Lars Popp's review : The Magician's Birthday I remember the first time I had this album in my hands those childhood days. My first suggestions would be something like - wow - fantastic drawings on the sleeve - and as i was very interested in getting it. Old time records with as much as possible to go with it - Magician's Birthday - wasn't any disappointment with all its detailed info on this and that. Taking the base in the epic battle between good and evil, that was started on the album Demons And Wizards - Magician's follows up on that story and brings us a very enjoyable set of Uriah Heep songs - with the vintage Line-up at its very best. First times i listened to it i found it a bit difficult to get into - but soon i unwrapped and became one of my all time favourites. Good lyrics - Well performed music and a band that clearly are enjoying playing together. In London April of 1996 in rediscovered this album - this time with a few bonus tracks added. Still as enjoyable - as clear and pure - standing there in all its might and wealth, I found equal pleasure listening to it again. My highest recommendations to this album. LARS POPP Alan Edlund's review : Live On The KBFH 1974 It's raw, like sushi. Alan Edlund's review : Fallen Angel The third album from the Lawton era presents a split between the revival of heavy metal and 2nd rate soft rock. Fallen Angel has driving rock tunes, wailing sailing harmonious, and Hammond organ banging away behind a wall of guitar, songs like "Woman Of The Night", "One More Night", and the bonus tracks included on the remastered release "A Right To Live" and "Cheater" are nice heavy rockers. There are plenty of heavy moments, but in all honesty there are some weak moments, commercialization was calling and the Heepsters wanted to cash in. They'd approached monolithic sized rock and 'downsized' the songs into small, catchy rock pop songs. Album tracks like "Come Back To Me" and "Woman Of The Night" are Bog-standard rockers. And what about those syn-drums on "Fallen Angel"? Disco down baby! Fanboys only. Too much of this album is pure padding. This is the sound of talent without direction. ALAN EDLUND Javier Lubelski's review : Conquest As I hear the 1980 Uriah Heep album Conquest, I can't deny there are good songs in it, the record is well produced and the musicianship is fine. The problem is in the lead vocals that throughout the record seem out of place. John Sloman is not a bad singer; it's just that his vocals don't seem to fit in Uriah Heep. That must be one of the reasons why Ken Hensley left the band after recording this album, to pursue a solo career. Another new member in the lineup featured in Conquest, besides Sloman, was drummer Chris Slade, filling in for Lee Kerslake. Besides the line up changes, the band turns out in some very good performances, like "No return","Feelings", "Fools" and "Carry on", while the other songs are just ok, not bad enough to call them filler. Slade performance is ok, but not as good as Lee's could have been. Trevor Bolder shines throughout the album, filling with great melodic lines on his bass. Mick Box as usual plays with great taste for good riffs and guitar solos, and Ken's compositions are usually of high standard, as always. The songs: No Return: An excellent track and album opener, but one can't help thinking how better it would have been if sung by David Byron. Anyway the song rocks ok, and the guitar solo, though short, is very nice. Check out how Sloman tries to sound like Robert Plant in the line "... like you've done so many times before... ". Imagination: Great bass work by Trevor Bolder. Not a remarkable song, maybe a little too long. Poor lead vocals. Feelings: Great song, by the pen of Ken, with great vocal harmonies by the band. Audience noises overdubbed at the beginning and end of the song. Fools: A great ballad with a great guitar riff, reminiscent of "Weep in Silence" from the High And Mighty album. Weak John Sloman vocals. Carry On: A good rocker, nothing spectacular, but a good tune. Won't Have To Wait Too Long: A funky song, a little outweight for Heep standards, and a week vocal from Sloman. One of the less brilliant tracks on the album. Out On The Street: Probably the weakest song on the album, is in the most part boring and lacking shine, and the synth vs. guitar solo can't help the song be saved from boredom. It Ain't Easy: The original album closer. Nice riff, nice ballad, again a song that would have been much better if sung by David Byron. About the bonus tracks: Been Hurt: Original B-side to "Carry On", sung by John Lawton and recorded short before his departure from the band, a nice bluesy track, this time with vocals by Sloman (the one with the Lawton vocal was released on CD as a bonus track on the Fallen Angel reissue). Love Stealer: Single A-side, Nothing too good here. Think It Over: Another single A-side, later re-recorded with a new line up for the 1982 Abominog album. A good Track, with Ken Hensley no longer on the band. My Joanna Needs Tuning: The B-side to "Think it over ", a nice rocker, well performed. Lying: A previously unreleased song, surprisingly better than some songs on the original album. The chorus really rocks and it's a good track to finish one weak Uriah Heep album that enjoys some good moments anyway. Recommended for Fans who have the other albums, not beginners. JAVIER LUBELSKI March 2001 Adriano Stori's review : Salisbury Its really difficult to find an album that represents the '70 British rock wave, better than this one. This album symbolize the really sound poster of the band, with wonderful harmonies parts supported from an hard and progressive basic. Recorded in the late 1970 Salisbury is the 2nd Heep album, but the first with the great Ken Hensley's mark. Ken becomes the real leader of the band, and he tries to give a precision direction to the band's sound, with power and heavy melody, magic lyrics and great riffs. Naturally U.H. were not only Ken Hensley: they had a great but instable rhythmic section, however with the precious contribution from Paul Newton (a very great bass player), at first, and the unequalled style of Mick Box and the magic voice of the grief David Byron too. "Bird of Prey" opens the album, and it's one of the more copied songs in the metal history; this is a devastating and roar song, and if it's not a power metal my name is not Adri! "Bird of Prey" is the only song from this album not wrote from Ken, because it goes up to the first album session. With the second "The Park", the atmosphere changes completely ... Oh, this song it's a pure poem ... I want to challenge everyone on hear it and move into tears! After the good "Time to Live", with great vocal harmonies parts, comes another milestone of the rock history: "Lady in Black". This is a great ballad, but strangely it becomes a world success after 1977 when a single in Germany is released. "High Priestess" introduced the long suite "Salisbury": we have here one of the best examples of the progressive rock from 1970's. It's a song with many incredible improvisations, majestic classic parts. And it's the worthy epitaph for a marvellous album, from first to last note. ADRIANO STORI Renata Slunecková's review : Demons And Wizards As I'm sure that a lot is already written about this album, I'll try and be a little objective in my judgement on it ... Well - just kidding, cause I can't. This album is kinda personal stuff for me. When I bought it - it was just because of one song (The Wizard) and I had no idea that it was to become the very cornerstone