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Uriah Heep - Chapter And Verse CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog

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Uriah Heep = the pariah in prog.rock and in heavy metal. Too strange for hard rock fans, too hard rock for symphonic prog.rock fans. Generally considered the _poor man's Deep Purple_, of which I've recently come to the conclusion - is unjustified. The Heep can be best described as a gloomy medium between Black Sabbath, The Moody Blues and early-Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. The only reference to Deep Purple may be the heavy Hammond organ sound. Again, unjustified - since there were a handful of bands with this sound such as Quatermass, Rare Bird, Fields, ELP, Atomic Rooster...just to name a few. Many complain of David Byron's voice as shrill and over the top. To my ears, he sounds like a cross between Mike Harrison of Spooky Tooth and King Diamond of Mercyful Fate. Yes..._late '60's soul hard rock_ meets KING DIAMOND! David Byron is indeed an acquired taste, but once you get by that - the Heep is a very rewarding listening experience.

To the box set. 6 discs of Uriah Heep for under $40.00(now $50), a beautiful booklet with a poster and liner notes from Mick Box.

To the music. Now this is what I call a box-set! Includes pre-Heep bands such as Spice(my favourite), National Head Band, The Gods(w/Greg Lake), Keef Hartley Band(very jazzy in a Colosseum way) and Toe Fat(not so good). The aforementioned are all on Disc 1.

Disc 2 is the Heep in full flight with their various rhythm sections. Music from albums _Salisbury_ to _The Magician's Birthday_. I consider the selections here to by my personal favourites from this period (heck, I could've compiled it myself). Although, I would've added the 16 minute Salisbury!(tsk, only minor complaint). Also included on this disc(which was not on the previous box-set) is the varied track _Tears In My Eyes_. My personal favourite from the embodies everything they strived to achieve artistically. Just an amazing piece of prog.rock heaven.

Disc 3 contains the Heep at a crossroads. Music from the albums _Sweet Freedom_ to _High And Mighty_. This line-up of the Heep has 2 vocalists, primarily David Byron and secondary John Wetton (only on a few tracks...yes...THAT John Wetton of Family, King Crimson...Roxy Music fame). With the exception of the pedestrian sounding _Stealin'_(a classic rock staple), things get very hairy and interesting here. The track _Seven Stars_ has a recital of the British Alphabet at the 3/4 mark...great stuff...and a killer riffing track. _One Way Or Another_ is an amazing track with vocal tracks shared by both Byron and Wetton...a real polar opposite to Coverdale and Hughes in Deep Purple. Beautiful!

Disc 4 contains the downslide of the Heep. To me, it has a sound that Thin Lizzy would take in the '80s (Thunder And Lightnin') and not very progressive. More or less a precursor to the NWOBHM(New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) in the'80s. John Lawton(new vocalist) reminds me of a cross between Ronnie James Dio and Klaus Meine(without the accent). :-)

Disc #5 is a mixed bag of live tracks, '80s, '90s and '00 material. Admittedly, nothing has sparked my interest, but I will keep listening. _Fallen Angel_ is an underrated track. Wonderfully strange, this one. My only complaint is that there should've been more tracks from ABOMINOG since it was the Heep's comeback album to the charts in the'80s(_On The Rebound_ would've been a great addition).

Disc #6 contains all live material. Most of it - previously unreleased. Again, nothing has really sparked my interest. The sound quality isn't the greatest, either. For completists, really.

All in all, a great package and arguably the best introduction to Uriah Heep. For beginners, I recommend you purchase this set. If you need more Uriah Heep after this, then I recommend the LP/CD _Salisbury_ for the 16 minute track alone.

The essential Urian Heep albums, IMHO, are as follows(or, a great introduction of the Heep in that order):

Salisbury (4 stars) Look At Yourself(4 stars) Demons And Wizards (3.5 stars) Sweet Freedom(3.5 stars) High And Mighty(3.5 stars)

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Posted Saturday, November 22, 2008 | Review Permalink

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