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URIAH HEEP

Heavy Prog • United Kingdom


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Uriah Heep biography
Founded in 1969 in London, England - Still active as of 2018

URIAH HEEP came into being in 1970, the band evolving from SPICE. The multi talented Ken HENSLEY, who had previously been a member of CLIFF BENNETT'S TOE FAT, and THE GODS (who also featured GREG LAKE in their line up) was brought in, initially to add an organ to the band's sound. In the early years, Hensley, together with Mick Box (guitar) and David Byron (vocals) formed the nucleus of the band. The rhythm section was somewhat transient with both bass and drums being played by a succession of band members. Of these, Paul Newton was probably the most influential member, particularly as early on his father was involved in managing the band.

It wasn't until their fourth album "Demons and Wizards" that the rhythm section was finally sorted out. Lee Kerslake (who had previously played with Hensley in The GODS) took over on drums, and Gary Thain (ex KEEF HARTLEY BAND) on bass. The difference was immediately obvious, and the "classic" line up was born. Sadly, Thain died in 1975 and Byron in the 1980's, both having been previously sacked by the band at different times due to drug and drink related problems respectively.

Line up changes have been a feature of the band throughout their career, with John Wetton, John Lawton, and Trevor Bolder being among the lengthy list of names to feature in the line up. These changes have not always proved to be for the better, and have at times resulted in disappointing albums, the most notorious of these being generally regarded as "Conquest". The band has on a number of occasions been on the brink of extinction, or at least a change of name. Guitarist Mick Box has however carried the torch and ensured that even today, the songs which made URIAH HEEP one of the top acts in the world, are still performed live.

The line up of Bolder, Kerslake, Box, Lanzon, Shaw holds the distinction of having been together for the longest period of any line up in the band's entire career. They still tour regularly, and released their latest album, "Wake the sleeper" in 2008. On that album, Russell Gilbrook plays drums, Kersalake having been forced into retirement for health reasons.

URIAH HEEP's music covers a multitude of styles. In prog terms, they lean towards heavy rock with symphonic overtones wh...
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URIAH HEEP discography


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URIAH HEEP top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 516 ratings
Very 'Eavy...Very 'Umble
1970
3.59 | 242 ratings
Uriah Heep
1970
4.19 | 897 ratings
Salisbury
1971
4.13 | 795 ratings
Look at Yourself
1971
4.07 | 877 ratings
Demons and Wizards
1972
3.85 | 677 ratings
The Magician's Birthday
1972
3.45 | 406 ratings
Sweet Freedom
1973
3.11 | 345 ratings
Wonderworld
1974
3.15 | 343 ratings
Return to Fantasy
1975
3.20 | 284 ratings
High and Mighty
1976
3.56 | 306 ratings
Firefly
1977
2.88 | 236 ratings
Innocent Victim
1977
2.45 | 224 ratings
Fallen Angel
1978
2.60 | 193 ratings
Conquest
1980
2.85 | 207 ratings
Abominog
1982
2.39 | 163 ratings
Head First
1983
2.00 | 152 ratings
Equator
1985
2.56 | 138 ratings
Raging Silence
1989
2.09 | 128 ratings
Different World
1991
3.64 | 204 ratings
Sea Of Light
1995
3.22 | 141 ratings
Sonic Origami
1998
3.41 | 192 ratings
Wake The Sleeper
2008
2.71 | 92 ratings
Celebration - Forty Years Of Rock
2009
3.37 | 173 ratings
Into the Wild
2011
3.23 | 111 ratings
Outsider
2014
3.71 | 153 ratings
Living the Dream
2018
3.83 | 44 ratings
Chaos & Colour
2023

URIAH HEEP Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.99 | 202 ratings
Uriah Heep - Live
1973
2.77 | 37 ratings
Live At Shepperton '74
1986
2.80 | 39 ratings
Live in Europe 1979
1986
3.16 | 42 ratings
Live in Moscow
1988
3.06 | 32 ratings
Spellbinder Live
1996
2.96 | 21 ratings
Live On The King Biscuit Flower Hour
1997
3.64 | 17 ratings
Future Echoes Of The Past
2000
4.25 | 56 ratings
Acoustically Driven
2001
3.91 | 27 ratings
Electrically Driven
2001
4.13 | 51 ratings
The Magician's Birthday Party
2002
3.42 | 12 ratings
Live in the USA
2003
3.11 | 17 ratings
Magic Night
2004
3.29 | 12 ratings
Live at Sweden Rock Festival 2009 (Official Bootleg)
2010
2.23 | 11 ratings
Live in Budapest Hungary 2010 (Official Bootleg Volume II)
2010
4.04 | 7 ratings
Live in Kawasaki, Japan 2010 (Official Bootleg Volume III)
2011
4.25 | 16 ratings
Live In Armenia
2011
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live In Brisbane Australia 2011 (Official Bootleg Volume IV)
2011
3.33 | 6 ratings
Live In Athens, Greece 2011 (Official Bootleg Vol. V)
2012
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live at the Rock of Ages Festival Germany 2008 (Official Bootleg Volume VI)
2013
3.93 | 11 ratings
Live at Koko London 2014
2015
3.00 | 3 ratings
Raging Through the Silence - - The 20th Anniversary Concert - Live At The London Astoria 18th May 1989
2017

URIAH HEEP Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.98 | 10 ratings
Easy Livin' - A history of Uriah Heep
1985
3.74 | 12 ratings
Gypsy (DVD)
1985
4.00 | 3 ratings
Raging Through The Silence
1989
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Legend Continues... A Celebration of 30 Years in Rock
2000
4.00 | 3 ratings
Classic Rock Legends (DVD)
2001
4.62 | 33 ratings
Acoustically Driven (DVD)
2001
2.00 | 2 ratings
Sailing The Sea Of Light
2001
3.86 | 12 ratings
Moscow And Beyond (DVD)
2002
4.09 | 22 ratings
The Magician's Birthday Party (DVD)
2002
3.38 | 8 ratings
Live In The USA (DVD)
2003
3.93 | 9 ratings
Inside Uriah Heep - The Hensley Years 1970-1976
2004
3.89 | 9 ratings
Inside Uriah Heep - The Hensley Years 1976-1980
2004
3.53 | 13 ratings
Magic Night (The Magicians Birthday Party 2003) (DVD)
2004
4.46 | 10 ratings
Inside Uriah Heep - The Hensley Years 1970-1980
2004
4.23 | 35 ratings
Classic Heep - Live from the Byron era
2004
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Ultimate Anthology
2004
3.07 | 9 ratings
Between Two Worlds (Live In London 2004) (DVD)
2005
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Live Broadcasts
2005
3.00 | 3 ratings
Access All Areas (Live in Moscow)
2014
3.00 | 2 ratings
Access All Areas (20th Anniversary Concert)
2015
3.67 | 3 ratings
Live At Koko - London 2014
2015