of my UH collection. I was really anxious to hear it, as I only knew 2 or 3 songs. Usually it takes a little while to determine if I like the music or not, but this one is one of those rare cases. I listened to the CD and it left me breathless. Many times. And I was so fascinated! Fantastic vocals of Dave and Ken. Great music and especially the wonderful world of Hensley's imagination - it all really got me. I remember, that the next day I went to buy The Magician's Birthday. Well, as I have all the studio albums now, I can compare ... Demons And Wizards is a very compact album - from the beginning to the end. It's simply excellent. It was performed by best line-up of the UH history (Thain, Byron, Hensley, Box, Kerslake). It captures the band in its amazing form, and most likely in its most successful era as well. Together with The Magician's Birthday it creates a thematically complete set. Oh yes, no doubt, Demons And Wizards is my favourite album and in fact I consider it as the best UH studio album ever. It's worth mentioning the magnificent album's cover by Roger Dean. Just one note: "Easy Livin'" got to be the biggest UH hit in US. Though I agree it is a great song, I prefer some other songs of this album: "The Wizard", "Circle Of Hands", "Rainbow Demon", "The Spell", "Poet's Justice" ... Also the bonus tracks on remastered edition are great. For those who don't know this album: Try to listen to it, I promise that you won't regret it. Now it is almost 30 years since it's been recorded, still it hasn't lost any of its power! RENATA "MELISSA" SLUNECKOVÁ Ken Willumsen's review : Accoustically Driven Well I was just floored ... after years of listening to Uriah Heep and impressed year after year. I finally got to listen to the ACCOUSTICALLY DRIVEN album. At first I thought .. where is the sound?? You know the one they are famous for??? ... but then something happened and I noticed the nuance of voice .. (( after all those screaming songs )) and the excellant accoustic guitar work, and LO and Behold ... I was hooked .. another heepster annointed and baptised in sound waves. One must wonder why they have not done more of this type of work but then again change is hard to make especially if the fans expect a certain thing. Track 2 Easy Road showed that they where in fine form and the songs stand the test of time ... with simple piano, drums, and strings; the vocals showed the strength of the words: "Far better than looking back on the love I'll never have again". With the addition of backing choral vocals Echos In The Dark became once again one of my favourites. Dim and distant voices of the past reclaimed my memories. Golden Palace with its dream and hopes expressed so well was especially good. Strength of vocals and as always excellant musical ability made this album a joy to listen to. Towards the end of the tracks comes Traveller In Time early 70's and still nice to hear .. although lacking the raw sound and fuzz of the 70's original metal recording it still shows how well the band has developed their songs. 30 Years later and it sounds like the same band but polished and refined. I guess some things do age gracefully after all. The album finishes with a medly from "Demons And Wizards" and "Magician's Birthday", showcasing the Heep's lyrical and musical versatility. Accoustic guitar and vocals start you off then bit by bit it builds to Paradise and finishes with Circle Of Hands. Circle Of Hands creates almost a keltic dance in your bones with the addition of some excellant flute or pipes playing ... I cannot say exactly which ... that builds into a rousing solo .. All in all a great album to be treasured by all heepsters; both old, new and those like myself ... recently reborn ... My thanks to Lars and Melissa for allowing me to express myself on an experience in sound waves. Sincerely KEN WILLUMSEN Canada aka A.R.C. Artistic Research Creations John Parisi's review : Firefly The first time I heard this album I was very impressed by John Lawton's vocals, he's got such a powerful voice. He's not David Byron but to me I thought of Uriah Heep as a new band and I loved the music and singing just the same. Firefly was the first release without David. The album came out in 1977 where rock was dying and disco was alive. I am going to review the album as it was released, as the CD track order is different. Been Away Too Long: The album opens up with a powerful rock song, John Lawton really shows off his singing talents in this one. It is definitely one of the better songs on the album. Powerful guitar riff, and heavy drums. Sympathy: Another excellent song, opens up with a smooth wailing guitar intro, that gets you into the song from the first time you hear it. Song starts of slow and builds to a powerful scream by John, there are not many singers that can reach smile sensation scream that he has in this song. Who Needs Me: This song turns into the up beat jazzy-rock fast tempo with great vocals again. I love Mic's solo in here too. Wise Man: This song is the slowest of the album, sort of an inspirational track for the band. Ballad type. The Hanging Tree: Side 2 opens up just as strong as side one with this song. The song has a darker heavier feel to it and excellent riff, this is also another of my favorites of the album. Rollin' On: This song is in my taste the weakest song of the album, it's a slow bluesy rock song Do You Know: Tempo picks up with this song very similar in style to "Who Needs Me" Firefly: This six minute plus song brings us back to the Magician's Birthday style of song where you have different sections, it goes from a slow dreamy type song and switches to something heavier and back again. Overall the album is excellent, with my favorite tracks being Been Away Too Long, Sympathy, Hanging Tree, and Firefly. I like the whole album but loved those four songs from the first time I heard them, the rest had to grow on me. JOHN PARISI (Toronto, Canada) Michael's review : Look At Yourself What a treat this one is. Look At Yourself's title track is powerful and driving. The album as a whole is solid the whole way through, with such gems as "Love Machine" and "Tears In My Eyes." The crowning achievement of this album however is the progressive opus "July Morning", which has become one of my all-time favorite Uriah Heep anthems. From it's Joe Cocker-esque opening keyboard theme (reminiscent of the opening keyboard riff from Cocker's version of "With A Little Help From My Friends") it grows and swells into a rock and roll symphonic explosion of majesty and triumph. "July Morning" surges and recedes the presses forward again until it reaches an eargasmic climax that could only be born in an era where the first seeds of heavy metal were being sown in the fields of progressive rock. This is a must have! July Morning alone makes this one worth having, but with the rest thrown in ... how can you not want this one? Michael's review : Future Echoes Of The Past What a wonderful blend of old and new. The boys cooked up a real winner with this double disc live performance. They kick it off with a couple of "new" songs "Between Two Worlds" and "I Hear Voices". While I tend to be a fan of Uriah Heep's 70's material almost exclusively, the new Uriah Heep tunes on this disc (by new I refer to anythingin the late 80's to the present) were done in such a manner as to meld in with the older anthems. The next treat was the performance of the classic song "Stealin'" which has lost none of it's impact over the years, then it was back to the newer material. I was