After almost ten years of silence, besides the recent gigs, the British classic Hard Rock band, Uriah Heep is back for the attack with their new album, Wake The Sleeper. This album continues the band’s legendary unique style of playing Melodic Hard Rock 70’s style with a lot of harmony between the members of the group.
Uriah Heep is in an elite group that forms a fine line of bands from the 70’s era with most of them having split up a long time ago. The major bands that came through and lasted long were bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Yes, Rainbow and Black Sabbath. Since their formation in 1970, Uriah took the more melodic edge of Hard Rock, which was the loudest thing back in the 70’s, keeping in-line with Deep Purple and Rainbow, especially in Rainbow’s era with Graham Bonnet and Joe Lynn Turner.
Years ago, back in the end of the 80’s, Uriah Heep changed its line up to one that is still currently running with greatness, aside from the drummer, Lee Kerslake that left after their last release in 1998 and had the band recruiting a new drummer. The only survivor from the original 70’s line up and one of the founders of the band is the guitarist Mick Box.
Focusing on the album, it's obvious that the band really gave a lot by producing a well refined production which was made in Chapel Studios. Mix Paxman, the producer, assisted the band and made sure they kept on recording with their magical 70’s sound and so he did. The mastering and the sound are of high quality lending itself to a real 70’s Hard Rock feel and atmosphere.
The band’s material, as was mentioned earlier, is the continuance of their 70’s legacy that has kept well for almost 40 years now. The songs have their fine melodic edges that resemble the melody and music of Deep Purple, but still Uriah has their own way of preaching their words and practicing their music. One of the most unique things about Uriah’s music is the member’s harmony in regards to the singing. This harmony is one of the main reasons they channel their melody all around along with Box’s wah-wah guitar and Bernie Shaw’s amazing vocals that never die.
The band, all together, are unified under this great release and fulfilling their roles with the best of their abilities. Bernie Shaw, at the vocals, is still holding on to his great depth and melodic voice that has many hints of Graham Bonnet and Bruce Dickinson. Mick Box, at the guitars, is giving the band help by preserving the band’s original sound, playing amazing melodic riffs, such a great riff is on the second track, “Overload” and “Shadows”. In addition he produces some good wah-wah solos, for example on “War Child”. Trevor Bolder on the bass playing various melodic bass lines that can be appreciated on tracks like “Shadows” and “What Kind Of God”. Phil Lanzon, at the keys, provides the atmospheric support for the guitars and bass with various melodic parts that resembles Jon Lord and Don Airey’ style of performing. Finally, there is the new guy, Russel Gilbrook, practicing some great double bass drums that match Uriah’s style and help adding more energy to the music.
This album has a lot of songs that can be hits and some that are pretty regular for the band and won’t, actually, knock you off your feet. The best tracks of this release are tracks like: “Overload” that have a well tuned wah-wah guitar riff and great vocals. “Tears Of The World”, which is another great Rocker, with a great chorus and riffs. “Book Of Lies”, which is a classic 70’s track no doubt about it. The epic “What Kind Of God” and “Ghost Of The Ocean” has a lot of melodic edges in line with the band’s legacy.
Uriah Heep is back which is a great event. They still give and fulfill the impression as a band that still follows their earlier roots and not following after cheap gimmicks. Their legacy still breaths and this release won’t be their last, they still have more to give to the Metal and Hard Rock worlds. One can only wish that many bands, in Metal and in Hard Rock, will take Uriah’s example as a guideline or a guide book on how to keep their earlier style of music alive.