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Uriah Heep - Innocent Victim CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars HUA HA HA HA . I laugh myself on this album. You know why? It's the cover man! The cover! What's wrong with it? Nothing wrong with it. Only something wrong with my mind, you know what? I was so scared of snake when I was a child. Even I'm still scared now, you know . Hua ha ha ha ..That's the reason why I never dare enough to purchase this CD. But, I knew my fave singer Lawton (previously with LUCIFER's FRIEND) took part in this album and .. I loved THE DANCE as it was once a hit in our country when this album was released. So, I borrowed this CD from a friend and asked him not to put the cover with the jewel. It also the case with YES "Relayer", I turned my CD cover upside down so that I would not see the snake at front cover. Funny hah? Yeap .

Musically, this is a good album but non-essential. I know that Lawton has a high quality voice that fits my taste. I always like the way he sings. Though, I will not bias my rating due to my personal like with his voice. I'd rather look at the music as a whole. "The Dance" is definitely my favourite and the reason why I enjoy this album. "Free and Easy" is a short song with powerful lead guitar by Mick Box, high tone voice of Lawton. It's a good track to rock and enjoy!

"Illusion" is my other favorite as well. It's a ballad with great keyboard sound and repeated melody (but it's nice, though ..). There is bonus track with "Illussion ? Masquarade" in it. It's nicer than the original version. "Free Me" is another easy listening rock with great and simple lyrics. It's a motivating tune, I guess. If you get mad with your boss, just yell this tune "Free Me!". Believe me, your boss will love you, definitely! Why? Cause you are rocking him!

Overall, only two tracks out of 11 that I do not enjoy. However, it's too naďve to conclude this album with 4 star. So, I give 3 ˝ star for this. What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#31363)
Posted Tuesday, June 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Choices to be made

Once you get past the rather grotesque and somewhat inappropriate cover picture (the US version had a more appealing collage of the band members), Uriah Heep's second album with John Lawton on vocals is a pleasant, if rather lightweight offering.

The songs are pretty straightforward, leaning more towards melodic rock than prog. Once again, Hensley favours his synthesiser over the Hammond organ sound which laid the foundations of the band's early work, creating a more orchestral backing. There are a couple of good ballads in "Choices" which has great power, and the softer "Illusion. "Free me" is a catchy pop tune. It's not exactly challenging but should have been at least a minor hit in the UK, as it was in several other countries.

"The dance" is almost funky, a style which suits Lawton's voice far better than it would have Byron's. Finally, there are a number of more traditional rock tracks such as "Keep on ridin'", "Flyin' high" "Free'n'easy" and "Cheat'n'lie"

Ultimately I am left with a feeling that the band's inspiration, and especially Hensley's, is drying up rapidly. This is perhaps further evidenced by the fact that non band member Jack Williams wrote two of the songs, and co- wrote a third with Hensley.

The fade out at the end of "Illusion" was always intriguing, as the pace quickens, and the tune changes completely for a brief moment. This is explained on the 1997 remaster, which includes an eight minute two part track "Illusion/Masquerade". The two were apparently intended to form a single piece (in the way "Paradise" and "The spell" did on "Demons and Wizards"), but the latter was dropped from the album, appearing only as a single B side.

