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Uriah Heep - Uriah Heep CD (album) cover

URIAH HEEP

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.57 | 208 ratings

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TCat
3 stars Released in 1970, this is the debut album by Uriah Heep. Formed from members from a band called "Spice", this band has been around ever since, and is still performing after all these years, but has also changed its line up several times through the years with Mick Box being the only person that has been with the band since the beginning and is on every album ever released from the band. This album was named "Very 'eavy, Very 'umble" in the UK and simply titled "Uriah Heep" in the US and had different cover art in both countries.

David Byron was the original lead singer, and would be the lead singer through 10 studio albums. It was while he was the lead singer that the band was at it's most popular and also released its best albums, including "Demon and Wizards" and "The Magician's Birthday". Is voice is a little operatic, and sometimes could be over the top, but he usually used restraint (not all the time, but usually). Ken Hensley was the keyboardist but also did some of the special guitar work for about the same length of time. Mick Box was mentioned previously and is the only member still with the band. He is the lead guitarist and also does vocals. Paul Newton was bassist and played on the Heep's first 3 albums. The original drummer was Alex Napier and performed on most of the tracks here, but he was replaced with Nigel Olsen during the recording of this album. Nigel has been in and out of the band ever since, but he has also been Elton John's main drummer.

Uriah Heep's sound has been mostly inspired or similar to that of Deep Purple and that sound is very apparent on this first album. "Gypsy" is probably the best track on the album and most progressive, It features a long organ solo and is wholly driven by the organ backed up by a guitar riff. "Come Away Melinda" is a mellotron-drenched ballad.

In the US, the track "Bird of Prey" replaced the track "Lucy Blues" on the UK version (track number 4). The "Birds of Prey" track is quite awful with high pitched background singing and is quite over the top with tackiness, where "Lucy Blues" is much better and, as the title hints, very bluesy and much more tasteful.

The other tracks not mentioned above are pretty much standard hard rock that sounds pretty standard for that time, a lot of organ and guitar, slightly dark, and heavy with some mellow sections, but quite blues oriented. If you are familiar with the sound of Deep Purple from the same era, then you will know what this album sounds like, except more amateur-ish. You can't really blame them since it was their first album, but, other than a few good albums, the band never really got past that amateur feel before the original line up started getting played around with. Through the years, UH has been more of a hard rock band which leaned heavily towards pop music and ventured into the hair metal arena and now rests in a lite Hard Progressive sound. They have never really done anything groundbreaking, but some of their albums are definitely enjoyable, they are just too few and far between considering how long they have been around and how many albums they have released.

TCat | 3/5 |

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