For a band that has been around for over thirty years now, it's amazing the amount of live and archival releases that keep coming out. This historic 2CD set features landmark recordings from Spice, who were the band that later became Uriah Heep, as well as rare and alternate recordings of early Heep classics from their first three albums. To say that this is an essential part of any Heep collection is an understatement.
While hearing some of the alternate takes of classics like "Gypsy", "Look at Yourself", "Simon the Bullet Freak", "Lady in Black", or "Walking in Your Shadow" is interesting, the best part of this release is the inclusion of the previously unreleased "Why" and "Here am I." The latter especially is an epic classic, haunting and progressive for the most part but with a metallic and crushing middle section that is just breathtaking. It's a mystery why the band chose to leave this song off the Salisbury album in the first place. In addition, the Spice tracks are really what the collector needs to get his or her hands on, and here eight tracks are included. While these songs are quite raw and show a band that still had not shown their true colors or found their way yet, the seeds are there, especially on the two-part "Astrananza" and the energetic "Magic Lantern." The bands cover of "Celebrate" is also admirably done, although a bit amusing. While David Byron's vocals on the Spice tracks are fine, Mick Box's guitar playing leaves a bit to be desired. It's obvious that he still had a lot to learn at this point in 1968/1969.
The sound quality on much of this collection is obviously not the greatest, but they have done a great job with the remastering considering what they had to work with. All in all, a must for the serious Uriah Heep fan.