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Uriah Heep - Very 'Eavy...Very 'Umble CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.37 | 455 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Very 'eavy... Very 'umble' - Uriah Heep (7/10)

Although it is foolish to say that music is improving as time goes on (some would even argue for the contrary), it is undeniable that certain styles have developed over time. In the year 1970, hard rock was still a fairly new movement, and the music world's views on 'heaviness' were vastly different than they are today. Suffice to say, UK hard rock outfit Uriah Heep's debut may not have lived up to its title if it was released nowadays, but back then, it was heavier than most rock music out there. With blistering Hammond organs and crunchy blues riffs dominating the sound, Uriah Heep's 'Very 'eavy... Very 'umble' is often thought much less highly of than the material that the band would churn out over the rest of the 70s, and while the band would see their musical vision mature from this, the debut is a great piece of classic hard rock. Especially when considered in the context of the time that the album was released, 'Very 'eavy' does its title justice.

The first track here is arguably the one that is most recognizable from the record. 'Gypsy' is an anthem for hard rock, and features many of the best riffs that the album has to offer. Here, we are introduced to Uriah's highly bluesy leanings, and the gritty interplay between the organs and guitars. Although the song stays in a similar sound of rock to what Led Zeppelin was doing at the time, there are still some progressive rock leanings, even this early on. 'Gypsy' begins as a fairly straightforward blues rocker, but in between verses and the vintage howls of singer David Byron, the band breaks into some instrumental forays that often prove the prowess of their keyboardist Ken Hensley. There's some great stuff here, and while 'Gypsy' may feel dated by today's standards, it has not lost any of its charm.

The rest of the songs here persist in a more straightforward hard rock fashion, still featuring the same style of bluesy riffs, but without as much of the instrumental flaunting. The songwriting is not particularly original, instead sounding very close to Led Zeppelin and a host of other blues rockers. 'Come Away Melinda' is a short UFO cover, but also works as a pretty respite from the typical crunch that 'Very 'eavy' offers. Soft acoustic guitars and chilled vocals are something that Uriah does surprisingly well, and its something of a disappointment that they rarely develop those sounds further on the debut, and the fact that they used a cover to show that side does not help their case either. 'Very 'eavy' earns its bread on the heavier side of the band however.

There are some tracks that feel a little too derivative and tired to say much about, such as 'Lucy Blues'; a twelve bar plod that a thousand bands had done before Uriah come into the scene. 'Very 'eavy' is not a perfect album, nor would I consider it even one of Uriah Heep's better records, but it is played incredibly well, and has plenty of vintage charm to work with.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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