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URIAH HEEP The Uriah Heep Anthology (2-CD) Salvo (2009)

A few years ago I would have slated any new Heep compilation purely on the number already out there, but things have been quiet for quite a while, and with the excellent new album now in the shops, this is as good a time as any to reacquaint yourself with the older material.

That said, the track list is fairly predictable, but the music itself is excellent, and no 2CD can really do this band's catalogue justice. But any CD that starts off with the organ grinding thrash of 'Gypsy' deserves listen. With Hensley's keyboards and Mick Box's guitar riffs mixing well, Heep's early 70s work was as classic as it got, even on acoustic tracks like 'Come Away Melinda'. David Byron's vocals were operatic and powerful.

Disc 1 concentrates on early track in 'Lady In Black' and 'July Morning'. This was as good as prog tinged British hard rock got back then. And I challenge anyone here not to be blown away by 'Look At Yourself'!!!

Disc 2 continues the theme, with the surprise hit single 'Easy Livin' and the standout 'Return To Fantasy', the title track of the band's only top ten album. One of the best moves the band made in recent years was opening live shows with this number.

A myriad of line-ups gone by and later tracks include 'The Hanging Tree' and 'Free'n'Easy' shouldn't be overlooked by a long way. Sadly closing track 'Rockerama' from the mid 80s' Equator (more commercial fair) actually plays 'Night Of The Wolf' from the same album. Even so, an excellent and often overlooked period.

You must appreciate that with so much out there and the band still going strong, compiling a UH disc is an impossible task, to take this well annotated if brief set and enjoy, then start investigating the minefield with vigour.


Review by Joe Geesin

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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