Uriah Heep - "Into The Wild" CD Review (Frontiers Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Monday, June 27, 2011

Uriah Heep - "Into The Wild" CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Uriah Heep - 'Into The Wild' CD Review (Frontier Records)Every now and then, I come across a band that have been around for decades but I really don't have a clue what they sound like. Uriah Heep is now in the fourth decade as a band and their latest disc, Into the Wild (Frontier Records), is my first real exposure to their music.

Into the Wild is the band’s twenty-third studio disc and, musically, the heavy use of a Hammond organ and Bernie Shaw’s Ian Gillian-like vocals make for an immediate comparison to Perfect Stranger-era Deep Purple but there are also some elements of early 80’s Iron Maiden style NWOBHM in the mix. Where both of these comparisons fall away though is that original member Mick Box delivers some solid guitar work but the songs have more of a “full band” sound rather than highlighting individual guitar heroics.

This 12-track (Note: the Japanese edition has a 12th “bonus” track – “Hard Lesson to Learn”) / 59 minute disc has a solid foothold in the AOR/arena rock sound of the 70’s. Each of the 4+ minute tracks has a healthy sense of melody but there is little of the pop commercialism that crept into the metal scene in the mid-80’s; these are fist-pumping anthems for the denim and leather clad hard rockers. The strong leadoff track and first video from the new disc “Nail on the Head” sets the tone for the tracks that follow.

The band plays to their strengths with the four guitar and organ-driven hard rockers that follow: “I Can See You”, “Into the Wild” (which is one of the strongest tracks on the disc), “Money Talk” and “I’m Ready”. The band then changes pace and slows down a bit for some Iron Maiden style epic power-ballads on the back-half of the disc with tracks like “Trail of Diamonds”, “Southern Star” and “Kiss of Freedom”. Uriah Heep gets really creative on the Middle-Eastern flavored psychedelic track "Lost" and closes the disc on a strong note with the slow burning “Hard Way to Learn”. This is a strong set of hard rocking songs and AOR anthems; the only tune that was a bit of a turn-off was the poppy "hair metal" song “T-Bird Angel”.

Having read about the tumultuous lineup changes that Uriah Heep underwent in the 70’s and early 80’s, this current lineup has proven to be their most stable. The members of Uriah Heep are Bernie Shaw (vocals), Phil Lanzon (organ), Trevor Bolder (bass), Mick Box (guitar) and newcomer Russell Gilbrook (drums).

Uriah Heep