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HARDWARES

URIAH HEEP

Wake The Sleeper

(Universal)

Reviewed by : Martin Popoff
Rating : 9.0

I’ve said it before, but Heep are in that cherished little league of heritage acts making excellent, solid, furtively creative albums laden with integrity now – records every bit as good as their classics. ZZ Top, Cheap Trick, Motorhead and at the top, Deep Purple are there too, Heep having a lot in common with the latter ever since 1970 when their rehearsal rooms were next door to each other and both brought out honkin’ Hammond organs to grind up the guitars. Wake The Sleeper is the inspiring follow-up to two similar albums from Heep’s modern era, namely Sea Of Light and Sonic Origami, but this one’s heavier than both of those, or at least always louder and more energetic. Sure there’s pervasive accompanying keyboards (more of a B3 sound), but mainly there’s splashy uptempo rhythms, lots of riffing from anchor Mick Box (along with his signature wah-wah), and above all, gorgeous Byron-suggestive vocals from Bernie Shaw, who’s been in Heep longer than the since deceased Byron or any other vocalist. There’s a chemistry and a sound of classic Heep, despite myriad line-up changes, but Shaw and Box make sure their own version reigns very, very close to the classic era represented by the first five records (subtracting Salisbury… ha ha, poor Salisbury). A new drummer kicks songs like ‘Overload’ into a realm of renewed vitality, and yes, quite simply, I’ve found myself playing this more than anything else the past month, never tiring of the positivity and regal blend of these players and the alchemical soup they first created and continue to create anew, fortunately with reverence for the original spices.



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