URIAH HEEP Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 2 ratings
Downunda..
1974
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Best Of Uriah Heep
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Best Of Uriah Heep Vol. 2
1974
4.00 | 2 ratings
Best Of Uriah Heep
1974
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Very Best Of Uriah Heep
1974
4.00 | 3 ratings
The Best of Uriah Heep
1975
3.22 | 16 ratings
The Best Of Uriah Heep
1976
4.00 | 1 ratings
Goldener Lwe
1978
3.47 | 9 ratings
The Best Of (1985)
1985
4.00 | 1 ratings
Anthology Volume One
1986
2.22 | 4 ratings
Still 'eavy, Still Proud
1990
5.00 | 1 ratings
Two Decades In Rock
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
July Morning / Rain
1991
3.52 | 10 ratings
Rarities From The Bronze Age
1991
3.42 | 15 ratings
The Lansdowne tapes
1993
4.00 | 1 ratings
The Ballads
1994
3.79 | 10 ratings
A Time Of Revelation - 25 years on
1996
2.96 | 4 ratings
Remasters - The Official Anthology (AKA Uriah Heep Gold - Looking Back 1970-2001)
2001
3.08 | 5 ratings
20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection: the Best of Uriah Heep
2001
3.05 | 3 ratings
Come Away Melinda: The Ballads
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Empty the Vaults: The Rarities
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
You Can't Keep A Good Band Down
2002
3.00 | 1 ratings
The Golden Palace
2002
3.00 | 3 ratings
Revelations - The Uriah Heep Anthology
2004
4.50 | 6 ratings
Gold from the Byron Era
2004
4.00 | 6 ratings
Travellers In Time Anthology Volume 1
2005
4.04 | 8 ratings
Chapter And Verse
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Greatest Hits
2006
3.00 | 1 ratings
Wake Up - The Singles Collection
2006
3.71 | 7 ratings
Easy Livin' - The Singles A's & B's
2006
3.33 | 3 ratings
Platinum Collection
2007
0.00 | 0 ratings
Best Of
2009
4.00 | 8 ratings
On The Rebound (A Very 'Eavy 40th Anniversary Collection)
2010
3.86 | 5 ratings
Wizards - The Best Of Uriah Heep
2011
0.00 | 0 ratings
Icon
2012
4.44 | 9 ratings
Totally Driven
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Classic Rock Years
2016
4.00 | 5 ratings
Your Turn To Remember - The Definitive Anthology 1970-1990
2016
0.00 | 0 ratings
50 Years in Rock
2020

URIAH HEEP Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.91 | 3 ratings
Wake Up (Set Your Sights)
1970
4.13 | 8 ratings
Look At Yourself
1971
3.19 | 8 ratings
Lady In Black
1971
3.80 | 5 ratings
July Morning
1971
3.60 | 5 ratings
Gypsy
1971
3.00 | 4 ratings
Spider Woman
1972
0.00 | 0 ratings
Special DJ Copy of Uriah Heep
1972
3.43 | 7 ratings
The Wizard
1972
3.86 | 7 ratings
Easy Livin'
1972
4.00 | 2 ratings
Sweet Freedom
1973
2.67 | 3 ratings
Seven Stars
1973
2.67 | 3 ratings
Something Or Nothing
1974
4.00 | 1 ratings
Uriah Heep Live
1975
2.33 | 3 ratings
Prima Donna
1975
3.33 | 3 ratings
Return To Fantasy
1975
3.00 | 2 ratings
Make a Little Love
1976
2.50 | 2 ratings
Wise Man
1977
3.03 | 13 ratings
Free Me
1977
2.50 | 2 ratings
One More Night (remix)
1978
2.50 | 2 ratings
Come Back To Me
1978
2.33 | 3 ratings
Love Or Nothing
1978
2.57 | 7 ratings
Carry On
1980
3.00 | 6 ratings
Love Stealer
1980
2.50 | 2 ratings
Feelings
1980
2.23 | 7 ratings
Think It Over
1981
3.25 | 12 ratings
Abominog Junior EP
1982
2.83 | 6 ratings
That's The Way That It Is
1982
2.80 | 5 ratings
Lonely Nights
1983
3.50 | 6 ratings
Stay On Top
1983
3.80 | 5 ratings
Poor Little Rich Girl
1985
2.43 | 7 ratings
Rockarama
1985
3.00 | 4 ratings
Easy Livin' (live)
1988
3.25 | 4 ratings
Lady In Black
1988
2.33 | 3 ratings
Hold Your Head Up
1989
2.60 | 5 ratings
Blood Red Roses
1989
3.20 | 5 ratings
Dream On
1995
3.00 | 3 ratings
Come Away Melinda
2001
3.40 | 5 ratings
Lady In Black
2001
0.00 | 0 ratings
Official Bootleg Bad Rappenau 2009
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Official Bootleg Krefeld 2009
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Official Bootleg Salzburg 2009
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wolverhampton Official Bootleg 2011
2011
3.40 | 5 ratings
One Minute
2014
4.00 | 3 ratings
Grazed by Heaven
2018

URIAH HEEP Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 High and Mighty by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.20 | 284 ratings

BUY
High and Mighty
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by Per Kohler

5 stars Writing about High & Mighty; it reminds you about how perishable everything is. Of all five members from this recording only guitar player Mick Box is still alive. Just a historical second ago they were all touring your hometown and also sipped your beer stash. If you consider the other big three heavies Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath from this time around they are certainly more spared. John Bonham (Zep), Tommy Bolin/Jon Lord (Purple) have left this earth so there are more deceased Heep members than in all other mentioned groups together. They do belong to the same generation. It's in the mid seventies and the the world is still a habitable place to stay in. The so-called classic line-up in Heep is only one step away. However, for me and a smattering of convinced, this is the perhaps the definite composition of the band. Gary Thain has been replaced by a certain John Wetton. This wasn't undisputed, far from it. Ken Hensley's reason for recruiting him was simply to replace one great player with another. Later on though, he pointed out that it was a mistake to hire Wetton. The bass player spent 18 short months in U.H. and gave a foursquare description on the outcome: 'When their management called me I had to choose between starvation or to join them'. This mutual discord doesn't necessarily mean that the end result was less interesting. On the contrary, great art is often a made of spartan and harsch conditions. After two relatively group oriented efforts in form of Wonderworld and Return to Fantasy what we are wittnessing here is an almost completly Hensley dominated effort. At least regarding writing credits. A Heep adept knows that the Hammond player is a strong force in these contexts. But H&M surpasses all previous albums. It resembles more a successor to Eager To Please than anything else. Someone claimed that the mistake they made after Thain's departure was that muscians/vocalists without hardrock background entered the domain. That's one way of looking at it. Another, more exciting, is what happens when a heavy outfit (a competent one) delves into adjacent or related territory. Just like with the case here. In the direction the wizard happened to point his wand...The cover of HM is as striking as anything from the decade. Perhaps not that much in its details, more in totality. A great concept. Fully in line with chosen chord patterns/musical direction. You'll fly along to it. It's worth pointing out though that not even K. Hensley liked it.

