Uriah Heep - Living the Dream
Frontiers Records
Classic Rock
10 songs (52:27)
Release year: 2018
Uriah Heep, Frontiers Records
Reviewed by Goat

Although perhaps not quite as heavy and driving as 2008's Wake the Sleeper, the twenty-fifth Uriah Heep album is equally high in songwriting quality. Mick Box and co have had a remarkably solid career, eternally underrated even by rock fans, and despite the fact that Box is now in his seventies the band are producing music that's just as good as their seventies heyday in many ways. Heep have here kept the solid line-up from 2014's Outsider, featuring Phil Lanzon on keyboards (who has played with everyone from Sweet to Mick Ronson) and Russell Gilbrook on drums (Avantasia, Van Morrison, and Lonnie Donegan, how's that for variety?!) while newest member Dave Rimmer does another standout job on bass. It's always a pleasure to hear Bernie Shaw's vocals, the now longest-lasting singer that the band have had, and he does another terrific job here, giving opener Grazed by Heaven an added epic air, the song galloping along like classic Deep Purple with intensity and plenty of melody thanks to the keyboard-guitar interaction.

Fans will always mourn the tragic David Byron of course, yet Shaw is a wonderful singer and more than fits the band's classic sound, whatever form it takes. The variety that Heep bring is always a little underrated, and Living the Dream shows them at their best each time. The title track's melodic AOR is simply beautiful even before those Thin Lizzy-esque guitar leads from Box, and there are hints of power metal to the upbeat Take Away My Soul. Iron Maiden may seem a strange touchstone for this band but the ominous Knocking at My Door is like Fear of the Dark or The Number of the Beast reinterpreted, the narrator driven mad by spirits outside his house (people constantly knocking on your door being very topical at Halloween, of course) and the change in atmosphere and tone from the proceeding Take Away My Soul is remarkable. There's always been a bit of goth in the Uriah Heep mix and while it comes out rarely, it usually results in good times when it does.

This is a very, very solid album. The eight-minute Rocks in the Road devotes a lengthy chunk of its running time to a terrific proggy instrumental section, continuing the epic vibe the song already set and which is continued on the following Waters Flowin', a mostly acoustic ballad about a mysterious minstrel, this album's Lady in Black. There's a slight dip in quality towards the end of the album as the songs take more of a uniformly melodic turn, but never quite samey and nothing even approaches filler status except perhaps Goodbye to Innocence, which is a perfectly decent grooving rocker yet is let down by its slightly icky lyrics about a sexy schoolgirl. Otherwise, there's a fun touch of the theatrical to Falling Under Your Spell and Dreams of the Yesteryear is a fine finisher that takes a more thoughtful turn as the band reflect on their career. Long-term fans should ensure they hear this, those new to the Heep should catch up. How many other bands formed in 1969, other than the mighty Judas Priest, are still going this strong?

Killing Songs :
Grazed by Heaven, Knocking at My Door, Rocks in the Road, Waters Flowin'
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Uriah Heep that we have reviewed:
Uriah Heep - Salisbury reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Uriah Heep - Very 'Eavy... Very 'Umble reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Uriah Heep - Wake The Sleeper reviewed by Marty and quoted 87 / 100
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