Uriah Heep were formed by vocalist David Byron and guitarist Mick Box in the
late '60s along with keyboardist Ken Henlsey and together they helped define
the British progressive heavy metal sound of the 70's, even inspiring much of
the NWOBHM scene of the 80's. Hensley eventually moved on and recorded with Blackfoot. Uriah Heep has gone through
so many members over the years that they put Spinal
Tap to shame, having had over 30 different members throughout the years.
Original Uriah Heep vocalist David Byron was found dead in his Reading home on February 28th 1985. He died of alcohol related complications, including liver disease and seizures.
Uriah Heep - Salisbury (Bronze/Mercury) 1971
1. Bird of Prey (4:13)
2. The Park (5:41)
3. Time to Live (4:01)
4. Lady in Black (4:44)
1. High Priestess (3:42)
2. Salisbury (16:20)
1. High Priestess (4:13)
2. The Park (5:41)
3. Time to Live (4:01)
4. Lady in Black (4:44)
1. Simon the Bullet Freak (3:27)
2. Salisbury (16:20)
1. High Priestess" (3:39)
2. The Park" (5:38)
3. Time to Live" (4:02)
4. Lady in Black" (4:43)
5. Simon the Bullet Freak" (3:25)
6. Salisbury" (16:22)
:Salisbury" is the sophomore release by first wave of British heavy metal band Uriah Heep. The sound isn't really what I would describe as heavy metal, even by 1970's standards. Rather their sound is better described as proto-metal; a mixture of progressive rock, psychedelic and some heavy blues . There are also some forays into jazz-fusion on songs like "The Park" and folk rock on "Lady in Black". A few tracks have a very slight Black Sabbath/heavy vibe. Of course the album's main track is the title track which dominates side two of the record. The sixteen minute song is a fantastic jam mixing distorted guitars, those gnarly Hammond Organ sounds, a brass section and David Byron's smooth vocals. The song featured a 24-piece orchestra
Unlike their debut release the songwriting credits for half of this record are attributed to keyboard player Ken Hensley with the other half being a collaborative partnership credits of Box and Byron. There are two different version of "Salisbury". The U.S. and UK versions had vastly different covers and slightly altered track listing. The American version of this album replaces "Bird of Prey" with a bluesy B side entitled "Simon the Bullet Freak" and also re-arranges the song order putting "High Priestess" on the A side of the record.
Uriah Heep - Look at Yourself (Mercury) 1971
1. "Look at Yourself"
2. "I Wanna Be Free" (3:59)
3. "July Morning" (10:36)
4. "Tears in My Eyes" (5:02)
5. "Shadows of Grief" (8:40)
6. "What Should Be Done" (4:13)
7. "Love Machine" (3:37)
"Look At Yourself" is one
of the album covers that truly looses something when shrunk down to CD size.
The original vinyl version had a reflective foil cover in the mirror area so
that you could actually look at yourself. Get it? Without that reflective surface,
the artwork is abysmal. But what of the music? Many would say that Uriah Heep's
third album is one of their finest. I wouldn't necessarily disagree, although
"Look At Yourself" probably wouldn't be my number one. (That distinction would
probably go to "Demons & Wizards). However, there is no denying that "Look At
Yourself" is one of the band's top release. Mic Box's guitar work is out front,
where it needs to me. Opening with the title track it busts out of the gates
some demented heavy metal stallion. Indeed, Uriah Heep were one of the early
proto-metal bands, even if you would be hard pressed to call this metal decades
later. "July Morning" is one of Heep's most recognizable songs. "I Wanna Be
Free" and "Tears In My Eyes" are excellent rock songs that have a sound not
unlike Deep Purple, employing a thick hammond organ and heavy guitar style.
"What Should Be Done" is a piano based track. "Love Machine" is a 4 minute hard
rocker that finishes off the album.
This CD has been remastered
and re-released, with bonus tracks by Sanctuary Records. I'm still keeping my
eyes open for a copy of the re-release.
The title track has covered
by Gamma Ray.
Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards (Mercury) 1972
1. "The Wizard"
2. "Traveller in Time" (3:26)
3. "Easy Livin'" (2:37)
4. "Poet's Justice" (4:14)
5. "Circle of Hands" (6:27)
6. "Rainbow Demon" (4:30)
7. "All My Life" (2:46)
8. "Paradise" (5:10)
9. "The Spell" (7:32)
10. "Why" [single version] (4:53)
11. "Why" [extended version] (7:40)
12. "Home Again To You" (5:29)
Uriah Heep's most well
known and popular album, mostly due to the Ken Hensley penned hit "Easy
Livin'". This is a masterpiece and among the band's best early discs. However,
listening to this disc now it's hard to believe this was labeled 'heavy metal'
in the early 70's. The band's sound was heavy, but was a mixture of guitars
and Hammond Organ, as opposed to the more riff oriented metal of the late 70's
through today. Mick Box does rip out some cool riffs, although they are just
not as out front due to Hensley's organ. "Demons & Wizards" is
a spooky sort of cd, sounding ancient and a bit haunting, despite the few pop
leanings of "Easy Livin'" and "All My Life.". Mostly it
just has this gothic fog that hangs over it giving it an ambiance that is hard
to explain in words. I suppose it's just that odd mix of psychedelia and heavy
metal being married together that gives "Demons & Wizards" it's
charisma. This particular remastered version contains three bonus tracks. The
epic version of "Why" has never before been released in any form.
The remastered version also contains an extensive full color booklet with photos,
lyrics, bio and some liner notes by Mick Box and Ken Hensley. The cover art
is also of interest as it was created by Roger Dean who was most noted for his
work with Yes. "Easy Livin'"
has been covered by W.A.S.P.; and Blackfoot.
"The Wizard" has been covered by Blind
Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday (Mercury) 1972
2. "Spider Woman" (2:25)
3. "Blind Eye" (3:33)
4. "Echoes in the Dark" (4:48)
5. "Rain" (3:59)
6. "Sweet Lorraine" (4:13)
7. "Tales" (4:09)
8. "The Magician's Birthday" (10:23)
"Magician's Birthday" is
the magnificent follow-up to the equally important "Demons and Wizards" and
was recorded in the same year. It was also the second Heep album by the classical
line-up featuring Hensley, Byron, Box, Thain and Kerslake. In my opinion, Uriah
Heep were at the top of their game here. If the ten minute title track doesn't
convince you, then surely the beautiful "Rain", the rocking opener "Sunrise"
or the incredibly catchy "Sweet Lorraine" will. David Byron is an excellent
vocalist. Even the cover artwork done by the legendary Roger Dean is incredible
and is really the face of one of the best albums to come out of the British
heavy metal scene in the early 1970's.
Unfortunately this classic
line-up didn't last long. The band toured relentlessly which led to many problems
in the years that would follow. Bass guitarist Gary Thain developed a serious
drug problem, which led to him nearly being electrocuted onstage a few years
later. He was kicked out of the band, and died of an overdose in 1977. David
Byron stuck around for two more albums, but was also booted from the group,
apparently for drinking too much. He went onto release a couple solo albums
before dying in 1984. Ken Hensley left the band in 1980 and later went on to
join US. Southern rockers Blackfoot.
Uriah Heep - Live (Mercury) 1973
2. "Sunrise" (4:09)
3. "Sweet Lorraine" (5:01)
4. "Traveller in Time" (3:37)
5. "Easy Livin'" (2:59)
6. "July Morning" (11:55)
7. "Tears in My Eyes" (5:01)
8. "Gypsy " (14:07)
9. "Circle of Hands" (8:58)
10. "Look at Yourself" (7:29)
11. "The Magician's Birthday" (1:45)
12. "Love Machine" (3:27)
Hailed as a classic by
many. Have even read a few reviews that put this on the same level as Deep
Purple-Made in Japan. Unfortunately I never familiarized myself with Uriah
Heep when they were popular so I wouldn't yet rank it up as one of my all time
favorite live albums. Listening now however, I see that I missed out on a very
cool band. As with most 70's bands, Uriah Heep tend to extend their songs out,
adding and changing from the album version, which I always thought made for
a better listen overall. I've heard it said that live albums are an end of an
era for a band, and from the biographies I have read, this is true of Uriah
Heep as well. Before this live album the band were cutting edge progressive
rock mixed with early 70's heavy metal. After this album the quality of their
music supposedly went downhill up until about the time of NWOBHM revival and
their "Abomingo" release. Accordingly the band's popularity began to waver.
Well, this all be true or not, they left us with one stellar live testament
and a good size catalogue of classic studio releases.
