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Uriah Heep - Into the Wild CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.37 | 161 ratings

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
3 stars It says a lot that Uriah Heep, had finally got away from the revolving door of members coming and going in 1987. Except for the departure of long-time drummer Lee Kerslake in 2007 for health reasons, the line-up has remained the same with Bernie Shaw on vocals (you could pretty much say that he is the voice for UH now), forever UH member Mick Box, the only original member that has been with the band through everything, Phil Lanzon on keys, Trevor Bolder on bass and finally, Kerslake's replacement Russell Gilbrook on drums.

So, this line-up has had a lot of time to get familiar with each other, and quite honestly, they play as quite a tight union. The main problem is they have pretty much settled into a rather typical hard rock sound that has very little to do with progressive rock anymore. It's all quite straightforward, and the band has seen some success in a few countries with this formula.

To me, the music just doesn't stand out anymore as anything other than another good hard rock band. It is good that the band has found a foothold in their style, and they still get to show off the talents of their main players, Box on some really great guitar solos and Lanzon on the organ, they have that Deep Purple vibe, but with a rather formulaic and unoriginal sound. But, they do it well, don't get me wrong, it's just not music that stands out for me now. Deep Purple, the band that they are always compared to, at least has managed to incorporate their unique style into a current style of heavy rock, where Uriah Heep just pretty much sounds like any hard rock band and don't have enough uniqueness to keep them interesting, even in the non-progressive universe.

It always seems, however, that the band can still pull off a few really great tracks on each of their later albums. One of these is the real standout "Trail of Diamonds" which begins as a nice ballad-style and later evolves into an interesting heavy track with some excellent guitar and organ work, and even some great vocals from Shaw. This singing on this track tends to bring back some of the emotion we felt from the band in their early years, and that is always a big plus on a UH album. More emotion like this would help to raise the overall rating, but, unfortunately, this gets lost in following the formula and staying safe. At this point, UH is pretty much just maintaining the fans they have and not really winning over new fans or bringing back old fans that have lost faith in the band. More variety would have helped out too, but at least they still find time to allow Bolder to sing lead on one track, "Lost". There is a great organ solo at the end, but it fades too quickly. This track has some merit in that it is the last time we would hear his vocals and this album is the last time he plays for the band as he passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2013 and was replaced by Dave Rimmer who remains with the band today. There is one more standout moment with the ending track "Kiss of Freedom". Is it a coincidence that the two best tracks here are the longer ones (over 6 minutes)? Even then, there's nothing surprising here, it's just that these longer tracks seem to be better composed.

What you get here is mostly typical and predictable hard rock. There is plenty of this and the music will appeal to those fans. For me, it's not enough, even to satisfy the hard rocker in myself, as even in my mind, nothing much really stands out. It's just another album with a bunch of songs that could have easily fit on any of their albums released in 1990 to present. It's good, but I can't really recommend anything about it that you can't find on any other hard rock album. For the most part, the soul and fire of the early years is missing and you get a bunch of songs that could have easily come from the assembly line of hard rock songs.

TCat | 3/5 |


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