KEN HENSLEY – Blood On The Highway

KEN HENSLEY - Blood On The Highway
  • 6.5/10
    KEN HENSLEY - Blood On The Highway - 6.5/10


Politur Records
Release date: May 25, 2007

User Review
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This name is nothing less than a Rock legend: Ken Hensley who recorded 13 studio albums with British Rock dinosaurs Uriah Heep, two with Blackfoot, and over a dozen more solo and with various bands. He’s an institution in Hard Rock. Now after 40 years of recording, he returns with what he himself claims to be “a very special story that is autobiographic to a large extent,” which should be more than enough to make every serious Rock fan curious.

The album gets even more interesting when one realizes that Hensley, although a formidable singer himself, has invited several renowned singers to do the major part of the vocals on Blood On The Highway, among them Glenn Hughes (ex-Deep Purple), his ex-Uriah Heep band mate John Lawton, and Scandinavian jack-of-all-trades Jorn Lande to tell the story of a 70’s Rockstar from the perspective of the celebrity himself. The story is a very open, honest one, that does not hold back on anything, but also does not excuse Hensley and the others, but just tells it in an emotionally involved, but objective way.

From the opening track to the very end, the sound is fitting to the story, which means Seventies Rock with a more up-to-date production, and Uriah Heep as a band was not only a big part of the story, but also is the ever apparent background style of music for all tracks. The album breathes the old Hammond sound, and the compositions cry Uriah Heep all over them. It seems Ken Hensley was more than aware of this, as he almost mockingly placed various musical and lyrical hints in several songs, most notably in “We’re On Our Way” an obvious free me … free me from your spell ….

As the emotional aspect had a big influence in the songwriting, it is no surprise that the album with six songs contains more than a fair share of ballads and slow tracks. And, while those songs are all good, this is a point of criticism as sometimes Blood On The Highway lacks punch. Great rockers like “We’re On Our Way,“ “You’ve Got It,“ and “Okay (This House Is Down)“ are sown too thin to be the emotional counterpart to bombastic, well done AOR ballads, and mostly can be found in the first half of the album. The end of the epic “The Last Dance,“ although also ballad-esque in the beginning, saves the day, because four of the five tracks before it were emotionally slow songs; three even straight out ballads.

But, although this tiger should show a bit more teeth, it is nonetheless a great piece of Hard Rock, but you should know that it is often so mellow that most of the tracks are not hard enough to be played on Metal Express Radio. It is therefore recommended to get an earful at Ken’s Myspace site – unless, of course, the sole mentioning of Uriah Heep makes you wet your pants – in which case you should get your copy NOW!

Ken Hensley is trying to get a tour going where he wants to play the whole album on stage as a Rock musical, an idea that may even see the light of day, as he performed such a show already once in Hamburg in May, 2007. That would definitely be worth watching out for!


  • Frank Jaeger

    Frank was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Bavaria, Germany. He has worked in the games industry for more than 20 years, now on the manufacturing side, before on the publishing end. Before this, he edited and handled the layout for a city mag in northern Germany ... maybe that is why he love being part of anything published. Frank got hooked on Metal at the age of 14 when a friend introduced him to AC/DC. They were listening to The Beatles, Madness, and The Police, and he decided they should move on. Well, they did, Back in Black became Frank's first Metal album, and since Germany is reasonably close to England, they had some small New Waves Of British Heavy Metal washing up on their shores: Tygers Of Pan Tang, Samson, Gillan, Iron Maiden, Saxon, Sweet Savage, Diamond Head, etc. If he had to pick his favorite styles, Prog and Power Metal would be at the top of the list.

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