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Uriah Heep Sonic Origami album cover
3.22 | 144 ratings | 13 reviews | 13% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Between Two Worlds (6:29)
2. I Hear Voices (3:55)
3. Perfect Little Heart (5:17)
4. Heartless Land (4:44)
5. Only The Young (4:43)
6. In The Moment (6:23)
7. Question (5:26)
8. Change (6:02)
9. Shelter From The Rain (6:10)
10. Everything In Life (3:15)
11. Across The Miles (5:13)
12. Feels Like (4:37)
13. The Golden Palace (8:29)

Total Time: 75:33

Bonus tracks on 2013 Hear No Evil reissue:
14. Sweet Pretender (4:47)
15. Heartless Land (3:59)

Line-up / Musicians

- Bernie Shaw / lead vocals
- Mick Box / guitars, vocals
- Phil Lanzon / keyboards, vocals
- Trevor Bolder / bass guitar, vocals
- Lee Kerslake / drums, vocals

Releases information

Artwork: Dave Marshall

CD Eagle Records ‎- EAGCD043 (1998, Europe)
CD Hear No Evil Recordings ‎- HNECD014 (2013, UK) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy URIAH HEEP Sonic Origami Music

URIAH HEEP Sonic Origami ratings distribution

(144 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

URIAH HEEP Sonic Origami reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars To take that walk again with someone you were close to, on stage in the other world tonight

Uriah Heep's previous album, "Sea of light" indicated that they were well on the way to regaining their form, and were once again establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with. "Sonic Origami" continues that resurgence, and is worthy of a place at the top table of Uriah Heep albums alongside (and only marginally inferior to) "Demons and Wizards", "The Magician's Birthday" etc.

The opening track, "Between two worlds" is a wonderful tribute to the band's original lead singer, David Byron. Musically, it is more than a little reminiscent of the classic Ken Hensley compositions such as "Return to Fantasy", and "Look at yourself". It is a mark of the confidence of the current line up that when played live at "The Magician's Birthday party" in 2002, photos of the late Byron were projected onto the screen at the back of the stage. For those who loved the music of the Classic Heep, this track will roll back the years.

There are many other highlights. One of the band's rare cover versions is the reworking of an AOR track by SURVIVOR, "Across the miles". The Heep version is also pure AOR. While quite out of character it really works well as a beautiful piece of music, and even a potential hit single.

"Heartless land" is something of a grower, sounding at first a bit ordinary. It is on the face of it, rather pop like, but after hearing it a few times it becomes apparent that this is a wonderfully melodic tune which, in all probability, you will find yourself humming weeks later. Song writing credits on this track are split between Mick Box, and Phil Lanzon, with the verses being written by Matthew Lanzon, Phil's son. The album demonstrates how Lanzon's song writing ability had developed over the years, to the stage where he along with Box, and to a lesser extent Trevor Boulder, is a key member of the band in that area.

"The golden palace" has more of a prog structure, with excellent acoustic guitar backed vocals from Bernie Shaw, and some fine orchestration by Lanzon. Once again, the track has a great hook for the band to exploit in a live situation.

The rest of the album is a fine mixture of up tempo rock tracks, and softer harmonious pieces. The move back towards prog initiated on "Sea of light" has to some extent been put on hold for this album, but don't let that put you off. This is one of the finest albums to bear the band's name for many a year.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album is better than it's predecessor in overall quality, but there are not as great tracks as "Against All Odds" here, but neither as painful fillertracks which were on "Sea of Light" album. There is a postivie overall feeling filling this album, and the use of acoustic guitar on the tracks makes the music breathe freely. A good album for the fans of the band and those who like happy rock pop, but hardly any interest for fans of more elitistic progressive rock!
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This album proves the band existence in rock music industry. The album still characterizes the band's 70s sound even though it's not so intent. The opening track "Between Two Worlds" (6:29) really proves that the band still able to compose good music with high energy. This song has become one of my favorite Heep tracks. Bernie Shaw delivers his excellent voice augmented with great backing voices performed in choral style. The song opens with soft keyboard sounds of Phil Lanzon which reminds me to the style of Hensley. The music enters in relatively fast tempo followed with powerful voice of Bernie Shaw. The structure of this song combines heavy rhythm at the beginning followed with slower one where Bernie sings with good melody "I can remember ." backed with guitar fills. The music returns back to a rocking style. It's an impressive opener!