surprised by "Universal Wheels", more like this and may have to revise my prejudices of later Heep material. "Sweet Freedom" was up next, followed by "Rain". "Rain" was truly a nice surprise, I did not expect this one to be there, and was quite excited when it was. A short trip to the present for "Feels Like" and then ... one of the best songs ever put out by Uriah Heep ..."Sunrise"!!!!! - ahhhhhh you could almost feel the rays of the new sun on your face when Phil Lanzon masterfully rendered this Ken Hensley masterpiece. A trio of new songs ("Heartless Land", "Shelter From The Rain" and "Love In Silence") and on to Disk 2. Disc 2 couldn't have begun better than my favorite Uriah Heep anthem ... "July Morning"!!! Folowed up by the scorching "Bird Of Prey and Gypsy"!!!! This one just keeps getting better and better. A brief respite for "Everything in Life" and then Uriah Heeps bona-fide all time classic "Easy Livin'", just like the original, I love this song but it's too damn short. I wish they'd play with the bridge and draw it out a bit more, but that's a personal preference. One more from the modern era ("Question") and we finish up with the powerful "Look At Yourself" and then close with my second favorite Heep classic ... "Lady In Black". "Lady In Black" was also masterfully done and had moments when it sounded as if the progressive band Yes (in their early days) had decided to perform traditional celtic music. Very nice indeed. "Come Away Melinda" (what a wonderfully beautiful song) is presented as a "bonus track" - I find it more comforting to consider it an encore. Needless to say, for me Disc 2 gets a lot more play than Disc 1, but all in all this is a fantastic release. Uriah Heep shows their naysayers on this one that they can still kick some rock'n'oll ass (arena rock style). I defy any modern band to come up with anything as precious and majestic as "Lady In Black", "July Morning" or "Come Away Melinda". Any takers? ... Anyone? I thought not. Uriah Heep has been kickin rock and roll butt for over 30 years, and there are precious few others (still living) who can do it as well as they do. MICHAEL John Hamilton's review : The Collection Uriah Heep revisited. I have to start by saying this. I grew up listenning to them from a very young age. Maybe 5 when I was first introduced the UH. My first album happened to be Demons And Wizards. My father happened to be a semi pothead, nothing bad about that at all. He would come home all happy and calm and play them at 10, made me think they were responsible for keeping him semi sane. Then time went by and I never really heard much of UH since then. A few times I have heard Magicians Birthday on the radio but they never really seemed to get the play they deserved. So I took the plunge. I took a chance and purchased their compilation entitled "The Collection." What have I been missing all these years. I looked high and low for all I could. I must have been looking in the wrong places. A fellow told me where I could get all their music in MP3 format. Well to say the least, I have found my favourite band. A few selections really caught my attention. "July Morning" and "Rainbow Demon". I can always be overheard singing to myself either of these 2 selections. "July Morning" for its soft overtones and "Rainbow Demon" for its rocking beat. I may not know what is good, but I sure as hell know what I like. And Uriah Heep is deffinitely on the like list. JOHN HAMILTON .. CANADA Edwin Groeneweg's review : Sweet Freedom Personally, I think, that Sweet Freedom is one of the most undervalued albums Uriah Heep has ever produced. Recorded in the summer of 1973 it has off course a number of impressive predecessors to match. Yet it contains beautiful songs, of which Stealin' is the best known, since it hasn't left their stage repertoire since it's introduction. In comparison with albums like Magician's Birthday, Demons And Wizards and Look At Yourself it is said to lack by some. To those I'd like to say listen. Listen to a frivolous song like Dreamer, or to the raw sweeping organ in combination with the subtle vocals in Sweet Freedom. Let yourself go with Seven Stars. Sit back and enjoy the subtleties of Circus, which is my personal favourite, and finally be enchanted by Pilgrim, to my limited knowledge the only one they never played live. Boy, how I wish to be proven wrong on this point. To cut a long story short, Sweet Freedom is an album no real Heep fan can afford not to have, be it the original version, or the remastered one with additional material, though I'd like everyone to think about why the guys left out that additional material. Whatever, buy it, steal it, but GET IT! EDWIN GROENEWEG Marcin's review : Uriah Heep With John Lawton - Austria '95 (Prater Festival Vienna 1.5.1995) All I could do here is sing Stevie Wonder: "Isn't he lovely, isn't he wonderful" ... I always considered Lawton a great vocalist. And being concerned about his skills I could not understand, why Heep tended to ommit their classics in between 1977-79. They kept the sets short, as if they had no material to put out a good strong 2 hour concert. Therefore I was wondering how Lawton handles the tracks he never sung before. And he does them brilliant - Rainbow Demon is just great it easily could have been done in '77 ... The material from Sea of Light also shines - fitting the classics ideally. Against the Odds just cracks the backbone... Pity they never played it after Bernie's return. I had to hear it to finally put out my verdict, and here it is: though I like Bernie's voice and I think that he is a mighty singer, I would rather see Lawton staying in Heep. His voice is just more melodic to me. Marcin's review : Live In Bradford 1980 (with John Sloman and Gregg Dechert, UK 19.11.1980) Awful. And it's not because of the sound quality, really. It's (I have to say it) all Sloman. I will never understand that: whether Heep members were deaf on the auditions or they just wanted to make the choice against Hensley's will ... I don't know. But the manner of Sloman is awful, he can't provide any powerfull vocals. He meeks everytime he loses the control over the note he articulates. In Free 'N' Easy his voice crackles and misses the tones. It's parody of singing in comparison to his procedessors, no match nor for Lawton, neither Byron. Drechert is no better, really. It doesn't impress me that he knows how to make these tweaks with his synthetiser for three minutes. Parody again. I have no complaint to Hensley for leaving the band a few months earlier. In terms of Uriah Heep he showed this way that he has some sense of honor left. And it's not that I don't like the Conquest record. If it's been done with Goalby on vocals the record and the tour could be truly succesfull, I think ... Marcin's review : Jaap Eden Hall 1976 Live (Amsterdam Holland, 17.02.1976) Now this is a show, that I'd love to hear recorded by KBFH... Powerful and energetic play of the band, plus David in excellent vocal condition. It's a shame that no one could help this man in dealing with alcohol. If he had ¨ any support in the matter and if the band was not exploited that much by touring, 1976 could be a superb year for Heep. Amazing setlist, practicly nothing missing there to cry for. I would love to hear how they do Beatiful Dream though. And Ken's solo in Gypsy would be a nice treat. Wetton and Boxie's solos sound excellent. All in all - an official live document from this period would be just great, and could nicely stand tall with Live 1973. Marcin's review : Gypsy - Live In