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Uriah Heep

Wake The Sleeper

Review by Gary Hill

It has to be tough to be a band like Uriah Heep. I mean, on the one hand you’ve got this catalog of classic material to which everyone will hold all your create as a standard. On the other hand you need to be vital and creative to enjoy being in the band. So, it would seem hard to marry those two extremes. Uriah Heep have done it with this CD. It’s not a perfect disc, but it is incredibly strong. It’s also perhaps closest to their old style of anything I’ve heard in a while. Yet, it still manages to be fresh. This is a disc that should please Uriah Heep fans old and new. If you haven’t heard the band in a while I would say this would be a great time to get reacquainted.

Track by Track Review
Wake The Sleeper
Keyboard laden and with vocals that would have been very much at home on an early Heep disc, this screamer starts us off in fine fashion. It’s sort of an updating of the classic Uriah Heep sound.  It’s got a dramatic proggy section. There is also one noodly segment that I could have done without. Still, as powerful as this song is, it’s not a huge complaint.
Overload
The motif that starts this is nearly heavy metal. They modulate this out into something more akin to classic Uriah Heep, but the verse and chorus on this seems a bit too polished at times. This is still one of the most purely metallic cuts you’ll find here. There is a cool non-lyrical vocal segment and a great retro noisy keyboard solo on the tune.
Tears of the World
This takes us back on track. We get another modern telling of the classic Uriah Heep song. This one with a more catchy (but not overly polished) hook. It’s another killer track and another reason this album is so strong.
Light of a Thousand Stars
Potent as this one is, we have now established a “one killer, one OK” pattern. This is rather along the lines of a 1980’s pop metal sound. There’s still some Heep in the mix, but it’s a bit too generic and average. The bridge in particular (along with the guitar solo that follows) feels like it could have come from Whitesnake or any number of bands of that era.
Heavens Rain
This track is sort of a “sitting on the fence one.” On the one hand there is a lot of vintage Heep in this. There’s also some cool psychedelic elements at times. Unfortunately parts of this feel rather generic.

Book of Lies
Another that’s more metallic, this one feels like equal parts vintage Uriah Heep and old school Deep Purple. Of course, those two bands always shared a good deal of common ground. There are some surprises and unique changes here and there.
What Kind of God
This track is sort of an epic anthemic ballad. It’s a killer and one of my favorite pieces on the CD. It’s also another that could have easily shown up on a classic Uriah Heep disc. This is also another track that has some progressive rock like moments – especially in the hard rocking later jam.

Ghost of the Ocean
Here we get another killer track that has a lot in common with the early period of the band. There’s also quite a bit of progressive rock on this, especially in the vocal department.
Angels Walk With You
A keyboard heavy ballad at first, this gets powered up into near metal later. There is a healthy dosage of old Uriah Heep in this, but I can also hear some Queensryche (old school) at times. This is possibly my favorite track on the CD and it’s quite dynamic.
Shadow
Another hard edged jam this has some classical elements and is seriously fully ingrained with vintage Uriah Heep sounds. It’s very dramatic and powerful and another of my favorites on show here.
War Child
In some ways this doesn’t vary a lot in terms of musical territory from the previous track. It’s a screamer, though, that is again very much Uriah Heep in the truest sense. This is another highlight of the disc and a great way to close things out in style – ending with as strong an impression as the one that started us out.
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