"I Hear Voices" is a rocker with a distant voice singing style and continuous rhythm section with soft guitar riffs. It has a good musical interlude with guitar solo. "Perfect Little Heart" is not as impressive as the opening track but it's a good straight forward rock music. "Heartless Land" is an acoustically driven track.

"Shelter From The Rain" (6:10) is a nice track with excellent singing style and good melody performed in a ballad rock style. It's an enjoyable track. It's one of my favorite tracks from this album. The strength of this song lies in its composition and good melody. Box provides its guitar solo in a bluesy style. Really a nice track. "We accuse the power of love. uuuuhhhh ..". "Everything In Life" reminds me to the structure of "Love Machine" from "Look At Yourself Album" with different melody. It demonstrates the characteristic of Heep music. Mick Box guitar solo is very interesting to enjoy. Long live Mick Box! In "Across The Miles" the band explores the musical boundary with a bit of eastern nuance through the use of tabla.

This is not an impressive album overall, however, it has powerful track like "Between Two Worlds" that has become my favorite as well. It's a good rock album but not essential. Good thing about the band is that they still demonstrate their root characteristic as rock band in the 70s even though with different line- up; only Mick Box and Lee Kerslake remain intact. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars The last Heep's studio album was a very nice surprise. Catchy melodies, great instrumental breaks and performant (hard) rock songs. Let's hope that this one released three years later will be of the same caliber.

The Heep produces again a great opening number. "Between Two Worlds" : it has everything a Heep fan likes : an extended song, strong rhythm, nice vocals, a spacey and melancholic passage and some nice keys. The finale features a great guitar solo and wild bass and drumming. A great number, with no doubt.

"I Her Voices" and "Perfect Little Heart" are typical songs for this line-up. This means on the edge of the heavy genre with a monotonous tone. A bit tasteless and with no surprise. Somewhat weak after the very good opener. This album, although not bad, lacks in catchy songs. Most of them are just average like the ballad "Heartless Land" and the rock tune "Only the Young".

I am disappointed with this effort so far. I can not find the same punch than in "Sea Of Light". "In the Moment" is another piece of hard-rock which is tasteless. All too predictable. Sub-par Deep Purple.

Lots of numbers (eight or so) clock at over five minutes. This could have been an indication that we would have gotten more ellaborate songs, but it is not really the case. Most of them have a simple (basic) struture. Like "Question" for instance. An acoustic and mellow ballad which would have fit perfectly on their later "Acoustically Driven".

Hopefully, with "Change" the Heep produces again a good song . Almost on par with the great opener. It is rocking quite well and it is one of the most dynamic numbers on this effort. But so far, only two songs were like that, which is a bit too few for a band like the Heep, who were the archetype of a band which produced strong, powerful and vibrant numbers. In this song, there will be an attempt to recreate the vocal effects from "Bird Of Prey" (but I had already noticed this in "Red Lights" from "Head First".

"Shelter From The Rain" is another weak and lengthy rock ballad. Shaw trying to match Coverdale. The melancholic tone is dull, and only some good guitar work from Mick will save this this track from chaos. The same inspiration prevails for "Across the Miles". "The Golden Palace" is made of the same mould, but without the great guitar break, so ...It is the longest track of this album and could have led to a more grandiose song if the slow mood would have accelerated more. Those four ballads, clock at over twenty-five minutes. Too much for me. IMO those songs are rock ballads and have nothing to do with prog, by no means.

Another good rock break with "Everything in Life". There are not enough songs like this on the album. The band produces here one of their best song from this album. I only had wished to hear more stuff like it. Good drumming as well as vocals.

"Feels Like" is a return to the AOR sound. This time, Mick's breaks are too short to raise the level of this composition. Dispensible, to be honest.

"Sweet Pretender (Bonus)" is one of my favourite track. At least it rocks and provides some variety. This good hard-rock song features again a solid Mick Box. I really wonder what would The Heep have been without him ! I guess they would have called it quit a long time ago already (probably after "Conquest").

This album is quite long (more than seventy-five minutes of music if you include the bonus track). A bit too long I would say. I guess several songs could have been skipped to make it more dynamic. There are too many ballads to my taste. To date, it is the last studio album of the band. They will release a lot of live ones, compilations and DVD's. Maybe a problem of getting contract or maybe the lack of inspiration after all those years.

Unfortunately, I can not include this album into the category of the good ones of the band. Too few highlights. I would have loved to rate it substantially higher, but two stars is my rating.

