George Starostin's Reviews



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Mike Taylor <> (18.02.2001)

What's the point? Either you like this type of music or you don't. At least if I had to write a review of a band I didn't like I would try to be objective but sadly none of these reviews have ANY credibility.

Heep are still going after 30 years, still selling out concerts and have sold over 30million albums. If these albums were/are as bad as you say would they still be here? I think not. So history speaks for itself.

[Special author note: I'd preferrably turn it the other way: if Uriah Heep weren't still here, dragging on with album after album and endless washed-up reunions, would they be remembered? Hmm... And yes, as long as bad taste exists in this world, there will always be Uriah Heep fans. This is my opinion and I stand by it. And you're hearing this from somebody who has no problem in assimilating ABBA, Elton John, the Monkees, Hawkwind, and AC/DC.]

Pablo Pérez <> (20.02.2001)

As long as bad taste exists in this world, there will be ABBA fans in the world, George, and Uriah Heep are going to be remembered despite they should finish their carreer in the seventies. The fact that you like ACDC, Elton John, the Monkees and Hawkwind don't prove nothing. There are people who like Backstreet Boys, Guns n'Roses and Eminem and it doesn't mean they have an open musical sense. Of course, I like some albums of Uriah Heep very much, and I don't think I have bad taste.

[Special author note: We are all human beings, Pablo, and I suppose that after being tolerable on most of my pages I can have a human right to be non-tolerable on at least a few of my pages. Not too many people who like the Backstreet Boys listen to them on par with Amon Düül II or Peter Gabriel-era Genesis, because liking the Backstreet Boys and having a good taste for intelligent music are two different things. I'm not wishing to offend any Backstreet Boys or Uriah Heep fans, mind you - if you like that kind of music, good for you. What I've been trying to point out in all of those reviews is that for a supposedly 'art-rock' band Uriah Heep are absolutely primitive, derivative and monotonous in all possible senses. At least ABBA used to write different melodies and relied on impressive key changes - and they were innovative, whether you think of it in a good or bad sense. But of course, some people will always despise them for their image and accessible production values while the ten times less talented Heepsters will be valued because they were, like you know, 'serious composers' (Sheez!). But I don't have a lot of good things to say about bands who rewrite the same 'Easy Living' kind of clone for a gazillion times and don't advance behind the usual three chords or the endlessly replayed generic folkish acoustic shuffle in their creativity (not to mention lyrics that could have been written by a ten-year old Tolkien fan).

You got good things to say about them? Go ahead, I'll eagerly post them. Hate me if you wish: for me, Uriah Heep, together with Kansas and Kiss, will always constitute the "golden triad" of bad taste. There's almost nothing the Heepsters can offer to me that other bands, from King Crimson to Deep Purple to Genesis to Rainbow, couldn't offer in a far more exciting, inspired and professional way. 'Nuff said.]

Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

I adore Uriah Heep and I think, that they're great! David Byron had a celestrial entrancing voice, Mick Box is a brillian guitarist, Ken Hensley is a superb organist and the rhythm-section in Uriah Heep was always magnificent! Yes, of course, now the band is not the same, as it was before, and their past-1980 albums are much worse than their "classic" albums, but those "classic" albums are really a masterpieces. All their stuff, that was recorded with Byron is genial, the same goes for Firefly, first album with Lawton. It's the marvellous synthesis of hard-rock and art-rock with awesome fairy mystic lyrics. And I agree with Pablo Perez, that they would be remembered even if they would released only their first 5 albums. And as long as good taste exist in the world, there will be Uriah Heep fans. I can't understand why do you call their music "pseudo-intellectual", as for me, I like King Crimson, but I don't see, why King Crimson is more intelligent band than Uriah Heep. And, I think, Uriah Heep is quite adequate band, it's the case, when beautiful form is equal to the great essence. But it's only my humble opinion.

[Special author note: FYI, "pseudo-intellectual" music is music that pretends to be intelligent and carrying a distinct philosophic message, but fails to do so either because it mercilessly steals from its predecessors in the ways of cliches and tritenesses, or simply because it doesn't require even a minimal effort from the listener in order to be understood. A band like Uriah Heep lacks completely lacks lyrical/musical subtlety - obviously, due to lack of talent and inspiration.]

Filip Björner <> (08.06.2001)

I loved this group more than anything else, since age of twelve, in 1973.

And I don't feel like its any idea of comment this record reviews if not also Sea Of Light (1995) and Sonic Origami (1998) is considered. They are so enourmously better than the UH album from 1991 by the very same line up!!!

If you also make reviews on these. Then we are seriously talking. And I would be glad to comment on all your reviews.

<> (15.08.2001)

dude: everything you say about the heep is true, but you left out one salient fact: they were really good to sniff glue to in 1973. thank you

mark from frankfort

Mr Qwerty <> (21.11.2001)

As a fan of Pop Rock / Powerpop, I have from a 90's/2000's standpoint come to regard Uriah Heep as a great example of Pop Metal. Although they were heavy, they were lush, melodic and there's little endless tuneless soloing like many of their contemporaies practiced. Many songs are tightly composed, and they have weathered much better than many of us could have expected, some 35 years on.

Jeremy Olson <> (03.01.2002)

I had the pleasure to go over 21 years of my life before I ever heard anything by Uriah Heep. And now that I've heard their music, I'm convinced my life has been severely shortened. Uriah Heep suck. Their music is hookless, unimaginative, derivative of everything that was bad about '70's rock, and above all, completely superfluous. If the band never existed, would we all even notice?

Kevin Julie <> (20.05.2002)

Uriah Heep 'bad prog'? .. Hmm, never thought they were trying to be good prog, but great prog/HR!

Dan Miller <> (27.11.2002)

"There's almost nothing the Heepsters can offer to me that other bands, from King Crimson to Deep Purple to Genesis to Rainbow, couldn't offer in a far more exciting, inspired and professional way." Put it like that, George, and you're damn right. I enjoy Uriah Heep myself but am entirely cognizant of their limitations. That said, if I can classify Uriah Heep as just one of many early-seventies hard-rock bands, I can like Uriah Heep for what they are, and I do. When David Byron sings, and I mean just sings, sans histrionic, operatic, spasmodic bursts of bombast, he actually has quite an engaging voice with more subtelty and nuance than Ian Gillan could've managed (but certainly not as much power and dynamics ... and on-key delivery). Chances are ol' "Davotron" (how's that for dated? In the liner notes to their debut album, Ken Hensley compares his group's singer with an outdated, jaded, obsolete synthesizer!) was drunk most of the time, in fact it's what showed him his exit after High And Mighty. Sure many of the compositions are derivative, and the musicians are competent, not proficient. Uriah Heep is just good ol' fashioned early-seventies hard rock. Your hatred of Uriah Heep is understandable and many of your opinions spot-on, as is my appreciation for what they do (both good and bad) and my enjoyment of it. Besides, 'Bird of Prey' is just too f----n' cool.

Toma Babushkina <> (11.04.2003)

Hello! I am sorry for my English because I am russian girl.I am 16. Yesterday I was on a concert of Ken Hensley in Rostov -on -Don.I am in extasy! The concert was great! The second song was "July Morning". All the people sang. After that on the scene came our rostov orchestre.Ken played the guitar and the electric piano.He played with orcestre 4 songs. In the end of the concert Ken came in a second time? because people was standing, shouting and calling him. I was shy for souting of russian people, but I thought that Ken understood our emocional nation! Thank You!