London (Camden Palace, London UK 19.5.1985) Apart from the poor transfer from the video, the concert sounds good. Looks like this line up was really consistent during the live shows. Goalby had got a great voice with strength and range so much necessary for Heep. I think, that Sinclair could rely more on the Hammond, simply because he plays it excellent! The Three Musketeers also do a great job. The only complaint there goes to the repertoire. A longer show with more referrences to the tracks from the 1974-80 period would be a nice touch for this strong line up. MARCIN KARSKI Lars Popp's review : Ken Hensley: The Last Dance When I first got this CD in my hand WOW. Who's that wild Jesus kind of man on the front sleeve? Another release from Ken they seem to flow more easily these days much easier than a long line of years where we didn't hear too much from him. It's said that Ken has gotten less wild and mellower over the years, maybe it's true but if so it does reflect in the music, in a kind of gentle way. After having listened to it a few times, I don't find any sort of rushed ones among the songs a lot of good lyrics and a lot of kind of mellow style, but still with the very recognisable Hensley layout of putting music together, combined with a beautiful set of lyrics that fully displays the flair for handling the English that only few have been able to, like him over the years. Tracks: It all opens with the track Crying, where it sounds as if Ken does some reflection on times gone by in a kind of "also looking ahead" manner Nice instrumentation of nicely distorted guitar sounds both acoustic and electric. Letting Go follows up still with the fuzzy guitar sound on it and in same medium tempo as first one. I don't know if it's actual events that Ken sings about, or it's invented stories, still his magnificent ability to put words together, still captures me. Brilliant track. Give Me A Reason, Second Chance and I Know Who You Are, follow up in same mood and style. Very nice sound and fine, not too overproduced instrumentation combined with Ken's easy recognisable voice, and on Give Me A Reason even with some female chorus in it ads up to a, till now, perfect impression of the CD having only listened to it a few times. I Know Who You Are speeds up the tempo a bit from the previous ones more kind of ballad style things. Song tells about somebody that crossed the way, way back in time. Even more rocky now with The Voice Of Love I was a bit scared that this album would feature a lot more of things inspired by the very religious way that Ken has chosen to follow. Title of this one could indicate it but its not. A good rocky style thing, even with a nice riff a start. Give Them What They Want Also a more rocky inspired thing, till we with the track Who Knows turns philosophical again in a nice acoustic thing. It's very genuine Ken this, kind of thinking about things in life, and putting music to these reflections very nice little tune. One of my favourites on this album. Time for Dancin' Play us a Rock'n'Roll tune would fit well to the description of this. Remember that tune from "Free Spirit" album: called "Brown Eyed Boy", where some lady asked him to sing a rock'n'roll tune. Well it could be this one maybe words could suggest it "Dancin' to the wind, dancin' to the rain, dancin' to the beat of my heart" Lullaby For Jesus: Well, were closing in now The first really Jesus kind of song pops up. No idea why it's placed right there but it's actually a very nice little tune. You don't have to be churchy to like this kinda mellow song writing that Ken has done for so many years. I'm not a churchy man myself, so I cannot really comment on the text apart from that Ken surely sings this with dedication and honesty. Nice little thing The Last Dance I was a bit scared when I got to know the title of this album first time could it be a farewell thing? Well chronologically it ends up the album nicely, fitting the title, with a story that could be invented or some from real life hard to say, but features a more variated kind of track a bit like "Firefly" with shifts of tempo to both acoustic and more electric sections all supplemented with again another set of fine poems put together to make great sense in reflections of fate in life. All in all impression is: A marvellous album from Ken's hand. My highest recommendations. It's a MUST for any already die hard fans and possible newcomers. A highly melodic and poetic offer from Ken. Ever had the feeling of finding some old long lost friend? Remembering things that have been terminated for a long time forgotten maybe and then finding it again? It's the feeling I had, when I had listened to this album through and through the first 10 times. LARS POPP Marcin Karski's review : Innocent Victim Talking once with Lars, I've told him I am very fond of Lawton's voice. Having this attitude, however, I got to say I am not that fond of this line-ups achievements in musical terms. I do understand all the circumstances that went on with the band in 1977, but still a couple of complaints linger on... I think that not a Heepster polemies with the fact that firing Byron was a straight-laid reason why Heep found itself truly in "to be or not to be". Having to face a meaningful decisions they won in one matter - they picked up a truly mighty, though very different to Byron, vocalist. Sadly they did not learn much from other problems they had in the past. Did you notice one remarkable thing? Big rock bands are finding it impossible to force on management to slow down with their careers and take time to sit and think more at the time of breakthroughs. The same has happened to Heep, I think, and I truly regret that. In the early 1976 the band was a name in rock, with the defined, recognizable style and a lot of good albums filled with impressive musical achievements. Late 1977 to me shows five gentlemen focused on grabbing as much of press and the audience attention, who have rather forgot where they were couple of years ago. Yes, the decision on definite revamping of the musical direction could be justified in the moment of drastic changes in the less renewed formations, but I don't think it does any good to a band of a Heep style and format. Innocent Victim - to me - clearly reflects that, as - actually - the whole Lawton era does. Let's overlook it by options. THE VOICE - I stand for the claim that the biggest risk of choices was handled well by the band. A change of a frontman was as remarkable as successful. Abilities of Lawton saved the group from crashing down. THE BAND SOUND - first serious rift appears here. To me, Heep was always a Hammond based band. For the mysterious reasons Ken has decided to almost completely shelve it in studio. Here and there he treats the organ as the partial element of the note background, but this instrument is not a part of the sound backbone anymore. He relies much more on synths, which - as usually the synths sound - are soulless. Enriching up the sound with lots of extra guitar work (acoustic and rhythmic fillings plus many axe parts arranged for Mick and Ken to do them together) doesn't fill the space appropriately. In result the sound of Uriah Heep has significantly flattered, it's not as Heepy as it used to be in the earlier 70's. THE COMPOSITION ART - my overall feeling here is simple: Heep was too eager to keep its head on the water surface at the time, so they preferred ANY existence on the stages to, less noticed but more motivated musical event being. In result the albums that they put out were very unbalanced LPs, bringing some great stuff culled together with rather uninspired workouts. If only they could cull out two records with more carefully selected material on them, the reaction to the band would be much better, I believe. In details, how does it look on the Innocent Victim? 