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Articles Home » 2008 Articles » Uriah Heep - 2008 Wake The Sleeper
Uriah Heep - 2008 Wake The Sleeper

ARTIST: Uriah Heep
ALBUM: Wake The Sleeper
LABEL: Universal Music/Sanctuary
SERIAL: 1767027
YEAR: 2008


LINEUP: Bernie Shaw - lead vocals * Mick Box - guitars, vocals * Trevor Bolder - bass, vocals * Phil Lanzon - keyboards, vocals * Russell Gilbrook - drums, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Wake The Sleeper * 02 Overload * 03 Tears Of The World * 04 Light Of A Thousand Stars * 05 Heavens Rain * 06 Book Of Lies * 07 What Kind Of God * 08 Ghost Of The Ocean * 09 Angels Walk With You * 10 Shadow * 11 War Child



2008 sees the unlikely return of British dinosaurs Uriah Heep, and their latest 'Wake The Sleeper'. The band has been in hibernation since 1998, and upon their return, it seems the recipe book hasn't changed a great deal for the Heepsters despite the ten year break. I was kinda hoping for something a little bit different to account for the lengthy absence - but there was none to be found. It's tried and true UH rock, pretty much in the same style as found on their two prior releases 'Sea Of Light' and 'Sonic Origami'. The guitar and organ interplay does take you back to the glory days of this band, and in a way, at least they are consistent. That's not surprising considering Mick Box and Phil Lanzon wrote 9 out of the 11 tracks, Trevor Bolder writing the remaining two. Personnel changes are kept to a minimum, with only new boy Russell Gilbrook being the new addition, taking over from stalwart Lee Kerslake on drums. Apparently the album was recorded a year ago, and was scheduled for release back in Sept 2007, but only now gets to see a release due to the takeover of Sanctuary Records by Universal Music.

The Songs
There's no mucking around from the get-go, as the opening title track 'Wake The Sleeper' storms into contention! No chance of sleeping through the alarm with this one, it's a rock solid intro bordering on instrumental (more so than a song), and it introduces the double kick-drum frenzy of new drummer Russell Gilbrook.

It crosses the border into 'Overload', with Mick Box's rhythm work touching on those familiar Alex Lifeson riffs so well worn with Rush. Not that the song sounds anything like the Canadian trio - it doesn't, the organ work from Lanzon keeps a lid on the trademark UH sound.

'Tears Of The World' is a contender for first push single off the album. It has huge commercial appeal.

'Light Of A Thousand Stars' has a (excuse the pun) lighter feel to it. It could be described as pomp meets AOR. Certainly along with 'Tears Of The World', it pairs up as the most commercial offerings by the band.

'Heavens Rain' is a pure progressive oriented tune. It meanders in the tradition of all the 70's great heavyweights. To my ears at least, these guys remain true to that wondrous era.

Book Of Lies as a track sounds very auto-biographical, as if aimed at the band personally. Who is to know? There's a certain level of angst with this one. Be good to ask Mick and Bernie about this one..

Further continuing the progressive angle is 'What Kind Of God'. With their style now unravelling the further we get into the album, it's a wonder they didn't strike a deal with the Inside Out label? Oops, they are part of the SPV family, Heep's previous label.. won't go there.. lol!

Back to the battle we go with the hard rocking 'Ghost Of The Ocean', a tight mesh of wah-wah soaked guitar, intertwined organ and spanking drums.

Trevor Bolder provides the material for 'Angels Walk With You', which obviously has a different feel than the other songs heard so far. It's more intense, and takes us back to the 70's yet again with its Deep Purple inspired feel. The Phil Lanzon organ solo is superb!

'Shadow' has a pomp feel to it, not unlike Presto Ballet, the track being driven by a strong chorus and tight guitar/organ interaction.

Bolder provides the finale as well.. 'War Child' is a dramatic affair, with big middle eastern sounding choruses. I'm sure this one would go down well with Egyptian fans! (if they had any of course!)

In Summary
Universal Music has given ample time and space for Uriah Heep in the pre-release arena. I like this album, and die-hard fans will be heaping all the superlatives on it in the weeks ahead. A couple of songs don't quite do it for me - and that's to be expected, but most of them appeal greatly. My advice is to give the album a good listen first (refer jukebox below), and go back and listen to their last few efforts too. I'm glad to see the band back in action, and may they continue to hold the flag high for dinosaur rock.

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#1 | george_the_jack on June 26 2008 16:05:07
I'm looking forward to listen to this album.....
#2 | george_the_jack on June 28 2008 17:01:26
Well from the first two spins I find it rather average....My favorite album from the later era of Heeps is 'Sea of Light'. Fantastic record.
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