Negativism is yet only one side of the story; at other times Wetton was far more positive. To take a break from the complex rhythm parts in King Crimson in order to play fair-dealing Rock n' Roll. Hensley for his part, ultimately found a wealth of ideas brought by the recruit. It is embodied in current product, High & Mighty. So what did Wetton bring that Gary Thain missed? The same Thain that obviously influenced a generation of metal bassists. It's still a redundant framing of a question. U.H. has been called 'The Beach Boys of hard rock'. So what can be more proper than enlisting Wetton to the band? Maestro vocalists Byron/Hensley are are alreadey present. Now they're joined by a third. Glenn Hughes from neighbourband Deep Purple defined his collaboration with David Coverdale as the finest vocal duo ever. Without vaunt. If that's the case then you'll find the correlative trio right here. 'The Voices of Rock l' or 'The Voices of Rock ll'. A subjective truth if it applies in general. An objective truth if it applies within the genre.

It's the most advanced demo tape in music history. Leastways it feels like a strong contender. In terms of vocal delivery. As any Heep fan is aware of, opening title 'One Way Or Another' is embossed by an absent D. Byron. Rarely has a vocalist of his class chosen a more fitting time to hide in the shadows. 'One Way Or Another' in itself belongs to the upper echelons of harder music material. It exudes utmost self-assurance at a time when the genre was placed in the back seat. As if aware of its own majestic bearing. The addition of Wetton/Hensley turns it into a monster! Actually the whole track is turned upside down with a organist in form of a David Byron. You may call it a remuneration for the absent vocals. Or just as well a suitable line-up. Byron is a much more proficient keyboard player than you had any clue about. As it happens, the same singer had a sore throat and fellow band members captured his position. Albeit temporarily. When Wetton/Hensley enter the studio door they do so in order to lay a foundation for a returning Byron. It's up to everyone to size up if it had sounded differently in another reality. Where it was meant to be final product. The question is justified. Not in the slightest out of discontent with existing one, but still. The most sceptical opinions touches precisely on the subject of demo tape. It's not incorrect, it could have been done differently. But at the same time the spontaneity would've been lost. You're excused as well if you hunger for an alternative recording with permanent vocalist. There doesn't seem to exist any. Cleverly, very cleverly; Byron called off his own perpetuation of the same track. Solely on his own. The song is unique insofar as it's Wettons one and only try-out in the genre. In the wake of the end result you're just as stunned as by his magical Crimso days...The wordless outro voices transport you to levels you didn't know you were in possesion of. This is surf music, but wrapped in concrete hardness. Wetton the bass player was brought into the band. The singer came along without extra costs. Plus an array of his other talents. It wasn't only good, but too good to be true. 'One Way Or Another' is relished by the vast majority of followers. Is this the case with remaining titles?

'Weep In Silence' is eveything but second track on the long play; it's a musical monument. It reminds one of how bizarre music biz is. To be in the right place at the right time, with right offering to right recipient. 'Weep' does obviously not fulfil any of this criteria. In a reality where fashion changes with the speed of the second hand. It is and will remain a hidden album track. On the positive side, it turns into your own precious possesion. Like a golden amulet on your bookshelf, you don't need to share it with the unwashed riffraff. It's a strong contender for the pre-eminent position as the finest Heep song ever. Both musical AND lyrical conviction. Byron makes up lost ground on track 1 with double impact on 'Weep'. What Wetton/Hensley achieved together there, Byron will put across alone here. As an extra bonus you'll be washed with the all-embracing and choir like section at the heart of the song. The shining star is however Mick Box. Loud protests towers up, he's not even playing here. He is sidelined. That's true, and also the point. Back to square one, who did the same on previous song? Yes, David Byron. The turn has come to the guitar player. Cleverly, very cleverly. The generosity from Messrs Byron/Box on initial two songs is worth stopping and considering. To step aside for the good of the group, or just what's considered to be the best for the group. As well known, there are countless examples of the opposite attitude. You don't need to go far outside the domains of Heep where a simillar process would be completly unthinkable. To understand the concept of the piece one has to fully comprehend who composer Ken Hensley is. Though normally considered the keyboard player of Heep he started his career as guitar player. Not only this, his primary instrument in soul/heart remained so all along the way. The bottom line becomes that Box is fully capable to deliver what's requierd, but allows his colleague Hensley to give vent to his interpretation. It becomes even more tangible when you consider that the founders of the band did not write a single note on the record. Not only did Hensley play fantastic lead, he also did the steel part in the intro. The loyal in remembrance knows that this sortie was done by B.J. Cole on both solo/band albums before. The definition 'intro' is however scanty on 'Weep'. It's far too advanced to be left aside as a start of the song. It's rather a song within the song. An outside producer with clever vision could still have squeezed out the last drops and turned it into a 7"; some remix in intro and mid-section. The track is firmly rooted in the same league as Deep Purple 'Love Don't Mean a Thing' and 'Air-Dance' with Black Sabbath. Limitless height on one hand. Forlorn obscurity on the other. The reason for this dilemma is quite repetitive. No matter how gilded and shining; it's not traditional Heep, Purple, or Sabbath.

