KNAC.com CD Review: Uriah Heep Wake the Sleeper...
Date: September 09, 2008
Rockers Uriah Heep are back and have just released their first new record in
ten years entitled "Wake The Sleeper!!!" WAKE is true to Heep and yet
another addition their amazing thirty eight year achieve of music. This new
material proves that British Rock Royalty only get better and louder with
age. After nearly four decades of rocking the planet, Uriah Heep are still
cranking out their own classic style of vintage balls to the wall
progressive rock and ready to embark on an American Tour in 2009!!! ( Hello
Uriah Heep are
Guitarist Mick Box
Vocalist Bernie Shaw ( Escape, Praying Mantis )
Trevor Bolder ( David Bowie, Wishbone Ash )
Keyboardist Phil Lanzon ( Sweet
Drummer Russell Gilbrook ( The Gods/Tony Iommi Black Sabbath ).
"Wake The Sleeper" Sanctuary/Universal Record Release...
( Official Release Date 9.4.08 )
Produced and Engineered by Mike Paxman...
Total Time - 50:44
The Sleeper... ( 3:33 )
Overload... ( 5:56 )
of The World... ( 4:44 )
of a Thousand Stars... ( 3:56 )
Rain... ( 4:16 )
6. Book of
Lies... ( 4:03 )
Kind of God... ( 6:36 )
of the Ocean... ( 3:20 )
Walk With You... ( 5:23 )
Shadow... ( 3:35 ) 11. War Child... ( 5:07 )
Uriah Heep are
the original Pioneers of Progressive Rock and have sold in excess of 30
million gold and platinum records. I was just a little rug rat rocker
growing up in St. Louis when I received "The Magicians Birthday" as a
present for my ninth birthday and my life has never been the same since. ( I
think the heaviest album I had at that point was "The Monkees Greatest
Hits." ) Uriah Heep inspired me to grow my hair long, piss my parents off
and become an artist. It's unbelievable looking back on Uriah Heep's entire
catalogue of music since day one. I was seven years old when their first
self titled debut record was released in 1970.
Slap on that
record today and "Gypsy" is still one of the heaviest opening riffs. Heep
was formed by Guitarist Mick box and their flamboyant frontman David Byron.
Byron was prancing around and mucking up huge concert stages before Freddie
Mercury ( Queen ) and long before Scott Wieland ( STP ). Heep were also the
very first British rock band to ever play a live concert in Russia in
December of 1987.
In the beginning in 1970 Uriah Heep
were born from the talent, heart and soul of the original five members.
Keyboardist Ken Hensley, Guitarist Mick Box, Drummer Lee Kerslake ( Blizzard
of Oz ), and the late vocalist David Byron and Bassist Gary Thain ( The
Secrets ). These five chaps from England were touring the world and selling
out huge concert crowds and I wasn't even out of grade school. Heep mixed
psychedelic tones with a heavy Hammond B3 organ and gigantic vocal harmonies
that make Queen look silly. Heep songs can make you come apart at the heart
strings sometimes. Their songs romp and they take you on these melodic
began, no other band has duplicated the sound or body of work that is Uriah
Heep. And no one ever will. Unless Mick's son takes over the family farm and
dad's rig and keeps the Heep Legacy alive another 100 years. By 1972 Demons
and Wizards Tour, Uriah Heep sold out the Chicago Arena two times. T-Rex
refused to play with them after the crowd went hysterical and wanted more
filled rock radio, owned their own private jet, their images covered the
pages of American rock magazines like Circus, Creem and Hit Parader They
were one of the biggest bands in the world in only a few short years. Heep
paved the way to Budakon for bands like UFO, Iron Maiden and Dream Theater.
Uriah Heep are
responsible for carving out the future of rock music as we now know it. They
wrote about Demons and Wizards long before Maiden and it was bass players
like Gary Thain ( Uriah Heep ) back then who were inspiring young blokes
like Steve Harris ( Bassist Iron Maiden ). Since my heart became filled with
Heepsteria, I have been collecting Heep Music like digitally remastered "Wonderworld"
and "Sweet Freedom." While battling riots, fires, and earthquakes in Los
Angeles in the 1990's.