1) If you want me to name the one particular song that this album is ever worth praising for, then please check out the track #4. This is the damn finest song Lawton line-up has ever come up with. Hurricane speed rocker, with a furious riff and lovely stormy chorus. Plus a little guitar duel in the middle. Oh how I wish they would slow the track down on stage and jam up to 15 minutes on stage in it... This song is just perfect for it. I truly wish they would have chosen this one up for a worldwide single from the album. I believe that Free 'n' Easy would be played up to now in radios as frequently as "Easy Livin'" or "Stealin'" are. So sad, that this song got lost in the sands of passing time... 2) Ken is still in lead in terms of songs signed with his name. He's repeating his most typical structural patents at times - Flyin' High sounds like the "Return To Fantasy" tempo sequel, but as the sounds flow - the idea itself it's not that exciting offer. Free Me is really a big "?" for me. What made this track so successful, I can't get it over with my mind. It's a catchy acoustic pop piece, but in terms of what I like in Heep, it appeals to me like fist to the nose. It's not Heep at all to me, sorry everyone. Same strange feeling sticks with me around the Keep On Ridin'. Cheat 'n' Lie is the first Kenny's effort showing a spark of interesting idea for a rocker. I just wish that the chorus was not so banal and that the guitarmeisters ;-) had heir courage to play some exciting solo spots. The River sounds like an interesting idea for the song to me (beginning of the riff is a bit alike Bee Gees: "Tragedy"), but this idea is forcefully being squeezed into totally inconvinient rhythm pattern. Feels like trying to dress up a 20 year old into 2 years old clothes. Missed! At last the ballads save Hensley's work on the LP for me. If not only these awful synths were there... :-( Illusion sounds to be bringing back this undescribed spirit of the lengthier tracks from the previous albums... Apart from over sweetened backing vocals the track is really neatly sung by John. All in all this title looks like fully shaped, interesting vision that turned into a good song. Why the Masquerade was left over from the LP is another flaming mystery to me. It features an astonishing lead motive played slide by Ken, and a lot of great guitar work. A bit in vein of the first two tracks on the LP, but to me sounding far more inspired and interesting. 3) Trevor must have been a bit absent minded during the sessions... The Roller sounds like funk flavored crawler, possibly sourcing its inspiration in Jeff Beck's musical moods at the time. Nor it catches this mood, neither it inspires much. Again it doesn't fit Heep range of interests at all. It reminds me of something similar to giving a free voucher for writing songs on "Stormbringer" to Mr. Hughes in Deep Purple. More a misunderstanding, than a justified change of direction. 4) As it comes to Mr. Williams's efforts for the album it's in a half only a success. The Dance has a really intriguing lead riff and occasionally the synth fits here well on the lead (but not in the background). This is, however, the sparkle only (again), the reggae backing slaughters the song with a flashy smash. I wish they had built this idea to a speed up rock number - it could be great. Though if this rocker would be in result as messy as The River outtake is, then better for The Dance to be just like it is. Choices for a change offer an interesting idea for a typical pathetic Heep anthem. The idea perfect in theory, but not too brilliantly put together in the practice... The lack of Hammond, and the simplicity of the structure (without any tempo breaks or solo spots, only the intensity of the tune is increasing throughout) fail to give this interesting idea a proper strength. What shall I say as the conclusion here... Well, I feel really sorry that I can't back up my respect to the line-up itself with the amounts of the amusement about their achievements. "Innocent Victim" is not a great record, however I think it should be credited for being... the one from the Lawton LP's trilogy, really aimed at searching for the new musical inspirations. In result it has failed to succeed on this field, and it's a kind of ironic thing to me that the singles released at the time of LP's issue, have made it the biggest seller in Heep's history. Putting out the "Lady In Black" as a SP to get the things going even better, was to me more a desperate swing of a hangman on the hill wanting to be put down on the ground again, than the dance of glory... :-( I could be wrong here, but the fact that the band did not manage to maintain their popularity from then on, tells quite much to us all. MARCIN KARSKI Morten Solbakken's review : Uriah Heep from 1970 to 2004 (Not an album review) The first Heep album I ever heard was Very Eavy Very Umble in 1970. I was 14 years old, and this was real rock'n'roll for me. Now in 2004 I still got the same feeling, when I hear them. I tried to buy the vinyl albums when they came out, but as a youngster I didn't have the money. So we had to buy the MC's and made copies for one and other. When God made the computer, I did get all I didn't have in the early days. :-). Thank God for that. I have had several opportunities to see them live, but the first I saw them was in Oslo 2003. (Look in the photo gallery on this great site). My wife, friend and I went to Oslo Spectrum. I am glad I didn't know anyone there. I was in another dimension. Quite mad I think, it was a night to remember for me. When u don't have the opportunity to see your favourites, u buy all the DVD's and CD's u can find. The first DVD I saw, was Future Echoes Of The Past. I saw it with widescreen and surround, and a six-pack. What an evening. I do think we got a bit drunk, but we saw the DVD 3 times that night. At present day I only miss the last one, Magic Night. I have got the CD, and in my opinion, this is not the very best. There is not enough power in this album. It's great to hear this line up with so much old stuff, but this album is a bit lame for me. In March 2002, I was so lucky to meet Ken Hensley. (Look in the photo gallery on this great site again, will you?). That was a once in a lifetime experience for me. When we where talking in the bar of the hotel, I asked Ken of why they took the name Uriah Heep? Then he told me it was a real coincidence. The boys and their manager where in London at the time, when they passed a poster of Charles Dickens to the 100. anniversary of his death. Looking at the poster, one of them got one hell of an idea, why don't we call us "Uriah Heep"? And they did. Well, I have never thought of them as the Uriah Heep character in the Dickens novel, he is not my kind of guy. There have been a lot of great albums from the guys, but there have been some bad stuff too. My favourite album must be Demons And Wizards, from 1972. The title track "The Wizard", is my number one song. "Easy Livin" is not so bad as well. Wonderworld is a great album too, so the Byron period will stay as the best ever. I like Bernie Shaw a lot. He's got an incredible strong and clear voice. Not bad for a Canadian. The line up from May 1980 to September 1986 was a real bad period for Heep