The mighty Uriah Heep knows not how to slow down and has just released their 25th studio effort. Naturally, we had a look.
Coming fresh off their 50th anniversary tour, English hard rock institution Uriah Heep is back with new music. Fifty years is a huge milestone for any band and its a small wonder they’re still around without slowing down one jot. Having gone through more line-up changes than one can possibly count, the band is still led by sole original member Mick Box, without whom’s signature guitar sound and wah-wah wizardry the band would not have been what it is today. Since 1989’s Raging Silence he is joined by Bernie Shaw and Phil Lanzon as the other longest serving members, and the band has been operating comfortably ever since.
Chaos & Colour is the band’s 25th album and it is hard to believe Heep is still sounding as hungry and driven as they are. Clocking in at just under the one-hour mark, there is no bad song on here. What’s more, there are a number of tracks you could comfortably place on any of the band’s earlier albums without them sounding out of place. Save Me Tonight kicks off this classic rock fest in style with Lanzon’s warbling Hammond organ bringing it kicking and screaming into this world. It’s an uptempo rocker like we know them from these guys; full of the band’s signature harmonised vocals, heavy on the keyboards and of course Box’s typical guitar antics. It sounds both familiar and fresh and after two spins it will lodge itself into your head as a Heep song that you’ve known for years, despite the opposite being true. It’s been that way for years and we wouldn’t have it any other way. The band doesn’t bring anything particularly new to the table, but they’re bringing it with conviction, passion and musical skill.
The band diligently works its way through the album’s eleven songs, closing out procedures with Closer To Your Dreams, which sounds like Easy Livin’s younger brother in both tone and structure, with nearly the same lead riff and rhythm driving it. Other highlights are the wonderfully anthemic Hail the Sunrise, the stomping rocker Age of Changes with its delicious harmonised vocals and Golden Light. Chaos & Colour wouldn’t be a Uriah Heep album without some longer cuts, and songs like Freedom To Be Free and You’ll Never Be Alone don’t disappoint in that respect. Another staple for the band is the long, more ballad-like song, and One Nation, One Sun takes up that particular mantle here. Epic and sweeping, building up from soft beginnings and into a rock anthem, this one will surely do well in a live setting.
In the end, you know what you’re getting from Uriah Heep before you’ve even heard a single note. You know Mick Box will lodge wah-wah solos at you at every corner, you know the music will be largely driven by his particular guitar sound and a lot of keyboards. The band is extremely dependable (“predictable” has such a negative connotation) that way and although the more experimental, psychedelic edges from the days of yore have long been smoothed out, they routinely deliver quality music and a fun, hard rocking collection of new material every few years. It’s been that way ever since they returned from hiatus with 2008’s Wake the Sleeper and Box and his men show no signs of giving up just yet. Chaos & Colour is a terrific hard rock album and considering it’s from a band that’s been along for over fifty years that’s all the more impressive. It’s a late career highlight that shows these guys know what they’re doing and have fun doing it. It won’t win Uriah Heep any prizes for originality, but if you want an hour of quality classic rock by a classic band, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Label: Silver Lining Music
Buy it here: https://lnk.to/ChaosandColour
- Save Me Tonight (3:30)
- Silver Sunlight (4:31)
- Hail The Sunrise (4:23)
- Age Of Changes (5:49)
- Hurricane (4:49)
- One Nation, One Sun (7:35)
- Golden Light (5:08)
- You’ll Never Be Alone (7:57)
- Fly Like An Eagle (3:48)
- Freedom To Be Free (8:11)
- Closer To Your Dreams (3:37)
- Bernie Shaw – lead vocals
- Mick Box – guitar, backing vocals
- Dave Rimmer – bass, backing vocals
- Phil Lanzon – keyboards, backing vocals
- Russell Gilbrook – drums
Review by RP