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I've listened to it about 6 times in the last day, and as a lifelong Heep fan, who loves basically all Heep (excluding perhaps Conquest and Different World, and including Sonic Origami), I have been floored by it. The first listen through, I had chills and a cheshire grin.

Having now gotten to know the songs fairly well, it is an album that flows together really well, with a great production, some of Micks best riffs, playing and sound EVER, lots of thick, heavy Hammond B3 sounding organ, energetic and interesting drumming from the 'new guy', Russel Gilbrook. He adds to the overall energy and vibe really well. There's a lot of 70's type Heep moments on this, while retaining a little of what has been great about Abominog, Head First, Raging Silence, Sea of light and Sonic Origami. Lots of 'Oomph', and sometimes, just when you think they're lulling you into a daydreamy piece, wham, the energy is back!

Bernie turns in his best performance on a Heep album yet, sometimes on earlier albums he could be a little too shrill and grating (in moments), but here it seems effortless and perfect, truly a great vocalist for a great album.

If you've not heard Heep with this lineup before, I highly recommend this album. IMO, it easily matches Sea of Light, and in fact betters it. Mick and co had one last great album in them (at least), and here it is. Personally, I think it's the best new album by an 'old' artist since DP's Purpendicular in 96 (possibly surpassing even that excellent 'comeback' album). I'm looking forward to giving my Dad (who was responsible for my getting into Heep) a copy, I'm sure he'll be impressed as well.  

Every song is great, but a few highlights I've picked up so far are the furious, 'Free An' Easy on steroids' bluster of the opener/title track, the driving power and tempo changes of Overload, the playful (sounding riffs) yet heavy and catchy as hell, early 70's style of Tears of the World, the balls out rocking main riffing of Book of Lies, the pure 'fast Heep' recollections of Ghost of the Ocean (think Sweet Pretender, Easy Livin', Look At Youself, Too Scared to Run etc), the dark and slinky Angels Walk with You.....I could go on, but you get the idea.

No slight on Lee at all, but hearing Russel bash the living s*it out of his kit evokes memories of Lee in his prime, along with inventive fills and patterns that have been slightly lacking in some recent Heep. Of course, these songs and performances demand such a percussive onslaught, and I would like to think Lee could have risen to the task quite well.

However, I'm sure a fly on the wall could affirm that Russel helped inspire such greatness and energy in the others, as he in turn rises to the lofty quality we all know Heep capable of. He fits perfectly, and if we get another album or two from this lineup, it could be almost as exciting as the 70 - 75 era.

I was slightly sceptical, but I am totally satisfied, and then some, with Wake The Sleeper. The band should be as well. It's maybe not 'totally perfect', depending on your preferences, but what Heep album ever was? It's damn close anyway :)


Big thanks to the band for a brilliant effort after such a long wait.


Clint Bearham, Melbourne, Australia.






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