Alexander Zaitsev <> (23.05.2003)


I think you have a wrong approach here. Why on earth is UH a prog band? Well, just why? Prog-rock is a kind of serious rock music with constant rhythm changes, classical elements and all. What's progish about Heep? The thing that Hensley has an organ? It's like calling the Rolling Stones a Jazz band because they have sax here and there. UH were never trying to be an art-rock band. They were never trying to look even a bit serious! Comparing them with Genesis is like comparing ABBA with Mozart. These things are incompareable. In fact, you are the only person I know who calls UH 'art'.Face it, the most feeble effort by the "art guys" is way too complex than UH. UH are just that average hard rock band and you should judge them as a hard rock band. They've done a lot of ,er,horrible albums in the 80's and 90', but their "classic stuff" is not bad, at least not that bad. Primitive at times, ambitious at times, but not THAT bad. I love Byron's voice for instance, even if he was a foppish drunkard. Get any of "UH" recent stuff and see, that it is much worse than the earlier one. What does it deserve on your mp3 scale then? A zero? Just stop looking at them as a prog band. As I say: a good cup of coffee is always a bad cup of tea. :)

Kevin Julie <> (29.06.2003)

"endless washed up reunions" ?? what reunion of Heep are you referring to??? they've had the same line-up since 1987, and the only reunions have included guest appearances by former member [Ken Hensley and John Lawton]. Do you know what you're talking about or just hacking away for fun? Heep has produced some of the great Hard rock albums of the past 30 years, from Demons and Wizards to Sea of Light. Your chronic dislike and blatant attempt not to like them won't change anything.

<> (30.11.2003)

As always there are so many people that take delight in slating this group. After all it is only groups such as Queen and Iron Maiden who cite them as being influences, really that should be enough said. Very eavy very Umble is one of the three albums that defined a new genre and yet was already moving that sound in a new direction "High vocal harmonies etc". I will not go on through their albums except for pointing out some later classics such as Firefly and Innocent Victim, both of which predate the power ballads of the 80's by years. Heep were misplaced in time usually ahead of the game.

PS. Obviously not aware are you that ELO's rock and roll efforts were DERIVED after having seen Heep in concert. [Special author note: Well, that explains why I've always loved ELO's pop efforts MUCH better.]

Ivan Kratchanov <> (10.12.2003)

George, I think you went too deep into hating Uriah Heep and irritated and offended a lot of fans. I can with that this is you own site, and you can say whatever the hell you want on it, so I won't criticise your opinion(you have the right to think whatever you think) but will instead write what i think of the band.

Well, I am not a huge Uriah Heep fan, I just like some of their albums, which are I believe good examples of early hard rock. I've heard countless bands doing the same kind of music, from Led Zeppelin to obscurities such as Blackfeather, Dust and Fuzzy Duck. If you are a hard rock fan and appreciate some crunchy guitar and dancing bass lines, you will at least enjoy listening to say Demons and Wizards and Look at Yourself. Whenever I listen to Uriah Heep, instead of hearing the pretentiousness of which you, George, are talking about, I heard a band trying to do something colour its sound, as to fit the completely unpretentious fantasy elements. You said it yourself, that a 10-year old can write such lyrics, so where's the pretentiousness in that? Indeed, numerous times Uriah Heep failed to delifver, some horrible piano and organ here and there, some annoying vocals, but overall...they were ok. I like their bass player very much, and the way bass is generally! treated in their music, the vocalist also has some voice when he's not trying too hard. Drumming is not exciting enough though, usualy quite monotonous.

So for final words, indeed Urah Heep weren't the best musicians around and didn't introduce much new things, but I fail to see anything offensive in their style. They played hard rock, like so many bands did, and played it well.

Stephen Rutkowski <> (03.01.2004)

I have to reply to DaveGear62 in his statement that Uriah Heep influenced Queen. I have read much literature about Queen's early years and never once have I seen Uriah Heep mentioned. The band's biggest influence in the beginning was Jimi Hendrix and numerous '50s rockers. Other band's often cited as influences include Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Cream, Fleetwood Mac, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Free, Pink Floyd, Wishbone Ash, Jethro Tull and Yes.


Fester Heep <> (19.02.2001)

OK, i found your reviews incredibly insulting - as a Heep fan, and in some cases, sadly ignorant of the facts! Your bashing of the lyrics to 'Come Away Melinda' is the first and prime example -- they did Not even write it! It was a cover, and a song covered by many artists of the era. Had you bothered to check the writing credits, you would've noticed!

For the record, I think it's a great debut album; and featured a number of good melodies, riffs, and performances.

Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

Well, I guess, you're wrong. I like this album and find it exciting and interesting, and consider it to be on the same level with other Uriah Heep "classic" album. I see nothing bad in this album and it has UNIQUE style: riff-hard rock "Gypsy" has unique special Uriah Heep style, "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)" is progressive rock with also Uriah Heep special style; every track here has a special Uriah Heep zest. Besides, "Gypsy" sounds fresh and good, it's the song, which is sort of announcing the advent of Uriah Heep. And "Come Away Melinda" is a totally sincere anti-war song, which moves and charms. These two tracks are really the best songs on this record.

Pablo Pérez <> (31.03.2001)

The first record of Uriah Heep was a recreation of rock styles that other bands developed before, so objectively, it was a poor contribution to hard rock/heavy metal. They try to play different styles, and their musical direction is somewhat missing. But it have a few glimpses of the direction of the band.

Blues rock was done better before than in 'Lucy blues', and 'Real turned on'. The first sounds specially insipid and embarrasing. It's like...¿Metallica trying to play 'Samba pa ti'? Perhaps the second is somewhat enjoyable because of the energy of Byron and the distortion of guitars (Hensley -on slide- and Box). "Gypsy" is the Uriah Heep stomper of this album. That plodding pace and guitar riff, enhanced by the killer organ lines of Ken Hesley fills the hiatus between Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. And... can anyone tell me a band before Uriah Heep with armonies like that?

"Walking in your shadow" is another stomper, but it lacks the elements which made the band special, and 'progressive' blues rock like it was made by Cream two or three years before. 'Come away melinda' is a "folksy" anti-war piece, a gentle ballad with a moving interpretation of David Byron. It was recorded by Spice (Byron, Box, Paul Newton and Alex Napier) a year before Hensley was drafted as a permanent addition in 1970. "I'll keep on trying", sounds alike "Gypsy", but adds more changes of tempo and moods; I like the first break, beginning with beautiful harmonies and flowing into a fiery guitar solo. And I like "Dreamware". The lyrics are pedestrian (it's written by Paul Newton), but I'm pleased with the song from the organ intro to the outstanding guitar performance ¡It's hard!

"Wake up (set your sights)" is a kind of jazz rock that reminds me some moments of the first album of King Crimson. It's well played and I listen to it willingly. Do you like seventies music?

Try it, you will like it, and then George's intestines will disturb for a weekend. Would't it be wonderfull? (I'm only joking).

Mark Konzerowsky <> (25.04.2002)

(Hi George, is it too late to weigh in with a comment on Heep's Very 'eavy Very 'umble? I just wanted to add a short observation for this section.) I just bought a copy of Shades of Deep Purple after reading your review of it. I agree with you concerning the obvious borrowings from the Hendrix Experience and Cream. That being established, several listenings got me rooting through my collection for another classic (and derivative) debut-- yep, Very 'eavy Very 'umble! It's interesting to note that in lumping together selected elements of Cream, Hendrix, Vanilla Fudge and (probably) Procol Harum, DP Mk 1 arrived at a lumpy hodgepodge of embryonic proto-metal that was immediately seized on and devoured by the fledgling Heep at the very same moment Purple themselves transcended it. I think a comparison of Shades and Very 'eavy is therefore far more revealing than the usual comparison of In Rock, regardless of the fact that both were released in the same year. I maintain that while Heep at this stage were an essential derivation of the already derivative DP Mk 1, the fact remains that Heep expanded the limits of the Mk 1 Purple style far more convincingly and coherently. Therefore, the truth--and the relevance--of the often repeated "Heep=poor man's Deep Purple" begins and ends at this stage. After all, no other acid/hard rock group at that point would have began an album with the sludge rocker "Gypsy" and ended with the Crimson/ELP-ish "Wake Up (Set Your Sights)". Not even "April" or anything off The Book of Taliesyn comes close to the same diversity--whether you or anyone else finds this diversity "authentic" or not. In the end, Heep transcended their derivativeness and carved out their own wholly unique and permanent place in history, exactly as Purple, Sabbath, and Zep had done slightly before them. And to think this all came from expanding upon a derivation of a derivation! May the circle NOT be unbroken, haha!