It'll be much vocals in this review. Plus more again. There's an obvious reason for this venture. Not enough has been put down on paper regarding the highly material question. 'Misty Eyes' takes the record on to the third track. There's nothing missing here that was a key part on first two songs. Byron's vocal arrangement on 'Misty' makes the whole Lp worth every hard-earned penny you paid for it (if you belong to the youth generation below 55; Compact disc). Hovering, atmospheric, schooled, saturated, pastoral. You name it. Let's put it clear; Byron makes his finest achievment ever on H&M (which is saying a lot). Despite this, and it may be unique, I wish him away from here. At least on parts and pieces, or one more track of the record. Because of the capacity kept in the background. The presence of Wetton with his strict art rock tone brought the best out of David 'davotron' Byron. That's logical; tell me who you mingle with and I will tell you who you are. Add that Byron on his maternal side has a healthy jazz background. There isn't one inhalation / exhalation from him on High & Mighty that lacks completion. The text content on 'Misty' is perhaps not brand new, but always on the agenda; Hensley's frequently returning theme deals with relationship issues. If you're missing a companion you're in for big trouble. Finally you'll reach solid ground and kiss your catch on the cheek; only to learn that the problems won't go away. They just change character. Possibly you've been through similar situations and felt betrayed by life. Then you can console yourself that you're not the only one. High & Mighty is a golden opportunity to delve deeper into the core subject. Let's praise a hitherto unmentioned member of the band. Rhythm section's Lee Kerslake. If you don't know the distinction between a tom and a tambourine one tends to place such in the background and just let 'em follow spontaneous breathing. What's the difference between a languid and very good drummer then? It's like a dwelling you live in attached to sturdy pillars or sliding on oozy mud. Kerslake keeps the Moog lead you hum along to in the correct position. Also credited as one in the opulence of vocalists. He's not on a par with other members as soloist but that's a task beyond hope. 'Misty Eyes' seems to be the first track here to be included on a collection album. As bonus on the Cd of the original 'Best of'. It's worth mentioning as the record in general is overlooked in such contexts.

There is so much vocal pyrotechnic in 'Midnight' that if you added let's say 35% it would be nothing but the fabulous abundance it already is. 'Midnight' tackles quite an original route and once again it's from the creative hands of Ken Hensley. More of the same vocalist; it's worth-while to have a look at his membership in The Gods a decade before. There was a bassist by the name of Greg Lake in the same unit. Emphasize 'bassist'. Hensley was the one and only lead singer in The Gods. Kenny is by no means a singing instrumentalist. He is vocalist, is musician. There's an enormous plethora of types who just pretend to be both of them. Good at one perhaps, hardly at the other. When Hensley felt the time was ripe to join forces with U. Heep the position as lead vocalist was already occupied. It did not hinder him from occasional rescues when the situation required so. The reason why he sings lead in Heep varies from case to case. Hensley's performances on Demons and Firefly are plain gorgeous and otherworldly. You may rightly pose the question; why do other vocalists even bother to show up? Hensley's lead share on actual album isn't big in quantity. It is big in quality.

The B-side of H&M is despite its diversity nothing but a coherent pearl rope. The splendid and lustrous writing from Hensley combined with a [flamboyant] instrumentation. We've noted it before; The former Family member now has his living quarters in U.H. If you mention 'Book of Saturday', 'The Night Watch', 'One More Red Nightmare' you're in King Crimson land. Also some of the most lordly and noble artrock ever produced. It is worth pointing out that John Wetton is the longest serving singer in the latter. More than Greg Lake, more than any other in the original version of Crimson. With a pedigree like that how can a future be other than going? Wettons genie glides as an indivisible part over the sections of H&M. That's good and less good at the same time. There doesn't seem to be a lot of Heep fans who who admire the B-side in its entirety. Except myself of course and one or two more. Plus the creator, Ken Hensley. It is allowed even for an artist to relish in his own work. In Hensley's case it has null and void to do with selfishness. He put it as a top three album. Rightly so. A record blended like High & Mighty can't touch more than a limitid cohort. Not even bandmembers. Byron called it a 'bummer' because it missed writing contribution from others. Blackmore didn't want to touch Stormbringer with nippers on account of its funky elements. Ozzy did not find the jazz piano and brass elements on Never Say Die comfortable. Fans were not late to queue up. Ken Hensley takes on a mini-Mike Oldfield role on present album and it's a fabulous sound sorce. 12-string electric guitar, slide, steel, tubular bells, plus the usual keyboard arsenal. + even more. The production and consequential crisp sound is unique in a Heep catalogue. You can start with just any song; 'Woman of the World' clicks with its witty lyrics and cabaret show sounding 20s piano. Filtered/treated vocals from Byron. 'Can't Stop Singing' is of course not a Uriah song. The fans are right. Rather a Steely Dan soundtrack to some unreleased obscure seventies movie. The pleasant problem is that it's matchless. Peppy, with top level arrangement. The guitar enters exactly where you need it. Followed by aerial tubular bells. 'Footprints In the Snow' takes over where 'Weep In Silence' dropped off. The counterpart on side B. Starting with a lovely Genesis instrument, the 12 string acoustic handled by an emerging Mick Box. It has the same spiritual and blessed timbre as 'The Musical Box'(no pun). Nothing but an eternal cascade, just as fresh every time it's devoured. You've never heard anything like it either before or after in the realm of Heep. It's not meant to be here. It's too good to be true. The acoustic guitar is however not always undisputed. The frequently mentioned Hensley picked up one onstage around this time. Some spectators responded by throwing things on him. A minority for sure. Call them music huligans. The vocal layers on 'Footprints' are as exemplary as anything. The electric guitar on final part is nothing but eerie in its Crimso garb (It's worth pointing out that close fellow Greg Lake has a similar fabulous title). Wetton is credited for co-writing here just like on 'Weep'. What most people don't realize is that he wrote more on Return to Fantasy than second effort. The usual 'contractual reasons' precluded the bassist from writing credits on Fantasy. He was promised paid compensation but god knows where this went. As a matter of fact, the management thought that his salary was fat enough. So no matter what embellishments Wetton contributed with on H&M, his offerings here are still accentuated by shortages from big selling debut album.

'Can't Keep a Good Band Down' tenses the muscels against the music industry. Rightly so, as Heep were one of their main targets to dump on. An easy listening and jolly song despite its theme. A slightly edited and even more catchy version was planned for single release but kept back due to internal turmoil. It could have saved the album from slipping from Premier- all the way down to National League on home ground (compared with Fantasy). There was no more top 40 for the remainder of the 70s in Great Britain. 'Make a Little Love' is a traditional rocker with Ken on slide guitar. Single release in Nordic countries (it's yours for a mere $160). If you wonder why it's because sales figures here per capita topped everything else by far. Despite this there was no more touring in arctic land. Hensley alone at the grand piano, what could be a more proper ending? Not another instrument in sight only lined up vocalists with sheet music in hand.