Uriah Heep - Conquest (Castle) 1980
1. No Return (6:02)
2. Imagination (5:49)
3. Feelings (5:25)
4. Fools (5:03)
5. Carry On (3:56)
6. Won't Have to Wait Too Long (4:54)
7. Out on the Street (5:56)
8. It Ain't Easy (5:44)
"Conquest" has to be one of the most detested Uriah Heep albums. People hated the vocals, people hated the change in sound and the band member changes. However, I really don't think it's quite as bad as fan reviews seem to indicated. First of all, "No Return" is a very enjoyable song with a catchy melody and some nice guitar work. "Imagnation" is a bizarre track with a heavy 70's vibe that gets almost psychedelic during the more quiet times. The song ebbs and flows quite nicely. These first two songs are both worth the price of the album in my opinion. However, I also enjoyed the upbeat rock of "Feelings" and the melancholy closing track "It Aint Easy" as well. Sure, it's not the same old Heep, but it's certainly not bad either. New vocalist John Sloman sometimes reminds me of Ian Gillan and Glenn Hughes, though he is not as controlled as either of those two guys. Still, he's not "bad" as many on-line reviews seem to say. Of course the absence of Ken Hensley does give the album a different vibe than past Uriah Heep albums. However, it's only rock and roll and I quite enjoy it.
Uriah Heep - Abominog (Castle) 1982
Scared to Run" (3:49)
2. "Chasing Shadows" (4:39)
3. "On the Rebound" (3:14)
4. "Hot Night in a Cold Town" (4:03)
5. "Running All Night (with the Lion)" (4:28)
6. "That's the Way That it Is" (4:06)
7. "Prisoner" (4:33)
8. "Hot Persuasion" (3:48)
9. "Sell Your Soul" (5:25)
10. "Think it Over" (3:42)
I have had
several e-mails suggesting that I should get more Uriah Heep and give them more
of a chance. Well after borrowing a few of their earlier album I am now hooked
and have added some of their CDs to my want list. I found this used European
import for a mere .99 cents. First of all, the cover is just so 'cute,' aint
it? (yea right!) Well, with a cover as disturbing as this I was expecting music
that was a bit darker. What I discovered was a decent NWOBHM disc. Perhaps,
Uriah Heep are not traditionally considered a NWOBHM band, but certainly this
CD sounds much like what was coming out of that movement in the early 80's.
Melodic, yet aggressive, hook laden hard rock. The songs range from furious
guitar heavy metal rockers to mid-tempo AOR rockers, like a slightly heavier Foreigner.
New vocalist, Peter Goalby sounds like a cross between Lou Gramm and Rick Medlocke.
Two cool covers in Russ Ballard's 'On the Rebound' and D.B. Cooper's
| Uriah Heep - Head First (Castle) 1983
1. The Other Side Of Midnight (3:55)
2. Stay On Top (3:35)
3. Lonely Nights (4:07)
4. Sweet Talk (3:51)
5. Love Is Blind (3:38)
6. Roll-Overture [instrumental] (2:18)
7. Red Lights (2:57)
8. Rollin' The Rock (5:31)
9. Straight Through The Heart (3:39)
10. Weekend Warriors (3:50)
1. Playing For Time [b-side single] (4:27)
2. Searching [instrumental out-take] (3:52)
3. The Wizard [live] (4:52)
"Head First" was the much anticipated follow-up to "Abominog" and was pretty much a disappointment to longtime fans. The band pretty much abandons their early prog roots and goes for a more melodic, radio-friendly hard rock sound, even moreso than "Abominog". The album was once again produced by Ashley Howe and was suppose to be a natural successor to "Abominog". Three tracks feature outside songwriters, including a Bryan Adams cover. However, I really don't think "Head First" is a bad album. In fact, it's a solid, straight-forward hard rock album. "The Other Side Of Midnight" is a great song with an undeniable hook. This should have been the song that Bronze Records releases as a single in 1983, but instead they chose "Lonely Nights". "Lonely Nights" is the Bryan Adams cover and sounds a bit like late 80's Blackfoot to my ears. "Stay on Top" was chosen as the second single and was a minor hit for the band. "Love Is Blind" is a powerful rock track as well. On the flip side of the LP, "Roll-Over" is a symphonic instrumental that could have been featured "Salisbury". This song sounds like is should have been an intro to an epic Heep song. Instead, it introduces the straight-forward, upbeat hard rocker "Red Lights". "Straight from the Heart" is an AOR song that could have been a hit in 1983, but for whatever reason was not. The closing number "Weekend Warriors" is again a solid hard-rock song with a fantastic rythm and a good melody.
