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Old 09-04-2011, 03:50 PM   #204 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Abominog --- Uriah Heep --- 1982 (Bronze)


There's little confusion as to what kind of music you're going to hear on this album! With a revamped and updated heavy metal sound, Uriah Heep released their fourteenth album to critical acclaim. Personally, it was another one of those records I bought strictly on the basis of the album sleeve! I loved that demonic face! At age nineteen, and into the likes of Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Sabbath and Saxon at the time, this was the sort of music I wanted to listen to.

Mind you, it's not totally heavy metal, and in some places it's more hard rock, but it is loud! As the opening guitar chords of “Too scared to run” blast out of your speakers, you know you're in for a headbanging time! The drums crash in and the song takes off, with one short break before it all powers off again and new vocalist Peter Goalby makes himself heard, stamping his identity on the song, and on the whole album. The chugging guitar of founder member Mick Box creates in great part the sound of this song, though the keys of new man John Sinclair play their part too, creating a heads-down rocker that hardly gives you time to catch your breath before slipping into “Chasing shadows”. Introduced on a boppy keyboard line it soon sparks to life as another hot rocker, although not as frenetic as “Too scared to run”, and driven mainly on keyboards.

“On the rebound” is another bouncy rocker, utilising the considerably talents of former drummer Lee Kerslake, and written by Russ Ballard, in fact the first of several covers: the band write about half of the material on the album, with the rest made up by cover versions. Great keyboard arpeggios here from Sinclair, with Goalby really stretching himself vocally. Some really mesmerising guitar from Box stamps his authority on this song, then it's on to John Cougar's “Hot night in a cold town”, where the pace slackens slightly. Not quite a ballad, it's certainly slower than the tracks on the album to date, and provides a welcome chance to catch a breather before we're off again, running with the lion...

A song originally recorded by the band Lion, of which John Sinclair was a member, “Running all night (with the lion)” was a track Sinclair brought with him from his time with Lion, and here the guys give it the Uriah Heep treatment. I must admit, I haven't heard the original, but this is a power rocker of the first order! Striding, brash, ballsy and with great guitars from Box and a down-and-dirty vocal from Goalby. Sweet! Two more covers then, first up is “That's the way that it is”, with great jangly guitar intro and an impassioned vocal by Goalby, backed up by some very Europe-like keyboards --- hair metal, ho!

“Prisoner” is a sort of a semi-ballad, starting off with lush keyboards and a gentle vocal, but then it ramps up and becomes a punchy anthem, almost with elements of gospel near the end. Great backing vocals, Box's wailing guitar underscoring the mood of the song. Church-like organ introduces “Hot persuasion”, which then gets into a great little groove, while “Sell your soul” is a real fist-clenching, air-punching anthem, where Mick Box gets to really let loose!

Closer “Think it over” is a slow rocker, comes in on gorgeous slide guitar and atmospheric keyboard, a great melody and a powerful closer to the album. Although a cover of sorts, this is in fact an original Uriah Heep song, which was performed by the previous lineup in 1980, before they broke up, so technically it's not really a cover at all. Just thought you'd like to know that!

Uriah Heep have of course over twenty albums to date, of which I've only heard this and their greatest hits (“July morning”, “Stealin'” and “The wizard” are great tracks, by the way), and I believe their earlier stuff is not as heavy as that heard here, but either way they have to be worth checking out on the basis of this album, and once I get some time (whenever that may be!) I'll definitely be dipping into their back catalogue.

For now, this serves as a great taster and an idea of what to expect from this old and established, and yet fully up-to-date and modern rock band.

TRACKLISTING

1. Too scared to run
2. Chasing shadows
3. On the rebound
4. Hot night in a cold town
5. Running all night (with the lion)
6. That's the way that it is
7. Prisoner
8. Hot persuasion
9. Sell your soul
10. Think it over
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