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Uriah Heep - Wonderworld CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.11 | 345 ratings

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3 stars Uriah Heep's 7th album (1974) follows along in the same style as their previous album "Sweet Freedom", it's a decent album where the band uses a lot of their trademark styles along with Byron's amazing vocals that also tried function as a way to build their audience. To do that, unfortunately, it meant paring back the progressive styles that made their previous work sound more inspired and interesting. As far as lite-progressive albums, though, it's still pretty good. The trademark organ, weird synths and over-the-top (sometimes) vocals are still there, it's just based on a more accessible rock/blues style that was much in the same vein as many Deep Purple albums.

Wonderworld - After a strong opening introduction, the music quiets down for the vocals and a building to the chorus. Similar to the strong ballads of previous albums which always featured heavier instrumental interludes. Nice and soulful, this one holds on to the past.

Suicidal Man - A heavier and rockier track that's much more beat and guitar driven with solid riffs. Excellent vocals especially in the ending.

The Shadows and the Wind - Soft organs bring this one in with a rolling percussion and more soulful singing, but becomes much more upbeat and heavy on the chorus and following verses.

So Tired - Anything but tired, a fast moving upbeat track, heavy on the organ and a driving beat. The bridge slows things up a bit, but it soon returns to the driving beat allowing for drum and bass breaks with a bit of guitar thrown in there to ramp up the heaviness.

The Easy Road - Piano led ballad with orchestral arrangement to create a bit of lushness. Drums come in later, but the song remains in the ballad realm. Nice track, but too short for the amount of trouble put into the orchestra.

Something or Nothing - A heavy, rocking and upbeat track which was released as a single. It's quite traditional when it comes to song structure and one that you would expect to do well on the radio, but I don't ever remember hearing it there.

I Won't Mind - One of the 2 longer tracks, this one at 6 minutes. A slow, pounding rhythm and bass bring in a killer guitar solo before the bluesy vocals come in. This one varies a bit in its overall blues style, but allows the drums to become more free which almost gives the feel of meter and/or tempo changes through the verses. These kinds of songs were where Byron was at his strongest, plus Mick Box gets to really shred on this one also for the extended instrumental ending.

We Got We - Awful title. Terrible lyrics. Dumb melody. Decent guitar solo in the middle, but that doesn't save the song.

Dreams - The 2nd of the longer tracks at just over 6 minutes. Starts as you would imagine, with slow ambient, droning organ and eerie UH style synth. After a minute, the tempo picks up and vocals come in. Has some recollection to earlier, more progressive albums. The middle section is some great classic UH sound with a nice build up to the next verse. However, you expect a little more jamming here instead of sliding so quickly into the verse. The build up is repeated in variation at the end, this time taking more time to build up with some bluesy-psychedelic sounds taking us to the end. Not bad, but you wish for a little bit more.

Bonus tracks: What Can I Do - The b-side to "Something or Nothing" that was left off the album. Mid-tempo rocker. It's okay, but nothing real special. This should have been substituted for the awful "We Got We".

Love Hate and Fear - This is a non-album demo. Not a bad mid-tempo boogie style riff drives this decent track. You can tell it's a demo track because of the light use of instruments, but it's still intact enough to almost pass as a finished track. Makes me wonder how good it would have been if it was finished.

Stone's Throw - Another non-album demo. More of an acoustic vibe to this one with a surprising amount of "twang" to it. The melody is too repetitive on this one to be very interesting. I can understand why they passed on this one. It seems they are a bit out of their element here.

Dreams (Extended Version) - Over a minute longer than the album version. The extra time is all in the psychedelic ending. It just stretches things out longer there but doesn't really add anything.

I Won't Mind (Live Version) - Great choice for a live bonus track. Too bad the singing is off key through most of it.

So Tired (Live Version) - See previous.

Pretty good, but lacking in progressive style. Great for a hard rocker's album though.

TCat | 3/5 |


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