Ozzy Obourne bassist Bob Daisley, who pened a lot of the early Ozzy material, is featured on this album and has several writing credits. Vocalist Peter Goalby has a slightly raspy, rock and roll voice that works well for the material. At times he reminds me of Rickey Medlock from Blackfoot. Mick Box is the sole original member of Heep at this point, which accounts for the change in sound from the band's classic 70's sound.
The 1997 remaster includes an 8-page booklet with tons of photos and liner notes. There are also three bonus tracks including "Searching", an outtake from the "Head First" sessions. The Wizard is recorded live in 1984 by the "Head First" line-up.
Uriah Heep - Equator (Portrait) 1985
1. Rockarama (4:20)
2. Bad Blood (3:33)
3. Lost One Love (4:40)
4. Angel (4:47)
5. Holding On (4:20)
6. Party Time (4:20)
7. Poor Little Rich Girl (6:25)
8. Skools Burning (4:25)
9. Heartache City (4:59)
10. Night Of The Wolf (4:31)
Equator was the sixteenth album released by British rocker Uriah Heep and marked the return of bassist Trevor Bolder, who had rejoined the band for the "Head First" tour. Despite the fact that the line-up had remained relatively in tact from "Abominog" through "Head First", sans bass player Bob Daisley who jumped ship to return to Ozzy. Because of this, I expected "Equator" to be similar to "Head First" and to at least be as good as those two albums. All in all, it does pretty much continue the style that started with "Head First" delving even further into lightweight pop rock. The studio sheen is polished to the band's detriment. The 80's style keyboards are glaringly loud, putting the album in similar territory to Europe's "Final Countdown". Songs like "Rockerama" and "Bad Blood" are hooky but are little more than melodic rock in the Survivor/Toto/Asia vibe. "Skools Burning" is an obvious attempt at a rock and roll anthem for high schoolers, and is an inferior take-off of Alice Cooper's classic "School Out". However after struggling to get through eight tracks on this CD something changed on track 9, "Heartace City". I started to enjoy the album and this song in particular. Then the last track completely blew me away. "Night of the Wolf" sounds like what I want to hear from Uriah Heep. Hammond organ, heavy guitars and rock and roll. Why couldn't the rest of the album be this good, or perhaps the song just seems great in comparison to the glossy 80's pop rock on the rest of the album.
Uriah Heep - Raging Silence (Enigma) 1989
1. "Hold Your Head
2. "Blood Red Roses" (4:10)
3. "Voice on My TV" (4:19)
4. "Rich Kid" (4:49)
5. "Cry Freedom" (4:31)
6. "Bad Bad Man" (4:09)
7. "More Fool You" (3:34)
8. "When the War Is Over" (5:09)
9. "Lifeline" (4:52)
10. "Rough Justice" (4:24)
11. "Miracle Child" (4:11)
12. "Look at Yourself" (7:20)
13. "Too Scared to Run" [live] (3:58)
14. "Corina" [live] (4:46)
15. "Hold Your Head Up" (5:53)
16. "Blood Red Roses" (4:53)
A poppy, keyboard
infested, hard rock album from Mick Box and a host of new members, including
Lou Graham sound alike Bernie Shaw. Actually at times, I also heard a bit of
Bruce Dickinson in Bernie's voice. The CD as a whole has a sound similar to
a slightly heavier Foreigner. The single for this disc "Blood Red
Roses" did little for the band, but is actually a decent song. Most likely
it was a lack of marketing and push that made the single fail, as opposed to
the song just not doing well on it's own merit. Interesting choice of a cover
in Argent's "Hold You Head Up." As far as I know this is one
of the few Uriah Heep discs that has not bee re-issued in recent years. This
Enigma version was quite the find. (Thanks James)
Uriah Heep - Different World (Sanctuary) 1991
1. Blood on Stone (4.38)
2. Which Way Will the Wind Blow (4.52)
3. All God's Children (4:19)
4. All for One (4.27)
5. Different World (4.15)
6. Step by Step (4.07)
7. Seven Days (3.35)
8. First Touch (3.54)
9. One on One (4.05)
10. Cross That Line (5.35)
11. Stand Back (3:57)
12. Powers Of Addiction [album outtake] (4:12)
13. Holy Roller [album outtake] (5:02)
14. Blood On Stone [extended version] (7:03)
15. Cross That Line [extended version] (5:59)
"Different World" is the 18th record from Uriah Heep and featured the same line-up as "Raging Silence". Mick Box is the only remaining original member, though drummer Lee Kerkslake also remains from the classic "Magician's Birthday" line-up. Bassist Trevor Bolder produced the album and also has sole writing credits on four of the albums original ten tracks. What the band delivers is somewhat underwhelming, though certainly not something I would say was bad. Fact is, Uriah Heep had a sound and a charisma all of their own in the 70's. Sure, some people compared the to Deep Purple, but you could definitely hear a huge difference between the two British bands. With "Different World" the band has sort of just fallen into the "just sounding like everyone else" crowd. The charisma is no longer there and what we are left with is melodic, watered-down, '80's hard rock with a hint of funk and never really breaking lose to heavy metal. The album could probably be heavy if the guitars had more bite and the cheese-keys weren't so prominent. Vocalist Bernie Shaw has a nice voice that reminds me of Lou Graham but honestly, I think he sounds better on "Raging Silence".
