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Uriah Heep - Sweet Freedom CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.44 | 353 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The Heep produced five great studio albums and one fantastic live one in three years. Could they keep the pace of this incredible creativity ?

The opener is not a really in line with the Heep's habit to deliver great tracks to start an album. "Still Dreamer" is a good hard rock tune : strong keyboards and catchy melody. "Stealin" starts as a ballad but turns to a rockier number after 1'30". Rather heavy, with Hensley pumping his organ as usual (but more as a background instrument), Box playing a good guitar break. The end of the song is a bit too repetitive. We'll get a more traditional Heep song with "One Day" : great keyboards, good vocal harmonies. Somewhat poppy.

The first great track is the fourth one : "Sweet Freedom". A very good hard rock song : a great crescendo intro leading to a well balanced song. Strong rhythm section (bass especially) as well as keys in the background. This was already a remark I made in "Magician's Birthday" : Hensley keys has no dominant role any longer as before which is a pain. This track though takes up again with the tradition. Byron is at his best. It is the best track of this album, by far. It can really be compared with some of their legendary numberss. It is only lacking a great guitar or organ solo to reach the pinnacle of their production.

"If I Had The Time" has a slow but strong tempo (which even sounds prog). Byron's voice is high-pitched here. This song is on par with the album so far. Good but not great

"Seven Stars" is an attempt to re-create "Easy Livin". Since I love this track so much I do not have any problems with it. Another good hard rock song. As in their previous two albums, the Heep will release an acoustic song : "Circus". I guess that like Led Zep they might be a bit tired to produce hard to heavy songs and therefore will record here and there softer tunes. It brings a flavour of freshness, but still it is not this side of the Heep that I prefer.

On the contrary, the album closes with "Pilgrim" which is a highlight. On par with "Sweet Freedom". Great keyboards and piano and again a solid bass playing. I really like how this instrument sounds in their first six efforts : maybe too much in evidence sometimes but it is often so strong and so typical that I just love it. It is really a Heep's trademark since several bass players will hold this instrument and the quality will never decrease. Credit must be given to them. Hensley work is again, superb. The finale is absolutely wonderful.

Some bonus tracks on the remastered edition are valuable. "Sunshine" specially : it should have deserved to sit on the original album. Very melodious and hard-rocking like hell. IMO, it is one of the best track available and it is a mystery for me that it was not released originally. But we are lucky to get it here as a bonus. The live version for "Seven Stars" is also interesting.

If we except a few tracks, there won't be songs which will remind their legendary tracks ("Gypsy", "Look At Yourself", "July Morning" etc.). But again, when you consider that they produced so many great albums (five) in such a short period of time (three years), one can understand that they need to breathe a bit to regain some more inspiration. This album is a good effort though. Unfortunately, it will be one of their last ones. Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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