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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Uriah Heep

Celebration

Review by Gary Hill

Celebrating forty years of Uriah Heep, this new album is sort a way from them to make good on the promise of “Look at Yourself.” That’s because what they’ve done is use the current lineup of the band to rerecord songs from different periods in that forty year history. They’ve also included two new compositions. While something like this could be contrived and hokey, it never feels that way. All the music here reflects the original recordings very well while still bringing in an updated element and a consistent texture. This could feel like a single studio album if you didn’t know the source material. It could also pass for a studio album from just about any period of Uriah Heep’s career. It’s a strong album, plain and simple.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Only Human

With a trademark Heep keyboard flourish, this one pounds out. It turns to a more pop rock cut. It has a catchy hook, but still has meat on the bones. Still, if this were 1978 this song would be all over the radio. This one of two new numbers on the disc.

Bird Of Prey
The first classic remake to show up here, this is a real screamer. It captures so much of the spirit and charm of the original and it would not be a stretch to imagine that the lineup doing this one is the same as the lineup that originally recorded it. That said, it has more of a modern sound quality to it. And, I mean that in the best of ways. This should please both new and old Uriah Heep fans and it’s a great updating.
Sunrise
Always one of my favorites from the band, the contrasting dynamics of this track are preserved here – as is all the classic rock charm. Again these guys show that they are still Uriah Heep and can produce this sound as well (perhaps even better) as they did in the 1970’s.
Stealin'
Another Heep classic, this one still rocks out very well. It makes me think, like the previous ones, that the group performing this could be the original Uriah Heep. The only real difference in the vocals. And that’s not a reflection of any lack of talent or ability to do the song, but rather in a different “character” that will nearly always be presented by a different vocalist singing a song. This is present in all the cuts.
Corridors of Madness
The only other new song on show here, this is one of the slower types of Heep tracks. It’s not a ballad, but rather a slowly moving rocker that has all the elements of early Uriah Heep, but with a more modern sound in some ways. It would not be tough to imagine this as one of the remakes, though – it’s that true to the classic sound of the group. 
Between Two Worlds
Another older Heep track, this is more of a straight ahead rocker. The vocal performance here really steals a lot of the show.
The Wizard
One of the all time classic Uriah Heep songs, they put in a great version of it here. I still love this track and this holds up nicely.
Free Me
A catchy pop sort of rocker, this is a good tune, but perhaps not up to the level of some of the other material here. Of course, it’s still definitely Uriah Heep. 
Free and Easy
A short cut, this is a fairly accessible rocker.
Gypsy
A bouncing pounding Uriah Heep classic, they put in an awesome performance. The wall of vocals is here as are all the other classic elements.
Look At Yourself
Another old familiar, this one preserves all the Uriah Heep traditions while still bringing in a modern sound quality and ethos.
 
July Morning
And they aren’t done with the classics yet. This really screams “1970’s Uriah Heep” but is still delivered with a more modern soundscape. The drop down to keys section is so tasty (as it always has been). Contrast between heavy and mellow was such a big part of so many bands from that era. It was also one of things that made them as great as they were. 
Easy Livin'
One of the band’s biggest hits in the day, it still holds up well today. This version is quite faithful to the original while bringing it into a modern sound palette. That doesn’t mean they ignore the old sounds – far from it. Those are preserved, but this feels like a modern recording. 
Lady In Black
Although this doesn’t vary from the concept – a killer new recording of a Uriah Heep classic, it truly rocks. It’s another great one.
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