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Uriah Heep - Into The Wild CD (album) cover

INTO THE WILD

Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog


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ozzy_tom
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Uriah Heep comes back with another studio album after extremely enjoyable "Wake The Sleeper". While "Into The Wild" isn't as great as I wished it to be, it's still a very solid release which should satisfy all band's fans. Just like preceding album it's clearly rooted in Uriah Heep's glorious past, so you can expect tons of Hammond organ riffs (no other keyboard here!), dazzling guitar solos and usual mix of energetic hard songs and more complex quasi-epic tracks. I'm glad that these heavy prog dinosaurs are still able to pull off such entertaining material, without selling off to modern trends.

"Into The Wild" consists of 11 new compositions:

1. "Nail on the Head" - unfortunately album begins with definitely the worst UH's song I've heard from ages. Main guitar riff sounds like it was looped to playback again and again so Mick Box could go for lunch earlier! Also Bernie Shaw keeps repeating the refrain until you feel exhausted, so in general "Nail on the Head" is a very boring, repetitive experience. What a shame that they decided to promote this good album with such a turkey. Even their 80s new wave heavy metal was much better than this crap. The only redeeming factor is guitar solo in the middle which is classy as usual.

2. "I Can See You" - next track is so much better! It's still a bit too mainstream for me, but at least it's a memorable tune with neck-breaking tempo, heavy guitar licks and roaring organ backing. I can add that somehow it reminds me of "Devil's Daughter" song. Anyway it's a real start of the album for me. Let's just forget about opening flop...

3. "Into The Wild" - my favorite track from this release. Essence of 70s style heavy prog with thundering organ/guitar delivery and dark, thrilling vocal. I love Lanzon's Hammond B-3 solo, very energetic and very "hensleyish". I hope it will become new UH's concert favorite, it deserves to be placed on band's live track-list for sure.

4. "Money Talk" - another ground-shaking number with even meaner organ riffs reminding me of Jon Lord's work in Deep Purple. Especially last minute of the song is drenched in heavy organ spectacular madness. Only quasi-refrain "Down for the money" sounds too goofy and irrelevant here for me. The rest is splendid.

5. "I'm Ready" - Uriah Heep keep rockin' like there's no tomorrow in another song. Up-beat, frenetic rock'n'roller with flashy organ & fiery electric guitar tones. Brief B-3 solo part in the middle, preceded by guitar one is especially worth to be mentioned.

6. "Trail of Diamonds" - first mini-epic of this album is called "Trail of Diamonds". First half of the song is very mellow and ballad style with Shaw's melancholic vocal, melodic Hammond melodies and acoustic guitar licks. But at 2:20 minute Box suddenly kicks off with guitar riff...taken directly from "The Magician's Birthday" epic! But it's only couple of seconds and after that Uriah Heep proceeds to most energetic part of the song, which is equally good as the slow paced one. In the end musicians come back to melancholic mood with typical for them "AAAAA" chorus-like singing. In general it's equally well-written song as "What Kind of God" from "Wake The Sleeper", but of course it can't be matched with such magnificent lengthy compositions from 70' like "July Morning", "Pilgrim" or "Paradise/The Spell".

7. "Southern Star" - more radio-friendly mid-tempo rocker but not memorable for me at all. Standard track without anything distinguishable.

8. "Believe" - similar to previous song, typical Uriah Heep's rocker with evident pop flavor. In general not bad but also not particularly good.

9. "Lost" - amazing heavy progressive rock track with thrilling vocal harmonies and slightly middle-east flavor melody lines. I don't know who is the main singer on this composition but it's definitely not Bernie (maybe it's Lanzon?). Anyway "Lost" is a truly mean & dark-sounding song filled with gritty organ riffs. Last few seconds include spectacular, gloomy Hammond solo in the vain of Ken Hensley's well-known performance on "Gypsy".

10. "T-Bird Angel" - cock-rock rock'n'roller similar to band's output from 80s period. Not my cup of tea, but not very offensive either. Some fine heavy metal guitar solos here anyway.

11. "Kiss of Freedom" - the second semi-epic of "Into The Wild" is another highlight. Atmosphere is closer to power-ballad than real prog-rock but it's still beautiful composition. Passionate vocals, organ floods and heavenly guitar solos make it a worth-hearing experience. However the best is last 2 minutes filled with extended Hammond B-3 solo where Lanzon shows his phenomenal skills once again.

