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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Uriah Heep

Sea of Light (Reissue)

Review by Gary Hill

Even a less than stellar album from Uriah Heep is still pretty good. This one isn’t bad, but it’s definitely uneven. There are some great songs here, some leaning well into progressive rock. There are some rather generic and not so awesome tunes, too. This re-issue, though includes some great bonuses and it’s worth having. I’d buy Sonic Origami first (reissued at the same time) but both are worth getting.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Against The Odds

A bit of drama opens this. Then it fires into a smoking hot riff driven jam. It drops to a keyboard dominated thing for the verse, but the riff returns for the chorus. This is a great Uriah Heep classic sound. It’s not completely a straight path, though. There’s a cool, almost prog meets metal bridge. Then some classic Heep sounding non-lyrical vocals take it from there.

Sweet Sugar
Here we get a number that’s more straight ahead. This is not all that great, but even something pretty generic is pretty cool when done by Uriah Heep.
Time Of Revelation

This hard rocker has more of that Uriah Heep styling to it. The arrangement is pretty complex and yet there are enough hooks and riffs to keep it from falling into the realm of progressive rock. It’s a fast paced tune that holds a real Heep sound. It definitely has some particularly tasty riffs.

Mistress of All Time

The first minute and a half (give or take) is just keyboards and vocals. From there acoustic guitar rises up and the track is sort of a soft rock number. It’s not really a ballad, but it’s acoustic based and rather folk music like. There is definitely a bit a sea shanty sound to it. It does get more of a proggy sound to the arrangement later. This is a good tune, but doesn’t work all that well for me, really.

Universal Wheels

Starting with atmosphere, a cool bass line emerges. The cut builds out gradually from there. It turns out to a cool riff driven jam as it continues. This is a real rocker and a meaty one at that. It’s one of the more successful cuts here, but feels almost heavy metal. It might not be the most “Uriah Heep” sounding piece here, but it’s a cool one. There’s a dramatic, rather proggy section mid-track, though. There is another progressive rock like section late in the piece, too. There is also some particularly meaty guitar soloing on this tune.

Fear Of Falling

On the one hand this is kind of a generic rocker. On the other hand, it’s got some great instrumental moments. There are some driving riffs.

Spirit Of Freedom

Somehow the opening on this makes me think of Mott the Hoople. From there, though it shifts out to a pretty typical Uriah Heep tune. This isn’t all that special, but it’s still pretty good.

Logical Progression

This is more of a power ballad. It’s also one of the stronger cuts here. It has great vocal harmonies and some excellent musical moods. It’s definitely classic Uriah Heep. I like this tune a lot. It’s quite progressive rock in nature, really. There are some great shifts and changes on this thing.

Love In Silence

Here is a cut that’s even more progressive rock oriented. The song proper has plenty of prog, but when it launches into the instrumental movement later, it’s pure progressive rock. This is one of the best cuts on the disc. It’s clearly more prog oriented than most Heep. Considering that Uriah Heep have often flirted with prog, that says a lot.

Words In The Distance

OK, the rocking hook on this isn’t really progressive rock, but a lot of this cut does fit into prog. It’s another strong tune that works well towards redeeming this beast.

Fires Of Hell

Percussion leads out here. Then we get a hard rocker that’s quintessential Uriah Heep. It’s got a powered up ballad approach in a lot of the track, but also some left turns. It’s hard edged, but also proggy. There are some distinctly metallic moments in this number, too.

Dream On

This is a pretty and rather proggy ballad. It’s another cool tune.

She Still Calls His Name

The first bonus track for this edition, this is sort of a straightforward hard rocker. It’s not necessarily a great tune, but the Heep manage to make something special out of something a bit generic.

Sail the Rivers

Here’s another melodic rocker that’s pretty standard Uriah Heep. It does get rather involved and a bit proggy later, though.

Dream On (Single Edit)

As advertised, here we get a shortened version of the ballad that closed the album proper.

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