Throughout the whole output of this line-up, I think that in terms of musicianship the members were good (although Lanzon might be just below the standard). I strongly believe (as I have already mentioned for "Different World") that the problem resides in the quality of the songwriting. To replace Hensley was obviously not possible. IMO, the only album which was above average was their previous one "Sea Of Light".

Anyway, I have travelled in time (from 1970 through 1998) with the Heep during the reviews of their (almost) whole catalogue. It is really a band that I appreciate. Of course, there will be some very weak albums but lots of great numbers as well. Thanks to Mr. Hensley, Box, Byron, Kerslake, Shaw, Thain, Goalby, Newton, Wetton, Bolder and Sinclair for these great musical moments.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
4 stars 3 years after the very good Sea Of Light comes Sonic origami. Expectations were high since Sea of light was their first album since the 70´s that really rescue their past glories. The new line up that includes Bernie Shaw and Phil Lanzon had proved themselves as a great live act, but their first two studio albums were very weak (Raging Silence and Differente Worlds). So I was eager to hear if Sea Of Light was just an accident or the band really had found their way to be relevant again in the studio. Fortunatly, it was the latter case. In fact, Sonic Origami turned out to be even a better affair than Sea Of Light!

The album kicks off with the powerful Between Two Worlds, a great number that brings n mind other early classics like Easy Livin´. But there are many highlights in this album. In fact, I did not find a single filler in the entire CD. Even the bonus track Sweet Pretender is a fine number and I´m glad I got the CD that has it. compared to Sea Of Light this work is more proggy and the song The Golden Palace should be mentined for its bold arrangement and progressive structure. What a great tune! The songwriting partnership of Box and Lanzon has really worked out beyond any expectations. The whole band found a new style while kept UH´s best trademark features. Some songs take some more time than others to really get all their subtleties and the album as a whole grows on each new listening.

Another interesting track is the cover version for the Survivor song Across The Miles. It does not really add much to the album, but shows once again that Bernie Shaw is an extraordinary and versatile singer. He shines as the best frontman UH could ever had after the late David Byron. And the band is on excellent form, working as a unit with every solo or backing vocal falling into place seemlessly. All arrangements are tasteful and convincing.

Conclusion: a wonderful surprise, 70 minutes of pure pleasure. Fans of the classic Uriah Heep should not miss this one. The new line up (not so new, I know) proved to honor the band´s past while they opened a new door to the future. Far from a nostalgia act, those talented musicians show us that they are aging like wine. 4,5 stars. Highly recommend!

Review by b_olariu
4 stars Sonic origami is simply one of the best Uriah Heep albums ever. He was released in 1998 and was a big succes, both comercialy and musicaly. I will try explaning why. First of all this album is "back to the roots" album, considered by me among the best after the classic releases of the early '70's. On the album is the same line- up like on previouses 4 albums (3 studio+ one live), that gives to the band a much more tighter sound and composition are fresher and well composed than ever before. Every musicians try and succeded to give the best they've got in music . The album beggins with Between two worlds, a great rocking tune not far from Innocent victim period, also this piece is dedicated to the beloved friends and musicians Gary Thain and David Byron (R.I.P.). With every piece from here Heep hits right in your face, just check out - Only the young - a favourite of mine, not only from this album but among the best they ever composed, Across the miles is another highlight - where every musician shines , the rest are also very strong and well done. The music is fresh , well written, well played, with strong riffs and guitar solos made by the main man of the band Mick Box ( easily one of my fav guitar players ever). The bass is omnipresent and did a great job just listen to In the moment, the keys of Phil Lanzon are very well crafted and give a special sound - hevy prog with hard rock elements. In the end but not least the veteran behind the drums Lee Kerslake - his sound and beating is tighter and solid than on many albums before and berni Shaw who is like a glove on Heep's music, excellent vocalist who really knows how to make a piece to sound heavenly. All in all a great album, the best they've done in the '90's and one of the best from entire career. 4 stars for sure. They are back and with a vengeance. recommended not only for Uriah Heep fans, but all open minded listners.
Review by poslednijat_colobar
3 stars Sonic Origami is the longest album by Uriah Heep, but it's surely not the weakest one. I thing some of the longest albums are very boring, but this one is so mature and typical for the late 90s progressive rock music. I think it's close to Yes' The Ladder, but The Ladder is better for me. Sonic Origami contains very good songs and I like to listen to some of them, sometimes. The musicianship is very good, too;the songwriting is little bit weaker tha it! A couple of songs consist of simple structure and this is the reason Sonic Origami to be weaker than its predecessor - Sea of Light. I would like to mention the following songs as some of the characteristic of the album: Between Two Worlds (the first and the best on the album), I Hear Voices, In the Moment, Question, Everything in Life (I remember it as a hit single, but it could be only in Bulgaria) and Feels Like. Other important thing about the album is that with the exception of the first song, the album is quite softer than Sea of Light and much softer than Wake the Sleeper. Pretty good album for everyday use without nervous strain. 3.4 stars
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
4 stars This line-up of Uriah Heep - with Bernie Shaw on vocals, Mick Box on guitars, Phil Lanzon on keyboards, Trevor Bolder on bass and Lee Kerslake on drums - were together from 1986 until recently and the only change now is that Lee Kerslake left space for younger blood. This is by far the longest standing Uriah Heep line-up, but also, in my opinion, the best! Indeed, for me who was born in the 80´s it is easy to forget that there ever was any other. I have seen them live twice during this time and I own most of their (many!) live concert DVD's.