+ Bonus:

12. "Hard Way to Learn" - some editions of this CD also includes additional, 12th song called "Hard Way to Learn". In fact I'm surprised that it wasn't included on the main album because it's better than "Believe", "T-Bird Angel" and especially dreadful "Nail on the Head". Overall very nice mid-tempo rocker with stomping rhythm, catchy vocals and smokin' organ solo.

Summarize: "Into The Wild" has bigger amount of fillers than spectacular "Wake The Sleeper" (released 3 years earlier) but it still manages to remain as a must-have album for Uriah Heep fans and general lovers of heavy prog & classic hard rock in the vain of Deep Purple, Birth Control, Jackal, Frumpy, Tyburn Tall, Amish etc. But I have to warn you that Uriah Heep is one of my very favorite prog-rock bands (along with ELP and early Eloy) so I may slightly overrate this release.

Best tracks: "Into The Wild", "Lost", "Kiss of Freedom" & "Trail of Diamonds"

4 stars from ozzy_tom

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Send comments to ozzy_tom (BETA) | Report this review (#435073)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars Phil's on fire!

"Into the wild" is effectively the follow up to the 2008 album "Wake the sleeper", notwithstanding the fact that the band did release a selection of new recordings of old songs on "Celebration-40 years of rock" in the interim. The line up is the same as that which recorded those albums, the current quintet having remained intact for well over 20 years now (apart from the enforced retirement of drummer Lee Kerslake a few years ago).

While very much a band effort, it is Mick Box who appears to lead the band's strategic direction these days. This means that the epic numbers which were largely responsible for the band's listing on this site are confined to the past, the main emphasis now being on songs which rock. That said, Phil Lanzon appears to have had more influence on the arrangement of the songs this time, leading to his keyboards enjoying greater prominence. To his credit, he uses the opportunity to instil a classic Uriah Heep sound (I hesitate to say a Hensley like sound, Lanzon is well established in his own right) in many of the tracks here.

The album opens with the band's obligatory but invariably futile attempt to write a hit single, "Nail on the head" being a mid-paced slice of anthemic rock with a catchy and slightly funky hook. Bernie Shaw's voice sounds a bit harsher than usual, perhaps indicating his willingness to push it more now that his problems with his vocal chords are behind him. "I can see you" reminds me at times of a song from the Byron era called "So tired". In its own right though this is a meaty number with some fine harmonies and a mighty sound.

Lanzon's opening Hammond organ on the title track take us way back and while the song is a bit by the numbers with rather prosaic "little sister" lyrics, it does have an instant appeal. "Money talk" is not unlike the opener, a strong quasi-funky basis supporting a toe tapping sing-a-long-anthem. Lanzon closes the track with a fine organ solo.

Five tracks in to the album already (each runs to just over 4 minutes) and "I'm ready" sees no letting up of the pace. Without wishing to labour the point, Phil Lanzon really is in his element this time, his keyboards contribution here being wonderfully over the top. To be fair, his efforts do transform tracks such as this from basic rock numbers to retro (Heep) classics.

The 6 1/2 minute "Trail of diamonds" is the first of the tracks where the band move into more adventurous areas. Opening as a semi-acoustic soft song where Bernie Shaw displays his strong vocal talents, the song later develops into a louder epic number. Structurally, there are similarities with the classic "Stealin'". As with that song, "Trail of diamonds" boasts a strong melody and some classic Heep ah-ah harmonies. Towards then end of the track Mick Box adds some great chiming guitar, something I would have liked to have seen developed further (Perhaps this will be done in the live environment, along the lines of "Circle of hands"?).

"Southern star" seeks to find the sort of hook which made "Lady in black" so popular, the chorus lines being appended with "oh-oh-oh" tags. "Believe" opens with another burst of Hammond" leading to a song which feels like "Between two worlds part 2". Once again, a strong melody underlying a song which I expect to become a live favourite. "Lost" is perhaps a bit "Rainbow demon" like, the driving organ sound underpinning a strong mid- paced number. Given that this is the only track on the album not written by Box and Lanzon or Lanzon alone (it is written by Trevor Boulder) it would appear to be Mr. Boulder who takes on lead vocal duties here. He does a good job of it too.