It was always
nice to have a Heep record by my side to rock my spirits. I am grateful for
the existence of the band and all they have sacrificed. They are not your
average doom and gloom rock band, they really come straight from the heart.
Heep did it all and so much more. They are a sacred institution and right up
there with bands like Led Zeppelin, Rush and Yes. Heep's music is biblical
and a real spiritual shape shifter for dedicated rockers like me. Heepster's
long awaited new record "Wake the Sleeper" has just hit the store shelves
and it's a real rocker! "Wake" is a chipster off the ole blockster, and
simply incredible! This record contains all the magic that has earned Uriah
Heep their loyal fan base for nearly forty years.
This record is
a perfect example of Heep's amazing artistry and has been voted number one
rock album of the year in UK's "Classic Rock Magazine" receiving an 8 out of
10 rating from fans. The first thing that strikes me about this new record
is the superb imaginary cover artwork by "Ioannis" at "Vividimagesdesign.com."
Heep have always had great mystical album covers and I dig the Ancient
Sleeping Guardian Statue for the cover of this record.
spares no expense in putting out quality product for their fans, and
Universal have put together a very nice color fold out CD insert with
photos, lyrics and special thanks to. Heep has always written nice things in
all the records they release for the fans. Early works like "Demons and
Wizards" and "The Magicians Birthday" were designed by famed album artist
Roger Dean who did all of Yes's record covers.
noticeable thing about this new record is the fantastic songs. Most the
songs were written by Guitarist Mick Box and Keyboardist Phil Lanzon. In the
glory days the band usually shared the writing credits although as time went
on, I would see Ken Hensley's name on most of the tunes like "Firefly." Ken
was like the Steve Harris of Uriah Heep for sometime. Someone in the band
has to control the material and captain the direction of the band and Ken
has always bled contracts and control. Since Ken is no longer in the band,
Guitarist Mick box has really taking hold of the reins and kept the Heep
Uriah Heep is
such a great band and has so much music to offer, it would be a shame to let
the music die and the band fade into the abyss along with so many other
bands of their time. Heep just refuses to let go and they are here to
inspire a new generation of rock fans with their musical wizardry. To this
day, Uriah Heep is one of the best live performing bands on the planet. The
first tune WAKE THE SLEEPER is a rockin tune out of the gate courtesy of
Mick's opening guitar riff.
The first tune is a mover! Great driving
song like Saxon! It's a straight ahead instrumental with some classic Heep
vocals layered over the chorus part singing "Wake The Sleeper." A cool ahead
opener out of the gate and it sounds just like Uriah Heep. It amazes me how
bands like this never lose their sound and secret formula. They just keep
cranking out the new tunes and they sound as good today as they did thirty
years ago. It's evident just by hearing the first song, Heep is very true to
their family recipe for song and heavy flavor.
Some where in
Heaven David and Gary are looking down with a smile and a cocktail. ( and
Mum and Cuz John ) The second tune OVERLOAD is brilliant! I was hooked after
the first verse. What superb chord changes and it sounds really good turned
way up loud . This record has some great material and a lot of classic
dynamics like all Heep Records.
vocals, B3 and a smoking performance from new drummer Russell Gilbrook who
replaced their long time mate Lee Kerslake. Lee sadly has been ill and
unable to record or tour with the band. And this is a chap who used to stand
on his drum stool and jump over his drum kit back in the day. Much like
Guitarist Mick Box, Lee has chosen to be a musician for life and his
contribution to Heep's History is unheard of! He should have war medals for
disappearing on the road and finding his way back to the bus.
drums on the first two records Ozzy with Randy Rhoads. and those are
considered musical bibles. Add Ozzy along with Heep's Amazing Achieve of
material and Lee has quite an impressive resume. He is truly missed by
Heepsters and we wish him best of health and ‘Appy Days as Mick would say.
There are several song stand outs on this record like TEARS OF THE WORLD,
and ANGELS WALK WITH YOU, heavily
written in spirit about the passing of Mick Box's Mother and his cousin John
Lyons in 2006 who were the ones who originally inspired Mick to pick up a
After all the thanking we give Heep for their music, we should be
thanking Mick's Mum Lillian for helping Mick with his guitar addiction. I
couldn't picture growing up in the 70's without Uriah Heep blasting on the
radio! Simply amazing performance mates right down to Mick's toggle
switching ending out ANGELS.
