URIAH HEEP
"Wake the Sleeper"

(Sanctuary)

01. Wake The Sleeper
02. Overload
03. Tears Of The World
04. Light Of A Thousand Stars
05. Heaven's Rain
06. Book Of Lies
07. What Kind Of God
08. Ghost Of The Ocean
09. Angels Walk With You
10. Shadow
11. War Child

RATING: 8/10

If memory serves, the last URIAH HEEP album I owned was 1982's "Abominog" and the last one I recall hearing was 1985's "Equator". So yes, it has been awhile. Mick Box and the boys certainly haven't waited for me to catch up and continued releasing albums, just like they've been doing since 1970. That said, new disc "Wake the Sleeper" is the first release since 1998's "Sonic Origami" and if the latter is anything like the former, then I've been missing out in a big way on some high-quality classic rock.

"Wake the Sleeper" is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of rock songs with roots that run back to some of URIAH HEEP's '70s fare, sans the proggy excesses, and with loads of melodic majesty, the scintillating keyboards of Phil Lanzon, and Mick Box's super-sharp guitar playing. Like an ode to the jammy bombast of yesteryear, the album kicks off with the quick-paced instrumental (except for some operatic harmonizing and the utterances of "Wake the Sleeper") title track, which features Box's famed wah-wah effected guitar lines. Then comes the album's two stone-cold gems, "Overload" with its driving rhythm and distinct Box guitar lines and "Tears of the World", which features an infectious chorus defined by a simple, yet brilliant, harmony vocal. Lanzon's beautifully flowing organ is so important to the sound of not only these tracks, but the entire album (listen to his solo during "Angels Walk with You"), just as Bernie Shaw's smooth-as-silk vocals bring the melodies to life.

Shaw is a first-class singer in the mold of UFO's Phil Mogg. "Light of a Thousand Stars" even has a UFO feel in the way the tune cascades during the verse. Nothing quite hits the highs of an "Overload" or a "Tears of the World" (though guitar/bass/organ dropouts and tuneful '70s vibe of "War Child" comes close), but every song is strong. Whether it is the comparative mellowness of "What Kind of God", the organ-propelled "Heaven's Rain" or the upbeat rocker "Ghost of the Ocean", the positives continue raining down upon the listener.

Very much done in the British tradition of classic rock with soul, "Wake the Sleeper" is a grand example of what bands like URIAH HEEP and UFO continue to do so well; the creation of smartly composed, immediately memorable, and positively energetic rock. It is about as genuine as it gets. Now more than ever the world needs albums like "Wake the Sleeper".

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).