Report this review (#31364)
Posted Sunday, July 4, 2004 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Heh, I think this album has one of the most funniest vintage covers I have yet seen, a banal masterpiece by an artist called John Holmes (!). It makes a very strange first impression on this album too, if you look at it while listening to the happy, acoustic opening track "Keep on Riding". Some nice tunes of this album makes it as a potential purchase for fans of 1970's rock music, but would not recommend to don't spend your last money on it. "Free Me" is a true hit song with much potential, maybe Ken Hensley's biggest achievement on that standard. "Free 'n' Easy" is also a funny hard rock song with heavy riff and a really fast tempo. Some less decent fillers are also present on this album, but such may sadly appear on the albums by a band which does LP's on a one year intervals. "Illusion" is a fine dreamy slow number, and "Choices" is a great pathetic ballad. I haven't heard the bonus tracks from the CD reissues, but the extended medley and the un-released outtake could be fun to hear.
Report this review (#31366)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Innocent Victim" is the second Uriah Heep album to feature John Lawtons's vocals. Earlier tha same year "Firefly" had been released and that albums saw Lawton's debut with Uriah Heep. "Firefly" however was a far better album than this follow up. Most of the songs are straightforward rock songs and some songs even sound like radio friendly pop songs (!) The song "Free Me" even became a big hit and most people recognize it. The only thing here that can interest proggrock fans is "Illusion" and especially the extended "Illusion/Masqerade" that is included as a bonus track on the CD- reissue. It is a mystery that they didn't include this version on the original album. I recommend this album to fans only but I personally wouldn't want to live without "Illusion/Masqerade"
Report this review (#39344)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars First, i want to say this is not a bad album at all, second on of my fav from them. I think this one needs more attention from the prog lovers, after all Innocent victim is more hard/boogie than prog but the resoult is cool and good in the same time. The dance is excellent track and i always like the voice of John Lawton. Free me was in that time a great radio hit, even my parents remembered this one as an every day track in some radio satation from my city in the late '70. A well done album in my opinion, Uriah Heep fans are agree with me. Every track sound powerfull and played in Uriah heep standards. 4 stars
Report this review (#84302)
Posted Thursday, July 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars If Firefly was Heep's new beginning, here they prove definitely what this Lawton/Hensley/Box/Bolder/Kerslake formation has come for.

By no meanings a spent force, surviving to the most shocking line-up changes, here we find a band recycling their style. Moving into a more boogie sound, approaching the 'eavy once again in long time. The first side is a punch in the ear, kicking off with Keep on Ridin's fine vocal harmonies, followed by one of my favorite numbers in Flyin' High. The choir style is similar to the last song, with a more suitable melody. Free n' Easy completes the eavy rocking mood of the work, being followed by the haunting voices of Illusion, which remind of Pilgrim from Sweet Freedom. In the second side, we find the worldwide hit Free Me, a very simple song with routine playing by the band, but powerfully driven by Lawton's voice. Cheat n' Lie is a standard song, starting with arpeggios marking a beatiful bass line by the guitar. But it's with The Dance and Choices that we have the serious side of music in the album, making it worth of its predecessors. The first is a funky-swing song, with misterious lyrics, drived by an absolutely fantastic performance by Lawton, and a bad-humored but superb guitar. Choices starts a bit aggressive, falling into dynamic interpretation by Lawton, in the mood the band used to be in Byron's era. The melodies are fantastic.

In my opinion, this is all of a experimentation by the band, and they suceeded. Maybe they could have enlarged their gold years by keeping this line of work for more 2 or 3 albuns. But, this is always a band of changes...

Report this review (#98980)
Posted Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of my faves from UHs.Pretty weak tracks in the beginning (the first 3) - that's why only 4 stars instead of deserved 5.Highlights like "Illusion" and "Choices" are known by me since the very childhood - my father is a huge Heep fan, and I remember I was frightened with the cover of the disk when I found it in daddy's stuff...Still enjoyable and incomparable,Victim is the last highlight from Heeps and one of the must-haves from the 70s ending.Highly recommended!
Report this review (#103155)
Posted Friday, December 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars I must honestly say that since "The Magician's Birthday", the Heep did not produce anything really great in terms of studio album. This one will be no exception. The opener "Keep on Ridin'" is absolutely awful : a combination of gospel / soul with desperate rock flavour. Definitely not the type of song one is expecting form the Heep. "Flyin' High" is a boring pop / FM rock tune with no feeling nor sensibility. "Roller" is a good bluesy/rocky track : again, very close to the Purple production of the Mark III era. It is one of the best song of the album : violent as they could be, fantastic tempo, great keys.

