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Uriah Heep - Sea Of Light CD (album) cover

SEA OF LIGHT

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.64 | 180 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars In 1995, Uriah Heep was feeling pretty comfortable with one of their periods in time when they were experiencing a stable line up that would last from 1986 to 2007. Though it wasn't exactly the best years of the band, like the glory years of the early 70s, eventually, the band had to meld somewhere along the way, and they finally did, when they shed the more pop-oriented sound of many of their previous albums to replace it with a heavier and tighter sound, and that is what many fans saw the album "Sea of Light" as, a return to their original sound. But, was it really?

This steady line-up would consist of Bernie Shaw on lead vocals (who would remain the lead vocalist on all the rest of Uriah Heep's albums), Mick Box on guitar (the only original member), Phil Lanzon on keyboards and vocals, Trevor Bolder on bass and vocals and Lee Kerslake on drums. In fact, the newest member was actually Shaw at this time as most of the other members had been working together since 1981.

The album, at least from the outside, looked very promising to prog enthusiasts and older fans because of the art work from Roger Dean, the artist famous for the famous covers of many progressive bands, including Yes. But it is the music that actually determines if it really is a return to form, or if it is just another pop-metal album. In reality, as much as the fans want to believe it is a return to form, it is only a step towards that. There are some great, heavy numbers featuring some blistering guitar work and great keyboards, but even the best ones like "Against the Odds", "Universal Wheels", "Fear of Falling" (sung by bassist Trevor Bolder) and "Love in Silence" which has one of the best instrumental breaks (and is also the most progressive of the album) with its almost symphonic and cinematic feel can't seem to get the overall feel of the album to rise about just average hard rock. The chorus on "Words in the Distance" calls back memories of the old Uriah Heep with the lite-gothic harmonies, and the guitar on "Fires of Hell (Your Only Son)" mixes well with the organ as it did in the early days.

Unfortunately, for myself at least, I still hear a lot of the pop-element in the music especially in tracks like "Sweet Sugar", the sappy ballad "Mistress of All Time", the directionless "Logical Progression", and the fact that pretty much all of the tracks have the usual, tired standard structures of verse, chorus, verse, chorus, break, chorus and it mostly comes across as a mediocre "Journey" album more than anything, and that's not a good thing for a progressive rock lover. Believe me, I would love this album to be a return to form, but I just don't hear that. There is very little progressive rock to this album. But, as far as a nice heavy rock, pop-metal album, it is still the best of the band's albums to come out from this line up. The music is well written and highly polished. It is also the one album I enjoy the most out of this period of time for the band. Unfortunately, instead of moving forward, as one would hope, the band doesn't really move ahead and actually takes a step backward for the next few albums. I can easily give this a 3 star rating for the stronger tracks which help the album, but also for the average sound of the lesser tracks. It is a great album for commercial heavy rock, but it is doubtful that it can be called metal and surely can't be called progressive. At least the album was a ray of hope when it was released that the band might be improving, but unfortunately, that ended up not happening, at least for the time being.

TCat | 3/5 |

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