Whether you like their music or not, it is almost impossible not to respect Uriah Heep. Personally I have not been a great admirer of their music over the many years (and 22 studio albums) that this UK progrock fivesome have been around. But that have not stopped me from listening to their last studio effort Into The Wild with much pleasure and admiration. The band's 2008 outing Wake The Sleeper already signalled a serious comeback and with Into The Wild that status is further cemented. Not that anything new is under the sun here. The sound is still a highly seventies oriented mix of prog- and classic rock with the good old Hammond organ firmly ingrained in all the tunes.
Into The Wild offers 11 new tracks that given 2011 still seem to have escaped from the seventies. A few tracks are really good such as the title track, the more contemporary T-Bird Angel and the versatile Believe. I was also impressed with the slower Trail Of Diamonds, Southern Star and Kiss Of Freedom. Others like Money Talks, Nail On The Head, I Can See You and Lost sound vintage Heep but are somewhat inconspicuous and never seem to settle, no matter how many times I play them.
If the quality of the songs is a bit of a mixed bag, the performance of the band is spot on. The band sounds extremely energetic, the production is great and in particular vocalist Bernie Shaw is very convincing once more. Moreover I simply cannot imagine another voice presiding this band.
To me Uriah Heep is one of those bands that is capable of travelling through time, on many tracks I had the impression that their seventies gem Return To Fantasy was mistakenly shoved into the CD player. But that should be taken as a compliment and it makes Into The Wild a worthy addition to their long and impressive back catalogue. This album is surely going to make their loyal fan base very happy. But on the other hand the British veterans have failed to step out of their own shadow and create something out of the ordinary. In that sense it is a missed opportunity. But heck, I cannot deny that sitting in that shadow can be very comfortable.
This album is surely going to make their loyal fan base very happy. But on the other hand the British veterans have failed to step out of their own shadow and create something out of the ordinary. In that sense it is a missed opportunity.