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Uriah Heep - Wake The Sleeper CD (album) cover

WAKE THE SLEEPER

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.43 | 124 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
4 stars You are probably not prepared for just how fast and hard this album will hit you. Maybe it's just me-- who goes in with low expectations whenever sampling an aging prog band's newest "comeback" album. Or maybe it's the fact that this is probably the heaviest, ballsiest, most consistently hard-rock album Heep has ever produced.

The album opens to the crashing power of the title track. Upbeat and relentless with it's instrumental assult, "Wake the Sleeper" arrives like a frieght train with crashing drums and the raging wail of Box's guitar. This song alone rocks harder than most classic rock, and especially hard when compared to the music band's from the '70's put out today.

Amazingly, the energy and intensity of this song is kept up through the entire album, with "Overload" and "Tears of the World" following up the gauntlet thrown down by the opener. The band is playing wonderfully here, with Box cranking out heavy guitar jams and solos while Gilbrook's drums are strikingly good-- in fact, the whole rhythm section is exceptional, helping turn somewhat ordinary hard-rock tunes into something special. Lanzon's keys aren't given much to do beyond filling the background with organ tones, but the effect is one which brings back some of the old Heep sound.

Songwriting throughout Wake the Sleeper is hit and miss, though even when off the tunes are catchy and fun, thanks in no small part to the excellent vocals of Bernie Shaw-- who's voice may be getting better with age. It's unfortunate though that the group doesn't strive for more in its compositions... it's not like these hard rock tunes will see any radio play, so who are they trying to please with the conventional feel to most of these songs? A quibble, maybe, but enough to keep this Heep album from the top of the pack.

Overall, excellent-- the feel and playing on Wake the Sleeper was a wonderful surprise. Realistically this is a three-star album, but I am bumping it up because I was so impressed by the go-for-broke energy of the band. Finally a prog comeback album that doesn't dissapoint!

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Prog Leviathan | 4/5 |

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