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Uriah Heep | Outsider

by Alexandra Mrozowska
– Columnist —

Uriah Heep OutsiderThere is no doubt Uriah Heep has already secured themselves a place among the “classic” or “legendary” bands a rock fan enumerates in a single breath – with their early and mid-1970s cult albums, recorded by the classic Heep line-up. Past achievements aside, forty five years and more than a few personal changes later, the band still stands strong – the clear proof of which is their newest release Outsider, a follow-up to and a musical continuation of the 2011 Into The Wild album.

“Sometimes I can’t keep my feet on the ground,” Bernie Shaw sings in the groovy opener “Speed Of Sound” and from the first seconds of this dynamic, Hammond organ-infused track you know these words are somewhat prophetic. Apparently, what Uriah Heep tries to prepare their listeners for is some serious rocking, so don’t be surprised at your feet getting off the ground while listening to this album! Just try “The Law” laden with some tasteful yet fierce guitar licks, the feisty eponymous track (a gallop in vein of the band’s classic “Easy Livin’”) or the dynamic “Rock The Foundation.” Or maybe the surprisingly heavy, vintage final track “Say Goodbye”? Even the slower tracks, such as “One Minute” with ballad-esque piano-based intro, or Hammond-driven “Is Anybody Gonna Help Me?” have certain rocking undertones, making Outsider very dynamic release overall.

And even though long gone are the days when the high-pitched, equilibristic vocal duels of Ken Hensley and the late David Byron shone through Uriah Heep’s classics, here the backing vocals provide a very solid background to Bernie Shaw’s characteristic, strong voice (“Speed Of Sound,” “Kiss The Rainbow”). Exceptional is also the instrumental performance of the entire band, and especially, the six string “wizard” Mick Box. After forty five years of activity in the music industry, the sole founding member of Uriah Heep could have entered the lists with the majority of the younger generation shredders and most certain is the scenario in which he would have taken a round of them all. Another distinctive feature of this album is its inevitable 1970s progressive rock flavor, balanced skillfully with more contemporary musical undertones, so that the record’s content can’t be considered neither detached from Heep’s recognizable style, nor “dated”. This, in combination with the masterful songwriting and clean production, constitutes what the living legend of Uriah Heep is now, almost a half-century from its formation.

Outsider is no Look At Yourself or Demons & Wizards – but at the same time, similarly to its immediate predecessors Wake The Sleeper (2008) or Into The Wild (2011), it really doesn’t have to be. It’s a classy record from one of the world’s longest-running hard rock acts – and although on Uriah Heep concert fans will always demand to hear “Easy Livin’” or “July Morning”, no one should feel disappointed about the band adding three or four new songs to their set list. Each of them is a hard rock gem in its own right and a valuable addition to the band’s catalog – so is the entire Outsider. Much recommended, not only for Uriah Heep fans, but for hard rock listeners in general.

Genre: Classic Rock, Hard Rock

Mick Box: guitars, vocals
Phil Lanzon: keyboards, vocals
Bernie Shaw: lead singer
Russell Gilbrook: drums, vocals
Dave Rimmer: bass, vocals

Track List:
1. Speed Of Sound
2. One Minute
3. The Law
4. The Outsider
5. Rock The Foundation
6. Is Anybody Gonna Help Me?
7. Looking At You
8. Can’t Take That Away
9. Jessie
10. Kiss The Rainbow
11. Say Goodbye

Label: Frontiers Records


Hardrock Haven rating: 9/10


5 Comments on Uriah Heep | Outsider

  1. paul roche // June 8, 2014 at 5:09 pm //

    A fan for over 40 years,still think they are the greatest rock band the UK have ever produced,can’t wait to get Outsider

  2. Dave Wilkes Booth // June 6, 2014 at 5:57 am //

    Very well done review of Outsider, I will be getting the LP vinyl ASAP.

  3. lance costello // May 12, 2014 at 4:09 pm //

    can’t wait, if this new cd is half as good as into the wild ill be happy heep fan since 1972

  4. Glen Doucet - Canada // May 4, 2014 at 9:43 am //

    I’ve already pre-ordered the vinyl and cd version of the new album. Each and every new Heep release for me is like being a kid in a candy store who can’t wait to unwrap and taste the juicy candy inside. Heep have never been a flavour of the month and that’s why they are still releasing awesome albums and going so strong 45 years on…..Keep on Heepin….

  5. Bill Brisco // May 1, 2014 at 4:44 pm //

    I have pre ordered the album, like a child who cannot open the Xmas present it cannot come quick enough
    Keep rocking the best live band I’m the world
    Bill Brisco

Comments are closed.