Although they would develop a more prog-influenced style, this debut album finds Lucifer's Friend living up to their sinister name by performing heavy, keyboard-textured rock in the vein of Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. It gets off to a thunderous start with "Ride the Sky," a punchy rocker built on a rumbling, guitar-fuelled melody reminiscent of "The Immigrant Song" by Led Zeppelin. From there, the band works its way through a series of songs that combine heavy guitar riffs with often-complex arrangements that border on prog rock: "Keep Goin'" builds from organ-led verses into a guitar-dense jam driven home by John Lawton's wailing vocals, and the title track effectively contrasts heavy guitar-laden verses with an eerie chorus full odd keyboard and vocal effects to create its spooky atmosphere. Another highlight is "In the Time of Job When Mammon Was a Yippie," an eccentric but fun rocker featuring Lawton delivering an odd take on biblical history over a steady hard rock groove from the band. A downside of the album is that it lacks the varied instrumental textures that would make Lucifer's Friend's later work so interesting, but it makes up for this problem with a consistently high level of energy, clever arrangements, and a full-throttle vocal performance from Lawton. All in all, Lucifer's Friend is a solid debut and a worthwhile album for any listener interested in the roots of heavy metal. ~ Donald A. Guarisco, Rovi

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