Friday, November 2, 2007

Uriah Heep - A Magic Night - Live (2004 - heavy prog)

Hi, I'm back after a little sabbatical... And how about some good old Uriah Heep to get things back on track? Heep's most recent album Sonic Origami (a classic if you ask me) dates from 1998, and the band plans to release their 21st studio album in 2008. I can't wait till it's out. I'll keep you kids posted…

The old time favourites of heavy prog still kick ass! Just check out Magic Night - Live (2004). There’s a good diversity of old and newer tracks, some of which are of course long time favourites (Easy Livin’, The Wizard, etc). The band does not dwell on these though, and Heather Findlay’s contribution to Love in Silence from the more recent Sea of light adds an extra dimension to a beautiful piece... Get it here.

A little lesson in history…
Uriah Heep were formed in December 1969 when record producer Gerry Bron invited keyboardist Ken Hensley (previously a member of The Gods and Toe Fat) to join Spice, a band signed to his own Bronze Records label.
Sometimes jokingly referred to as "The Beach Boys of heavy metal" for their melodic songs, and trademark multi-part harmony backing vocals, although their music draws on diverse influences including: progressive rock, hard rock, heavy metal, jazz and even country on occasion. As one of the first bands to fuse prog with metal, they are a precursor to the 'progressive metal' genre.
In spite of their huge popularity in Britain and continental Europe, Uriah Heep were never able to break into the American market in a big way, with the exception of three hit songs, Easy Livin' from the 1972 album Demons and Wizards, Sweet Lorraine from the 1972 album The Magician's Birthday (a top ten album in Australia), and Stealin' from the 1973 release Sweet Freedom. The band released several commercially successful albums in the 1970s, including the seminal Uriah Heep Live (1973), but their audience declined during the 1980s, to the point where they became essentially a cult band in the US and UK. Uriah Heep maintain a significant following however, and they still perform at stadium-sized venues.
Uriah Heep still tour and release both (occasional) studio and (frequent) live albums. The lineup has been the same since 1986 with veterans Mick Box at the helm, Trevor Bolder on bass and Lee Kerslake on drums. The vocalist is Bernie Shaw and Phil Lanzon on keyboards have been present since 1986. Making it 20 years as of 2006 that the same act has been touring and recording, and have music spanning five decades. Their principal tour circuit is in Germany, the Netherlands, the Scandinavian Peninsula, Japan, and Russia, although they return to Britain for a tour each year that culminates in The Magician's Birthday Party (named for one of their most popular albums) in November in London. This event consists of fan gatherings at local venues featuring current and former band members, and a concert, often with guest appearances by former members. To date, the last Party was in 2004.
In December 2006, the band announced that they were recording a new album with producer Mike Paxman for Sanctuary Records, with release planned for 2007. In early 2007 drummer Lee Kerslake had to leave the group due to ill health. In March 2007, the band recruited Russell Gilbrook as their new drummer, and immediately started recording Wake The Sleeper, which is to be released in early 2008.

Check out this great live album…
Part 1.
Part 2.

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