I think. When today's line up came, Heep got a vitamin injection. "Live In Moscow" was a great tour, and Bernie could use his voice for real. The version of "Gypsy" they are playing on this concert is the best ever, in my eyes. I am glad we don't have vocals like John Sloman, Pete Goalby and Steff Fontaine anymore. I didn't say they where bad, I just say they didn't fit in like the others. The last two studio albums, Sea of Light and Sonic Origami, is some of the best they ever produced I think. It's a shame that they don't ) get ready with the last production. Six years is a long time. We have been waiting for this album for years now, and some of the fans are getting tired of waiting and disappointed. I can understand that, but you ain't a fan if you're leaving them for a little bagatelle like this. The album will come, if not today, maybe tomorrow. I hope there are many Heep fans out there, who will keep on supporting the boys, because Uriah Heep will last forever. There have been many rock groups coming and going, but bands like Uriah Heep and Deep Purple is only getting better and better. Today these bands are just as good live as in the studio. That's what we call quality. That's all for now folks, and long live Heep, the best rock'n'roll band in the world. :-) Many thanks to Renata and Lars for the best Heep website on net. You have done a superb job here. This site is even better than the official Heep website. PS: Take your time to listen to Living Loud with Bob Daisley, Jimmy Barnes, Lee Kerslake and Steve Morse. This is a great "tribute" to Ozzy Osborne. And to Ayreon: The Human Equation Ken Hensley on Hammond. Not my kind of music, rather weird for me, but still an album with one of the boys. Now I'm finished, I think ... MORTEN SOLBAKKEN Jörg Reinhardt's review : Innocent Victim Well, what shall I say about that. First, I know that many a hardcore fan will detest me but I do think that John Lawton is probably the best voice in rock ever. Matched not even by the early Coverdale or Roger Daltrey which I also adore as rock singers with the right feeling. Second, Innocent Victim was my first musical experience ever (being 10 years old at the time of it's release!). I heard Free Me on the radio and wanted to have the album at home. So after some quarrelling with my parents I was allowed to buy it and returned home with the monster sleeve. I still vividly recall the moment I turned on my father's stereo, put the needle down and was immediately hooked and addicted by "Keep on Riding". It's like Keith Richards once said: The first time You'll hear a song will burn itself into Your memory. And that's it. Keep on Riding is still one of my absolute faves though, again, hardcore fans will kill me for that! At the time I liked each song of the album besides Illusion that I thought was much to soft and besides Cheat'n'Lie. When I heard Choices I was blown away by it's majesty and bombast! And then I went through the years and my attitude towards music changed. Music first got harder (Purple, Priest, Motörhead) and then more complicated (Yes, Genesis, Flower Kings) and as my music collection (both Heep and others) grew I thought Innocent Victim was probably the worst Heep recording until "Conquest" which was the time that I quit buying new Heep stuff. Besides Keep On Ridin' I had never again played the album in maybe 10 or 15 years. Then one day I saw Innocent Victim in a second hand store for 5 Deutschmarks I just bought it and laid it to the player. And this is where the story started again and I have to revise my opinion: Keep On Ridin' still is my favourite song of the album. It just spreads positive energy and fun. Flyin' High I did like back in 77 but nowadays I think it is absolutely out of fashion and much too poppish. Whereas I think Roller, Cheat'n'Lie and Free Me are really good mainstream songs without highs and lows. Also I really treasure The Dance as a great pop-rocker and Illusion turned up to become one of the highlights for the quieter moments. I is packed with feeling and is far more than an obligatory ballad of the album. It is one of Heep's most beautiful songs. Choices, however, lost its magic to me. My favourite band at the moment are the Flower Kings and they really tought me, what bombastic and majestic music means (listen to their "Stardust we are" and You'll know what I mean!). Ah yes and there we have Free'n'Easy - A party roller that still kicks ass like on the day it was laid down on vinyl!!!! Need I tell You that I really enjoy Masquerade that I discovered only 4 years ago on my father-in-law's attic???? In the end: Innocent Victim was my first musical love and from time to time it regains much of this magic. I understand that many will reject the monster as a pop album but maybe You can understand what it means to me.. Jörg Reinhardt's review : Firefly I was hooked by Heep's Innocent Victim being my first album ever but then my 11th birthday came and of course I needed to have moor Heep around. So, going back in time, Firefly was on top of my wishlist and I still remember that birthday evening after my friends had left (they were all Kiss fans at the time!) I was going to the stereo and turning Firefly on. From the first synthesizer bass sounds of Firefly this was my absolutely favourite Heep album ever. The Hanging Tree kicked off with much more power than Innocent Victim. Been Away Too Long, Who Needs Me or Do You Know are incredible power rockers and have ever since kicked my ass!!!! With Wise Man we have one of Heep's most beautiful songs ever and the song Firefly is simply a masterpiece. A fairytale in a slight progressive arrangement. A story both for children and adult dreamers. How often in those days did I think: "My love lives at the end of a rainbow .." Unlike Innocent Victim. I never ceased listening to Firefly. Still this is one of my all time favourite albums and I'm sure it will remain like that. It's rockier than the other Lawton albums but MUCH more subtle in it's musical details than earlier Heep - simply: A masterpiece! Jörg Reinhardt's concert review : München 1979 (Concert in München, Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle, 14.1.1979) There I was, a 12 year old Heep fan with the walls of his chamber completely plastered with Heep posters (anyone remember that famous "unplugged in the park" poster from POP 1973????). Within 2 years since I started to get hooked I bought a bunch of albums starting with "Very 'Eavy, Very 'Umble" and ending with "Fallen Angel". And then Heep came to town. It was a "must-go" for me and lucky me the mother of my best friend decided to join us (in Germany admission to concerts without adults was at 15 years then so we needed to have someone joining us). I still remember that I couldn't sleep the night before with anticipation and that day after school I bought a Heep label that my mother had to sew upon my dark blue cord jacket. Then we went to the venue. The Rudi-Sedlmayer-Halle is a perfect circle. We had places to sit straight opposite the stage whereas in the arena there were those long-haired leather-jacket-wearing unshaved rockers that drank beer and who I was really afraid of!! The concert started with the Michael Wynn Band. I do not remember anything from them for I was only waiting for my heroes to show up. Then, after a big break and a long wait the lights went out and to the explosion of two bright yellow magnesium bombs Heep hit the stage and kicked off with "Look at Yourself". On the seating places everyone was jumping up and cheering. In the