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Uriah Heep: Living the Dream

Few legacy bands have had as strong of a late renaissance as legendary British heavy rock act Uriah Heep. Though they released periodic solid albums throughout the 1990's, it wasn't until 2008's Wake the Sleeper that a re-energized Heep found the fountain of youth and started cranking out albums that rivaled some of their classic '70s material. 2011's Into the Wild and 2014's Outsider continued the trend of hard hitting, memorable studio releases that were extremely well received by critics and fans alike, and now four years later, the equally stunning Living the Dream is upon us.

With founder and lead guitarist Mick Box as always at the helm, the band is rounded out by vocalist Bernie Shaw, keyboard player Phil Lanzon (both now in the band for 30 years!), drummer Russell Gilbrook, and bassist Dave Rimmer. From the opening hard rock bombast of "Grazed By Heaven", it's evident that Heep's penchant for raging guitar riffs, commanding Hammond organ, and soaring vocal hooks is once again front and center. "Living the Dream" and "Take Away My Soul" both feature dazzling vocals from Shaw and Lanzon's fiery Hammond flourishes, while the snarling "Knocking at My Door" sees Box letting loose with some savage riffing over Gilbrook's acrobatic drums, the two giving Shaw more than enough ammo to help him deliver a potent heavy rock anthem. Fans of Deep Purple will love "Rocks In the Road", a tune with plenty of bluesy hard rock swagger, which leads into the bluesy acoustic strains of the catchy "Waters Flowin'".

Early Uriah Heep albums often saw the band blend elements of progressive rock with proto-metal, which can be heard on the adventurous "It's All Been Said", as Lanzon drops in some mighty Hammond, synths, and piano throughout the song, giving plenty of colors and textures, Box also joining the fray with thunderous riffs and a scalding wah-wah solo. Also noteworthy on this epic sounding track are the multi-part vocal harmonies, another Heep trademark. "Goodbye to Innocence" is a raucous, rumbling, galloping hard rocker, "Falling Under Your Spell" a vintage sounding piece that could have easily come from Wonderworld or Return to Fantasy, and closer "Dreams of Yesteryear" dips into majestic melodic rock, Shaw delivering an emotional vocal over crisp riffs, shimmering keys, and rock solid grooves. It's a classy way to end a classy album.

Considering all this band have been through since they burst on the scene in 1970, it's almost impossible to believe that are still consistently delivering new material this strong nearly 50 years later. Living the Dream is an outstanding work, arguably their strongest release since 2008's Wake the Sleeper, and an easy contender for best album of 2018. Pick yourself up a copy and hear how this group of old veterans can still kick your ass in a big way.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!


Track Listing

  1. Grazed By Heaven
  2. Living The Dream
  3. Take Away My Soul
  4. Knocking At My Door
  5. Rocks In The Road
  6. Waters Flowin’
  7. It’s All Been Said
  8. Goodbye To Innocence
  9. Falling Under Your Spell
  10. Dreams Of Yesteryear
  11. Take Away My Soul (Alternate Version) Bonus Track (Deluxe Edition Only)

Added: September 28th 2018
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 3681
Language: english

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Uriah Heep: Living the Dream
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2018-09-27 23:09:16
My Score:

Incredible!

I could just leave it there. Nearly 50 years as a going concern. 25 albums now behind them. Numerous comings and goings of band members. Label wrangles, dalliances with everything from prog to AOR. And yet with Living The Dream, Uriah Heep are still right at the top of their game, right at the peak of classic rock and more vital, energetic and spirited than any band lumbered purely by distinction of having been strong enough to overcome fads and fickleness, with the ‘heritage rock’ tag.

You can dip into this band’s catalogue from any of the decades they’ve been in existence and unearth a stone cold classic, such as (amongst many) 1971’s Salisbury, 1982’s Abominog, 1995’s Sea Of Light, 2008’s Wake The Sleeper and now, 2018’s Living The Dream. Are there any other bands that have been going so long that can genuinely make that claim? I think not. Did I mention Uriah Heep are incredible??

The aforementioned Wake The Sleeper set the tone for everything that’s followed, a meatier, beefier sound that simply romped, ripped and roared with authority. That these old geezers also unveil more vitality and energy than any young pretenders you care mention is where the true strength of Living The Dream comes from. Well, that and stupendous songs, great performances, a stellar production and the ability to balance out their ‘classic years’ against a much more current - if hardly bowing to trends - sound.

Just as you can delve into the Heep’s catalogue at will and find something to shout about, so here you can do likewise, not one single moment wasted as “It’s All Been Said” rages against the world with a humongous Hammond attack from Phil Lanzon and trademark licks and flicks from guitarist Mick Box. As the Heep themselves could be described, singer Bernie Shaw might just be the most underrated voice in rock and he is peerless again on this latest outburst; the man’s performance on the frantic shuffle bustle of “Goodbye To Innocence” as engaging as it is exciting. “Falling Under Your Spell” proves it’s possible to pack a prog powered punch into three and a half minutes, while the masterful use of dynamics throughout “Rocks In The Road” finds this eight minute-plus mini-epic rolling, tumbling and still going for the throat.

Being honest, the hardest thing about discussing Living The Dream is to not just simply list every track and gush repeatedly about them all. Such is the strength of “Grazed By Heaven” where powerhouse drummer Russell Gilbrook more than proves his worth, or the boisterous “Knocking At My Door”, where the band’s most recent recruit - bassist Davey Rimmer - stands tall. And I haven’t even mentioned the more classic Heep ebb of “Waters Flowin’”, which is a beautiful aside on an album crammed with proud rock and roll.

So yes, in short, I just about hit the nail on the head right at the start of this review, Uriah Heep are incredible and so is Living The Dream.



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