Every time the Heep will try and replay "Easy Livin", it will be one of the best song of the album. "Free'n'Easy" won't be different. A phenomenal beat, with some crazy guitar and bass (of course, even if there is again a new bass p^layer). It is a true Heep song with all its grandeur. Wow !

Total contrast with "Illusion" : this one is a mellow FM rock ballad of limited interest. "Free Me" is another soul oriented song which sounds very poor and little Heep to my ears. I guess that we have to be happy with a track like "Cheat 'n' Lie" : good rock song with an OK chorus. We won't get much better here, I'm afraid. Well, actually the closing number is very good : "Choices" has great vocals, superb guitar from Box and good supporting keys. This makes a total of three good songs for the whole album.

An EP would have made it (would have then being rated as four stars). The only reason why I am still commenting this band (as I do with others) is that I believe it is also worthwhile to provide comments even if they are not too positive.

I have been a great Heep fan in the early seventies. This band has been extremely prolific since their start : eleven studio albums and three (recorded but not published) live ones in seven years ! But this will be at the cost of quality.

To be complete, I must admit that the longer version for "Illusion" including a section called "Masquerade" and available on the remastered version is not bad at all.

The year of release, 1977, is of course the year during which a lot of things will change. I guess there was little room for a band like Heep. Two stars.

Report this review (#115986)
Posted Wednesday, March 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam

One year after FIREFLY, URIAH HEEP came back with the same line-up,but the creative inspiration that helped make FIREFLY a rather interesting album has almost completely vanished by the time of this recording!

The first two tracks KEEP ON RIDIN and FLYIN HIGH SOUND absolutely horrible . URIAH HEEP is playing Detroit soul Motown with some gospel choir to make it sound more ''real''. The same people who came with LOOK AT YOURSELF a few years before!!!! Then, John LAWTON is trying some kind of JAMES BROWN cloning on ROLLER saved only by a more HEEP sounding in the middle of the song. What is happening to the band?? Trying hard to redefine themselves in this 1977 musical changing world, i guess!! FREE AND EASY is your classic HEEP unconsequential rocker, not bad, but that's not EASY LIVIN by any means.

After such a long suffering, things get a little bit better! ILLUSION at least stops the bleeding, that's a nice sweet ballad with some nice harmonies. It won't be featured on any UH best-of CD, but believe me , that's a relief after the abomination which precedes this song. Then comes the ''hit'': FREE ME; Very poppy song, ready to go on the top 40; music stripped down to the minimun, a melody sure to please TV shows producers, but not the old URIAH HEEP fan, the one that grew up with VERY HEAVY, VERY HUMBLE. Because there is absolutely nothing very heavy on this album; sounds like all the intruments have been almost euthanized. The horror continues with CHEAT N' LIE with the most cheesy chorus you can hear!! But what they were thinking???They completely forgot about their old fans and were trying to reach to the stars! They succeed as this album sold quite a lot and reach a new audience.

Finally, the band URIAH HEEP, shows up on the last 2 tracks of the album with THE DANCE and CHOICES, not great tunes but at least reminding me a little bit of FIREFLY. Just notice that these 2 tracks are composed by someone from outside the band, WILLIAMS who also co-signed the awful KEEP ON RIDIN , I mentioned at the beginning.I guess KEN HENSLEY creative inspiration was OFF at this time.

A very forgetable album, but there is one thing i like about it: the cover! can't go unnoticed!! I hesitate between 1 and 2 stars, but i shoul not!


Report this review (#131523)
Posted Friday, August 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Uriah Heep´s Innocent Victim came at a time when disco and punk were hot and classic rock was on the wane. Well, I loved this album when it came out. Unlike their previous efford, the weak and largely directionless Firefly, this one has its own personality and the songwriting is very strong here. There are plenty of good stuff and the band is much more tight. Ok, just don´t compare them to the UH of the Byron years. But for the time, it was great!

