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Uriah Heep - Equator CD (album) cover

EQUATOR

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

1.98 | 134 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
1 stars When they released their 12th album 'Equator' in 1985, Uriah Heep was struggling, yet they kept going. They had recorded 2 previous full length albums with their lead singer Peter Goalby, and had some success fitting into the developing heavy metal movement at the time: 'Abiminog' did quite well with the public, however 'Head First' had disappointing sales and the band lost their major CBS label backing. They were able at this time to get signed on with Portrait Records, a CBS affiliate, and were given another chance, which was 'Equator'. The 2 previous albums got fairly good reviews since they had moved to a more commercial sound, but they had also tried adjusting that sound from light to heavy, just trying to find that sweet spot that would put their band back into the spotlight.

For 'Equator', the band line up didn't change a lot from the previous 2 albums, but it also was the only album that this exact lineup would record together. As mentioned, Peter Goalby was the lead vocalist (1981 - 1986), Mick Box was the guitarist (as always), John Sinclair was on keyboards and backing vocals (1981 - 1986), Trevor Bolder on bass and backing vocals (1976 - 1981 and returning in 1983 - 2013) who had returned from a brief 2-year absence, and finally Lee Kerslake on drums (1971 - 1979, 1981 - 2007). 'Equator' should have been set up to be a big hit with the power metal movement going on and with a band that had a recognizable name, so it looked like it would be a win for the band. However, success should never be assumed.

'Rockarama' was the first single. It has a catchy beat, and follows a Def Leppard formula, driving beat and a poppish sound. The public obviously didn't want a DL clone band, especially one that had been around for more than a decade before and already had an established sound. The single failed. And it was the most catchy song on the album. Things didn't look good. Even back then, the clich's in this song just sounded fake as they use MTV lyrics to try to garnish some success. Not only that, this song is awful for both radio listeners and progressive lovers. 'Bad Blood' continues with the same beat and almost sounds just like the preceding song, but washed out with even more synthesizers. Pop-metal never would produce any musical gods, at least any that would be revered for very long. The disappointments continue with the token ballad that came next in the line-up with 'Lost One Love'.

If you can continue past this horrendous track with the hope that things might get better, you will probably be disappointed, unless you love that washed-out 'Foreigner' sound. 'Angel' gets poppier than ever turning into 80's synthesizer heaven ('Starship' anyone?) as the band reaches for prom-theme song status (Bleah!). 'Holding On' gives the band 'Chicago' a run for their pop money. You can't even call this metal anymore, let alone progressive rock. 'Party Time' is embarrassingly hilarious. The sad thing is that they were being serious. 'Poor Little Rich Girl' might bring up the hopes of fans with it's over 6 minute duration, but don't fall for that trap as it turns into a crappy synth mess in the middle, while the rest is a sloppy power ballad. 'Skool's Burnin' is even worse than the title sounds. If it was burning, it was mostly likely because someone tried to catch the library copy of this abomination on fire. If you are still listening to this album, next it fades out and back into the next track 'Heartache City'. At least this one isn't washed in synths as much, but the bad Foreigner imitation continues. Many consider 'Night of the Wolf' more of a return to form and the best track on the album. Maybe it is in a way, but that isn't saying much and isn't worth the trouble. Box has a great guitar solo which is too short. Oh, and rumbling drums. And more pop metal hoopla. That's it. Just listen to the last Giuffira album and you'll get the gist of it.

Someone with bad intentions decided to finally push this album through to be remastered in 2010, the last UH 'classic' album to be remastered. What were they thinking? There were 4 bonus tracks added as if anyone cared; the single edit of 'Rockarama' and 'Poor Little Rich Girl'. Did we really need to hear those? Also included was a track left off the album (used as a B-side) called 'Backstage Girl'. Remember, this is supposed to be their throw away track. Yep. Too bad the other tracks didn't go in the trash with it. There is a 1985 live performance of 'Gypsy' on the extended remaster included. Hopefully no one fell for that gimmick, right?

When the dry ice smoke cleared and the hair spray fumes had dispersed, Goalby had to quit the band because his voice had been thrashed. John Sinclair would also leave the band to work with Ozzy Osbourne. The album tanked and for good reason. The band blamed the label for not promoting the album very well. Everyone else blamed the music for being pop- metal drivel, not even good enough for the likes of Motley Crue or Cinderella fans. What we ended up with was an album that was only good for a gag-gift at your next family Christmas party. Or maybe your Uriah Heep geek friend.

TCat | 1/5 |

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