In the studio this line-up started out rather weakly, however. Raging Silence and Different World had been very weak, Sea Of Light was very good but a bit uneven. Not until we had Sonic Origami could we finally say that this line-up had made their triumph in the studio. And Sonic Origami is really great! All the songs are very good and very melodic, some are even excellent and quite progressive. Indeed, some of my all time favourite Uriah Heep songs are on this album. The album is very consistent yet very varied, with reflective acoustic ballads rubbing shoulders with heavy and rousing hard rockers. And the lyrics are mostly clever and almost never generic and clichéd as on most early Uriah Heep albums. The Question is even downright deep and philosophical - just the kind of lyrics I like the most!

The voice of Bernie Shaw is distinctive and emotional and gives this band an identity and self- confidence that they rarely had before in their long history. The band is in top form with guitars, keyboards, bass and drums all being played perfectly. And not to forget - the vocal harmonies!

Some songs like the aforementioned Question and Change flow into each other and the Question- theme is cleverly repeated at the end of Change. Between Two Worlds features a very strong melody and a great bridge. The organ sound is heavy here. The Golden Palace is the longest and most progressive song, but I cannot help to feel a little disappointed with this studio version after having heard the absolutely excellent live version on the Acoustically Driven DVD. Still, I would say it is a little masterpiece. Heartless Land is a nice acoustic number with a melody that will get stuck in your head for weeks to come. I am not going to mention all the good songs on this album because then I would end up listing most of them. The only song I don't like is Feels Like - a generic rocker without anything to help it stand out.

I would lie if I said that this is groundbreaking of very adventurous music. However, this is high quality melodic hard rock, varied, excellently performed, with many progressive touches and very good lyrics. I wouldn't hesitate to say that Sonic Origami is among Uriah Heep's very best efforts, if the not the best.

Highly recommended!

Review by Prog Leviathan
1 stars One should know two things before reading this review. One, I am going into it with Demons and Wizards being my only other Uriah Heep experience (which I enjoyed), so I am not comparing it to previous albums. Second, I understand the sentimental spot Heep occupies in many reader's hearts. This is feeling empathize with in other bands myself, which I find lets one accept a flawed album as part of a greater body of work-- so know that I am not slamming anyone/thing with what follows.

Sonic Oragami is 75 minutes of bite-sized, gutless rock, occasionally showing moments of thoughtful composition but more often playing it very safe with friendly melodies, predictable song structures, and bleeding-heart lyrics that smack of unoriginality and stretch those 75 minutes out into what seems like an interminable length of bland, made for non- offensive FM station blah.

Sonic Orgami is without exception an approachable, feel-good, catchy, repetative, and unchallenging experience. Song length is a uniform 4-6 minutes in length, of similar tempo, feel, and effect. Themes are those which one might expect to hear at a political rally, and there's narry a memorable instrumental moment in sight. This album is a tragic example of the turns some prog bands took in the '90's-- abandoning creative dignity in favor of a record deal and sabotaging future credibility with very topical, and probably very personal lyrics.

The saddest thing about Sonic Oragami is that beneath all this schlock I can still hear a faint pulse of energy and enthusiasm . I'd be much more on board with their contemporary sound if the group made a show to present it as more than a package of commerical AOR.

Fans of Heep may enjoy Shaw's singing voice, which remains strong, but I advise anyone else to steer clear!