And I wanted
to add WHAT KIND OF GOD is a great war cry tune with superb lyrics and mega
haunting harmonies and Heep's signature Hammond B3! The last couple songs on
this record SHADOW and WAR CHILD just smoke! Kudo's to vocalist Bernie Shaw,
Bassist Trevor Bolder and Keyboardist Phil Lanzon.
kicked some major ass on this material playing and providing voices. There
are ton's of vocals on WAKE which is the ultimate staple of Heep. Their
lyrics are dead on with the times as Heep marches on into the new century
and a new sunrise. Mick Box and Phil Lanzon wrote most of the material on
The album was
engineered by Mike Paxman ( Status Quo ). The mix on this record is very
good. It's not super bright like most modern rock records to retain some of
the vintage sound. I wouldn't doubt if it was recorded analog. If you listen
to an old Heep Record, they have really come along way in the overall sound
department. Everything is much bigger, fatter and compressed like hell now
which I love!
The band is
truly at the top of their game. You can poke fun, criticize and say what you
want about a band still rocking in their sixties. In reality, Heep were the
ones headlining Madison Square Garden and The Chicago Arena when you were
still shitting in your diapers wanting a Big Wheel for Christmas.
Heep may not
sell as many licensed lunch boxes and alarm clocks as KISS, but they are
still better musicians. Always have been, always will be. Heep always
delivers and the proof is in the english pudding. This is one of the best
records I have heard in a long time! Heep shows have always been fun and a
party more less.
They took the
rock arena party atmosphere to another level long before bands like Van
Halen. Heep easily stands along side all the other bands of their era like
Sweet, Grand Funk, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin. You have to respect that or
your a ranting nomad. 90% of the bands out today will not be active in
thirty years... or will their fans support them like Heepster's support Heep
now. With all the chemicals and cookie monster vocals of today, I'm
surprised if any of the bands these days will still have hearing or a voice
by the time they are forty years old let alone sixty.
Heep has lost
a few soldiers along the way like David and Gary, so this band is honoring
their fallen' brothers and keeping the music alive. Due to greed and
stupidity, most other rock artists would just do their own thing to make
more money and leave the past behind dishonoring the music. Sound familiar?
In a world where crap is king, I would
personally like to thank the blokes in Heep for their loyalty to the music.
Between the modern rule of gangster hip hop, MTV gone psycho teen and Hannah
Montana. It's like going thru a new threshold listening to "Wake The
Sleeper." Hearing Heep fresh again is like popping on the ole headphones and
saying hello to old friends again. This music really cuts through your
these guys have made being away from home nine months out of a year
throughout all their lives is right up there with our troops in IRAQ. If
Heep had a chest full of War Medals... they wouldn't have enough chests to
put them on! Well, unless maybe Sharon Osbourne and Dolly Parton donated
theirs. It's not really about the people as it is the music... and it's
important for me to keep Uriah Heep plugged in and turned up real loud as
long as I am alive.
I admire that
fact that this band refuses to quietly go away. It's what it's all really
about isn't it...? To die with your boots on...? In 1970, Rolling Stone
writer named Melissa Mills wrote a record review of Uriah Heep's first self
titled debut album and it read: "If this band makes it, I'll have to commit
suicide!" I lay money on it that bird is either dead or working at
McDonald's asking people if they want ketchup with their french fries.
Melissa darling where ever you are, Pure Rock always has the last laugh. "And I will
take some extra ketchup with my fries!" Uriah Heep's "Wake The Sleeper" is
now etched in stone and in the history books.
superb piece of work from one of the greatest rock bands of our time. Be
sure to check out Heep's 2008 European Fall Tour Schedule as they are
hitting the road this September and looking to tour the House of Blues in
America in January and February of 2009. Uriah Heep's new CD "Wake The
Sleeper"" earns a KNAC Pure Rock four stars!!!!
Go buy this
record and disturb your neighbors in pure style!
Check the Heep Website for 2008-09 European/US Tour Dates!