Highlights are the powerful Free ´n Easy (that reminds of early Iron Maiden), the beautiful Free Me, the sophisticated The Dance and Choices. The production is right for this material. This surely the best John Lawton era work by this band. It was a bold move for the time (sticking to their guns instead of jumping into the new fashion bandwagon like so many acts did under recording companies pressure). I´m glad it was a success. it still stands well today. 3,5 stars.

Report this review (#165176)
Posted Thursday, March 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars After the very good Firefly, Uriah Heep seems to have tried to become more commercial with this album. It didn't work very well, this is easily their least good album since the debut album. There are filler on all Uriah Heep albums, but on this one there seems to be (almost) nothing but filler! The hit (in Germany?) Free Me is a good song, but a rather straightforward rock/pop song, clearly aimed at the radio. Free 'n' Easy is the only harder rocking song on this album, but it isn't at all memorable.

The best songs here are Illusion and The Dance. Illusion was originally longer and coupled with another composition called Masquerade. The full unedited version of this song is featured on the CD version of Innocent Victim as a bonus track. Too bad that they decided to edit it for the original album, since it was the last remaining hint at the past progressiveness of Uriah Heep (not implying, of course, that the full Illusion/Masquerade is by any means a progressive piece in any substantial sense).

Innocent Victim is then one of Uriah Heep's least progressive and also least hard rocking albums.

Report this review (#177618)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Oh... so interesting cover art for this album - Innocent Victim! Probably this one is head of dragon or something like that, but in any case it is not a suitable cover art for album like that. I'm not sure the dragons like this kind of music - almost clear rock & roll; when I see this kind of cover art I expect something harder, you know!!! But this cover art cheat 'n' lie like the homonymous song on the album. Innocent Victim proved to be the softest Uriah Heep's album up to that date and one of the softest albums in their entire career! Almost the entire album is clear rock & roll and I think the direction made by the band at that moment is little bit wrong. I can mention two songs with classic Heep sound - Illusion and Choices - the best songs on the album. The other songs are full of simple rock & roll chords and doesn't attract me very much. These two songs doesn't make the album good enough!!!
Report this review (#190522)
Posted Wednesday, November 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
1 stars Wow, Uriah Heep went from a hero, to a zero very quickly, it only took a few months. This is so much worse than Firefly, it's unbeilevable that a good band could make such a bad and boring album. The main problem is that this is way too poppy and the songs don't really have interest, though the musicianship is definatly excellent. There are only a few redeeming moments on this album.

"Keep on Ridin" is terrible. The bassline is excellent, but the music overall is just plain and very boring. The vocals are very interesting, though they just don't go with the song for some reason. "Flyin' High" is another poppy track, but it's so much better than the first. The mini-moog is refreshing with the guitar solo at the beginning, and the happy sounding organ is just good. The vocals just seem to annoy me on this, maybe it's because John Lawton just shouldn't have vocal harmonies. "Roller" is the best of the tracks so far, and overall it's actually a very good and funky song. It's got some nice guitar soloing thanks to Mick Box, and the vocals are actually good. The lyrics are not what they used to be, but they are okay for a rocker song. The bassline is very interesting sounding. "Free n' Easy" is what i'm talking about! Heavy Metal to the maximum for Uriah Heep right now. The riff is just so rocking, and it almost sounds like thrash metal, well, what it would really become. The vocals are loud, with the intense drumming and bassline. "Illusion" is alright, it's just to boring and drags alot for me. The vocal harmonies at the beginning work well with the keyboard work thanks to the talent of Ken Hensley, but the overall feeling of this song is very mixed. I can't seem to pick a side because, what is here is good, it's just way too bland for me. Lyrics are great. "Free Me" is in the same style as the first track, terrible, so to speak. It's just way to boring because John's voice dosen't sound good with acoustic guitar sounds for some reason. The bassline is very soothing, and very loud. "Cheat n Lie" is an okay track, but I'd put it at one of the bad songs on the album because it's so boring and it's too slow. The guitar is very nice and very atmospheric, but it just dosen't catch on, like most of this album. "The Dance" is not that good, though the guitar playing and keyboard sounds are good. It's hard for me to get into, like most of the tracks that are on this album. The lyrics are okay, but they just don't seem to fit the song very well for some reason. Bassline is very nice and loud, as usual. "Choices" is the longest track, and is very good. It's got some excellent guitar playing, and the keyboard playing is very and is very intense, like most of the synthesizer sounds at the time. The vocals are excellent, slow, and very well fitting with the atmosphere of the song. The lryics are probably the worst of the album, though, the only downpoint of the song.