The album was recorded intermittently from late -75 up to March -76. In parallel with the ongoing Return to Fantasy tour. This was a hectic period in the history of the group. The H&M tour begun with a lengthy US streak of concerts. Their second long visit there in a very limited time. Understandable as it's the most important record market in the world. Almost 80 gigs in 75-76. That was even before the actual record release. Unfortunately their diligence didn't really pay off. The neglected record company boss Gerry Bron not only deprecated H&M. He made a rod for his own back, and for some unfathomable reason reined in a US release (not everone understands the role a Peter Grant in Led Zeppelin had). Bron refused to take part in the recording. Not only this, the band too yearned for a fresh turnover on the producer's chair. Bron had been sitting there since debut. Album issue was set to late May/early June with some sporadic European dates. In other words, tour was over when record was out. First of all; it's wrong to call it H&M tour. Rather 'U.H. tour'. Simply because of the meager inclusion of material from the latest album. Only 'One Way Or Another', 'Midnight' and 'Make a Little Love' reached the stage. A conscious strategy, as the band obviously feared for its limited commercial potential. None of these would ever be played again by later line-ups. However, Hensley/Wetton would play both 'One Way Or Another' and 'Confession' during the early 2000s. It goes hand in hand with Stormbringer/Never Say Die. What else did you believe?

Final date in Bilbao (Spain) has a special meaning. That was the last chance to enjoy both Byron/Wetton. The lead singer got the boot due to his pub crawls that became too numerous. The bassist and pard of the front man followed soon in his footsteps. Had Byron stayed there would've been a better chance to see Wetton on at least one more album. Or an Asia (or UK) line-up in Heep? That could've meant 'Wise Man' without Lawton, John but with Wetton, John. The latter had proposed a six months break from all touring duties to fully concentrate on writing new material. Not an unwise idea. Should've been a direct hit. It's worth pointing out that on Byron's funeral a decade later there was only one present musician; John Wetton. Exit David, whiskey bottle in hand, German wife in the other. Enter David, whisky bottle in hand, German wife in the other. The second Dave is Coverdale. He auditioned (with Denny Ball on bass) but finally got solo contract and a Whitesnake career. The Deep Purple associations are many from Wetton/Hughes; reluctance of both to join, uncredited writing on debut(Hughes got his later on), top notch vocalists & bassists, strong influence on second efforts, limited stay after that. It doesn't stop there; both steered the ocean liner into uncertain waters. You could just as well add Don Airey's ingenious keyboard playing on Never Say Die. All engine rooms are running smoothly. There's only one problem; it's not Heep, Purple or Sabbath. It's something entirely different. It wasn't only good, but too good to be true. An irreversible ride into a cul-de-sac.

 Acoustically Driven by URIAH HEEP album cover Live, 2001
4.25 | 56 ratings

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Acoustically Driven
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by krishl

4 stars I have loved UH Live 1973 since, well, 1973, which was about the time I discovered Uriah Heep. I still listen to the first half dozen Heep albums fairly regularly. So, how have I gone for 20+ years without knowing about this brilliant live recording. As much as I love the heavy prog of the 'original' albums, the presentation here is simply amazing. I have just listened to it for the first time, and I am not really doing a good review. But, if you are a Uriah Heep fan and you haven't heard this one yet, do yourself a favor and give it a spin. The two songs where Ian Anderson joins in on flute are high points for me. Excellent.
 Chaos & Colour by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 2023
3.83 | 44 ratings

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Chaos & Colour
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by KansasForEver

4 stars Twenty-five is the number of studio albums concocted by URIAH HEEP in some fifty-three career, which is a more than respectable average. The current quintet have been playing together since 2014, almost nine years without changing personnel, a record for the British formation.

The previous album "Living the Dream" from 2018 was qualitatively their best achievement for twenty years, no less, I would say for my chapel since "Sonic Origami" from 1998 album which has often been reviled (wrongly) even by the fans, so we were expecting this "Chaos and Colour" at the turn. The London formation has never been renowned for its qualitative regularity except during its first incarnation from "Salisbury" to "The Magician's Birthday".

The least we can say from the first listen, it's bingo, it's pure URIAH HEEP, recognizable among a thousand, and it's the first time that the BOX/LANZON duo leaves game time to other members of the formation, Dave RIMMER composes a title (the first single which opens the album) and especially Russell GILBROOK composes four of them!!!

The opening title precisely "Save me tonight" is an "Easy Living" in 2023 perfect for moving live (8/10), following we have three titles of substantially similar quality and duration (from 4: 23 at 5:49), a triplet of (9/10), the second of the three composed by our drummer friend, pieces for the fans so for yours truly, it tumbles my hen. "Hurricane" the second single of the disc (7/10) which arrives in fifth position, proves to be the only very average title on the whole of the opus, also composed by Russell.

One of the pearls of this "Chaos and Colour" is coming, with "One Nation, One Sun" and the famous "Ha Ha Ha" of HEEP in all its splendor, inimitable (10/10) the organ of Phil LANZON and the guitar of Mick BOX who know their classics like the back of their hands in the front row, here too a future anthem for public performances. The terrific "Golden Light" then, also carried by Phil's organ which grinds it in all directions, it pulsates seriously (8/10), a bit too repetitive for my taste.

The (relative) sweetness still exists in URIAH HEEP with the long "You'll Never Be Alone" (GILBROOK) whose title resembles what could be sung in the spans of ANFIELD ROAD, footballers will understand, from the big art heepien (10/10), Mick BOX at his best and without his wah wah! "Fly Like an Eagle" which follows, similar to the inaugural track, collected, concrete, melodic nevertheless, and easy to hum, of the great Bernie SHAW (9/10).

Only two more already, how time passes quickly listening to this album, the third long piece, "Freedom to be Free" carried by the piano of Phil LANZON, it is rare on the whole of the disc, the theme main is somewhat drowned out by the cavalcades of BOX who give themselves six strings of joy, before the return of the piano all in delicacy and a mind-blowing finale on guitar and organ (9/10). "Closer to Your Dreams" which bears its name well, closes the disc on a speedy rhythm la "Easy Living" too, Mick BOX certainly greatly appreciates these burst guitaristic cavalcades, another piece that will make us tap our feet in concert (8/10).

The demo version of the opening title does not add anything more to this album, which will surely be in my annual top 10, but I am a supporter of the group so it must be considered as such, I am not necessarily impartial on this kick it.

 Demons and Wizards by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1972
4.07 | 877 ratings

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Demons and Wizards
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by AFlowerKingCrimson

4 stars I originally posted this under a different username a while ago but since this is the 50th anniversary of this album I figure now would be a good time to put it up again (I'll get to all my other old reviews eventually).

For a long time this was just about the only Uriah Heep album I had or listened to. I had one other, return to fantasy, which was good but for some reason rarely played it. Demons and Wizards on the other hand I played the crap out of. For the longest time I only had it on vinyl but recently bought it on cd and it sounds good.