There are several different CD pressings of this album, each having different bonus tracks. My copy is the 2006 remastered series from Sanctuary Records and features a 12-page, full-color booklet with lots of photos and liner notes.
Uriah Heep - Lady in Black (Spectrum) 1994
in Black" (4:40)
2. "Traveller in Time" (3:17)
3. "Easy Livin'" (2:35)
4. "Shady Lady" (4:48)
5. "Gypsy" (6:38)
6. "Lonely Nights" (4:11)
7. "Spider Woman" (2:27)
8. "Fallen Angel" (4:52)
9. "Sympathy" (4:49)
10. "Come Back to Me" (4:20)
11. "Carry On" (4:00)
12. "Love Stealer" (3:25)
13. "Think It Over" (3:30)
14. "Stay on Top" (3:38)
Back in the 70's and early 80's, I was never was much of a Uriah Heep fan. I guess I had really never familiarized myself with them though I did know a handful of songs including "Easy Livin'". Sometime in the mid-1990's I found this compilation for $1 at a flea market and decided to give it a shot. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Heep's heavy rock and roll sound, some of it reminding me of Deep
Purple. The CD acted as my real introduction to the band and in turn had me searching out more Heep. Soon after I picked up releases like "Demons & Wizards", and the rest is history.
Uriah Heep - Sea of Light (SPV) 1995
1. Against the Odds (6:12)
2. Sweet Sugar (4:43)
3. Time of Revelation (4:02)
4. Mistress of All Time (5:33)
5. Universal Wheels (5:39)
6. Fear of Falling (4:38)
7. Spirit of Freedom (4:14)
8. Logical Progression (6:12)
9. Love in Silence (6:48)
10. Words in the Distance (4:46)
11. Fires of Hell (Your Only Son) (3:56)
12. Dream On (4:26)
"Sea of Light" is Heep's 19th studio album. It's hard to believe that Uriah Heep have been around for over four decades, cranking out music and touring the world. The line-up involved on "Sea of Light" consists of Bernie Shaw on vocals, Mick Box on guitars, Phil Lanzon on keyboards, Trevor Bolder on bass and Lee Kerslake on drums. This particular line-up had been intact since '86. Listening to "Sea of Light" for the first time, I found it hard to believe that this was the same band that recorded "Raging Silence" and "Different World". Whereas those albums moved away from the progressive rock sound towards an AOR sound, with "Seal of Light" the band has moved back towards the more progressive style which had produced such classics as "Demons and Wizards" and "The Magician's Birthday". Thought both Box and Kerslake are still present from the line-up which recorded those albums, keyboard player Ken Hensley had a big hand in the songwriting and had long since moved on. Instead, Mick Box and Phil Lanzon are the main songwriters with bassist Trevor Bolder also getting a lot of writing credits. Trevor even sings lead on "Fear Of Falling".
