Uriah Heep - Into the Wild (Frontiers)

The veteran Brit rockers return with a superb 'show the young 'uns how to do it' elpee.
Release Date: 
14 Apr 2011 - 11:30pm

Incredibly, London rockers Uriah Heep have been extant for forty two of your earth years. In that time twenty three men have passed through their ranks (though guitarist Mick Box has, rather admirably, remained at his post throughout the band's entire tour of duty), and fifty one albums have been released in their name. Even more incredible is the fact that in 2011 the band is sounding as good as it has done at any time since it’s early seventies heyday. Into the Wild may not live up to its feral name – most of the band are eligible for their bus passes, after all- but it is a marvellously classy hard rock album. Opener Nail on the Head might be an overly simplistic rocker, but after that the variety and brilliance on offer is at times breathtaking. I Can See You is a stunningly catchy, fast paced slice of pop metal that most younger bands would kill for to be able to execute, whilst elsewhere the stately (but no less worthwhile) pomp rock of Southern Star and Trail of Diamonds showcase a band that can still deliver the goods, no matter what its age. In fact, age seems to have had no effect on this band whatsoever. Aside from the (excellent) vocals of Bernie Shaw, who possesses a grittier voice than that of croonsome original throatsmith David Byron,  Trail of Diamonds, with it’s mellifluous harmony vocals and Hammond organ backing could easily have been found tucked away on the bands classic platter Salisbury; this isn’t an accusation of rehashing or laziness, merely an observation that the band are still absolutely able to replicate that match-winning form thirty-odd years after the fact. Heep have always kept their eye on the ball – even their 'wilderness years' saw a steady trickle of dependable hard rock released- and in the second decade of the twenty first century the band seems to be revelling in both their own longevity and their continued ability. This is a joyous slab of hard rock, very much a visitor from the past but yet still somehow entirely relevant to today.And that makes Into the Wild a marvellous record.