Dan Miller <> (27.11.2002)

Here we are, Uriah Heep! Introducing one of the most bloated and overwrought vocalists in rock 'n' roll history, David Byron (although, you're right, he does keep his obnoxiousness in check for this one). I purchased the American CD, simply titled Uriah Heep. The cover is a black/gray drawing of a millipede with a devil's head - kind of misleading, considering the band had no Satanic tendencies. Plus, the intensity of the music doesn't live up to its cover artwork. Oh well, at least it's a better cover than some agape old bum with lice-riddled hair pouring out of his nose. This American version doesn't have "Lucy's Blues." I've never heard it, but after reading what you wrote, I'm not sure I want to. Blues performed by bands that have no excuse to touch the blues are usually horrendous anyway ("Real Turned On," while barely tolerable, and the better "Walking in Your Shadow" are close enough, thank you). Highlights: "Bird of Prey," (Believe it! It replaces "Lucy" on the American CD, and that's enough to bump up the album's overall rating big-time). "Bird of Prey" is soaring, fast, psychotic and aggressive with some real spacey mellotron. David's wacky falsettos and "oohs," "aahs" and "ooh-aahs" are totally justified here. One of Heep's best ever, totally original - Deep Purple and all the other bands the 'eep are accused of parroting could no way in hell pull off a tune like that! "Gypsy" is insane and powerful with a mock-progressive beginning and some dirty riffing and an organ solo that would've made Jon Lord blush, and then a stupid ending that thinks it's "21st Century Schizoid Man." "Keep on Trying" is a diverse, underrated rocker with many different moods woven into it. Overall, not a vital album, but if you want to make an mp3 of the best Uriah Heep tunes, it's gotta have "Bird of Prey," "Gypsy" and "Keep on Trying."

Darren Finizio <> (18.08.2003)

your reviews,in general,are bothersome..yes,i find rock criticism very disturbing because it tries to intellectualize something which is heartfelt and which no two people cam feel the same way about...i have one uriah heep album,the first one and i think its really great music:the lyrics,im sure they're ok,who cares the band rocks...i awlays read you saying youe xpected this and you expected that:WHY DON'T YOU STOP EXPECTING ANYTHING TO LIVE UP TO YOUR GRANDE VISION OF THE WAY THINGS SHOULD BE?...reading your reviews just makes me conscious of the fact that im ten times less judgemental than you,ten times more open-minded...your reviews of the traffic albums,especially the first,remind me that, no matter what,anyone trying to be a respectful critic always tend to be a jaded,pompous,arrogant and condenscending knowitall...i think you should respect artists who were trying to do different things,oh thats right critics don't do that...p.s.the so called "overly dissonant"trk on t he first family album is my favorite cut.

Alex Zaitsev <> (30.11.2003)

You judge this pathetic record most expertly. Most of the fans probably think that this is a classic album, which is as far from truth as possible. Aside from sporting the worst cover in existance (what can be worse than a web-covered dead man's head?), Very 'Eavy... has some of the worst songs of the 70's hard rock. The fan-favourite 'Gypsy' strikes me as extremely unmelodic, primitive song. Awful, ear-piercing organ playing from Mr. Hensley. Bash them keys with full force, it looks so cool on stage. Melody? What is it?

'Dreammare': Quoting the liner notes : "Dreammare takes us through dream and nightmare sequences with some fine drumming from Ollie". What's with the guys' memory? They have forgotten the dream sequence (as well as the fine drumming). It's all nightmare. And those lyrics, ah, those lyrics! Written by Paul Newton, who is praised in the liner notes for his "valuable writing ability"! Be sure to check the liner notes, you'll have a good laugh. Most "adequate" evaluation of the band's abilities by Mr. Ken Hensley.

"Wake up": tons of awful singing ("oh, God, stop this killing, said a young man before he DIED" Oh, boy!) and an important "message", of course ("stand for your rights and justice will prevail"). Once again, spotting a melody here is a huge challenge. 'I'll keep on trying' is just an annoying hookless rocker (the drummer is trying hard to imitate Ian Paice, don't you think?)

Now the worthy moments: the keyboards in 'Lucy Blues' are nice, but it is the only blues in the entire Heep catalogue and not for nothing. They were embarrassed by it, I guess. "Walking in your shadow" is the only really good song here. A simple rocker, driven by a catchy riff. A Uriah Heep song is hardly ever more than that. Considering that UH best-of compilations have usually more than one CD, this song is a worthy candidate for including on one of these.


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

Another timeless album. I like all the songs here. "Bird Of Prey" is awesome, "The Park" is wonderful sincere ballad, which moves and charms as much as "Come Away Melinda" does. What a magnificent voice David Byron has got! He's surely one of the best vocalists of the Seventies. And folksy medieval ballad "Lady In Black" is also very good.

Kevin Julie <> (18.11.2002)

yeah, what a shoddy review! "goofy operetic vocals of david Byron" and the cheap comment about Heep ballads. that's just cheap, shitty journalism. [Hey, I wish my "journalism" were more "expensive", but I guess cheap, shitty music deserves cheap, shitty journalism, doesn't it? - G.S.]

Dan Miller <> (07.01.2003)

It turns out the 'Bird of Prey' on Salisbury is different from the one on the U.S. version of the first album. I prefer the latter because this one adds some David Byron squeals and de-emphasizes his "ooh-aahs" and Ken Hensley's creepy mellotron. Still a definite winner though. Overall, Salisbury is a very satisfying album and scores above and beyond the debut because the ill-advised blues are out - so what's left are hard rockers and tasteful, moving folk ballads. I can't disagree more about 'The Park' - falsetto vocals aside, the harmonies are pretty and the delicate accompaniment, plus the start/stop jazz shuffle in between, is very effective, almost Wishbone Ash-like. Same goes for 'Lady in Black,' for which Hensley sings lead. 'Time to Live' is a little better than 'High Priestess,' both of which feature some tasteful licks and solos by Mick Box - probably the best he's done in these early days of Heep. Now, maybe it could've been shortened a bit, but the title track is loads of fun. I confess I don't know enough of The Nice's work to compare, but 'Salisbury' seems to tread into territory where Deep Purple, the Moody Blues and King Crimson don't: the band and the orchestra (in this case, woodwinds and brass - no strings [another unique feature]) play together throughout; no band/orchestra/band/orchestra trade-offs (Deep Purple's Concerto for Group and Orchestra doesn't count). It's a tune of seemingly epic and progressive proportions but feels more like a late-sixties, psychedelic, Creem-like, Spector-like single, just five times the length. Well done! Great bass by Paul Newton, too. Overall, I often prefer this album over what most fans would label as their classics. Byron's "goofy operatic vocals" (and they are goofy, Kevin! That's part of the tune's charm!) in 'Bird of Prey' aside, Salisbury is more restrained, sounds nothing like other Heep albums and offers some innovative elements into the Uriah Heep canon.


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

I admire these guys! How magnificent they sound! Actually, it's not their absolute peak, because their creative peak is next album. But it's still very good. This album has the most "classic" Uriah Heep composition - "July Morning", which is their variant of "Child In Time". And it's incredibly good! The second epic "Shadows Of Grief" and the title track are awesome and you can find "Love Machine" stupid, but I like it very much.

Pablo Pérez <> (10.06.2001)

Here Uriah Heep recorded the most 'Heavy Metal-ish' album of their discography. I'm a sinner: I really like it. Leaving away the acoustics, they succeed with their accessible melodies seasoned with heavy organ, thundering rhythm section and nice instrumental bridges. "Look at yourself" opens with a speedy pace, and it's a metal landmark. 'I wanna be free' have a very powerfull end, but I never will understand why David Byron have to ruin his performances when he tries to over-scream. "July Morning" is great. Ten minutes were nothing is out of place... harmonies, organ soloing... David Byron sings nicely (except when he screams!). Here, Uriah Heep developes their own sound.

Ahh...! "Tears in my eyes": What a slide work by Ken Hensley! Really exciting, this rocker invites to jump all over the floor. The arranges with acoustic guitar and synths are really enthralling.

'Shadows of grief' is strange, energetic, rabid and fits perfectly: plenty of dynamics, bridges, and rhythm changes. Ken Hensley and Mick Box are really skilled players!. 'What should be done' it's a kind of soul-blues ballad with somethat provides variety to the album, but you will be sudden shocked by the stomper 'Love machine' I can't stand the falsetto of David Byron! I have to recognise that I can enjoy this kind of dumb cock-rockers with four beers between my chest and my back. After all I'm not going to rip my clothes because of a macho-man exaltation at the end of an Uriah Heep album.

