nd track here is “Passengers”, a more progressive rocker, love the lengthy intro; this one bounces along with Lawton’s vocals coming in and the song building back up. In their earliest days LF drew comparisons to the likes of Deep Purple & Uriah Heep, and certainly the first few songs will impress fans looking for those sounds. Black Moon keeps up a pretty good pace with “Rolling The Stone”, “Palace Of Fools” and “Call The Captain” – another favorite here, a bit of a pop-rocker, but a good tune and memorable chorus. There’s some decent more poppy tunes in “Behind The Smile” and “Glory Days”, these remind me a bit of the band’s “Sumo Grip” stuff. Featured ballad is “Little Man”, a bit of blues and soul – perfectly suited for Lawton’s voice, and a brief / cool guitar break from Hesslein.
Interesting thing about this band is they could never be categorized. Starting out as a very heavy band, then veering in to jazz, fusion, pop, prog,.. so aside from good songs and great vocals, don’t have any pre-conceived ideas of what to expect. [And here one could easily stick a good few tracks amongst their early LF favorites]. Yeah – I’d like this band to make a really heavy album [and turn up the guitar], but Lucifer’s Friend is not that band this time out, and those that like the band’s past albums will be quite happy with Black Moon.