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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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Prog Sothoth
3 stars Uriah's first heap boasts a bleak, oddball cover and comes out swingin' with some hard rockin' power. One of the interesting things I've learned about progressive releases in 1970 is that so many of them shun the guitar in favor of distorted Hammond attacks. So when I hear the requisite keyboard assault combined with a powerful guitar, it's just what the doctor ordered to kick some seriously enormous buttocks or go out and buy some heavy machinery for the hell of it. "Gypsy" has that charm and power. Young gypsy women dancing around with those nice tans and colorful clothes are kinda cool too, so I can see where the dude is comin' from while he wails away with that vibrato. The keyboard solo itself is pretty ballsy, as if Ken were literally rolling around on those keys like a dog on a fresh sofa.

Very 'eavy in its entirety is a bit of a mixed bag, but that's sorta what makes this album so much fun at times. These guys were figuring out which direction they should head with this album. It's almost like they decided to pump out a bunch of different tunes and deduce from crowd noises which ones were keepers and the direction they should further explore. I say almost because followup Salisbury didn't exactly streamline their sound by much. The emphasis on the debut is a bit more straightforward in its approach to rock, but surprises can be found.

"Wake Up" is wacked out rock jazz that's toe-tappin' at times and bong water guzzlin' at other moments, but certainly ends this album on an adventurous if head-scratching note. "Come Away Melinda" is a sweet and somewhat trippy ballad (some UFO cover) that plops itself down right after two hard rockers, followed by Lucy Blues, one of those sluggish blues numbers that plod along and test my vigor, stamina and sometimes my coping with acid reflux.

The rockin' tracks vary in quality as well, with the opener and the groan worthy titled "Dreammare" being my favs. "Real Turned On" is kind of amusing for its 'git down mama' lyrics and boogie rock inclinations, but it's also a bit of a low point as well; not something I'll play often unless I have a case of really cheap beer I need to drink.

For some reason before I actually paid much attention to them, I used to think that Uriah Heep was a main basis for Spinal Tap. The band does take itself pretty damn seriously and went a bit further than the Zeppelins & such in branching out and exploring other vistas of sound, and the vocal delivery could be interpreted as having laid the groundwork for the term "cheesy" that would prosper into full fruition the 80s scene. Whatever. Besides, even if it is the case, Spinal Tap sucked compared to these guys (have you heard Break Like The Wind?).

Prog Sothoth | 3/5 |


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