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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Uriah Heep

Sonic Origami (Reissue)

Review by Gary Hill

I reviewed this album when it first came out, but this is a reissue. The version I reviewed before had one bonus track that didn’t have a title. Here that song is titled and there is a second bonus track. Beyond that, this is essentially the same release It’s a strong one. Since everything else is still basically the same, I’m going to modify my original review for this and include it here for the sake of consistency.

It seemed that for a time Uriah Heep was running away from what they did best. In the ‘70s, Heep music was characterized by progish arrangements on hard rock numbers with incredible keyboard sounds and vocal arrangements to die for. In later periods, the band seemed to focus more on metal type music, and less on the things that separated them from the pack. Sonic Origami shows that the band had found a great middle ground for the two styles. The Heep lineup on the disc was Bernie Shaw, Mick Box, Lee Kerslake, Trevor Bolder and Phil Lanzon.

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
Between Two Worlds
This strong rocker deftly combines the Heep sound of old with a newer sound and freshness. It is a potent beginning that lets the listener know that he/she is in for a thrilling ride. With powerful keyboard sounds and vocal harmonies accompanied by a hard rock backdrop, this one also includes a wonderfully textured and haunting mellow segment that explodes out into power at points, in a display of Heep's trademark mastery over dynamic changes in volume level.
I Hear Voices

Feeling a bit like a Perfect Strangers era Deep Purple; this is a strong and rhythmic rocker that really delivers. "Don't talk to me of sanity / When I'm not quite here at all."

Perfect Little Heart

Although it starts as a very accessible pop rock cut, it gets quite quirky and complicated as it goes on.

Heartless Land

This is a solid pop-oriented number.

Only the Young

“Only the Young” is based firmly in ‘70s arena rock modes. "Only the young stay young, I said / Speaks the kid inside my head."

In the Moment

This is a classic Heep cut, with all that that means (great chops, quirky arrangements, strong vocals and a potent organ sound).

Question

A hopeful number, this one starts with an acoustic guitar balladic intro. It is a very pretty song that is nicely arranged and has some awesome piano work. "If we try to find some deep communication / Bring an end to war and start a new creation / From the truth inside, it's waiting, it's waiting." This one is very progish both musically and lyrically.

Change

This solid rock and roll cut is a bit Zeppelinish and includes a few chord changes that call to mind Yes just a bit. It is a high-energy cut that really rocks.

Shelter from The Rain

A nice bluesy rocker, this one is based heavily in Heep tradition.

Everything in Life

A potent rock cut with classic Heep stylings, this one could come off of an older Heep album quite easily. It feels a bit short, but packs a major punch in its brief length.

Across the World

This rock ballad feels a lot like Journey. It is a competent cut, and pushed correctly, could prove a hit for the band.

Feels Like

A slow moving, dramatic introduction leads to a powerful rocker with classic Heep stylings. The instrumental break is very progish and quirky with strong jazz tendencies. It evolves into strictly percussive modes to end the piece.

The Golden Plaza
Beginning with some wonderful keyboard work with progish classically oriented stylings, this evolves into a potent moody and emotional rock ballad. It is complex and quite progish as it builds. This is quite probably the strongest cut on the album.
Sweet Pretender

On the earlier version of this, it was an untitled bonus track. Here it gets titled and is the first of two bonuses on the disc. This is a hard rocking number that really knocks them out. It is very classic Heep in texture with wonderful keyboard tones.

Heartless Land (Edited Version)

Here we get an edited version of the previous cut as the second (and final) bonus track

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