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Articles Home » 1994 Articles » Lucifers Friend - 1994 Sumogrip
Lucifers Friend - 1994 Sumogrip

ARTIST: Lucifers Friend
ALBUM: Sumogrip
LABEL: Castle Communications
YEAR: 1994


LINEUP: John Lawton - vocals * Peter Hesslein - guitars * Andreas Dicke - bass * Jogi Wichmann - keyboards * Curt Cress - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Get In * 02 Heartbreaker * 03 One Way Ticket To Hell * 04 Don't Look Back * 05 You Touched Me * 06 Cadillac * 07 Step By Step * 08 Rebound * 09 Sumogrip * 10 Sheree * 11 Back In The Track * 12 Banzai * 13 Any Day Now * 14 Ride The Sky * 15 Free Me * 16 Get Out * 17 You Touched Me With Your Heart

A European institution are Lucifers Friend, playing a brand of traditional rock going way back into time. Now admittedly, a lot of their earlier stuff is of no interest to melodic rockers. In fact, by the time the band decided to go the melodic rock path, the death knell had already set in. Come 1994 and Lucifers Friend had actually been inactive for a few years, and Peter Hesslein decided to try a new approach, and roped in ex Uriah Heep singer and previous LF member John Lawton for the ride. Also added were one time Saga drummer Curt Cress. 'Sumogrip' then is a pretty amazing recording all things considered, because it's a real kick up the backside slab of melodic rock. Very similar in history to Uriah Heep's 'Abominog' album from 1982, and the change in direction and ensuing fortunes which followed.

The Songs
For the most part, it's soaring high quality melodic rock. For a comparison, how about Craaft's 'Second Honeymoon' album meets Praying Mantis. There are some quite stunning pieces onboard that you're left wondering what the hell these guys have been doing for the past twenty years! 'Heartbreaker' and 'Don't Look Back' are examples of this. The latter has an absolute killer chorus. 'You Touched Me With Your Heart' is a heart rendering ballad with all the right AOR attributes applied. The bonus track on this album is also a rework of the same song. 'Step By Step' moves in the same direction as Brazen Abbot, with fast rhythms, and intricate arrangements. 'Rebound' sounds like something off the latest Kharma album with stabbing piano lines over a heavy backbeat. The title track has a myriad of keyboards coming through the mix, before the music settles down, and moves into a potential radio hit called 'Sheree'. The stabbing piano's return on 'Back In The Track', harking back memories of Toto's 'Hold The Line'. The band also do an updated version of Uriah Heep's 'Free Me', coincidental since Lawton first sang it with them. In fact Lawton's performance here is worth a mention, as he literally sings his ass off.

In Summary
For seventeen tracks I think this represents great value for money. Don't be put off by their past history. This is pure melodic rock of the highest order. I'm sure if this was resident in your CD collection, it will be guaranteed to get a regular workout.

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#1 | dangerzone on January 27 2009 03:01:18
Took me a while to find this one but bloody brilliant! This defies the year it was made in, sounding more like 1984!
#2 | melodiapositiva on November 02 2016 19:11:22
One of the best melodic rock albums of the 90's and john lawton is in top form here.
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