Uriah Heep – “Living The Dream” (Frontiers Music)
Well, if the title doesn’t say it all, then I don’t know what does. Is it possible that a band, let alone a man could be playing for 49 years?! Well, Uriah Heep and the still very ‘eavy and very ‘umble Mick Box most definitely are, returning on this 25th studio rocker that does just exactly that. Often relegated to the annals of dinosaur rock, Heep certainly had their heyday in the 70s, and while their popularity declined through the 80s, the band ironically achieved cult status which they continue to be revered for to this day – that Box proudly states that the band tours in 61 countries says it all! Given that, there’s little tinkering to be done to the band’s classic rock sound that still resonates the 70s through and through, from hard rock songs to rock ballads and even some proggies all very much in their fan demanded style, making for a full on Heep experience across the 10 tracks here. No doubt the tightness of the performances here are attributable to the longevity of the members themselves and not withstanding the 71 year old Box himself, keyboardist Phil Lanzon and vocalist Bernie Shaw each have over 30 years vested in the band. Even Heep’s newest member since 2013, Davey Rimmer, makes his impact right away on prog pumping opener ‘Grazed By Heaven’ co written with Jeff Scott Soto complete with deep Hammond organ and a punchy chorus just waiting to be hollered out during the next world tour – already planned for 2019! Clearly proud of their legacy while commendably not living off it is ‘Take Away My Soul’ which actually a modern rocker with tons of soaring soul to match Lanzon’s keys and space rock sounds of ELO while the 62 year old Shaw sounds like he’s 32 given his youthful tones. Starting off quietly enough, “It’s All Been Said” soon erupts into pure prog fury with Lanzon’s driving organ unleashed alongside Russell Gilbrook’s double bass drumming – wow – soothed in its mellower moments by Shaw’s tender croons before taking on massive pomp dimensions as all the instruments join in climatically – with Box’s passionate wailing solo and wah putting the final nail in – luvly! Galloping it up is the fast rocking ‘Goodbye To Innocence’ with rock n roll boogie meets prog while ‘Falling Under Your Spell’ is as vintage as it sounds, yet still with plenty of energy as it oozes prog glory and a glorious solo while Shaw’s timeless vocals ensures the word ‘dinosaur’ is definitely consigned to “Jurassic Park” ha ha. Rock may be a dream to some, Uriah Heep have certainly been living it! Come to think about it, they shoulda called this album “Living Legends” cos that’s just what these guys are – ‘cept they’re very ‘umble.