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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Uriah Heep

Spellbinder Live

Review by Gary Hill

I know there are those out there who still complain that this isn’t the classic lineup of Heep. Well, Bernie Shaw has been singing for Uriah Heep a lot longer than anyone else ever did. And this is a vital band still releasing new stuff. For my money, that means this is the quintessential lineup of Heep. This reissued live album would be a great starting point for someone looking to check out the new version of the band. I mean, it’s got a lot of classics along with newer songs and all delivered in smoking hot live performance.

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
Devil's Daughter

This energetic rocker is a great way to start the set off in style. It’s got some killer instrumental interplay later and really works exceptionally well.

Stealin'

Here we get a Uriah Heep classic. This is a great rendition that stands up to any live version I’ve heard before with any lineup of the group.

Bad Bad Man
Another energized rocker, this one purely screams. It still has a definite Uriah Heep vibe at the same time, though.
Rainbow Demon

Mysterious sounding and powerful, this rocker is very much another Uriah Heep classic. This is a killer version, too.

Words in a Distance

Here’s a killer more recent Heep tune. It holds up amidst the rest here.

Wizard
Here we get another classic Uriah Heep tune. They do a great live rendition here. It sounds a little updated, and there are couple points where it feels a little weak, but overall this is strong. The bass on the tune is well worth mentioning.
Circle of Hands
The Heep classics continue here. The killer renditions also continue. This is another smoking hot Heep tune delivered in style. There is some awesome jamming later in this beast.
Gypsy

Another really powerful old Heep tune, this one gets a smoking hot live treatment. There’s an extended keyboard solo later in the track.

Look at Yourself
And the Heep classics just keep coming. This smoking hot hard rocking jam gets a great live treatment here. There is some awesome jamming on this thing. The bass presence on this is noteworthy.
Lady in Black

I really love the vocal harmonies on this classic Heep live tune. It really is quite a rocking jam. I’d have to say that for my money this surpasses the studio rendition of the track by a long shot.

Easy Livin'

One of Heep’s best known numbers, this one seems a bit harder rocking than the old school versions. Beyond that it still works quite well.

Sail the Rivers

The first of two bonus tunes, I’m not overly crazy about this one. There are some cool instrumental moments later, but overall this just isn’t all that special. See my review of Sea of Light for more on this tune, as this is a studio rendition.

Across the Miles
This number feels so much like Journey it’s scary. Another studio take, see my review of Sonic Origami for more on this.
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