"Sea of Light" isn't an exact copy of "Demons and Wizards" and "The Magician's Birthday". In fact, the music is a nice mixture of classic 70's Heep and the more melodic, modern Uriah Heep. The band have managed to balance the sound to something that is quite pleasing. All the trademark Heep sounds are present; heavy guitar riffs, soaring Hammond keys, driving bass lines, and layered background vocals. "Against All Odds" opens the album and it immediately becomes clear that the band is back in fine form. If ever there was a song that harkened back to the bands roots, it's this track. It immediately reminded me of an older Heep song, which of course drove me nuts until I could figure out what song it was reminding me of. I finally figured out that there are some moments of the song that recall "Bird of Prey" from "Salisbury". The song also features some fiery guitar work from Mick Box. I was actually impressed by the sheer guitar shred unleashed in that song. The follow-up song, "Sweet Sugar" is a straight-forward rocker with a hooky chorus. However, "Time of Revelation" again brings about the classic 70's Heep sound. the song reminds me slightly of "Easy Livin'". Other highlights are "Mistress of all Time", and "Love in Silence". "Mistress of all Time" is an acoustic guitar driven track with some flute-like keys and another hooky chorus. The title "Love in Silence" gives the impression that the song might be a sappy radio ballad, but that is not case. Rather the song is one of the more progressive numbers on the album. It also is effectively the title track, and probably could have been called "Sea of Light". "Logical Progression" is another progressive song that sounds like it could have been a modern Yes number.
'Sea Of Light" showcases a heavily re-energized Uriah Heep and is easily one of their best since "Abominog". Heep fans who have given up on the band should be pleasantly surprised, I know I was. The Roger Dean album cover is a nice inclusion as well.
Uriah Heep - Sonic Origami (Eagle) 1998
1. Between Two Worlds (6:29)
2. I Hear Voices (3:55)
3. Perfect Little Heart (5:17)
4. Heartless Land (4:44)
5. Only the Young (4:43)
6. In the Moment (6:23)
7. Question (5:26)
8. Change (6:02)
9. Shelter from the Rain (6:10)
10. Everything in Life (3:15)
11. Across the Miles (5:13)
12. Feels Like (4:37)
13. The Golden Palace (8:29)
14. Sweet Pretender (4:50)
Wrapped in a minimalistic, very 1980's looking cover, "Sonic Origami" is Uriah Heep's 20th studio album. I really thought that "Sea of Light" was a step in the right direction and in fact was a nice return to form. Even the cover art was a return to form. Despite the poor album cover art, "Sonic Origami" continues the sound from "Sea of Light" mixing the progressive hard rock from the band's early years with the melodic AOR tendencies of the late 80's and early 90's. Some tracks seem to fall more on one side or the other. For instance, opening track "Between Two Worlds", a tribute to the band's fallen frontman David Byron, really recalls the classic 70's sound of the band. There are five songs clocking in at around the six minute mark, showing that the band is purposely writing longer, more progressive songs. "In the Moment" is one of the lengthier numbers and also recalls the more progressive side of Heep and features some nice guitar work from Mick Box. Longtime vocalist Bernie Shaw belts out his vocals which are augmented with nice backing vocals and some of those classic "ah, ah, ahhhh's", also reminding me of the classic era of Heep. However, a song like "Across the Miles" is pure AOR. This particular song was originally recorded by Survivor. Likewise, "Heartless Land" is an acoustic AOR ballad. However, the overall albums flows nicely and doesn't seem disjointed. "Sonic Origami" won't replace albums like "Demons and Wizards" and "The Magician's Birthday" as fan favorites, but it's still an enjoyable Heep album that I find more enjoyable than albums like "Raging Silence" and" Different Worlds".
Uriah Heep - Wake the Sleeper (Noise) 2008
1. Wake The Sleeper (3:33)
2. Overload (5:58)
3. Tears Of The World (4:45)
4. Light Of A Thousand Stars (3:57)
5. Heaven's Rain (4:16)
6. Book Of Lies (4:05)
7. What Kind Of God (6:37)
8. Ghost Of The Ocean (3:22)
9. Angels Walk With You (5:24)
10. Shadow (3:35)
11. War Child (5:07)
After a ten year absence, Heep apparently awake from their own slumber and record the appropriately titled "Wake the Sleeper". In that decade of slumber, long-time drummer Lee Kerslake had to leave the band due to issues with his own health. Kerslake had been with the band since 1972's "Demons and Wizards". He was replaced by drummer Russell Gilbrook. Apart from this change, this line up was together for over 20 years, the longest of any Heep line-up.
