Review: “Wake The Sleeper,” Uriah Heep
Man, I used to like Uriah Heep way back when I was in high school. Of course, that was in 1972 and they had the U.S. hit “Easy Livin’” which was this British band’s commercial peak on this side of the Atlantic. The Heep was much bigger in England and Europe, and this heavy rock outfit has been going nearly 40 years behind the leadership of original guitarist Mick Box. Back in the 1970s, the Heep’s music was characterized by the fat bass and organ (think Deep Purple) over which rode Box’s fluid guitar riffing. “Heavy” seemed like exactly the right description for this band. At the time the lead singer was David Byron, probably one of the most annoying screechers ever to pull on a pair of tight pants. Byron died in 1985 – now the Heep is led by vocalist Bernie Shaw who is much more palatable than Byron. Anyway, Wake The Sleeper is their 21st studio set, and if anything I mentioned above is even remotely interesting to you then this album’s for you. It’s all here – the thumping rhythm, the lugubrious organ fills, the guitar leads and the suitably “progressive” lyrics. All competently played and presented, nonetheless I kind of lost interest about four songs in. However I find the resilience of a band like Uriah Heep quite inspiring – they might be well into AARP territory, but they still find a way to rock.