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Uriah Heep - High and Mighty CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.20 | 293 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars One way or another, a change is inevitable

David Byron's final album with Uriah Heep came all too soon. The recording of "High and Mighty" was apparently a somewhat piecemeal affair, with only Hensley (who yet again dominates the song writing) and Wetton committed in full to the project. The absence of Gerry Bron as producer for the first time is less apparent than might have been expected, but he was reportedly unimpressed with the results.

The two sides of the LP make an appropriate division between what turned out to be an impressive side one, and a poor side two. Mick Box is largely absent throughout, with Hensley by and large providing both keyboards and guitar.

The opening track, "One way or another" doesn't even feature Byron's vocals, with Wetton taking on those duties. Ironically Byron, who was reportedly comfortable with the finished track, played Hammond organ on it instead. It is though an intriguingly successful diversion for the band in a slightly less organised direction. Hensley's middle 8 restores the more melodic sound, providing a harmonic counterpoint. The track has similarities to "Dreamer" which opened "Sweet Freedom".

Byron first appears on the beautiful "Weep in silence", a softer track but highly melodic almost emotional, with Hensley's keyboards swirling around the pained voice of Byron.

"Midnight", which closes side one, is a miniature epic in about 6 minutes. In that time it moves from an attention grabbing opening riff, through a number of time changes and brief instrumental breaks, to fade with a reprise of the opening riff. "Midnight" stand proud alongside Hensley's finest compositions, and would have made a fitting end to the Byron era Uriah Heep. Unfortunately, they continued onto side two of the album, which brings together some of the weakest material recorded by the band while Byron was a member.

Had the entire album been up to the standard of the four tracks on side one, "High and mighty" would have been worthy of it's name. Unfortunately side two of the album only served to indicate that radical change was needed, and such change was indeed, just around the corner.

There are numerous bonus tracks on the deluxe remaster, including a successful cut and paste extension of "Weep in silence". Also included are demos by Hensley of some of the album tracks, which are in fact better than the final versions. "Does anything matter", which became "Woman of the world" in particular shows how the track could have been developed into a sensitive ballad, instead of the nondescript pop version which was selected.

Easy Livin | 3/5 |


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