"Wake the Sleeper" opens with a fantastic track that really recalls the band's glorious past. It's a mostly up-tempo instrumental with some fierce axe work and some scattered "ah-ah-ahhhhs". Classic Heep! The three and a half minute instrumental is followed-up by a guitar and Hammond Organ driven mid-tempo rocker titled "Overload". The song has more of those As is the band's trademark, each song focuses on majestic organs, blistering guitar solos from resident rocker Mick Box and those multi-part vocal harmonies. Those signature "ahhhhs" are also scattered throughout the album.
"Wake the Sleeper" is a bit heavier than it's predecessors, "Sonic Origami" and "Sea of Light". Of course, heaviness is in the eye of the beholder. Most younger metal fans would probably view this as light-weight hard rock. However, contained within "Wake the Sleeper" is the very roots of what became heavy metal. The heaviness is in the songwriting, the attitude and the combination of the organ and guitar riffs. It's a wall of sound, but not in the modern sense of the expression. Perhaps it would be better said that "Wake the Sleeper" has more spunk, more energy and is louder in it's approach. There are still those more melodic tracks such as "Book of Lies", a song that sees the band spewing venom at somebody who wrote something about them that they didn't like. Likewise, "What Kind of God" is a song with a lot anger and frustration fueling it.
"Wake the Sleeper" is a re-vitalized Uriah Heep. This band obviously still has a lot to say and their chemistry is still strong because "Wake the Sleeper" is every bit as good as the band's classic catalog.
Uriah Heep - Into the Wild (Frontiers) 2011
1. Nail On The Head (4:16)
2. I Can See You (4:14)
3. Into The Wild (4:21)
4. Money Talk (4:44)
5. I'm Ready (4:15)
6. Trail Of Diamonds (6:28)
7. Southern Star (4:26)
8. Believe (5:09)
9. Lost (4:51)
10. T-Bird Angel (4:01)
11. Kiss Of Freedom (6:13)
Uriah Heep are one of those band's that were born during the first wave of British heavy metal. They never quite gained the same respect as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and UFO. Four decades later and Mick Box and Uriah Heep continue to crank out their own brand of British heavy metal. By modern standards, younger fans would look at the music on "Into the Wild" as "just hard rock", but those of us who know the history of heavy metal know better. The terms were synonymous in the 70's when heavy metal was born, and Uriah Heep were one of the frontrunners.
Three years have passed since "Wake the Sleeper". "Into the Wild" continues in a similar mode as it's predecessor. Gone is the AOR and softer sound the band attempted on "Raging Silence" and "Different World". The album mostly sports heavy guitar riffs, blazing guitar solos, sweeping keyboards and smooth melodies. No where is this more apparent than in the opening track and the single for the album, "Nail on the Head". This song is heavy, and not because of down-tuned guitars or someone screaming at you like a Sergeant to a cadet in basic training. It's heavy because the riffs are heavy, the guitar solo shreds and the song itself has teeth and nails. Fans of the more progressive side of Heep may be put off by the straight-forward, repetitive nature of the song, but it's really not all that different than a classic like "Easy Livin'". "Southern Star" is another straight-forward memorable standout track and has a sound that reminds me of Deep Purple..
"Trail of Diamonds" moves more towards the band's more progressive side. The first half of the song is very mellow with Bernie Shaw singing softly over some organ melodies and acoustic guitars. However the song builds and just past the two minute mark Mick Box kicks in with a nasty guitar riff, one that is lifted directly from "The Magician's Birthday". The song then ebbs and flows between the more melancholic sounds and the heavier moments. The song even sports some of those classic 1970's "ahhhhhh, ahhhhh" vocal melodies. "Lost" is another of the album's more progressive tracks filled with gorgeous vocal melodies, gritty organ riffs and overall darker feel than "Trail of Diamonds". The album ends with "Kiss of Freedom", a slightly progressive, melancholic, ballad with passionate vocals and an unearthly guitar solo.
If any heavy metal fan want to truly know the roots of the music they claim to love, it can be heard in Uriah Heep and "Into the Wild" is a great example of those roots.
If any heavy metal fan want to truly know the roots of the music they claim to love, it can be heard in Uriah Heep and "Into the Wild" is a great example of those roots.
Uriah Heep - s/t
Uriah Heep - Salisbury
Uriah Heep - Look At Yourself
Uriah Heep - Demons & Wizards
Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday
Uriah Heep - Live
Uriah Heep - Sweet Freedom