Released September 14/18 (Frontiers)
For those who read this reviewer's live review of Uriah Heep earlier this year (available elsewhere on this very site), you will know that I am a Heep fan. However, the problem with the albums of many "classic rock bands" (I'm looking at you Nazareth!) is that they tend to have between 3 and 6 great songs, and the rest is filler. Heep have suffered from this problem in spades over the decades.
Which brings us to Heep's 25th studio album, Living the Dream. This is easily Heep's most consistent album in their 49 year history. And unlike the consistently terrible 1980 effort Conquest, this latest album is consistently good.....but not great. Every song is good, and I suspect a few will be growers, perhaps into greatness. But for the first time...ever, there is not a single bad song on a Uriah Heep album.
Phil Lanzon's organ playing is featured more prominently than in previous efforts over his 32 years in the band, and he uses it to great effect. There is a bit of a "progressive rock" feel to this album, with multiple tempo changes and complicated interplay between instruments in every song. The band clearly spent time writing the songs on this album.
Stand out tracks include opener "Grazed by Heaven" and the 8 minute "Rocks in the Road", the last 4 minutes of which are instrumental, and "Take Away My Soul " which includes a blistering Mick Box guitar solo that is one of his best ever.
If you are already a Heep fan, this is essential. If you aren't already a fan, but you like high quality hard rock, then this is a good place to investigate what they are all about.