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Articles Home » 2014 Articles » Uriah Heep - 2014 Outsider
Uriah Heep - 2014 Outsider

ARTIST: Uriah Heep
ALBUM: Outsider
LABEL: Frontiers
YEAR: 2014


LINEUP: Bernie Shaw - vocals * Mick Box - guitar * Dave Rimmer - bass * Russell Gilbrook - drums * Phil Lanzon - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Speed Of Sound * 02 One Minute * 03 The Law * 04 The Outsider * 05 Rock The Foundation * 06 Is Anybody Gonna Help Me? * 07 Looking At You * 08 Can't Take That Away * 09 Jessie * 10 Kiss The Rainbow * 11 Say Goodbye



After a period of ten years without a studio album from 1998-2008 Uriah Heep have definitely been prolific in the last six years, with this being their third album in that time (plus 2009's 'Celebration' re-recording affair). After so many years with an unexpectedly steady lineup through the late 80's and early 90's, Heep have lost Lee Kerslake and the late Trevor Bolder over the last few years, but it hasn't affected them one bit. 2011's 'Into the Wild' was a solid hard rock album but I have no hesitation in saying 'Outsider' is a notch above it and another quality addition to their massive catalogue. With the trio of Shaw, Lanzon and Box present there's nothing Heep can really do wrong.

The Songs
Thankfully we have a straight ahead hard rock album here, without any ponderous epics that tended to drag down albums like 'Sonic Origami' for instance. The emphasis is clearly on revisiting the familiar early Heep sound from the 70's, but still with deft AOR touches along the way. Highlights are many and 'Speed of Sound' is a nice opener, with Heep's usual organ based fare and Box adding the trademark guitar tone which keeps the original spirit of Heep alive. 'One Minute' reminds me of early to mid 90's Heep, with the AOR chorus and Shaw still sounding like Ian Gillan. Not surprisingly this was chosen as the first single so accessible is the chorus. Things take off with the bruising 'The Law' which is Heep at their heaviest and a throwback to 1971. Some of the sped up sections demonstrate how much fire is still left in this band. Backing it up is 'The Outsider', equally as fast and determined with some mighty double-bass drumming from Gilbrook. This could easily have been culled from an album like 'Head First' and Box puts his stamp on the track with an aggressive solo. There's no letting up, 'Rock the Foundation' another rousing hard rocker, before 'Is Anybody Gonna Help Me' slows things down, this time revisiting 1973's 'Sweet Freedom'. 'Looking At You' verifies this albums status as a major hard rock release, far heavier and direct than Deep Purple's 'Now What!?' from last year. The surging 'Can't Take That Away' could be a modern 'Easy Livin' and 'Jessie' is tough AOR which is on par with this Heep's best work on 'Raging Silence' and 'Sea Of Light'. The relentless nature of the album is stated again on 'Say Goodbye' and its dominant riff, again harking back to the 70's very convincingly.

In Summary
So far this year I've only listened to a handful of new releases, but this is easily the best rock album of the year so far and chances are still will be at the year's end. It's quite staggering how consistent Heep are and by sticking to a fairly simple formula of heavy four minute tracks they're as good as they were 40 years ago. Who would have thought that in 1974? They might never go down as legends to 'stuck in the mud' critics, but I think we all know better.

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#1 | Jez on February 02 2016 13:17:58
Veteran rockers return with their 24th studio album. Punchy hard rock, in the Classic Uriah Heep mould and one of their strongest releases in 2 decades.
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