Just two years before their debut album will celebrate its 50 years old birthday, Uriah Heep releases yet another brand new studio album. It is nice to see that good old Heep never gives in, although there of course aren’t that many left from the old days. Since the short split between 1980 and 1982, the band has been less a groundbreaking musical force with the magical mystery of former keyboard player Ken Hensleys strange melodies, and more of a dependable melodic rock-band centered around guitar player Mick Box and newer but long lasting, members. With that said, I will not say that later Uriah Heep lost their ability to make magic; they have done it several times, but maybe not as often.
Living the Dream is the bands 24th album and it is an album in the same tradition you’d expect. Good old school hardrock with great vocals from Bernie Shaw (who has now been the bands vocalist for 32 years!) and nice sound. But still, I can lack some really strong songs. There are no instant favourites on this new album. It is good all the way, but the real magic never starts to glow.
I shouldn’t say I miss the Hensley-touches in the bands music, since the band has made so much great with music since Hensleys departure, but I would really like the band to try more variations and different styles than they are doing on this album. I like Living the Dream and will probably buy it as soon as it comes out, but the band has potential for greater stuff. Sometimes, like when the solo towards the end of Take Away My Soul turnes into an endless jam-inferno, that potential shines through. I wish they’d explore those sides more the next time.
It is interesting that keyboard player Phil Lanzon earlier this year released a solo album far superior to the new Uriah Heep-album. Kind of strange. But overall, Living the Dream is an okay album, still worth checking out. After you check out Lanzons If You Think I’m Crazy, of course.
Band: Uriah Heep
Title: Living the Dream
Date of release: 14/9-18
Stand out tracks: Take Away My Soul