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Uriah Heep

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Uriah Heep Innocent Victim album cover
2.87 | 223 ratings | 16 reviews | 5% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Keep On Ridin' (3:41)
2. Flyin' High (3:18)
3. Roller (4:38)
4. Free 'n' Easy (3:02)
5. Illusion (5:02)
6. Free Me (3:35)
7. Cheat 'n' Lie (4:50)
8. The Dance (4:49)
9. Choices (5:42)

Total Time 38:37

Bonus tracks on 1997 Essential remaster:
10. Illusion / Masquerade (full unedited version) (8:18)
11. The River (outtake) (3:07)

Extra bonus tracks on 2004 Sanctuary remaster:
12. Put Your Music (Where Your Mouth Is) (outtake from Firefly sessions) (2:57)
13. Cheat 'n' Lie (live *) (5:58)
14. Free Me (live *) (5:46)
15. Free 'n' Easy (live *) (3:15)

* Recorded during European Tour 1979 (alt. versions to the ones released on "Live in Europe 1979")

Line-up / Musicians

- John Lawton / vocals
- Mick Box / guitars
- Ken Hensley / keyboard, guitars, vocals, co-producer
- Trevor Bolder / bass
- Lee Kerslake / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: John Holmes with Leaderline Artists

LP Bronze ‎- BRON 504 (1977, UK)

CD Bronze ‎- 260 130 (1987, Germany)
CD Essential ‎- ESMCD 560 (1997, UK) Remastered by Mike Brown & Robert Corich w/ 2 bonus tracks
CD Sanctuary Midline ‎- SMRCD108 (2004, Europe) Remaster w/ 6 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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URIAH HEEP Innocent Victim ratings distribution

(223 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(27%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (23%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

URIAH HEEP Innocent Victim reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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 naïve to conclude this album with 4 star. So, I give 3 ― star for this. What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by b_olariu
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
Review by Prog-jester
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!
Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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!


Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Uriah Heepīs 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 donīt compare them to the UH of the Byron years. But for the time, it was great!

Highlights are the powerful Free īn 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). Iīm glad it was a success. it still stands well today. 3,5 stars.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
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.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
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!!!
Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by TCat
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
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.

Latest members reviews

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 (Novemb ... (read more)

Report this review (#889672) | Posted by SeventhBridgeofSighs | Monday, January 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#257125) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Sunday, December 20, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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, appro ... (read more)

Report this review (#98980) | Posted by Grimble Crumble | Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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 song ... (read more)

Report this review (#39344) | Posted by | Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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