arena all the hands were up in the air. I still see Lawton in his black leather dress adressing the audience during the refrain and Ken Hensley in a dark blue "Toronto Maple Leafs" shirt. The sound was really bad and loud but the pure energy coming from stage made me aware that a concert is not listening pleasure but a SHOW! And a show it was. Sheer power from the speakers. Easy Livin' followed and I went crazy jumping so that my friend's mother forced me to slow down a bit but Easy Livin' was one of my all time faves si HAD to move and shout! Besides those two songs I can't tell many more details from the show except for Lee's drum solo played whilst stroboscope flashes hit the audience and I remember that he played something getting faster and faster. It was incredible. Also I remember Ken singing Lady in Black. I could have sworn that he played it all alone until "Live in Europe" proved that they in fact did a full band version. Woman of the Night was getting me crazy for this was a song that I enjoyed very much at the time. I know they did Stealin' and July Morning but the rest escapes my memory, sorry. I was impressed by Lawton pushing us to sing along louder and louder and I still have that view down on the arena and the brightly lighted stage in my head and Lawton running across the stage like a madman and swirling around like crazy. It was a magic night and still I see those memories when I look at the tour poster I bought after the show. My first concert experience was certainly one of the most exciting concerts ever to me. After that I saw other concerts that were cool or great but this one went straight to the heart and to the memory like not many afterwards. Needless to say that I stayed a real crazy Heep fan for more years to come. And although Byron has an incredible reputation as a performer I think that Lawton was different but VERY good! By the way: You may say I'm crazy but if somehow possible each 14th January I do a Heep-night just for myself ... Take this as a compliment for a great show! JÖRG REINHARDT Pavel Dvoψák's review : Wonderworld The album generally ranked as a mediocre performance is opened by the rightfully title song Wonderworld, which is by far the best of this album and very impressive as well. Just cut out for Byron's voice. I think that it would be hard looking for anyone who could sing this masterpiece any better. After that comes the Suicidal Man. The album seems to be slowly but surely starting up, while the song storms on. The following The Shadows And The Wind calms the pace with a soft keyboard intro and then with a smooth, but catching multivoice vocals. Then arrives the boosted guitar piece So Tired, which is one of the album's best. The Easy Road is an interesting one, atypically joined by an orchestra with prevailing strings and brass with guitar close behind. This one demonstrates David Byron's abilities expanding beyond the scope of his rock sphere. The next one, Something Or Nothing, is, sadly, the last of the mere trio of fast rock songs, which is quite a grudge coming from a hard rock band. The cold and boring I Won't Mind. The only interesting thing about it is the guitar solo at the end of it, which gives the impression of belonging to another song. The bore goes on with We Got We as if Uriah Heep were loosing breath and didn't know what to do. The well-begun album starts to lose its appeal despite the group's effort to rekindle its original fire with an original piece, Dreams. Although the WONDERWORLD album doesn't rank among the hardest hard rock stuff the Uriah Heep have produced, I like it and listen to it from time to time. And finally, the cover should be mentioned as well. The group standing in playing poses intrinsic to them, statue-like and on pedestals, is, I think, a good idea and I consider it to be one of the best Uriah Heep covers. Pavel Dvoψák's review : Salisbury A completely unique thing! Absolutely the best one of Uriah Heep albums. A terrific entrance - hard guitars and Byron's screeching scream starts one of the best - hardrock history textbook-albums. Bird Of Frey is a high-voltage piece up to its end and then there comes the slower The Park. Feathery played and sung, soft and slow, but unmissable. The next, strong loaded Time To Live, ranks among the best Uriah Heep is really what bigbeat is all about. Lady In Black, probably the best known thing the band has ever recorded. I have known it well before I ever knew a thing about Uriah Heep. It has been played at binges by many groups and sung along with guitar by almost everyone. But let's go on to the High Priestess with its neat solo right until the end. The last one, suspicious Salisbury, is a thing I used to skip, but now I consider it to be the absolute top. The group is accompanied by an orchestra. Quite an unusual thing back then, but a gripping design in the end. The beginning is plain brass, the Uriah Heep join in sequence and the explosion doesn't let us wait too long. And when Byron strikes in, nobody doubts that this is the real touchstone of Uriah Heep creations. Perfectly ingenious combination and interplay between the orchestra and the hardrock group. A sixteen-minute composition, which amuses you, with a splendid guitar and a brass background. I think that this should be immortalized on a DVD (if it hasn't been already). It would surely be worth the while, especially in these days, when orchestra-accompanied remixes of various groups are on a rise. It must be said, however, that with Uriah Heep, it is not that trend stuff, but the real original thing. Simply said, I don't see any weak part of this album. It is the absolute top. PAVEL DVOΨÁK Ondra Fabián's review : Look At Yourself When I got this magnificient album to my hands at first, I didn't know about Uriah Heep too much, the only disc I had from this legendary group was a compilation "Lady In Black" and the band itself didn't stun me. But after hearing this album for the first time my opinion changed radically and "Heeps" became step by step one of my favourite bands. The album itself is maybe the best these guys have ever recorded, perfect joint of art rock with hard rock; Byron's excellent voice is boosted by first-rate instrumental performance of the band, at the front with the pair Mick Box (guitar) and Ken Hensley (keyboards). Look At Yourself has absolutely incommutable, ancient sound, introduced by Ken's magic Hammonds. When you hear pieces like "July Morning, Shadows Of Grief or I Wanna Be Free, it feels like being in a temple. You are immediately pulled up by sharp and raw hardrock sound, perfectly compact, with a mystical feel. One of the big strong points of Uriah Heep is perfectly performed and synchronised vocals, which daringly compete bands like Queen or Boston. The whole album is very well balanced, there is not any faint melody, maybe with the exception of a little tired What Should Be Done, Look At Yourself is rightly ranked among the best albums in history. But if you don't know, what I'm talking about, I'll try to analyse individual songs and their composition: Look At Yourself - opening one, lock, stock and barrel. Hardrock blow-out, which starts with a vivacious drum introduction by Ian Clark, soon after accompanied by husky keyboards and Byron's a little bit cracking voice "I see you running ". About one minute later multiple vocals of the whole band join in, which raises the impression from this piece; this is one of the best things on this album. In the middle of the song, Mick Box introduces us with his typical "quacking" exhibition, playing