This album is the worst, only cranking a few listenable tracks. Thank god that there were better things to come, but this one just gets a plain 1 star because of how boring and uneventful it is.

Report this review (#257125)
Posted Sunday, December 20, 2009 | Review Permalink
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
2 stars Once again, this band can perform quite well. They just seemed to pull lyrics out of a generic hard rock phrase generator. Keep On Ridin'? Flyin' High? Free 'N' Easy? Cheat 'N' Lie? Really? Did these guys get paid by the apostrophe?

Sure it's okay background music for your seventies themed party, and there are some noce guitar and keyboard licks, but the album just doesn't stand up to repeated listens. Whatever spark Ken Hensley and Mick Box had captured on their earlir albums seems to have gone out by this time. It sounds to me like rock by numbers.

Nice cover, though.

Report this review (#556462)
Posted Monday, October 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Uriah Heep i don't know why i choosed this album as my first Uriah Heep album reviewed here ... as i own all their 70s albums for years... ant that's not my favourite of course...

Now the cover...It's one of the most ridiculous creepy hard rock badtasty cover released around that time (November 1977) ... i'm nearly sure that...if you put this picture in front of a 1year old baby... he will hesitate for a second...then ultimately say... "gaga" and smile and want to catch the cover and play with it !

Fellow popular 70s hard rockers Nazareth released "Expect No Mercy" at the same time, that same month...November 1977... and that cover is much more serious, convincin' and muscular... If the Uriah Heep album is slightly more prog-oriented , the Nazareth effort is slightly superior... i've not a doubt about it... (plenty of good to great records are not in progarchives...but that's another chapter)

But hopefully this album ain't as ridiculous as the cover... and the opening song is really one of the very best here... The bassplayer on "Keep On Riding" is more than alive and funky here... the song is not prog and not revolutionary but we can feel their true motivation to rock & groove ... their stone roll on this one... the bridge in the middle of the song is welcomed and gives some air and space to the song...

"Flyin' High" is just traditional rock's not always a problem for me... i m not a die-hard progger ...i like many other musical styles as much... but here it's just beyond my possibilities... it brings nothing new to the table ...not even some extra spice ... it even irritates me ...that's possibly the real low of the record

On "Roller" they're back on decent form... it's slightly more prog and the intro guitar could have been interested some NewWaveofBritishHeavyMetal musicians at the right end of the 70s...

On "Free'n Easy" it's a rather weird to drink chocolate milk with a cucumber&pumpkin soup.... bad idea... they play it at an unconvincin' speed at first (but not as good as early Motorhead of course) ...then the refrein comes and it's just borin' boogie...

On the + side, I should admit that the end of the song is more convincin' + Iron Maiden could have take notice of the speed guitar section... who knows ?

"Illusion" is the real pearl of the album, the only song deserving Five Stars... it had it all... psychedelic, so prog, delightful guitars, good backing vocals/ vocals... Box at his atmospheric guitar, one of his best solo ever , and Hensley is inventive here...

Some will say that it sound too dated... but i don't care about that...people should watch beyond their nose... what is new is not better just because it's fresh & new... people who thinks that way lacks perspective and are living in a 2 dimensional world... they are not running after Art ... they're running after what is Hype now... as if the present can be catched in a cage... that is a lost cause of course.

Now Side B

"Free Me" ... it's such a sweet song... with some kind of blues hidden in the so soulful heart of the song ... but well honestly i'm not a massive fan of this one... because it's just too "middle of the road" for my taste... it's really what was on the radio in the mid 70s... and it's that kind of tunes that drives crazy the (future) punks... this is what they hated the most i guess... Still this song and the band deserve their success in Northern and Central Europe , it's well played and very professionnal...

