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Uriah Heep - Very 'Eavy...Very 'Umble CD (album) cover

VERY 'EAVY...VERY 'UMBLE

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.36 | 429 ratings

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baz91
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Uriah Heep's debut... not quite as 'eavy as you might think!

Uriah Heep are a hard rock band who have released a plethora of albums since the beginning of the 1970s. Whilst occasionally dabbling in prog, you could hardly call them a progressive band. Their first album 'Very 'eavy... Very 'umble', released on the mainly progressive Vertigo label, shows a band still not quite sure of their sound, but getting very close on a few songs.

The opening track, Gypsy, is the star of the show. Certainly the best track on the record, Gypsy sounds the most 'Heep' out of all the songs. It has become one of the band's best known songs. Starting with a staccato riff in 10/8, it's quite a progressive song too! The lyrics are very memorable, telling a story about the narrator falling in love with a gypsy but having to battle with her father. This is a very 'eavy track indeed, with a 3 minute instrumental dominating the song. The instrumental itself is based around the same chugging chords that makes up the rest of the song, making it slightly repetitive, but nonetheless rocky. This is a strong opening track, and a perfect start for anyone who hasn't heard of the group before.

However, the rest of the album is not so brilliant. One thing I severely dislike about the Uriah Heep catalogue is the countless number of forgettable throwaway songs. This starts with the second track, Walking In Your Shadow. Very boring and repetitive, this track is pure filler.

One of my personal favourites from the record is the third track, Come Away Melinda. This is a call-and-answer song where each verse has two parts: a part for a young girl, and a part for her father. To emphasise the conversation between a girl and her father, the girl's part is sung on the left channel and the father's is on the right. The song has very simple but effective lyrics that lament a fictional war within the universe of the song. With an acoustic guitar and mellotron backing, this is one of Heep's 'umbler songs.

The next track, Lucy Blues, does what it says on the tin. This is a no-nonsense blues song with a slow tempo and a swing feel. If you like Procol Harum's first album, you may feel at home here. Apart from that, there's nothing special about this song.

Just like Gypsy, Dreammare would more accurately predict the group's musical future. This song wouldn't be out of place on albums like 'Demons and Wizards' or 'The Magician's Birthday'. The high pitched singing and the 'la-la-la' device is very 'Heep' indeed! Personally, I enjoy the heavy intro to the song more than the song itself: not a good sign.

I can't help but cringe when I hear Real Turned On. The first verse goes: 'Girl before you go now / There's one thing I wanted to do / That's get you to come back / Because I wanna make love to you.' Maybe this would work for Marvin Gaye, but played over the hard rock riff just makes it sound silly. However, the rest of the song isn't actually that disappointing. The best part is the heavy outro which lasts about 30 seconds.

I'll Keep On Trying is a slow sombre track, with just slightly more creativity than some of the worse songs on the record. Unfortunately, nothing about this song hooks me, and I leave unsatisfied.

The strangest and most progressive track on the record is the finale Wake Up (Set Your Sights). The song has a heavy beginning, but goes gooey and soft halfway through. An interesting listen, but not a good one sadly.

In a strange way, this album encapsulates all that Uriah Heep is about, the good and the bad. When this album was released, a reviewer for Rolling Stone said "If this group makes it I'll have to commit suicide." Unfortunately for him, that's exactly what Uriah Heep did! I only really enjoy two tracks on this record, Gypsy and Come Away Melinda, so I don't really recommend this to anyone other than people familiar with Uriah Heep who are early in the band's history.

baz91 | 2/5 |

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