ARTIST: Uriah Heep
ALBUM: Sea Of Light
SERIAL: SPV 085-76952
CD REISSUE: 1999, Spitfire (USA), 15033 * 2004, Eagle Records (UK), EABCD119
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Bernie Shaw - vocals * Mick Box - guitars * Phil Lanzon - keyboards * Trevor Bolder - bass * Lee Kerslake - drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Against The Odds * 02 Sweet Sugar * 03 Time Of Revelation * 04 Mistress Of All Time * 05 Univesal Wheels * 06 Fear Of Falling * 07 Spirit Of Freedom * 08 Logical Progression * 09 Love In Silence * 10 Words In The Distance * 11 Fires Of Hell * 12 Dream On
1995 saw a return to glory for eternal rock dinosaurs Uriah Heep. Talk about a topsy turvy career, littered with successes and failures. However, through all of this has been the resolve to keep releasing music, something they have no problem doing. With this particular line-up, the band have reached a level of unsurpassed stability, something they had problems with previously. Two of the key recruits were the Grand Prix
pairing of Shaw and Lanzon. On 'Sea Of Light' they do make significant contributions, Shaw giving fellow frontman Graham Bonnet
a run for his money in the 'vocal power' stakes, and there is a certain similarity between the two.
Opening up with the striking 'Against The Odds', Uriah Heep comfortably mix chugging guitar power with progressive keyboards supplied by Lanzon. The whole thing moving in a direction not unlike 'Back Down To Earth' era Rainbow
. Again, Lanzon supplies the spiky organ blasts on 'Sweet Sugar' though lyrically the songs border on the banal. 'Time Of Revelation' is a classic hark-back to the seventies era, circa 'Look At Yourself'. 'Mistress Of All Time' sees Shaw zeroing in on Jon Anderson
's vocal dabbles, which is a lovely slice of progressive balladry written by Lanzon. 'Universal Wheels' is a hard rocking track with a sound lost in the eighties (fine by me!), the guitar and keyboard interplay a feature, as is the voiceover/narration during the solo section. 'Fear Of Falling' is a tight, decisive pice of music, with Bolder's bass working overtime, while the pairing of 'Spirit Of Freedom' and 'Logical Progression' are the two highlights for me, the latter featuring some fluid bass lines from Bolder and some AOR approved guitar chords from Master Box.
Consistency is the name of the game here, and it's nice to see an overdue return to form from the Heep'sters. Not that their immediate prior albums were really bad, it's just that 'Sea Of Light' stands out more in a positive sense. The album was re-released by Spitfire Records several years later for the US market mainly. Three years later they continued the positive vibe with 'Sonic Origami', though there are more acoustic flavored moments on that one. Fans of tight melodic rock need to seek this album out.
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