Thomas Duve <> (17.07.2001)

George, no wonder the keyboard solo on 'July Morning' is decent - it was not played by Ken Hensley (who is, in my humble opinion better on guitar than on keyboards [better, but definitely not good!!]! It was Manfred Mann - check the liner notes! How good ol' Ken usually massacres his synth can be checked out (or better not!) on Uriah Heep live - a record I mercifully nearly managed to forget.

Anyway, I agree with you, Look at Yourself is the only Heep Record one could should have listened to. Some of the others where tolerable in their time as an alternative to say George McCrae singing Rock your Baby, but not more!

Dan Miller <> (10.01.2003)

Actually, Ken Hensley sings the sub-Deep Purple title track that begins Uriah Heep's best album. The UFO-like 'I Wanna Be Free' does utilize the Gypsy riff; fortunately David's vocal lines carry it into another mood and direction, and Mick Box's crashing guitar chords between the verses demonstrate that Mick deserves some props as a gifted riffer and rhythm-guitar player - not quite in the same league as Tony Iommi, but perhaps alongside other contemporaries like Manny Charlton and Buck Dharma. I dig 'Tears in My Eyes,' especially when David and Ken chant a harmonic, folksy, sort-of psychedelic "na-na-na-na" in the middle and change the mood; and then it pauses and rips into some solos before recanting the final verse/refrain. It's almost a mini-epic, though not as comprehensive as the two centerpieces here. I like 'July Morning' but I think it's overrated by Heep fans. Neat opening wedding march type of "processional" and an effective, almost baroque-type of conclusion bookend what in reality is a simple pop/folk tune about looking for love (well, hey, at least it ain't a D&D trip!). I dig 'Shadows of Grief' - mean-ass organ riff, piled upon by guitar, and a convincing vocal by David, until it quiets down just before a sinister chant that inspired a career for the Scorpions. Then the riff reappears, and the end just kind of fizzles into nothing before David rips a squealing, descending "AHHHH" until the tune dies a death. Very effective! Acoustical 'What Should Be Done' is a nice warm-down after all the bedlam. 'Love Machine' is a good ender - instrumentally - but man, what a dumb vocal and lyric. Fortunately, it doesn't bring down what otherwise is a fantastic, early-seventies hard-rock album: not quite up to par with what the 'eep's superiors were putting out in 1971 (the unpredictable Fireball, the riff-standard Master of Reality and the legendary IV, or whatever the hell it's called) but certainly as good as what the second-tier hard-rockers like Nazareth, UFO and Blue Oyster Cult were doing (or about to do). Recommended! Plus, Heep-hating George rated this album higher than the overrated, smug-as-Sting, grunge-sludge, I-hate-being-a-star, woe-is-me Pearl Jam. Miracles happen!

Jay Ehrlich <> (25.01.2004)

'I wanna be free' has the most fantastic ending..When their voices reach for the sky, well, I can hit some pretty high notes, but I have never been able to hit those gloriously cleansing notes,( no kidding ) which is what gives it that tremendous impact.. 'Love machine' might have cock rock lyrics, but it has some of the most hard rockin' guitar playing of the era,, especially the riffs in-between the lyrics..and davotron does sing this song as good as bobbie plant ever there...nah nah nah nah nah..this whole album is excellent ,although I usually skip 'july morning', cause it's the slow one...this album is one the top 50 hard rock records of all time......


Pablo Pérez <> (26.08.2000)

Though Uriah Heep always came behind the cocks of hard 'n' heavy Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, I think that until 1974 they published valuable music. Unluckily, people will write thousands of lines about Paranoid, Four Symbols, and Machine Head, but when it comes to mentioning Demons and Wizards...

I see them as something much more than you do, George. This is, with Look at Yourself, Uriah Heep's magnum opus. Demons and Wizards is a set of good songs, but what makes the album a really standout are the arrangements and performances, mixing heavy electric and acoustic instruments with great taste, raw metal tones with improved harmonies (over his own high standards). I think they were a big influence for Queen. The construccion of the songs is tighter, with shorter songs despite they successfully maintain a taste of 'prog-rock' band ("Circle of Hands" is quintessential Heep, almost as "July Morning" of the previous album). "The Wizard" marries electric and acoustic with perfection - I love that song. "Traveller in Time" shows the skills of Mick Box on wah-wah pedals (after all he knew how to take sounds of others to his advantage). "Easy Living" is NOT the best thing of the album; however is their most overplayed track and it's a fast and catchy rocker. I like "Rainbow Demon" despite its plodding pace, "pomp beyond hope and silly overblown schoolboy misticism" ¡But I like it! I think that the slide guitar solo of "Paradise/the Spell" manages to do what they pretend (of course Steve Hackett's one-recorded a year later- can't be beaten in its context). Finally, 'Poet's Justice' and 'All my life' are catchy and with a nice performance, and little else. I'm not a diehard fan of Uriah Heep, of course. Ken Hensley is like the young brother of Jon Lord and David Byron es ridiculous when he tries Ian Gillan's falsetto. But they were a great band (Gary Thain was a great and melodic bass player, and his solo in the jam 'Why' -bonus track of the remastered edition- is breathtaking-). Perhaps his lyrics are not their forte, but this band and this album are underrated. And I feel that you are not as objective -I smell prejudices- with them as you try to be with other groups. Demons and Wizards make it worth a 11, perhaps a 12 on your overall scale.

Jeff Melchior <> (27.01.2001)

I dunno - I kinda like this album. Yes, so it is the prototype for everything Spinal Tap stood for, but this stuff is just a valuable a part of rock 'n roll history as any other. I'm not intimately familiar with a lot of their catalog (and from what I'm hearing from several sources, I wonder if I want to be), but Demons and Wizards is a fun little record - laughable when compared to Zeppelin, Purple or Sabbath but decent when taken on its own terms. The only parts that really do make me kind of ill are 'Paradise/The Spell' and 'Circle of Hands'. Otherwise, it's just as good as anything most New Wave of Heavy Metal bands would be putting out some eight years later. Pick it up if you have some pocket change and see it for cheap.

Fester Heep <> (19.02.2001)

geez, I don't know what you were listening to, but Demons & Wizards is a masterpiece!

'Circle of Hands' is my fave all time Heep track with that hammond intro, Byron's clear and emotive voice, and the slide guitar -- an amazing epic!! 'Easy Livin' may be simple or whatever, but it's a hell of a classic early metal rocker, very catchy and memorable.

As for Jeff's comments about it being "laughable" in comparison to Zeppelin, Purple or Sabbath -- HA HA. I'll take this album over any Sabbath , Purple or Zep album anyday!

Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

Best album of Uriah Heep to my opinion and, of course, it's a timeless classic. Masterpiece! But the best song here is not the song which many people consider to be ("Easy Livin'"), but the marvellous "Traveller In Time". Though "Easy Livin'" is surely a good song, "Traveller In Time" is a highlight here. But all songs here are celestrial! Yeah, and it's the first album with "classic Uriah Heep line-up" David Byron - vocals, Mick Box on guitar, Gary Thain on bass, Ken Hensley on keyboards and Lee Kerslake on drums.

jarkko haapala <> (23.12.2002)

what!?!? only two stars to demons & wizards? you got to be fucking kiddin' me! I think that george has lost the concept of BEING OBJECTIVE!? a Classic rock album must say! and I listen to pop--->prog/hard-rock-->death metal and I've played in many bands of different styles, so don't judge me of being a narrow-minded, like you obviously do with the others...It really isn't nice to see amateur-critics with their reviews. analyze! don't give a personal opinion!..asshole...

<> (03.01.2003)

I guess I had to check out Uriah Heep BECAUSE you seem to hate them more than any other band. Funny how that works, isn't it? Plan 9 From Outer Space developed a cult following after it was pronounced "the worst movie ever made."