Songwriting: 1 Instrumental Performances: 2 Lyrics/Vocals: 1 Style/Emotion/Replay: 1

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars 'Sonic Origami' is the 20th full-length studio album from Uriah Heep. This one was released in September of 1998. At this point in the band's history, the members were seeing more consistency in their line up than they had for a long time. Lead singer Bernie Shaw had been the lead singer now for almost 10 years, and would continue to be up to the present day, making him the lead singer longer than any other previous vocalist for the band. Mick Box (guitars) of course is the one constant force behind the band. Phil Lanzon (keyboards, vocals) has been in the band now since 1986, and continues to the present day. Trevor Bolder had been playing bass for the band since 1983, and Lee Kerslake (drums) was still going strong as he had been since 1981. Unfortunately, this would be Lee's last album even though he would remain with the band until 2007, bad health would force him to quit the band before their next album 'Wake the Sleeper' would be released in 2008.

This album would only be released in Japan initially, and didn't see a released in the US until a year later. The band was still continuing to follow the pop/rock style that they had been chasing for several years now, and their 'unique' sound of the 70s was long since abandoned. However, there is a degree of nostalgia here as the first track 'Between Two Worlds' was dedicated to the original lead singer David Byron, who died in 1985, and Gary Thain, the bassist who was with the band in their peak, who died in 1975 after being fired by the band and died of a heroin overdose later the same year. The track is emotional sounding enough, but it is quite straightforward hard rock-pop that they were playing at the time. Shaw's vocals are great however, and it seemed that the band had at least settled on a vocalist that could do justice to the legacy of the band that started with Byron. Otherwise, the track has all of the features of a great hard rock song with a killer solo from Box at the final part of the track.

So, everything is sounding promising at first. The album cover is tasteful, some of the tracks have durations over 6 minutes, and the album is following the decent 'Sea of Light', so the expectations were high for this one. Most of the tracks are consistently written by Box and Lanzon, except for a few, one of which is the 2nd track 'I Hear Voices', which is written by Bolder. This one, however, is totally commercial sounding, very typical arena type hard rock. 'Perfect Little Heart' follows in the same formula, and it seems we are back to mediocre rock/pop music. 'Heartless Land' is more acoustic driven, but follows the same style, sounding more like 'Survivor' than the classic 'Uriah Heep'.

As the album continues on, you once again come to the realization that the band is still only interested in playing accessible rock/pop, and, other than the first track, can't even be considered hard rock. One mediocre, uneventful song follows another. Even the longer tracks don't carry enough weight or reason for the extra time. Nothing continues to stand out on this album. On 'Change', they try to have a symphonic feel to the track during the synth heavy instrumental break, but it seems quite watered down. On 'Across the Miles' the band even pays homage to the band that it is trying hard to be like as it is a 'Survivor' cover. Shaw does an okay impression of Steve Perry here. But it's just more mediocrity. 'The Golden Palace' is a long 8+ minute track that makes an attempt at orchestration, but even though it's a nice attempt, there is nothing progressive about it, and it has too much of a religious overtone to it to be appealing to me.

It's a shame that the band had to go on this long trying to chase down a comeback that wouldn't happen, especially when they were trying more to sound like 80s and 90s rock/pop bands than they were trying to resurrect their unique sound. The band had a lot of hope for this album, but it ended up not charting in any country, and the band stopped releasing new studio material for 10 years. As much as the fans wanted to have a real comeback album, nothing they could say or do would change the fact that the band couldn't replicate their popularity of the past. The music just lacked the spirit of their past music, and the fact that they were trying to copy other hard rock bands to try to get some sales by using their formulas just wasn't going to be the thing that would bring the band back into notoriety. The album just ends up being another mediocre attempt to bring back their glory days, but it sounds nothing like what they did back then. This one is only for lovers of soft, arena rock.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Seeing as we have a new Heep release on the way, I just saw the band live this summer (great show, they can still do it) and I simply have nothing to do this saturday morning, I thought it would be appropriate to review this most recent UH album. I'll go track by track for once... Between ... (read more)

Report this review (#134776) | Posted by Jimsey | Saturday, August 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Twenty years after 'Return to Fantasy' Heep came up with 'Sonic Origamy' . As I didn't know they still were alive, I was very much interested in this album. I have to admit that it's not a bad album at all. But as with more artists, as they get older, music turns to easy listening. It doesn't see ... (read more)

Report this review (#60204) | Posted by Hermanes | Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Yes! Very nice follow up to Sea of Light! A little bit softier, but I really Love, Between the Worlds, Question and Everything in Life. The band is MATURE and they know exactly what they had to do... To play rock music without heavy commitments to great music labels or record companies. After ... (read more)

Report this review (#31401) | Posted by fredfontes | Friday, October 22, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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