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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Uriah Heep – Into the Wild album review

Uriah Heep – Into the Wild album review
Released on: Frontiers Records. Release date: May 3rd, 2011 (USA)


So what can be said about Uriah Heep that’s not been mentioned before, except perhaps that the band seems to be maturing better and better with age and with a forty year history, that’s quite something!
Last full studio album ‘Wake The Sleeper’ in 2008 was for me, an absolute gem and then in 2009 the re-recorded ‘Celebration – 40 Years of Rock’ with old tracks redone and two new ones, was great too.

So here we are, 2011 and a new deal struck with Frontiers Records and a new album in ‘Into the Wild’ is already released in Europe and will soon be released here in the US and already there are a lot of people, very impressed.

For me, ‘Wake The Sleeper’ was a tough act to follow, but follow it they do admirably, although at first it took a couple of spins, to get used to one or tracks, but really not that much.

There’s certainly elements of classic Heep here, also some of that middle ground area in say a similar fashion to ‘Equator’s’ material, but thankfully with a far better production, Mike Paxman again handling that task as he did so well on ‘Wake the Sleeper’ and ‘Celebration.’

The album opens with the track that’s been picking up a lot of promo, in ‘Nail On The Head’ which although without doubt is catchy, is a pretty straightforward stomping rocker, in a similar style to ‘Stay On Top’ from the ‘Head First’ album.

‘I Can See You’ next is more akin to the great style of ‘… Sleeper’ and it rocks along at a fair old pace and the band sound well on form with Mick Box’ guitar playing and Phil Lanzon’s keys playing well off each other, I love it!

The title track ‘Into the Wild’ is another up tempo number in the same style as the last and it’s huge, nice Hammond interplay again with the guitar and Bernie Shaw’s singing is top notch! Keep it coming guys!

OK, in my old review of ‘Wake the Sleeper,’ I had drawn comparisons to Deep Purple and ‘Money Talks’ really rocks in a style not unlike Purple’s ‘Perfect Strangers’ era and that is no bad thing at all. Nice work indeed.
Russell Gilbrook (Drums) has really slotted in well to keep things on track alongside bassist Trevor Bolder. Solid stuff!

‘I’m Ready,’ next is another of those big hook songs, great melodies, which is true here across the album. The harmony vocals are so strong and the sheer strength of songs on show here is seriously class.

Next up, the track ‘Trail of Diamonds’ is perhaps a little misleading as it starts in ballad fashion before getting into a bigger, epic type mode, there’s a few layers to this one, shifting up and down in its tempo’s. Some big choral choir like harmony vocals in places too.

‘Southern Star’ next has a rocking start before easing into a more melody driven mid paced number, nice textures and again good harmonizing vocally and some nice guitar work by Mick Box, who’s also well on his game! Nice one Mick!

A traditional Heep sound of old starts ‘Believe’ with big Hammond organ surging in, with the drums coming in right behind kicking things off well, before developing into a big old melodic rocker, hints of prog in places, but plenty of harmonies that gives the song such a big hook.

Another stomping start on ‘Lost’ has that Purple like sound again musically, but Bernie Shaw’s vocals are far from anything like Purple and give the song it’s own strength and identity. Steady, mid-paced groove to this one.

‘T-Bird Angel,’ strange title but what a great track! Now don’t take offence, anyone when I say that this – to me - started almost like a heavy Journey sound of think ... Gregg Rolie on keys, with a modern day rock approach. It’s such a killer track and it rocks with plenty of melody and the perfect mix of everything.

Final track here is ‘Kiss of Freedom’ which really starts easy and grows and grows into a massive epic and I love that Phil Lanzon really gets his moment of glory here, great solo spot for the man that’s performed so well in his accompaniments, throughout the album.

The whole band has really got such a great connection here and as sad as it’s been for many Heep fans to see Lee Kerslake leave, who’d been a part of the band since the seventies, the man had some health problems and needed to get them sorted out or things really could’ve taken a turn for the worse. All that said the rest of the band has been onboard since 1986!

Since 2007, Russell Gilbrook has really slotted in perfectly and has perhaps given the band an extra kick, as it really seems to be such a well-oiled machine. Good one lad’s now come on, how about a Detroit date on this US tour then?! Ha ha!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Full track listing:
1. Nail On The Head
2. I Can See You
3. Into The Wild
4. Money Talk
5. I'm Ready
6. Trail Of Diamonds
7. Southern Star
8. Believe
9. Lost
10. T-Bird Angel
11. Kiss Of Freedom

Band:
Mick Box – Guitar, Vocals
Trevor Bolder – Bass, Vocals
Bernie Shaw – Lead Vocals
Phil Lanzon – Keyboards, Vocals
Russell Gilbrook – Drums, Vocals
Official band website: http://www.uriah-heep.com/



5 comments:

  1. Great review - thanks for posting - we're pretty much in sync track-for-track on this record. It's a drive from Detroit but the band is stopping in Dayton for a $5 show in July - may be worth the miles!

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  2. Hey Dave, thanks matey! :) Do you mean the Kettering gig? On the 17th June ...?
    I'm still hopeful that the dates Mick mentioned in July are announced soon ... I live in hope!
    Cheers, Al

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  3. great place to see a show if you decide to go.

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  4. LOL! We'll see ... The show is on a Friday night and it's tough to get any time off work, easy 3 1/2 - 4 hr drive down ... I really want to see Heep again, haven't seen them since the Equator tour! Yes, really!

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  5. The song Lost is sung by Trevor I believe. Great album.

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