Unfortunately, as I've discovered tonight, the "so bad it's good" principle doesn't really carry over that well to music. Well, maybe in the case of "The Wizard," which struck me as being like a bad gospel song, except substituting the word "wizard" for "Jesus." But I spent about half of the listening experience beating myself in the forehead with the CD case. Aargh. This music is just too generic for me to even come up with a better description of it... I mean, every aspect of the music is so overwhelmingly boring and mediocre. Granted, 'Circle of Hands' was catchy, but that's only because it stole its only hook from In the Court of the Crimson King. And 'Rainbow Demon' is just a bunch of meaningless "mystical" sounding phrases seemingly randomly patched together. The rest of the album just failed to make an impression - ANY impression - one me.

Dan Miller <> (08.01.2003)

I dunno. I have mixed feelings about this album. Outright, hard-rock Look at Yourself it is not, and it lacks the directness, restraint and subtlety of Salisbury - and I enjoy it - but in order to "get" Demons & Wizards you really have to get into the pocketbook fantasy mood. Ken Hensley wrote, " ... it's just a collection of our songs which we had a good time recording," but the aura of this album screams Dungeons & Dragons. Roger Dean may have been the perfect artist to fashion its cover, but compared to his work on Yes' Fragile that same year, his artwork for D&W is a trifle underwhelming. That said, this album still has some terrific tunes, like 'The Wizard' - nice vocals and acoustic guitar. And I think 'Poet's Justice' represents David Byron's finest harmonies, backed by a groovy riff courtesy of hard rock's most underrated bassist Gary Thain. Really! Pablo's right. The import/bonus track 'Why' sports a thick, agile and funky bassline that easily rivals anything that was coming out of Motown at the time. In fact, if it weren't for Lee Kerslake's lazy four-on-the-floor, this tune might possibly have been the earliest rock/disco tune on record. There's your innovation again! But anyway, back to Byron. I guess he thought the "goofy operatic vocals" in 'Gypsy' and 'Bird of Prey' were too tame. Really? Well then, can someone tell me why the hell he had to annihilate a perfectly decent little ditty like 'All My Life'??? I mean, "I-I-I-I wi-i-i-ill lo-o-o-ove you-ou-ou a-a-a-all my-y-y-y li-i-i-ife!" What the hell is that? Or how 'bout "Rainbow Dem-o-o-o-o-o-on!" Sheez. 'Traveller in Time' is cool but underdeveloped, and 'Circle of Hands' is pleasant. 'Easy Living' deserves to be a hit with its solid, driving rhythm that in different guises would rear its head in other Heep tunes. And, call me crazy, but I like 'Paradise/The Spell.' It's no 'Salisbury' or 'Shadows of Grief,' but it's fun. Overall, Demons & Wizards is a good Uriah Heep album and deserves recognition (for better or worse) not only for its Spinal Tap implications but also because it brought epic grandeur (again, for better or worse) to the realm that is Metal, more so than anything by Led Zeppelin or Rainbow. But it's not the best of the 'eep.


Dan Miller <> (31.01.2003)

Again, some mixed feelings on this one. In spite of its package, it's less a D&D pastiche than its predecessor. You may wish to thank Box, Byron, Kerslake and Thain, who voted against Hensley's desire to make this a concept album, but more on that later. So what you get are a few brief, unrelated pop tunes, like the dramatic power ballad "Sunrise," featuring a desperate and emotional vocal by Byron, and the great "Sweet Lorraine," a perfect pop-rocker with the neat little spacey keyboard in the middle. The others range from passable and listenable to forgettable, though hardly annoying like some of those overwrought moments that plagued Demons & Wizards. Now to the 'epic': I would hardly consider it the band's artistic nadir (not that I'd want to search any post-Byron albums to find the real nadir - it's most surely there, so let's call it "Rainbow Demon" for now and leave it at that). The fans, according to a Heep fansite I found, hardly rank this epic among their 'masterpieces' ("July Morning" was the top vote-getter), so let's not pump this tune higher than we should. Overall, it's not that dreadful. What frustrated me most about it, besides the cheesy lyrics, is that the guitar wankfest is too long, and then the song climaxes and concludes much too quickly, and then fades out. I'm almost embarrassed to admit that the "Happy Birthday Dear Magician" part is kinda catchy, with its neat, almost Beatles-esque harmonies. Otherwise, this tune could've clocked in at six minutes, leaving room on the album for "Silver White Man" or "Crystal Ball," both of which appear on the remastered version. That would've bumped the rating up a bit for sure. Ironic you should mention "Surfin' Safari," as I've heard that Uriah Heep has been called "The Beach Boys of Heavy Metal" - obviously due to the former's vocal harmonics, not its compositional techniques. Now, in terms of compilations, with all due respect, there is a new Uriah Heep compilation that is not only good but does not include "The Magician's Birthday." It is part of the "20th Century Masters: The Millennium Collection" series titled "The Best of Uriah Heep" and features "Gypsy," "Come Away Melinda," "High Priestess," "Lady in Black," "Look At Yourself," "July Morning," "The Wizard," "Easy Livin'," "Circle of Hands," "Sunrise," "Sweet Lorraine" and "Stealin'," all unedited and all of which - save for "Melinda" and "Circle" - have earned a passing grade or better in George's Uriah Heep reviews of destruction.

Tim Blake (14.09.2006)

I've read many, many of your reviews and in my opinion this is the most biased one you've written. Now, you say that the majority of this album is good (while dismissing Blind Eye, Rain, and Tales...all excellent songs), but for just about everything you have to find something bad to say. It's as if you feel the need to say something to put down the music just because it's Uriah Heep, irregardless of the music. You make comments like: 'the members thought they could do no wrong as long as they were setting a steady slow 4/4 beat, added high-pitched vocals and 'high-sounding' group harmonies and a touch of 'lyricism'' irregardless of the fact that you can break down just about ANY band's sound in this kind of simplistic way. What's that supposed to be saying, if anything? I think you should just add a disclaimer saying you are biased against this band.

I mean, sure, I do agree sometimes with your Uriah Heep reviews. They are overwrought and overblown and sometimes generic and pocket-book fantasy like, but I think you penalize them way too much and too little justification. And saying they were at their best when not writing original melodies is a cheap shot. You just don't like them, admit it, and therefore have a bent negative view on them. I would rate these guys way higher and have no illusions as to them being that great a band.

As for the album I think this is by far their best and I wholly agree with you that the title track is the definite low point. Basically every single song before it is great in its own way and it is more balanced, melodic and interesting than Demons & Wizards. This is a near perfect fantasy rock album marred by an indulgent title track. I also think that 'Sweet Lorraine' that you pointed out as a highlight is the next weakest track, too corny and the melody is a bit shite. I've got two bonus tracks: Silver White Man and Crystal Ball. Crystall Ball is spectacular and whadda you know, precedes 10cc's 'Silly Love' with exactly the same main riff. Uriah Heep are alright.


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Jeff Melchior <> (30.01.2001)

Just when I thought that any UH album after Demons and Wizards was not worth owning, along comes Sweet Freedom and surprises the heck out of me with its solid, sub-Deep Purple metal sound, carnival organ and Mick Box displaying why he is one of the most underrated of all the heavy metal guitar gods. No, it's not 100% (what Uriah Heep album is?) but there are less cringe-inducing moments than on any other UH album I've heard (unfortunately, that alphabet thing in 'Seven Stars' almost makes up for it, though). Myself, I like 'Pilgrim' - but then again, as I've said before, I like my metal bloated and grandiose.

I'll close on a possibly controversial note. As I listen to Sweet Freedom, it seems to me that Uriah Heep - moreso than Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple or Black Sabbath - were a huge influence on the second wave of metal (Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, etc.). Whether anyone finds that a good thing or not is up to you - I just report the facts as I hear them. This means, of course, that Uriah Heep were a major - if possibly indirect - influence on the perennially overrated Metallica. Kind of puts things in perspective, eh?

Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

I know your estimation, but "Pilgrim" is the best song from "Sweet Freedom". "Dreamer" is groovy, "Circus" is beautiful. It's my opinion.

Michael_Mozart <> (20.04.2002)

A solid yet under-appreciated album, I liked every song. No one did that grandiose/gothic sound better than Heep. This was the early seventies.

Favorite tracks: 'Stealin', 'Sweet Freedom', 'Pilgrim', 'One Day'

All were talented musicians, and at their best they were hard to top.