"T-bird angel" may not be the most appealing title, but once again we have a fine melodic rock number. The album closes with its second 6+ minute track. "Kiss of freedom" is reminiscent of "Sweet freedom" Phil Lanzon, who wrote the song, emulating Ken Hensley with a wonderful anthem which positively swims in organ.

Overall, while "Into the wild" finds the band continuing to work well within their capabilities, there is an obvious effort here to embrace the band's proud heritage. Phil Lanzon especially displays an admirable propensity for recognising the sound the band made their won in the early 1970's, while writing songs for the twenty tens. Mick Box is perhaps a bit less overt on this album in terms of lead guitar solos, but his trademark guitar sound is still very much in evidence. While I would dearly love to see Uriah Heep once again creating the odd epic track, "into the wild" is a highly enjoyable album of songs which will please the band's loyal following.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#437175)
Posted Thursday, April 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars First a conceptual thing:

Is this really heavy prog?

Is nowadays UH doing prog rock?

I really do not think so.

Can we compare U Heep music with the heavy prog rock of Rush, Porcupine Tree or Anekdoten(for example) .Completely different music.

Maybe classic Uriah Heep was heavy prog...but today's UH is heavy rock prog related.

Songs are more in the line of Deep Purple, classic Iron Maiden or classic Journey and Foreigner maybe(to name some bands).

Songs are not bad at all ,but they are easy listening heavy rock prog (prog related sometimes)

Good music to listen to when drinking a beer or whiskey in a pub.First 2 songs i think will reach Billboard Top 10.Very good hits for rock music.

Uriah Heep is a very solid band ,with consolidated musicians...but for me that I like more heavy prog bands as the named before ...I don't think this album will remain in my mind or heart.

3 stars(rating for heavy prog)

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Send comments to robbob (BETA) | Report this review (#439740)
Posted Wednesday, April 27, 2011 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars Another failed attempt to wake the sleeper

After a long sleep (at least in terms of new studio recordings) Uriah Heep returned in 2008 - a full decade after their previous studio album, Sonic Origami - with Wake The Sleeper. Wake The Sleeper was a disappointment for me after the very strong Sonic Origami and the almost equally good Sea Of Light before that (both four star albums in my book, and among the band's best studio albums ever!). They now give us Into The Wild, which to my ears is nothing but Wake The Sleeper part two. They once again fail to recapture the spirit of the best of the Bernie Shaw-era of the band and they follow in their own well-trodden foot steppes without any noticeable deviations from the expected.

The present album opens with a handful of generic and straightforward Uriah Heep rockers, all of them with a running time between four and five minutes. This is simply Uriah Heep by the numbers. Indeed, the band have not sounded as uninspired and predicable as this since 1991's Different World album - one of the weakest albums ever in the band's vast discography. As on Wake The Sleeper, there are however a few redeeming features to be found here. After five insipid, Deep Purple-like rockers, we finally get a good song in the six and a half minute Trail Of Diamonds. Calling it a Prog song would perhaps be to stretch things beyond what is reasonable, but it is the closest they ever get here to anything progressive. It is a fine song in its own right even if not quite approaching the high quality of the best songs on Sea Of Light and Sonic Origami.

In general, the second half of this album is much stronger than its rambling first half. If you manage to endure the first five songs, you are in for a modest treat. Some melodies here even sound as if they would have been written for some mid-70's Uriah Heep album, similar in both quality and style. While, there is nothing really great here, it is a mostly enjoyable listen. The exception is T-Bird Angel, again a straightforward and utterly predictable rocker. Kiss Of Freedom closes the album on a relatively high note, but it is hardly notable in any sense.

Into The Wild is an album that makes me feel as if I have heard it all before, it offers absolutely no surprises at all. And with such a long and prolific history, this is perhaps not too surprising. The one or two good songs here are hardly enough to make this a more than half-decent effort overall. The Bernie Shaw-fronted line-up of Uriah Heep seem to be far past their prime at this point.