There are both good things and bad things to say about this flawed but still very good album. First a few of the flaws. The track "circle of hands" while a good heavy rocker that starts out with ominous organ, has a screechy sound at the end that I find rather annoying. I'm not sure what the sound is that is causing the high pitched screech. It might be a microphone or guitar. In fact it might even be intentional since it was left in and not edited out. Speaking of which, with a little careful editing and going back and carefully examining the master tapes or acetate the band could have cleaned things up a bit including that aforementioned screeching and made and even better album. My guess is that this being 1972 everyone in the band was either high, drunk, stoned or all three and didn't give a crap. The other annoying thing about this album and this is probably the worse offense is the high pitched strained falsetto singing at the end of the song "all my life." It's not a very good song to begin with but David Byron's singing at the end of it should have been either redone or not sung at all. I don't see how anyone can think that was ok to leave in. Like I said, must have been the drugs.

Now, for the good stuff. The album starts with what is probably one of my favorite songs under three minutes of all time(2:59 to be exact)"the wizard." I saw Uriah Heep a few months ago in the summer and thankfully they did this song which alternates between strummy acoustic guitar backed balladry and more up tempo rock with a slight heavy metal sound going on the background. I'm not sure I can say exactly why I like this song so much but it just has a very nice flow to it and definitely sounds of the times. Some people regard UH as a proto metal band or even a proto prog metal band but to be fair the band did a lot of different kinds of things. Some stuff was heavy some not so much. There are definitely some real rockers on this album such as "rainbow demon," "easy livin" and "traveller in time" and all are pretty good. "Easy livin" is possibly the most well known song by Uriah Heep and probably the only one I have heard on commercial radio. The two part track "paradise/the spell" is possibly the most progressive thing on this album and is very nice. It really grows on you. It's also very well done and is a nice conclusion to a classic but not perfect album.

I haven't heard every album by Uriah Heep. I have only heard maybe half a dozen or so but this is my probably my personal favorite although to be fair I haven't listened to the others that much. Magicians birthday is good too and in someways maybe an improvement but I still prefer this one. Roger Dean signed my vinyl copy which does have a pretty cool cover but I'm sure it's the music more than anything else that makes it special for me. A very very good album that has some charming flaws but still very enjoyable especially for fans of seventies heavy prog or hard rock with some proggy moves. A solid four stars. Crank it up!

 The Magician's Birthday by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1972
3.85 | 677 ratings

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The Magician's Birthday
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by AFlowerKingCrimson

3 stars This review was originally posted under a different username (but still me):

This is one of three Uriah Heep albums to be certified gold in the US. The other two are "Demons and Wizards" and "Sweet Freedom." I am not familiar with "Sweet Freedom" so I can't comment on that other than it does include one of the more well known songs in "Stealin." Demons and Wizards is actually a stronger album than The Magician's Birthday from my perspective. However, "The Magician's Birthday" sounds fresher and less dated.

The album starts with "Sunrise" which is a very good song to start off an album. The vocals and guitar virtually come out of nowhere and propel this heavy hitting song. It contains a very good example of what could be considered the trademark guitar sound of Mick Box. The song predates grunge in that it alternates between both soft and harsher moments.

Next up is "Spider Woman" which is a decent enough track but nothing extraordinary and probably one of the weaker songs on the album. It doesn't make the album poor but does little to raise it's quality either. Next up is "Blind Eye" which is a mid tempo tune with acoustic guitars at the foundation with electric soling on top of it all.

Track number four is "Echoes in the Dark" which has more keyboards than the other songs heard on the album so far. This is probably the closest the band ever got to sounding like Pink Floyd mainly because the weepy guitars have a very David Gilmour quality to them. The analog synths are a nice touch also.

The next track is "Rain" which is the most mellow song on the album. It has a slow dreamy quality that makes you think of staying home on a rainy afternoon. The song mostly consists of just vocals and keyboards(organ and piano). A very lovely song.

Track number six is "Sweet Lorraine" and it is possibly the best song on the album for my money. It's a very catchy up tempo rocker with lots of quirky synthesizer.

The second to last track on the album is "Tales" which is based around acoustic guitar. Some of the electric guitar that is heard mostly in the background sounds a bit on the country side but over all this track has the same kind of unique sound as "Echoes in the Dark" and "sweet Lorraine" due mainly to the spacey analog synths.

The last track on here is "the Magician's Birthday" and is by far the longest track on the album. By default it is the epic and probably the center piece(as well as obviously the title track). This track goes through a lot of different themes musically and even includes the children's instrument known as the gazoo. I find the part of the song that includes the "happy birthday" chant and the gazoo to be a bit silly but your mileage may vary. Still, it's a very good song and along with "Sweet Lorraine" the best song on the album. As quirky and unique as the other songs on this album are, I think this one takes the cake(pun intended).

While I still prefer "Demons and Wizards" there is really nothing weak on here and it's a very solid album for the most part. Maybe it has been lost in time to some degree but if you are looking to discover the discography of Uriah Heep this should probably be purchased earlier rather than later.

 Into the Wild by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.37 | 173 ratings

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Into the Wild
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars It says a lot that Uriah Heep, had finally got away from the revolving door of members coming and going in 1987. Except for the departure of long-time drummer Lee Kerslake in 2007 for health reasons, the line-up has remained the same with Bernie Shaw on vocals (you could pretty much say that he is the voice for UH now), forever UH member Mick Box, the only original member that has been with the band through everything, Phil Lanzon on keys, Trevor Bolder on bass and finally, Kerslake's replacement Russell Gilbrook on drums.

So, this line-up has had a lot of time to get familiar with each other, and quite honestly, they play as quite a tight union. The main problem is they have pretty much settled into a rather typical hard rock sound that has very little to do with progressive rock anymore. It's all quite straightforward, and the band has seen some success in a few countries with this formula.

To me, the music just doesn't stand out anymore as anything other than another good hard rock band. It is good that the band has found a foothold in their style, and they still get to show off the talents of their main players, Box on some really great guitar solos and Lanzon on the organ, they have that Deep Purple vibe, but with a rather formulaic and unoriginal sound. But, they do it well, don't get me wrong, it's just not music that stands out for me now. Deep Purple, the band that they are always compared to, at least has managed to incorporate their unique style into a current style of heavy rock, where Uriah Heep just pretty much sounds like any hard rock band and don't have enough uniqueness to keep them interesting, even in the non-progressive universe.

