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Uriah Heep - Wake The Sleeper CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.42 | 183 ratings

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4 stars After a gap of 9 years Uriah Heep are back with Wake the Sleeper, the sleeper in question being of course Uriah Heep. What a fantastic return too! Heep have produced an album to rival and even better much of their classic seventies output. They play with an energy and vigour normally reserved for bands half their age. Wake the Sleeper is classic heavy rock the way we were served it in the seventies; driving guitar riffs drenched in Hammond organ, thunderous bass and drums overlaid with strong vocal melodies.

The album kicks off with the title track which despite a few repetitive lines of the title and harmonised ahs is pretty much an instrumental. It's a great way to kick off too, the song being really driven along by new drummer Russell Gilbrook with his rolling double bass drums. He even gives the Prog Metal guys a run for their money when he doubles up the speed of them to a frantic pace at 2 min 30 into the track. Mick Box it has to be said is brilliant here, playing like a man possessed.

The quality doesn't let up as we go into Overload, another slice of driving rock and I'm reminded what a great singer Bernie Shaw is and I love it when it changes pace for a fantastic Hammond solo courtesy of Phil Lanzon.

Tears of the World is a bit of Heep boogie with trademark harmonies well intact and not 1 but 2 wonderful Box guitar solo's. As Light of a Thousand Stars kicks in I'm starting to wonder how long they can keep up the sheer quality of these songs. I needn't have worried, Heaven's Rain and Book of Lies continues the excellence though the pace comes down a bit. I can't stress too much how strong the melodies and hooks are on all these tracks; instantly memorable.

What Kind of God sees a change of tack, it appears to be about the plight of American Indians at the hands of the white man from the Indians perspective. A military style drum beat present much of the time until the pace picks up with a Box wah wah drenched guitar break. Excellent stuff!

The last 4 tracks continues the trend of powerful driving rockers and an honourable mention goes to Trevor Bolder whose solid bass work never falters, along with Gilbrook making an enviable rhythm section for any heavy rock band.

I can honestly say that every track on this album deserves a place, no fillers whatsoever. Heep don't write the epics these days like The Magicians Birthday or Salisbury; only one track breaks the 6 minute barrier but with Wake the Sleeper they have a produced an album of driving heavy rock that their seventies contempories can only dream of - no names mentioned. A must for any fan of the band.

Nightfly | 4/5 |


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