For hard core fans and collectors only

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#461921)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | Review Permalink
Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Having been blown away by Uriah Heep's last studio album Wake The Sleeper (if we don't include Celebration which was largely new versions of older material) I was more than looking forward to Into The Wild. I enthused in my review of Wake The Sleeper that it was an album that often matched their classic seventies output, a statement that I still stand by three years later. If you liked that album then you're going to enjoy Into The Wild too as it's an album that pretty much treads the same ground and if not it's equal then it's not far short.

Uriah Heep have far less progressive elements to their music these days than they did in their seventies heyday and on the strength of recent albums probably wouldn't even get considered for inclusion on PA. However that's of little importance when they can produce such albums of excellent and consistent quality. Into The Wild is stuffed with classic heavy rock; not particularly complex but played with great skill and passion by a band who certainly know their craft. They produce an incredibly powerful sound with an engine room driven by Russell Gilbrook's rock solid drumming and Trevor Boulder's throbbing bass which is really pushed up in the mix working wonders when turned up to 10 through my Tannoy floor standing speakers. Mick Box never seems to get the credit he deserves and is once again on fire churning out one great riff after another backed by Phil Lanzon's wonderful Hammond playing. To many David Byron is still regarded as the classic Uriah Heep singer even after all these years and there's no denying his contribution to the bands classic seventies sound. However Bernie Shaw has been in place far longer than I care to remember and much longer than Byron was and is his equal in every sense with a superb voice that is up there with the best rock singers today.

All this band pedigree would count for nothing though without the songs to back it up and Into The Wild has them in spades. Powerful and memorable riffs are backed by strong vocal melodies making picking favourites a difficult task such is the overall consistency. If pushed I'll go for the pacey powerhouse of I Can See You and the title track and the infectious Lost with a sort of Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple) feel. But to be honest Into The Wild is an album I'm thoroughly enjoying from start to finish with no real weak moment in sight. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Nightfly (BETA) | Report this review (#466418)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Into the wild is the latest Uriah Heep album from 2011 after a gap of 3 years from previous one Wake the sleeper and to tell the truth was a very nice surprise for me, I didn't expected to be so good, even excellent in some parts. While previous album was ok, this one tops it for sure, the sound , the manner of composing, the arrangements are much better, sounding like in the glory days. We have everything here to please every true UH fan , from the intresting guitar parts from the master Box, some great hammond organ solo from Lanzon, really great voice with plenty of memorable parts, good druming, all is more then excellent, at least for me. Highlights Into the Wild , Lost or Trail of diamonds, still showing that thay are capable to compose good music after more then 40 years in bussines. I can add that this Into the wild is among their best works for sure, and really stand among their top 3 in last 20 years. Very nice work and for that 4 stars, nice cover art.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#929132)
Posted Wednesday, March 13, 2013 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Of the three recent excellent releases (Wake the Sleeper in 2008, Into the Wild in 2011 and Outsider in 2014) this is the better one. Not only it is the last contribution of Trevor Bolder (then my fondness for the record) but also the most varied record. And that is probably the most important thing for a prog lover. The album opens with "Nail on the Head", a catchy radio- friendly tune, planned for a single. Track number 2 ("I Can See You"), as Bob has yet pointed out, is slightly reminiscent of "So Tired" (from the Wonderworld 1974 album) but in the matter of harmony they're beyond comparison: "I Can See You" beats "So Tired" 2-0.

As many reviewers have stated, the peaks of the record are "Trail of Diamonds" and "Kiss of Freedom", two extended tracks (both over 6 minutes) featuring brilliant contrasts between melancholic ballad structure (wonderful "aaaaa" chorus) and powerful crescendos. Very strong compositions and melodies and a very good work from Bernie Shaw on vocals. Memorable numbers., in the purest heep' style. Thumbs up. The atmosphere is literally charged by hammond organ cloud-burst and thundering drumming. Ok, other songs are less epic? but put it this way: here we've got strong material, generally from mid to fast paced classic heavy rock, hammond-based rock; and that's really saying something! My other personal fave are the friendly "Southern Star" (I like so much the aah aah choruses) and the darker "Lost", penned by bassist Trevor Bolder (who also provided lead vocals).

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Send comments to Andrea Cortese (BETA) | Report this review (#1205180)
Posted Friday, July 04, 2014 | Review Permalink

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