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Uriah Heep - Sonic Origami CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.18 | 126 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
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.

ZowieZiggy | 2/5 |


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