It always seems, however, that the band can still pull off a few really great tracks on each of their later albums. One of these is the real standout "Trail of Diamonds" which begins as a nice ballad-style and later evolves into an interesting heavy track with some excellent guitar and organ work, and even some great vocals from Shaw. This singing on this track tends to bring back some of the emotion we felt from the band in their early years, and that is always a big plus on a UH album. More emotion like this would help to raise the overall rating, but, unfortunately, this gets lost in following the formula and staying safe. At this point, UH is pretty much just maintaining the fans they have and not really winning over new fans or bringing back old fans that have lost faith in the band. More variety would have helped out too, but at least they still find time to allow Bolder to sing lead on one track, "Lost". There is a great organ solo at the end, but it fades too quickly. This track has some merit in that it is the last time we would hear his vocals and this album is the last time he plays for the band as he passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2013 and was replaced by Dave Rimmer who remains with the band today. There is one more standout moment with the ending track "Kiss of Freedom". Is it a coincidence that the two best tracks here are the longer ones (over 6 minutes)? Even then, there's nothing surprising here, it's just that these longer tracks seem to be better composed.

What you get here is mostly typical and predictable hard rock. There is plenty of this and the music will appeal to those fans. For me, it's not enough, even to satisfy the hard rocker in myself, as even in my mind, nothing much really stands out. It's just another album with a bunch of songs that could have easily fit on any of their albums released in 1990 to present. It's good, but I can't really recommend anything about it that you can't find on any other hard rock album. For the most part, the soul and fire of the early years is missing and you get a bunch of songs that could have easily come from the assembly line of hard rock songs.

 Innocent Victim by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1977
2.88 | 236 ratings

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Innocent Victim
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars This is the 2nd of the trilogy of albums with John Lawton as the frontman/vocalist for the band. This trilogy of albums would actually consist of the same line-up of musicians all across the board. You would think they would have been able to settle in to a decent sound during this time, but instead of getting better with time, things seemed to actually go downhill as time went on.

Innocent Victim is quite an obvious bridge in the middle that spans the first and third album in this trilogy. Starting off where "Firefly" left off, the album begins with some decent rockers, but none of them contain any progressive traits. If you are looking for that in this stage of UH's history, you find that anywhere here. The first four tracks sound like they could have easily fit on "Firefly". Then the track "Illusion" even seems to be a bit better as things slow down a bit. But, when you hear that messed up fade out at the end of the song, you wonder why it was cut off so short just when the tempo starts to move. Actually, there is a reason for that and it becomes more apparent on the 1997 and 2004 bonus tracks as the 2nd part of the intended "medley" is left intact on these editions.

The 2nd half of the album, in contrast, sounds like a sudden, abrupt turn to hard pop, and it is just awful. This is the direction the band would continue in for the last of this trilogy of albums "Fallen Angel". The songs "Free Me", "Cheat 'n' Lie" and "The Dance" are just plain awful attempts at trying to make their music accessible. You can't even call this straight ahead hard rock at this point, but if nothing else, it should have served as a warning to fans where the band was headed. UH wasn't meant to do pop and the 2nd half of this album proves that (along with all of "Fallen Angel"). The last track "Choices" is the strongest on this side of the album and also, surprisingly, the most soulful vocals we've heard from the band since Byron was fired. But nothing else on this album can save it at this point. Even "Choices" isn't interesting enough to search out this album for.

The bonus tracks on later reissues don't do much to bring any redemption to the output of the band at this time in their history. Yes, you get to hear the entire "Illusions/Masquerade" medley together and that at least explains that messy fade-out on the album. However, just like "Firefly", there is no progressive rock anywhere here to be found, but at least if they stayed in that same sound for the duration of this album, they wouldn't have to be accused of getting worse with each album this line-up released. "Firefly" got 3 stars, this one gets 2.5 (which I'll round up to 3), and I earlier gave "Fallen Angel" 2 stars, which still doesn't change since it is the worst of the three. After that album, the band decided to adjust it's line-up again, but they would still be a long way from their best work.

 Wonderworld by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1974
3.11 | 345 ratings

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Wonderworld
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Uriah Heep's 7th album (1974) follows along in the same style as their previous album "Sweet Freedom", it's a decent album where the band uses a lot of their trademark styles along with Byron's amazing vocals that also tried function as a way to build their audience. To do that, unfortunately, it meant paring back the progressive styles that made their previous work sound more inspired and interesting. As far as lite-progressive albums, though, it's still pretty good. The trademark organ, weird synths and over-the-top (sometimes) vocals are still there, it's just based on a more accessible rock/blues style that was much in the same vein as many Deep Purple albums.

Wonderworld - After a strong opening introduction, the music quiets down for the vocals and a building to the chorus. Similar to the strong ballads of previous albums which always featured heavier instrumental interludes. Nice and soulful, this one holds on to the past.

Suicidal Man - A heavier and rockier track that's much more beat and guitar driven with solid riffs. Excellent vocals especially in the ending.

The Shadows and the Wind - Soft organs bring this one in with a rolling percussion and more soulful singing, but becomes much more upbeat and heavy on the chorus and following verses.

So Tired - Anything but tired, a fast moving upbeat track, heavy on the organ and a driving beat. The bridge slows things up a bit, but it soon returns to the driving beat allowing for drum and bass breaks with a bit of guitar thrown in there to ramp up the heaviness.

The Easy Road - Piano led ballad with orchestral arrangement to create a bit of lushness. Drums come in later, but the song remains in the ballad realm. Nice track, but too short for the amount of trouble put into the orchestra.

Something or Nothing - A heavy, rocking and upbeat track which was released as a single. It's quite traditional when it comes to song structure and one that you would expect to do well on the radio, but I don't ever remember hearing it there.

I Won't Mind - One of the 2 longer tracks, this one at 6 minutes. A slow, pounding rhythm and bass bring in a killer guitar solo before the bluesy vocals come in. This one varies a bit in its overall blues style, but allows the drums to become more free which almost gives the feel of meter and/or tempo changes through the verses. These kinds of songs were where Byron was at his strongest, plus Mick Box gets to really shred on this one also for the extended instrumental ending.

We Got We - Awful title. Terrible lyrics. Dumb melody. Decent guitar solo in the middle, but that doesn't save the song.

Dreams - The 2nd of the longer tracks at just over 6 minutes. Starts as you would imagine, with slow ambient, droning organ and eerie UH style synth. After a minute, the tempo picks up and vocals come in. Has some recollection to earlier, more progressive albums. The middle section is some great classic UH sound with a nice build up to the next verse. However, you expect a little more jamming here instead of sliding so quickly into the verse. The build up is repeated in variation at the end, this time taking more time to build up with some bluesy-psychedelic sounds taking us to the end. Not bad, but you wish for a little bit more.