Dan Miller <> (07.02.2003)

Ahhh ... That's much better. Sweet Freedom confirms that Uriah Heep is much better at putting out straightforward, nonconcept efforts a la Look at Yourself than attempting picture-pocketbook fantasies. I find no offenders here. I like "Pilgrim," but, concept- and style-wise, it probably would've fit better on The Magician's Birthday (while the latter's "Sweet Lorraine" and "Silver White Man" would've shined here alongside the hit single "Stealin'"). Its messy guitar solo, overwrought operatic-style keyboard intro/interludes and disco-rock verses would've made a perfect companion piece to the previous offering's controversial title track. I do like the way Byron sings louder with each successive line at the end, but then the song fades out - disappears too quickly without any resolution whatsoever! Why?!? I really like "Circus," the band's best ballad in years and absolutely stunning in its subtle approach. "One Day" is a groovy little Ken Hensley/Gary Thain tune with a great moving bass line. "Dreamer" is good-time Southern-type hard rock with a great sing-along chorus and guitar work, though Byron's orgasmic "Dreamer!"s throughout start to grate. My vote's with "Bird of Prey" as still the best Heep album opener. "If I Had the Time" relies on atmosphere and washes of Mick Box wah-wahs more so than melody and form, but it's a nice tune - a good transition from the harmonically gorgeous, Gospel-like title track (Moodwise it reminds me of "Circle of Hands" - and it's much better, too) and the 6/8 acoustic stomper "Seven Stars." I like the organ countermelody and the AHHHs after the verses. The alphabet part is silly. But that's the problem with Heep: is it an obscure sense of humor that pervades all their ridiculous escapades or do they really take all that seriously? Dunno! Byron and Hensley probably thought their idiosyncrasies were really a revelation of their genius, whereas Box, Thain and Lee Kerslake probably knew it was just a big send-up and went along for the ride. Notice how the writing seems to take a split here - you really start to notice Ken and David gravitating more toward the serious, progressive art, while the others seem to just want to rock the house. The chasm becomes more pronounced on the next album. Overall, Sweet Freedom has very good flow, and playing and production are vastly improved.

P.S.: Jeff M. makes a damn good point, by the way. The Scorpions and Mercyful Fate, for example, were avid 'eep ingestors them! Listen to "Seven Stars," "Shadows of Grief" and even "Lady in Black" to hear what inspired Klaus Meine. The Fate's King Diamond must've lapped up tunes like "Gypsy," "Bird of Prey" and "Beautiful Dream." So, that said, is the 'eep a godfather of hair bands and black metal? Might well be! Not a legacy to be proud of but a legacy nonetheless.


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Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001) 

I like this album very much and it's surely no less good than Sweet Freedom. Excellent album!

Michael_Mozart <> (20.04.2002)

I found this album most disappointing after the wonderful Sweet Freedom.

Dan Miller <> (07.02.2003)

"Heepsters" tend to denigrate this album, and I don't know why. OK, so it's a step down from Sweet Freedom, but I have a soft spot for it. I like it for its simplicity and easy-on-the-ears approach. Some of the songs try to harken back to the more mini-prog days of the band, like the title track (Billy Joel, George? Bite your tongue! And can someone tell me what the hell a 'heart bell' is?), and "Dreams." Sure sounds like a musical saw (or rather a theremin, that spooky thing you hear in "Good Vibrations." Drat! There's that Beach Boys comparison again!). "Dreams" features what I feel is one of David Byron's best vocal melodies, at least until he squeals " ... my colored night, it was GOOOOOOONE" at the end. On the subject of vocals, Byron is certainly more restrained here; not only that, he sounds different, more gruff, less pretentious. Even for a song like "Dreams," which you'd think might necessitate the operatic approach, he sounds different, and it's a nice change (he'll soon revert to his trademark style on the next album)! I really enjoy his multipart LA-LAs that round out "The Shadows and the Wind." "The Easy Road" is a disposable ballad with a nice Hayward/Lodge-type string section (which is missing on the live version of this tune that is included on the remastered CD reissue ... That, plus a live version of "Something or Nothing" are brutal). Fortunately the remastered CD also includes "What Can I Do," a great B-side pop/rocker in the same vein as "Sweet Lorraine" and which should've been placed on the album. Elsewhere, you have "So Tired," a good rocker, and "Suicidal Man," a much better rocker - one of their best metallic excursions ever. Great job Box/Thain! Gotta love that window-rattling bass behind "I Won't Mind" (Hensley's slide guitar is also responsible for the overwhelming solos that line this tune), and "We Got We" is a fun re-visit to the realm of disco-rock. Overall, the performances are not quite as clean and crisp as what we heard in Sweet Freedom. Apparently the group was having a miserable time recording in Munich, and Gary was nose-deep in drugs. Within a few months he'd be sacked from the band and found dead in his apartment a year later. A damn shame, as I consider him one of the great underrated bassists in rock. Anyway, I think Wonderworld is a fun listen - Uriah Heep without (most of) its pretensions, and I'll even cross the line and say it's better than Demons & Wizards and The Magician's Birthday, a blasphemous opinion in the eyes of fans, assuredly, so sue me! Dig the album cover, too - band members in stone atop pillars, still and perpetual as they strike a cool rock pose ... except for Mick Box, who's trying to look mystical or profound or something.


Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

Fantastic album. But do I need to say it, when I said, that I love Uriah Heep in general. George, I see nothing in common between the title track and "Easy Livin'". The only common feature is that the both songs are good. And I enjoy Byron's screaming in "Beautiful Dream"! "Your Turn To Remember" and "Why Did You Go" are very tasteful and I would like to mention my favourite song from present album - gorgeous "A Year Or A Day".

Dan Miller <> (10.02.2003)

Apparently one of the Heep's best-sellers at the time. Not sure why. Maybe the sales figures got a boost by curious prog fans who decided to give the Heep a go when they heard John Wetton jumped on board. The musical journeyman replaced Gary Thain, though playing-wise it's hard to tell - Wetton's sound and style resembles Thain's more than the ground- (and string-) breaking power he brought to (and left with) King Crimson. Not sure why the progressive veteran who played alongside Robert Fripp and Bill Bruford would want to join a hard-rock band with a questionable reputation. No matter - Wetton brought more notoriety and credence to the 'eep. Plus, he neither composes nor sings, so maybe it's nice to have this usual central figure step back for a while. I like the title track - sure it has the rhythmic pattern of Easy Living, but it replaces the hit single's (and its clones' - like "Something or Nothing") back-beat approach with more of a disturbing rumble. Neat lyrics, too. Elsewhere you have the aggressive, haunting "Beautiful Dream." No, in a Utopian sense the lyrics don't match the tune's terrifying atmosphere (or the King Diamond-like howling at the end), but perhaps the harried music is warning us that the singer/narrator is actually tempting you with beautiful images that in reality are hell on Earth??? I dunno. I'm not sure composers Box, Byron, Hensley and Kerslake were lyrically clever enough or really understood (or cared about) the supernatural, good vs. evil crappe (though I believe Hensley found religion and is involved in the spiritual/Christian rock scene somewhere in Middle America - kinda like Kerry Livgren), but I could be wrong. The remastered CD has a demo version of this - the instrumentation is a bit more toned down but the singing is even more psychotic (imagine). Also included are unreleased tracks "Shout it Out" and "Time Will Come" - both of which are better than the majority of the album and flaunt some mean bass. Wetton really sounds a lot like Thain here. "Devil's Daughter" has some nifty guitar/keyboard interplay, and "A Year or a Day" sports a nice message - musically and lyrically - without sounding too preachy. "Why Did You Go" might be a filler, but I like the bridge when Byron cries, "please will you stay?" - you can't help but feel his pain. "Shady Lady" returns the Heep to R&B-based cock-rock, and "Your Turn to Remember" is pleasant. "Showdown" and "Prima Donna" are OK, raucous fun. Return to Fantasy, in spite of its misleading title, is a continuation of the consistency the band established with Sweet Freedom, but it's not as good. Howerver, I stand corrected from what I wrote below. I think this is better than High & Mighty. Might even be better than Demons & Wizards, too.

