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Uriah Heep - Fallen Angel CD (album) cover

FALLEN ANGEL

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

2.42 | 199 ratings

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TCat
Special Collaborator
Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
2 stars When 1978 rolled around for Uriah Heep, it seemed the band was in a pretty good place, even though their music had taken a turn that would bring them further and further away from their progressive sound and closer to the radio-friendly sound. At this point, when 'Fallen Angel' was released, it was to be the 3rd album in a row without any changes in the line-up. Even though John Lawton didn't have the crazy range that original singer David Byron had, he was holding his own, and definitely would have his moments on 'Fallen Angel'. The bad news is that this album was the most commercial of any of them, and it is quite easily seen by the song titles as the songs were about love and relationships, no more fantasy-inspired lyrics.

What you do end up starts out as a pretty good rock record that is a little too heavy to be considered pop, but far from being a heavy metal or progressive record either. If you don't listen to the album for the sake of prog, you might even find enough substance to the variety in the track offerings to consider it enjoyable, especially after a few listens and the individual songs start to stand out a bit. That's just fine from a rock standpoint, but the bad thing is that it doesn't have much 'lasting' power to it. And as the album continues, it gets poppier and more annoying.

Way back in 1978 when I bought this album, I had high hopes for it since I had just recently gotten into 'The Magician's Birthday', and I was hoping for something like that. I was completely disappointed and hardly ever listened to the album after that. Now, when I listen to the album, I find that I still recognize many of the simple rockers here, and there is a bit of nostalgia there, which is fine. The music doesn't sound as dated as I though it would, but it is definitely very commercial. The opener 'Woman of the Night' is probably the best of the album, there is a tasty rocker called 'One More Night' and a schleppy ballad 'Come Back to Me' which at least does show off Lawton's soulful vocals to a great extent.

But, the album is even worse on the 2nd side, you have the very 80's keyboard riffage of 'Whad'ya Say' which has the danger of making one nauseous as images of spinning disco balls pop into your mind. 'Save It' has a powerful blues-riff that starts it off, but soon speeds up and becomes very annoying, sounding like a bad rip-off of Grand Funk Railroad complete with garbage sax. It only gets worse as it goes on with the 'la-la-la's' of 'Love or Nothing'. And the attempt at an acoustic sound on the title track closes it all off quite embarrassingly. The only half-decent track on the 2nd side, 'I'm Alive', sadly gets buried in the rest of the trash making up that side.

The album did poorly despite the label continually pushing the band to be more commercial, barely cracking the top Billboard 200. The continued pressure to put out albums like this would take its toll on the legendary status of the band which would continue for years, even when the band would show up on the next album with a new line up. Sadly, the band and the record company just couldn't take the hint and the band would continue to have many more misses than hits for several years after that even constant line-up changes could help.

TCat | 2/5 |

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