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Wake the Sleeper

1 rating: 5.0
An album by Uriah Heep

  Song List: Disc 1  1. Wake The Sleeper  2. Overload  3. Tears Of the World  4. Light Of A Thousand Stars  5. Heavens Rain  6. Book Of Lies  7. What Kind Of God  8. … see full wiki

1 review about Wake the Sleeper

An Old Friend Will Never Let You Down

  • Aug 29, 2008
Pros: Tracks 1-11

Cons: There is only tracks 1-11

The Bottom Line: A must have album from a band that too many threw by the wayside.

When I put on the disc Wake The Sleeper and heard the title track come roaring out of the speakers, it was like saying to me, "Hello old friend." Blazing guitar mixed with that fantastic Hammond organ sound is something I have missed since the heyday of these guys. After ten years, I am glad they decided to get reacquainted with us.

Uriah Heep has always been, in my mind, one of the most underrated bands in history. They have produced a wealth of great music and have continuously been one of the top drawing acts in Europe. But they could never seem to break into the U.S. market. Sure they had a couple of hits, even appeared on The Midnight Special way back when, but fame eluded them for the most part on this side of the pond.

Maybe that will change with this new release. This album has all the qualities to make it a hit. They are still true to their roots and it has a great 70's feel without sounding stale or a rehash of old music. The lavish sound of the Hammond organ, which was a mainstay of the band while the legendary Ken Hensley was a member, has returned to prominence through the masterful work of Phil Lanzon.

From the mostly instrumental "Wake The Sleeper" that starts off the album, Lanzon takes you back to the Heep of old while still keeping the sound fresh and new. It is something that has been sorely missed in the world of rock and roll but here is the chance for a whole set of new ears to enjoy the treat that it can create. But this is still a heavy metal album and guitarist Mick Box surly doesn't let you forget that fact. He proves once more that he can really play the six string. The solo from the song "Overload" is just one of the prime examples of his talent.

The other thing I noticed right away is the songwriting prowess of the band this time around. Lyrically they are able to show you the wisdom of experience with an effort that will be an enjoyment to your mind as well as your ears. With such thought provoking tales as "What Kind Of God" and "War Child" they show a craftsmanship that can only be accomplished through the maturity that these fellows have attained. There is a theme throughout the album of the chaos that is running rampant across the planet and Heep tackles this subject matter with eyes that have been through many a trial and tribulation. Whether it be disparity of wealth ("Tears Of The World") or the anguish of soldiers at war, ("Light Of A Thousand Stars") you can hear how much pent up frustration is finally being released by getting their message out.

This is one of the heaviest albums that Uriah Heep has ever produced. Never has the guitars been so fierce or the keyboards sound so determined to wreck havoc on the eardrums. But it is not without its lighter moments too. The masterful "Heaven's Rain" and the radio friendly "Light Of A Thousand Stars" prove just how they got the nickname "Beach Boys of Heavy Metal." Fantastic harmonies and dynamic melodies in both cases make them real treats for all.

But when they decide to punch it up a notch it is done with so much gusto that lays waste to all in their path. Scorchers like "Overload" and "Shadow" remind everyone that this band rocks and does it as well as anyone out there.

Sometimes it is possible for them to combine the two styles and when this happens it usually produces something magical. That is the case with the song "Book Of Lies." This one is just a masterful piece of work that is pure joy from start to finish. It has such a melodic chorus it literally has been stuck in my mind constantly. And isn't that why you listen to music in the first place?

I would be remiss if I also didn't mention the purely dynamic vocals of Bernie Shaw. He shows why he has become the voice of Uriah Heep. Original lead singer David Byron was a magical talent but Bernie proves that he is just as powerful in his own way. He lends a real sincerity to what he is singing which only enhances the pleasure of the overall package.

I really started to listen to this disc with trepidation. It happens far too often that a band from years gone by try to capture what they once had only to be a shell of what once was. But in this case, the band not only does itself proud, they take a step into the future with an album that is a link from what was, to what will be. I certainly hope that the next effort can meet the lofty standards they have set here and also doesn't take quite so long to get here!

Uriah Heep is:

Bernie Shaw - Lead Vocals
Mick Box - Guitars
Phil Lanzon - Keyboards
Trevor Bolder - Bass
Russell Gilbrook - Drums

Sometimes you have to look back to look forward. The old way often is the path to the future. Uriah Heep proves this to all with an album that combines the two with a flourish and passion that makes this one of my favorite releases this year, or any other. For some this might be a trip down memory lane but that is far from the truth. Current bands like Buckcherry have blended the old with the new; Heep did the same thing only using their own vast catalogue.

Other related reviews:

Salisbury by Uriah Heep
Return To Fantasy by Uriah Heep
Live at Shepperton '74 by Uriah Heep
Live in Moscow by Uriah Heep
The Magician's Birthday by Uriah Heep
Wonderworld by Uriah Heep
Demons & Wizards by Uriah Heep
Classic Heep An Anthology by Uriah Heep

From Time to Time by Ken Hensley
Anthology by Ken Hensley


Great Music to Play While: Driving

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Wake the Sleeper
Label: Sanctuary (USA)
Artist: Uriah Heep
Release Date: August 26, 2008

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