riffs almost entirely with his left hand. The epilogue is again in the hands of the Clark and Hensley duo. I Wanna Be Free - compared to previous piece a slower one; beggining with a quiet, vocal passage, accompained by keyboards in background. But right after the first strophe, Mick leans up his guitar and another classic hardrock blow-out begins. But the artrock soul starts to vent itself here. At the end, David shows why he is (was) one of the best singers in history with a huge vocal range. July Morning - unambiguously the best of the whole album; maybe in the whole discography of Uriah Heep. Beautiful ten-minutes long ballad with an impressive keyboard beggining. The whole work has a catchy atmosphere-when I was talking about mystical atmosphere before, it's twice as present there. Appoximately in the middle of the song it gradates with a Byron's life performance, when David pulls his vocal to multioctave heights. In the second part, the more instrumental part of the group shows itself. Tears In My Eyes - again a little more hardrock-like piece, this time more melodic and rhytmical, than the preceding "Look At Yourself" and "I Wanna Be Free", with a catchy guitar riff. But this song hides in itself a tidy piece of a improvisation - a vocal and guitar extempore in the middle of the song. Shadows Of Grief - somewhat non-traditional one, almost full-artrock. It's difficult to describe it, because it's rhytm and melody change with each tact. It's probably the best instrumental performance on this album-the lovers of long solos will love it. Only David isn't heard as much as we could wish, (except for one scream). What Should Be Done - maybe the lowest-rated part of this album. Peaceful ballad, but somewhat tardy. It has very nice melody with the piano on background, but otherwise an average thing. Love Machine - after the blank number six, Uriah Heep show us what they really are. Another of the rock blow-outs is a song called Love Machine; as this album starts, it finishes as well. The rhytm is rather similar to "Tears In My eyes", otherwise excellent in every aspect, from the vocals to the instrumental parts in the end. What's Within My Heart - some remastred albums are extended with a few bonuses, including the single version of Look At Yourself and the single What's Within My Heart, another peacefull ballad, which is sung only by Byron and accompained by a classic guitar. Ondra Fabián's's review : Wonderworld I got this album to my hands later than previous ones and I was quite familiar with the band Uriah Heep already and so my first impression was: "Where are those old good Heeps?" Although this record doesn't lack imaginative and strong melodies changed with the agile pieces and has very good composition, I can't fight off the impression, that theese lords have the best years in nonrepayable. I can only retrospection gold years with Look At Yourself, Salisbury or Sweet freedom. Everything, what graced Uriah Heep, limp a bit there-Byron's singing, although still excellent, is surely a little bit more covered than before, vocals, once precise, are rather only for sketching in the atmosphere there, like "for obligation" and the whole album has classic rock even poprock character, in contrast with earlier resourceful and acoustic artrock. Complicated constructions of pieces full of improvisations, "church" atmosphere, precise singing and perfect achievement of each member of the band are the past, Wonderworld sounds more advisably and more settled. It's a little bit paradoxical, well the band is playing in it's strongest group David Byron (vocals), Mick Box (guitar), Ken Hensley (keyboards), Lee Kerslake (drums) and Gary Thain (bass). Of course I can't only blame this album, Uriah Heep recorded a lot of worse ones, but this is the one from the worst from the famous Byron era. Wonderworld: If I was talking about gray album short while ago, so just the first piece fully contradict my statement. A beautiful ballad Wonderworld is unambiguously the best one on the album; peaceful beggining with a piano, which get up to the lovely refrain then, with a Byron's excellent vocal, captivating keyboards and catchy atmosphere. Wonderworld impress me. After the hearing this song I was confident, that the whole album will be another gem, which daringly connect to the previous jewel Sweet Freedom. Suicidal Man: This song certainly don't reach the qualities of previous piece. Faster one, but more or less without the idea and the invention, which lack everything "Heep", what I was earlier talking about. This is agile rock piece, but it could be recorded by a lot of other bands and we didn't recognise the difference. Not even the tousled end didn't add to the total impression. Only one thing I can highlight on this song is the Mick's expressive and sharp guitar. The Shadows And The Wind: Another from the featureless ones. Although it begins with the slow passage with the magic Ken's keyboards, but it isn't so interesting below. Mediumly fast rhytmical continuation don't inspire with something and the whole song fleet away and I wasn't taken with something after. Maybe the only good singed vocal end get out of the otherwise absolute grey. So Tired: So tired is after the two previous failures very pleasant surprise, it reminds of the old good Uriah Heep with their tuniness, rhytm and the pricksongs. A drummer Lee Kerslake, elsewhere inexpressive, shows a good achievement there, and the other members of group come into one's own with their solos. Each minute is unique with something and I'm not bored nor on the tick when I'm hearing this song. It's really very well played piece and I rank it between the three best ones on the album. The Easy Road: Another ballad, one from the big amount on this album. It's a little bit fagged out at my taste, but it has a nice melody, David's singing is skatched in the backing only with the piano and the whole song actuate by peaceful and conciliatory impression. The enlistment of the trumpets to the second half of the song is very interesting too. Something Or Nothing: This song starts with the hardrock blow-out, then it mellow, in spite of it belong to the most nimbled on the record. It has very resourceful and catchy refrain and rhytmical and melodical strophes. The biggest piece of the work provide duo Mick Box and Ken Hensley there, with their vigorous riffs. I Won't Mind: Mick Box with his "quacky" exhibit dominate this blues song and he has the main say in this not very resourceful song. A solo changes a solo and it is only his worth, that I hear this song relatively often. We Got We: So this it maybe the totally worst one from the whole album. Because this piece didn't attract me, I don't know, what I should write, maybe only the one thing, this song has a quite goot vocals. Dreams: Not to put too fine a point on it, the melody of this song didn't address me, but in spite of I must honour it's qualities and say objectively, that it's one from three best ones on the album, which has very interesting and unusual melody. Mainly Ken Hensley demonstrates his craft, nor Gary Thain isn't in arrears. The precisly elaborated vocals get on in the second part and after hearing of this song everybody said, that it isn't so bad with this album. ONDRA FABIÁN The reviews on this site are all made on either request, or on people's own behalf. It's important to underline that they all represent the individual's point of view on the album they're writing about, and does not necessarily reflect this site's authors or any public opinion!