Album Review : Wake The Sleeper - Uriah Heep****
For Fans Of : Melodic Rock, Deep Purple, Rainbow, UFO,
Uriah Heep have been going as a band for over 85 years now and its five members have a combined age of several centuries, so a new album after a ten year gap is likely to be a pile of old crap trading on former glories right ? Wrong.
Wake The Sleeper is a well made, nicely up tempo album. It opens with the mostly musical title piece and then continues with another ten tracks of melodic classic rock. It has been said (in Classic Rock magazine for one) that Uriah Heep are now more Deep Purple than Deep Purple, and this is a pretty fair assesment of the band's current sound, it certainly harks back to the glory days of DP.
Kiss recently said that they probably wouldn't put out any new songs at any time in the future, claiming that the record industry had been ruined by downloads, Uriah Heep see the situation a bit differently despite the problems this album had on the way to release. They parted with thier former record company and signed with Sanctuary, who were then taken over by Universal whic put the album into limbo for a while, but everything seems to be working out to the band's satisfaction. Talking about Kiss' comments, Mick Box recently said "I don't think we ever want to fall into that trap, that oldies circuit isn't for us, we're too forward thinking."
This kind of thinking and the band's obvious passion for their music shines through on Wake The Sleeper, it is a classic rock / retro style of course, Uriah Heep are not going to suddenly re-invent themselves as My Chemical Romance after all, but the songs on this album sound fresh and powerful, they sound as if the band enjoyed creating them.
Highlights then, the six and a half minutes of 'What Kind Of God' are wonderful, Mick Box shows that there isn't such a thing as too much wah-wah pedal, 'Overload' is all power and bluster, guitar solos and swirling supporting keyboards and closing track 'War Child' has both Bernie Shaw at his most verbally aggresive as well as plenty of Uriah Heep's trademark harmonies.
Well then, a really good album from Uriah Heep, roll on Led Zeppelin then ?