Steven Swenson <> (07.07.2004)

Thanks for your endlessly entertaining website, which would never reach mainstream media 'cause it's too damn' intelligent and comes straight from the heart. As for Heep, every dog has his day ('I'm Your Captain' by Grand Funk? No?) and this band had Return to Fantasy. Utter bombast t'is true, but atmospheric and energetically sung. Organ driven in a Deep Purplish and Quatermass sort of way, though not with as much style. The only Uriah Heep tune in my collection, and still brings a smile 30 years on.


Dan Miller <> (16.12.2002)

Thankfully no fantasy thematics and no overblown goofy opera sendouts, though "Woman of the World" (it's more a cabaret-type number, actually) and "Footprints in the Snow" come close. Otherwise, this is a relatively standard, easy-on-the-ears, cool-in-the-car-for-cruising hard rock album. In fact I had it on when I was writing Christmas cards last night, and it made for fun listening. I'm surprised you didn't mention that John Wetton is in the band (as the late Gary Thain's replacement, John joined in Return to Fantasy, but his contributions to that album were nil). He even sings lead on "One Way or Another." Great tune! He also co-writes "Footprints in the Snow" and "Weep in Silence." How funny: after enduring the formal, tight-assed Bob Fripp, he leaves the dying King to join the dreaded, drug-induced Heep, thus beginning the band's reputation for becoming a revolving-door doormat for English hard-rock musicians looking to get in on other, better revolving-door bands (like Rainbow, Whitesnake, Wishbone Ash and post-Gillan Black Sabbath). As for the tunes, it's all good, except for "Make a Little Love," and overall it is a tremendous step up from Return to Fantasy. Seems to me only a portion of "Woman of the World" has that "Easy Living" rhythm to it. All in all, my interest in the Heep ends here, because David Byron, who was kicked out after this album was released, is THE voice for this kind of music - love him or hate him. He would be found dead in his home in Reading less than a decade later, a victim of the alchohol that plagued his days with the 'eep. John Wetton left, too. Turns out that bringing John into Uriah Heep fueled Byron's split from the band as well.

<> (14.05.2006)

I find your dislike of Uriah Heep baffling and somewhat annoying. Yes, we are all entitled to our own opinions but let's take Heep's High And Mighty as an example. I recently added my comments about the Iron Butterfly album Sun And Steel--an album we both like immensely. I find High And Mighty (recorded just a year after Sun And Steel and therefore part of the same musical milieu) like that Butterfly album, both to be equally exuberant, inventive and fresh releases. Both albums throw in a lot of sounds at the listener to see what will stick--both have loads of Hammond organ and synth sounds, acoustic and electric guitar, good solid drumming and highly original guitar textures. Both Mick Box (and Ken Hensley who plays quite a bit of guitar on High And Mighty) and Eric Braunn of Iron Butterfly try out all kinds of riffs and sheets of sound that provide rich and pleasing backdrops. I would strongly argue that the lyrics on Heep's album are altogether more perceptive than those on Sun And Steel. Weep In Silence, Misty Eyes, Midnight, Footprints In The Snow and the beautifully sincere Confession are sensitively written songs. No, it ain't Shakespeare but then neither is much in the heavy rock genre. What these songs are though are well crafted songs that touch on very similar themes of love, loss and alienation. I find Midnight in particular a great song to compare to Iron Butterfly's Watch The World Goin' By. Both touch on that previously mentioned theme of alienation. When David Byron sings "Miles and miles of smiles getting me nowhere" you can feel that the sense of optimism so prevalent in music just a few short years earlier has been replaced with the sense that the world after another war is becoming one of resigned isolation for many. Another section of that song states, "I just lay down wondering what to lay down/Lately I can do it every day undisturbed/I think I know/But I just can't find out how/ The morning didn't show me what it was worth" encapsulates this thought wonderfully. I mean, come on, this is a fun album from a group of guys who were willing to try out some new ideas on this release. Unlike you, I think it is chock full of catchy and memorable choruses and hooks. The opener One Way Or Another has a fine vocal from bassist John Wetton and a riff that sticks in your mind. It's simple but effective and in many ways this is a prototype of the style of song Wetton would use to such brilliant pop rock effect on the first couple of Asia releases a few years later. Even the weakest song on the album, Make A Little Love, has a fun Barney Miller-ish mid song solo and a groovin' throwback rock and roll feel. And Footprints In The Snow is just a powerful and nicely produced piece of work. Guitars and Hensley's keyboards blend lushly with a driving and slightly complex Lee Kerslake backbeat. Kerslake remains one of the most underrated of 70's rock drummers and certainly is on par with another "body drummer" of the era in Bill Ward of Black Sabbath. Hell, Ozzy even thought so as he brought in Kerslake to brilliant effect on his first two solo albums! At one point in your review, you state, "All the rockers on this album aren't worth one selected rocker on The Ramones debut." Well, that's just a weird comment, as both bands were worlds apart stylistically and really High And Mighty has MUCH more in common with the previously mentioned Sun And Steel. I mean you can't take a song off that album either and compare it to a Ramones rocker--they are just coming in the house from different doors! If you are going to compare bands make it fair. Iron Butterfly and Uriah Heep both utilize guitar, Hammond organ, soaring vocalizations and the like. The Ramones debut does not contain this combination of ingredients. The Ramones are fantastic but just too different to use as a comparison. I don't know if something bad happened to you at some point in you life while Heep was playing in the backgound but I can assure you it wasn't their fault! You really should try to at least relisten to this album and review it again with a more open mind. I know you did just that with George Harrison's Gone Troppo album and it was truly a class move. That album deserved a second analysis and this album deserves it as well. If you can't tell already, I'm a Heep fan. I'm a guy who likes everything from Can to Aphex Twin but I see the true 70's spirit and sense of fun inherent in High And Mighty. As Heep point out in the song Can't Keep A Good Band Down, "It's breath and words and time your wasting/ when you should be trying/ To have a good time." Heep are great. Just take the time to put away your anger about them and try to see what has been shrouded in some kind of mist for you. Or, if after doing that you still don't like it, fair enough but I just think you get far too worked up about this band!


Pablo Pérez <> (19.01.2001)

Fallen into their own tramp in their last albums, when David Byron escaped the history of Uriah Heep should have been finished. However, Uriah Heep managed a decent album when nobody expected. John Lawton has a different style and he was a more solid singer than David (although more generic and less charismatic), avoiding ridiculous screams. They try to update their sound, and they adapt it to the style of John Lawton. The songs are decent, but, only 'Been Away Two Long' and 'Wise Man' can compare with their previous classics. Most of the album run in a mid-tempo pace (only two rockers), and 'A far better way', one of the four bonus tracks of the remastered edition, should have been included in the original edition. I think that Lawton improves the album.

Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

It's a brilliant album, that proves the greatness of Uriah Heep. Yes, it's their best post-Byron effort and John Lawton is a good choice to replace Byron. This guy is magnificent vocalist and he proves it in this record. I'm amazed of the beauty of the songs and the album sounds fresh. The first two songs are wonderful and "Sympathy" (which is also a magnificent song) again like "Return To Fantasy" has nothing in common with "Easy Livin'".


Jeff Melchior <> (19.01.2001)

It's scary out there for music right now. Even if any of these prog bands are any good (and I'm sure there are some that are), what are the chances of them ever catching on with the album-buying public the way Yes or ELP did a depressing number of moons ago?

It seems to me that the pop music intelligensia (if you can call it that with a straight face) have already determined that the future lies with electronic music, and that's depressing as hell if it's true. Personally, I'll take any number of Yes-rip-off artists (on the outside chance prog becomes fashionable again) over a glut of synthetic noise. Every artist brings a certain amount of unique personality to the mix, no matter how derivative they are, and that includes bands like Kansas, Styx and Marillion who, while definitely lessers, still developed elements of their sound that were uniquely theirs.

Eric Rogozin <> (28.03.2001)

It's surely not awesome record, but quite good record, certainly not so bad, as you wrote. John Lawton does an amazing job on this album, other guys do their job also well (they can't do it bad by definition), but they become sort of "prisoners of their style" here. In spite of it, Innocent Victim sounds good and it has such a wonderful piece of work as "Illusion", "Free Me" and "Choices".