Bonus tracks: What Can I Do - The b-side to "Something or Nothing" that was left off the album. Mid-tempo rocker. It's okay, but nothing real special. This should have been substituted for the awful "We Got We".

Love Hate and Fear - This is a non-album demo. Not a bad mid-tempo boogie style riff drives this decent track. You can tell it's a demo track because of the light use of instruments, but it's still intact enough to almost pass as a finished track. Makes me wonder how good it would have been if it was finished.

Stone's Throw - Another non-album demo. More of an acoustic vibe to this one with a surprising amount of "twang" to it. The melody is too repetitive on this one to be very interesting. I can understand why they passed on this one. It seems they are a bit out of their element here.

Dreams (Extended Version) - Over a minute longer than the album version. The extra time is all in the psychedelic ending. It just stretches things out longer there but doesn't really add anything.

I Won't Mind (Live Version) - Great choice for a live bonus track. Too bad the singing is off key through most of it.

So Tired (Live Version) - See previous.

Pretty good, but lacking in progressive style. Great for a hard rocker's album though.

 High and Mighty by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.20 | 284 ratings

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High and Mighty
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars It's 1976, and Uriah Heep seems to have fallen to some kind of trap. For every step forward they took, the next step was a step backwards trying to find that sweet spot between heavy prog and pop. They never really found it, by the way. But they spent a lot of years trying. Their previous album "Return to Fantasy" was an attempt to try to get back to their former sound with a bit more prog in it and more fantasy-themed lyrics. They even brought in John Wetton to be their bassist, and it seemed to be a great step as their fans were thinking this was going to be a return to form. But, then, they released this album "High & Mighty", with the same line-up, but totally messed up by slipping to out-right pop on some of their songs, and also by stepping away from the fantasy themed lyrics again. It was a big disappointment.

It doesn't exactly start out that way though. Right at the onset, the best two tracks on the album begin it all. It still surprises me that when this album starts, John Wetton's voice is coming through the speakers. The first few times I heard this, I had to do a double take to make sure I put the right album on. "One Way or Another" features his lead vocals, but it is the only time you'll hear him at the forefront on this album. However, this is followed up by another great track "Weep in Silence" that actually sounds like UH in it's glory days again with the original lead singer David Byron still in the line-up, and he definitely brought his soul along with him for this track. Personally, I always thought he was their most talented singer with an amazing range and depth of emotion. So, it all starts showing some promise. Unfortunately, it goes downhill from there.

Another thing that is apparent on this album is that the tracks are all under 6 minutes. Gone are the days of the epic tracks. Sure, there are plenty of great progressive albums with tracks less that 6 minutes, but the quality of the songwriting is suddenly apparent in "Misty Eyes" and the music is simple and the soul seems to be missing now. "Midnight" is decent with a more lyrically heavy track, but it's mostly not memorable. At this point, the only other somewhat good track is "Footprints in the Snow" mostly for the guitar break. Everything else is barely tolerable unless you are looking for straightforward pop. The biggest failures here are "Can't Keep a Good Band Down" and the equally tacky "Can't Stop Singing", only memorable because they are so bad. Everything else in underwhelming and even Byron can't seem to find enough emotion to pump these mediocre tracks out.

After the release of this album, Byron was fired by the band because of his alcohol problems and the fact that his performances were getting unpredictable. It wasn't long after this that John Wetton also opted out of the band as he was feeling like he was quite out of place, which he was. Thus begins the revolving door syndrome that the band would suffer for many years to come, and at this point, they would find it difficult to come close to the sounds and style of their earlier days. For many fans, this was the last straw, and many stopped being loyal to the band never to come back to the fold. Yes there are a couple of tracks here that are worth putting on a "best of" playlist, but for the most part, the album is only worth getting because it's the last album with Wetton and Byron. But even then, there isn't much here to bother with.

 Head First by URIAH HEEP album cover Studio Album, 1983
2.39 | 163 ratings

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Head First
Uriah Heep Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

2 stars In 1983, Uriah Heep had become known as quite the revolving door of ever changing band members. However, they were ready to record another album, especially after a renewed interest in the band after their AOR metal release "Abominog" which saw their turn to power metal that was the popular sound of the 80s. Heavy metal with a lot of keyboard embellishments was the style, and they were determined to fit into that and ride the wave of hair-metal popularity.

So, since "Abominog" was a success for the band, it only made sense to keep the same line-up, which is what they did. The band had already been through many vocalists, and the David Coverfield sound alike Peter Goalby was once again their lead singer, Mick Box (of course) their long time guitarist, John Sinclair as keyboardist, Bob Daisley (from Ozzy Osbourne's band) on bass and Lee Kerslake on drums. It would prove to be a good call to keep the line-up, at least popularity-wise, because "Head First", 1983's album, would continue the popularity for the band.

Unfortunately, the sound of the band only continued to become more radio friendly and free of any progressive traits whatsoever. All of the songs would stay in the 3-4 minute range except for "Rollin' the Rock", a power ballad of sorts, which would break the 5 minute mark. The band at this time was only interested in fitting in with the other metal bands of the time. So, we only end up with a fairly standard sounding 80s album which, if you didn't know who the band was, would only get lost in the piles of hair metal albums being released in the 80s. Nothing special whatsoever.

The opening track "The Other Side of Midnight" is a good opener for this kind of album, but establishes the fact that the album would not turn away from this sound throughout its length. "Stay on Top" is really the only interesting track on the album as it has a nice, driving bass line which is emphasized quite well. But, this isn't enough to convince anyone to get the album. "Lonely Nights" is a cover of a Bryan Adams song, and when I way it doesn't get any better than that for the rest of the album, then you will know what you are getting in to here. Just boring pop-metal music which won't challenge anyone.

The bonus tracks don't really help anything either. You get the non-album b-side to "Stay on Top" called "Playing for Time" (which is all they are doing here), and extended demo track "Searching" and the three live cuts, two of which are tracks from the album and the other one is "Angel" from the equally bad album "Equator", which was released in 1985.

There is nothing on this album that will recall the excellent music from the band's past, in fact, nothing that will even remind you of that at all. This album could have been done by anyone, and you wouldn't know the difference. When it's all said and done, nothing on this album showed any signs of the band getting any worse, but likewise it shows no sign of things getting any better either. Unless you are a fan of the metal that came from the decade that this was released, there is no reason to look for this one at all.

Thanks to Easy Livin for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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