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Uriah Heep - Spellbinder Live CD (album) cover

SPELLBINDER LIVE

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.02 | 18 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Did we really sound that good?

Recorded live in Cologne, Germany in 1994 during the tour to promote the "Sea of light" album, "Spellbinder" finds the now longest running Uriah Heep line up with a renewed confidence and sense of purpose. They appear comfortable with the band's proud history, even if the majority of this line up were not actually in the band during the time when their best know music was made.

With a deal for a new studio album not yet concluded, this release was in reality a stopgap. Given the many other live albums already available, "Spellbinder" is somewhat superfluous, regardless of the quality of the music. The story goes that the gig, which was intended for a radio broadcast, was a disaster since much of the equipment malfunctioned including the stage monitors. Mick Box had however secured ownership of the tape of the gig, and when the band played it back a few weeks later, they were astonished to find that it "sounded great". The recording has therefore not been dubbed in any way.

The set consists of a good cross section of new and old. Some of the older tracks, such as "Devil's daughter" and "Rainbow demon" had not been performed live for many years. Other old favourites, such as "Circle of hands", "The wizard", and "Look at yourself" are included, all still sounding remarkably fresh. The fact that Bernie Shaw's vocal style bears a passing resemblance to David Byron's means that there is a warmly familiar feel to the performances of the Heep classics. Only a couple of tracks originally recorded by the current line up appear. While these are adequate they are greeted with polite rather than ecstatic appreciation.

The album is rounded off by a studio track "Sail the rivers", which was recorded during the sessions for the "Sea of light" album, but not included on it. This Trevor Boulder composition is rather prosaic, being neither an upbeat rocker or a ballad, but the lukewarm water in between.

A decent, well rounded live album, but far from essential.

Nice Wizard image artwork on the sleeve.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |

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