Eric Rogozin <> (17.07.2001)

Very good! This album could easily fit in your "Just Very Good" section. Maybe even better. After Innocent Victim, which was only decent, Fallen Angel is really an exciting and refreshing album. First of all, the opening track "Woman Of The Night" is amazing! You said allready why it is so and it's nothing for me left to say but to say that I fully agree with you at this point. It's interesting, that the songs with this title are always awesome, remember Ringo Starr song from Beacoups Of Blues.

The second best song from Fallen Angel is the superb sentimental ballad "Come Back To Me". Kudos to John Lawton for the great vocal work on this album (and on the other albums he sang too)! And I heard the melody of "Love Or Nothing" (which also is an outstanding song) ripped off by some Soviet band. By the way, Soviet bands often tended to rip off Uriah Heep - I heard "We Got Me" and "Dreams" ripped off by some Soviet Seventies bands.

Tagbo Munonyedi <> (11.07.2006)

An odd way to share my thoughts on this album, but bear with me. A few years ago I saw this documentary on telly on the subject of men's feelings about their genitalia and there was an interesting cross section, but one guy I'll never forget was this guy in a wheelchair who was paralysed from the waist down. His penis was of little consequence to him but he wasn't bitter; he went on to describe his one and only sexual experience and it was fondly remembered by him for obvious reasons. He'd had the accident that paralysed him shortly afterwards and his entire view of sex was coloured by his one good experience. He didn't care that sex is so often a minefield filled with inadequacies and unmet expectations coz he'd had the one good episode. He didn't even regret that it was to be his only one. Well, that's how I am with Uriah Heep. I've read and listened to tons about the Heep over the last 27 years and apart from one reviewer in 1980 who semi sarcastically cheered that they had made it to ten years old, I've never read anything positive about them {at best, I've seen factual or neutral stuff}, the reviews of their albums here are pretty savage - and they are nice in comparison to many you'll come across ! When their debut was released, one reviewer actually declared that if the Heep made it, he'd have to commit suicide. Well, Heep did "make it"........

But I don't care about any of that coz I've only heard one of their albums and this is it. I got it very early on in my heavy metal metamorphosis (it was my 5th or 6th heavy rocker) and while it wasn't blistering like IN ROCK, FIREBALL or PHYSICAL GRAFFITTI had been, I've always had a high regard for it and I still enjoy it. I've never felt motivated to check out the rest of their stuff {I'm like that about some bands, Nazareth,Triumph, Cheap Trick, Judas Priest ,ZZ Top, Boston, Whitesnake, among others} and I doubt I ever will. Don't care if they're brilliant or horrendous, all I know is that this is a fine album, heavy without being wall shaking, proggish without being clever or challenging, possessing just enough of a new wavey nod without appropriating a wholesale change a la Zeppelin on their final proper album, it's melodic and listenable. Ken Hensley later said that he thought that the album was a bit poppy but for me that's part of the charm. It was the first sort of poppy metal that I'd heard but I didn't think of it that way at the time. It was just heavy although I did note that it was lighter than what metal I had heard up to that point. The only downside for me is the cover which is one of the worst I've seen. Funnilly enough, it was something of a trailblazer.........Good thing is it doesn't have to be listened to ! It does tend to give the wrong impression of the music contained within; along with the title, it gives the impression that here are a bunch of dark Lucifer and/or fantasy rockers, which could not be further from the truth. Every song deals with love and relationships and is as real as it gets; only SAVE IT could be remotely called cock rock and it isn't really, I'd say it was more vague and hopeful than that, though it does share cock rock's innate selfishness. Neat guitars and tinkly pianos though. FALLING IN LOVE is a straightforward rocker that I'd say was more about the joys of being on the road and playing music, if it wasn't for the line "if the only thing wrong with rock'n'roll is that I keep on falling in love". It's quite perceptive really. How many ordinary English lads born in the late 40s and early 50s would have passed through multiple marriages and relationships and affairs had it not been for the world of rock and the opportunities it afforded and the communicative power of the media ? It's also ironic in retrospect coz part of Ken Hensley's lyric says "I won't be praying for help from above"; not that long after this, he became a Christian and is today still putting out music under the banner of Visible Faith. ONE MORE NIGHT is one of those songs that seems pretty straightforward till you pay attention to the words; then it seems like the writer is addressing two separate women; the first verse is to one woman {the wife ?}, the rest of it to one of his ladies of the road. The music isn't outstanding but it has a nice harmony lead guitar solo and a bouncy bass, courtesy of ex Bowie sideman Trevor Bolder. One of the real crackers on this collection is John Lawton's PUT YOUR LOVING ON ME with it's jangly arpeggio guitar and another lovely harmony guitar solo, short but sweet. It's one of those songs that has words that I bet few guys would ever really say to a woman, even though this kind of lyric turns up in songs and sounds valid. But COME BACK TO ME is the other way around, it's such a sad song, yet it's ultimately real. Drummer Lee Kerslake co-wrote it with Ken Hensley and it's a personal plea to his wife whom he had just split with. A metallic tear jerker. There's another song that deals with exactly the same subject matter, WHAD'YA SAY, except that this Hensley penned number isn't so accommodating, indeed, he doesn't pull any punches in telling how he feels about his lady. But to his credit his solution to the couples' woes is try again, but unlike COME BACK TO ME in which the guy is begging his woman to return after she's already gone, he's the one that's ready to ship out, but he leaves the ball in her court. Both songs constitute some heartfelt and intelligent writing. WHAD'YA SAY is as far from a metal power ballad as is possible, it's new wavey synth drenched and ever so danceable. I'm beginning to wonder whether or not Mr Hensley wasn't in the midst of a crisis coz his LOVE OR NOTHING is almost like part two of WHAD'YA SAY. In fact, if it was a poem, it could easilly constitute the fourth and fifth verses. Sounds like the writings of someone who had been going through a tough time in their marriage. Musically it's one of those great marracca shaking tunes {with not a marracca in sight !} with the acoustic guitars having as much a percussive role as a musical one. Like a few of the songs here, the vocal backing is good with John Lawton's almost theatrical voice sounding quite dictatorial and commanding. He gets away with it though, just. It's a lovely song that threatens to go heavy in the middle with some power blasts on the electric guitar, but they never get consistent enough to stop the tune being fairly gentle. There's nothing gentle about I'M ALIVE. It's a beautifully melodic heavy metal shockwave with crunching guitars and thick soupy organ sustains and punching bass and violent drums that don't let you sleep at night. It's one of the more hopeful love songs, maybe coz Ken Hensley didn't write it ! John Lawton {whose vocal contribution to the FALLEN ANGEL LP is first rate} is the author and his call in the song for forward progression in the relationship is matched by the incendiary music. Mind you, even then there's a note of warning, in his declaration "I'm alive and I'm me/ I've just got to be free". If someone said that to me, I'd be asking them exactly what they meant by that !! A title like FALLEN ANGEL could give all kinds of wrong impressions, but it's applied rather unfairly here if you ask me. Another Hensley number, it's a tense hankering after a past doomed relationship, one that the writer still looks at fondly, but paradoxically, rather bitterly too. It's a good song with one of the most perceptive opening lines, "Everyone I see reminds me of you". I think that is such a clever line. I've found myself in that position a couple of times, where so many people resemble someone that you're never likely to see again. It's spooky. Possibly my favourite on the album is the only one Mick Box had anything to do with, the fiery WOMAN OF THE NIGHT. Mick's guitar playing throughout FALLEN ANGEL {the album} is good, nothing superlative, but steady and of such importance that the tunes would fall apart without him. His solo in this song is one of my fave metal solos and the way he sets up the guitar riff in one channel with the organ in the other is more than satisfying, even more so the twin guitars in the final minute or so. By then Lawton is wailing through the climax of a fantastic performance. I always thought the song was about a prostitute. The writer takes an unsympathetic point of view, berating this woman for her deeds but also concluding she's too far gone to find real love. His cynicism isn't as mean as Ken's !

By no means the best album in my collection, it's been with me for so long and I have lots of good associations with it. Taken as a whole, it offers a fascinating insight into the complex and tangled web that is relationships, particularly in an age when so many think that having money and success makes one immune to the realities of everyday 'mundanity', which ain't bad for a heavy rock band that may have been creatively spent by the time the record was made.

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