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Uriah Heep - Wake The Sleeper CD (album) cover

WAKE THE SLEEPER

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.45 | 156 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars It was about time for Uriah Heep to wake up from their ten year long sleep. As a studio band, that is. As a live band they have been very much awake during the time since the last (and great) album - Sonic Origami. I have seen them live twice during this time and I own most of their (many!) live concert DVD's, and it is now clear to me that - at least when it comes to live concerts - the line-up which had been together since 1986 was not only the longest standing Uriah Heep line-up, but also the best. Indeed, for us who were born in the 80īs it is easy to forget that there ever was any other. For this album, the line up remains almost the same. The only change is on the drum stool, where Lee Kerslake left space for younger blood. As a studio band, however, this line-up's output has been uneven; Raging Silence and Different World had been very weak, Sea Of Light was great but a bit uneven, but Sonic Origami was really great. Indeed, some of my all time favourite Uriah Heep songs are on those two latter albums. Wake The Sleeper, on the other hand, lacks any real standout tracks. It is not bad, only not up to par with the previous two. Indeed, far from it.

The almost Celtic-sounding What Kind Of God is the best and most interesting track, but I cannot help but feeling that it would have made an excellent first part of a great epic song, but since part two never comes it leaves the song a bit flat in the end.

My biggest problem with this album, though, is the serious lack of variation. All the songs rock quite hard in a high tempo and there are no proper ballads like The Question and Heartless Land from Sonic Origami. The very best songs from previous albums had been the ballads after all! And the balance between hard rockers and ballads had been the strongest point of these earlier albums. I recently rated Deep Purple's Bananas album and comparing these two it seems as if the two bands almost have exchanged formulas with each other. While Bananas was one of the most varied Deep Purple albums ever, Wake The Sleeper is hard rock non-stop in classic Deep Purple style.

Uriah Heep fans might not be disappointed with this album. For them, this is highly recommended. This is indeed far, far better than the worst of Uriah Heep's many albums. But for the average prog fan, this album is not really recommended. At least not until you have the previous two studio albums and the excellent live DVD's Acoustically Driven and Magic Night.

Good, but too much of it at one time without breaking it up with slower, softer pieces is a mistake.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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