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Uriah Heep - Outsider CD (album) cover

OUTSIDER

Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog


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Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 3,5 stars out of 5

Uriah Heep have been keeping on playing gigs and releasing albums since 1970. Just like the good wine they've been able to produce in the recent years three strong records in a row: 'Wake the Sleeper' (2008), 'Into the Wild' (2011) and the latest 'Outsider', issued in june 2014 (their 24th studio album). The sound is clearly updated but all the three records share the common heep sound (after all they're alive and kicking): killer riffs by the legendary Mick Box (on guitar) and powerful hammond organ by Phil Lanzon (who's in charge since 1986). After the sad passing of Trevor Bolder the last year, new entry Davey Rimmer got recruited and took on the bass duties. Canadian singer Bernie Shaw (in since 1986) and drummer Russel Gilbrook (since 2007, after the retirement of Lee Kerslake due to ill health) complete the line-up. I now have to say that the fast-paced opener 'Speed Of Sound' is the prototype upon which the most part of the record is well crafted. They seem to have it made to figure out what the whole album is all about. And that's the only negative remark to a work I do think is very good: ok, during the first listenings it may get a bit too repetitive, with only one distinctive moment being the soft piano climax introduction to the excellent 'One Minute'. But if you're patient enough you will realize there are other excellent non-predictable numbers, at times tinged with prog as with 'Is Anybody Gonna Help Me'. This track takes off like a typical (heavy)ballad from the seventies but at some point it gets laden by a thumping wall of sound and a substantial changing mood. Other excellent number is for sure 'The Law', a hard tour de force with typical dymanic choruses. After many spins I still think that the previous 'Into the Wild' is slightly superior for its more varied atmosphere (the fantastic closer 'Kiss of Freedom' is one of the best moments in the Shaw's era). However, at this point of their career the band don't seem to want to expand too much their sound to other territories. They rather concentrate on their heep sound which is something they're great at and for that we couldn't thank them enough.

Report this review (#1201721)
Posted Tuesday, July 1, 2014 | Review Permalink
4 stars Uriah Heep is a British hard rock band which has been playing since 1970. Their music has had a lot of progressive elements even if they mainly are a hard rock gang. They recorded their first record 1970: "Very' eavy... Very 'umble" and this year came their twentyfifth album "Outsider" 2014. Thirteen records in the seventies, five in the eighties, three in the nineties, two in the 00- decade and two in the tenth decade.

Outsider was for me a very positive surprise. It's grey cover is surrealistic with a grey circle which is filled with an umbrella man, a winter tree and birds. I liked what I heard imediately here. Bernie Shaw's voice is strong and it's a classical hard rock voice. The music is heavy but not too loud and the organ virtuosity makes the music interesting. You get a strong feeling of older rock when you hear this. I would say it is really enjoyable music. Uriah Heep hasn't done what Yes have done, becoming more nice, this is hard beating rock from minute one to fifty.

The album has many especially good songs such as "Is anybody gonna help me?", "Looking at you", "Jessie" and "Kiss the rainbow" but I like them all. Perhaps the most fair voting should be 7/10 but I feel that the album is as strong as four stars. On this album Bernie Shaw sings, Mick Box plays guitar, Phil Lanzon plays keyboards, Davey Rimmer plays bass and Russell Gilbrook drums. The former bass player Trevor Bolder died unfortunately last year. This is, I most say it, not a prog rock album but it is a great rock album of 2014.

Report this review (#1259475)
Posted Monday, August 25, 2014 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars It's been a while since I've actually given any of the post '70s Uriah Heep releases more than one spin and I blame the band for that. Most of the albums released by this ever-changing lineup of a collective have been decent but they never get enough attention from the audiences. I have no problem with Bernie Shaw as a vocalist but David Byron he is not. The never-ending tours where Shaw tries to fit in as a Byron imitator hasn't exactly been too flattering for him but still he does a decent job. Unlike the live shows, that mostly features the old classics, the later Uriah Heep releases have actually managed to sound relatively interesting but generally fail at gaining attention from anyone who is not already a fan. Having said that, it was quite surprising to hear that Outsider actually sounded like one of their better albums since their golden era records from the early '70s!

The album sounds like a record that could have been released by Uriah Heep back in their early days. The songwriting is generally based in the heavy rock genre that the band have been known for with a few minor nods at progressive rock. The opening track Speed Of Sound is easily my favorite track out of the bunch, featuring up-tempo heavy rock sound while maintaining a strong melodic hook to it. The album's single One Minute is actually a really solid rock tune even though I enjoy the opening piano section much more that the rest of the track.

There are a few bumps along the way like the corny chorus of Rock The Foundation and the pretty average track Is Anybody Gonna Help Me?. Uriah Heep sounds best whenever they return to the up-tempo numbers like the album's title track, Looking At You, Can't Take That Away and Kiss The Rainbow. The concluding track Say Goodbye is another performance that starts off like a classic Led Zeppelin track until Shaw comes in on vocals. Just like most of the other tracks, this final number has a strong up-tempo rock sound with a solid chorus line and a lovely organ sound from Phil Lanzon.

For me it's clear that Uriah Heep are a better band than what they give themselves credit for on tour. Why fill your repertoire with old tunes from the '70s when you've actually got a decent new album? I guess they're just a victim of their own image and I doubt that Mick Box and the rest of the lineup have any plans on changing that.

***** star songs: Speed Of Sound (4:55)

**** star songs: One Minute (4:54) The Outsider (3:22) Looking At You (3:35) Can't Take That Away (4:54) Kiss The Rainbow (5:12) Say Goodbye (3:34)

*** star songs: The Law (5:24) Rock The Foundation (4:07) Is Anybody Gonna Help Me? (5:07) Jessie (3:59)

Report this review (#1370653)
Posted Friday, February 20, 2015 | Review Permalink

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