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Uriah Heep - Return to Fantasy CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.14 | 317 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars A high 2 stars, because the good stuff is very good. But this is a lopsided record stuffed with filler. Things begin promisingly with the first half. The return to their most beloved material hinted at with the title and artwork actually manifests itself with opener "Return To Fantasy". Full of emotion, mystery and swirling keys, along with a solid rhythm section that sees John Wetton's bass joining in with Lee Kerslake on drums after the ouster of troubled bassist Gary Thain, the song is no less than a Uriah Heep classic. Two hard-rock songs follow in the form of "Shady Lady" (a forgettable boogie number) and the excellent "Devil's Daughter". Album highlight "Beautiful Dream" follows, a magnificent song highlighting Ken Hensley's Moog expertise, stacking even more keyboards on top of that, along with one of David Byron's last bits of vocal magic. "Beautiful Dream" is one of the reasons Uriah Heep appeals to many prog fans, as these fantasy-laced, celestial kinds of things are in abundance throughout their '70s albums.

But then things sour quickly. The listener is asked to sit through four absolutely dire songs: "Your Turn To Remember", "Prima Donna", "Showdown" and "Why Did You Go": a high-school dance shuffle, a bass-horn diseased country-rocker, slide-guitar driven country-rock (again) and a vacant love song (frustratingly, with even more twangy country guitar work!). It's only "A Year And A Day" that makes the second side less than horrendous, its ethereal opening giving way to a poignant organ-driven anthem and then back again to the gentler, more contemplative atmospheres.

The two songs relegated to b-side purgatory ("Shout It Out" and "The Time Will Come") are very good. Had they replaced some of the filler, we'd have a very strong album here. Instead they served up 4 excellent songs and 5 abominations. Approach with caution.

slipperman | 2/5 |


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