"Cheat'n Lie" the guitar sound is interesting...i'm not sure if it's a dear 12 strings guitar.... but once again the refrein is not essential stuff, a refrein that could be in a Rolling Stone mid 70s b-side at best... the guitar solo is a good one here... and with at the right end the Castred Hippie Queens at the backing vocals...that's rather funny

I'm sure many proggers here dig the intro of "The Dance"... it's really good... but of course things won't really last ...the rest of the song take a slightly funkier direction and with a subtile pink floydian atmosphere still acceptable... Hensley is inspired all thru the song... and it's rather an old school hensley... It's good to hear (xpt the "eardamaging" bridge around 3min.) ...the outro is like the intro it's alright even if John Lawton vocal performance could have been better at the end...

The last song "Choices" start good with a burnin' guitar... but i'm not really into the rest of the song... a respectable burnin' performance but not much more... it lacks a memorable refrein among other things

By the way some songs here reminds me David Coverdale vocals style ... he was one of the 4 singers to pass an audition after Byron was fired... Coverdale & Uriah Heep it was potentially say the least...

Ok this album imo really deserve a 2.5/5's really average but as we cannot put half point so... i put a 3 stars ... maybe that if Hensley was less dictatorial the result could have been slightly better ... hehehe... but we will never know.

Report this review (#889672)
Posted Monday, January 7, 2013 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is the 2nd of the trilogy of albums with John Lawton as the frontman/vocalist for the band. This trilogy of albums would actually consist of the same line-up of musicians all across the board. You would think they would have been able to settle in to a decent sound during this time, but instead of getting better with time, things seemed to actually go downhill as time went on.

Innocent Victim is quite an obvious bridge in the middle that spans the first and third album in this trilogy. Starting off where "Firefly" left off, the album begins with some decent rockers, but none of them contain any progressive traits. If you are looking for that in this stage of UH's history, you find that anywhere here. The first four tracks sound like they could have easily fit on "Firefly". Then the track "Illusion" even seems to be a bit better as things slow down a bit. But, when you hear that messed up fade out at the end of the song, you wonder why it was cut off so short just when the tempo starts to move. Actually, there is a reason for that and it becomes more apparent on the 1997 and 2004 bonus tracks as the 2nd part of the intended "medley" is left intact on these editions.

The 2nd half of the album, in contrast, sounds like a sudden, abrupt turn to hard pop, and it is just awful. This is the direction the band would continue in for the last of this trilogy of albums "Fallen Angel". The songs "Free Me", "Cheat 'n' Lie" and "The Dance" are just plain awful attempts at trying to make their music accessible. You can't even call this straight ahead hard rock at this point, but if nothing else, it should have served as a warning to fans where the band was headed. UH wasn't meant to do pop and the 2nd half of this album proves that (along with all of "Fallen Angel"). The last track "Choices" is the strongest on this side of the album and also, surprisingly, the most soulful vocals we've heard from the band since Byron was fired. But nothing else on this album can save it at this point. Even "Choices" isn't interesting enough to search out this album for.

The bonus tracks on later reissues don't do much to bring any redemption to the output of the band at this time in their history. Yes, you get to hear the entire "Illusions/Masquerade" medley together and that at least explains that messy fade-out on the album. However, just like "Firefly", there is no progressive rock anywhere here to be found, but at least if they stayed in that same sound for the duration of this album, they wouldn't have to be accused of getting worse with each album this line-up released. "Firefly" got 3 stars, this one gets 2.5 (which I'll round up to 3), and I earlier gave "Fallen Angel" 2 stars, which still doesn't change since it is the worst of the three. After that album, the band decided to adjust it's line-up again, but they would still be a long way from their best work.

Report this review (#2590681)
Posted Monday, August 30, 2021 | Review Permalink

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