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Uriah Heep - Sweet Freedom CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.44 | 343 ratings

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kev rowland
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars Even though their live double album was doing well in the charts it wasn't long before taskmaster Gerry Bron had the boys back in the studio for their sixth studio album, their third with the same line-up. This was the first to be recorded away from Lansdowne Road, at the infamous 'Chateau Disaster' where Jethro Tull had attempted and then abandoned recording 'A Passion Play'. But even though the three weeks in the studio were fraught, in no small part due to David Byron's alcoholism, Ken Hensley's cocaine addiction and Gary Thain's heroin problems, the band again produced an album containing some fine songs. This seems to be one of theirs that is overlooked, but an album that starts with a song as powerful as "Dreamer" needs a second look. A gentle introduction from drummer Lee Kerslake, and Ken and Mick rip into it. The melodic vocals (and great falsettos) seem almost at odds with the way that Mick is throwing in the guitar lines. For all those who think that The Darkness are the saviours of modern rock (and admittedly they have done a lot to make long hair more fashionable), then put this one and turn it up and you will hear where they have taken much of their inspiration from.

But even though this is a great opener it isn't the most well-known song on the album, which belongs to the next cut, "Stealin'". Ken opens this by almost coaxing the gentle chords out to be laid against the strummed bass. Just a little gentle reverb on David's vocals, along with sweet harmonies the stage is set. Lee strokes the hi-hat, and then when the line "nothing left to save but my life" ends the guys join in and the song swaggers along. It is of no surprise that thirty years later it is still in the set list. But this album has more to offer than just two songs, and in "One Day" they have a song in their overbearing wonderful over eth top style with great vocals and the impression that here is a class act. The album originally closed with "Pilgrim" where falsetto vocal harmonies vie with piano for attention until Mick takes up the gauntlet. Yet again this reissue has been remastered by Rob Corich and has six extra cuts.

Originally appeared in Feedback #79, June 2004

kev rowland | 4/5 |


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