Uriah Heep's first new album in almost two years, and their first, too, since the departure of vocalist John Lawton, was all but overlooked at the time of its release, and that despite Heep being very much in the forefront of the bands lionized by the then-prevalent New Wave or British Heavy Metal. Certainly, new vocalist John Sloman was cut in that mold, and if bandmates Mick Box, Chris Slade, Trevor Bolder, and Ken Hensley do sometimes seem a little uncertain about the newcomer's talents, it should also be noted that this is the freshest-sounding Heep album since the mid-'70s. No longer attempting to trade off former glories, the band is hard and sharp throughout, with the eight tracks averaging out around the five-minute mark, and all being designed according to what they could bring to the live show -- which, at this time, was seething. The one-two punch of the opening "No Return" and "Imagination" certainly take no prisoners and, while Conquest would ultimately prove a false dawn (a very different lineup recorded Heep's next album, Abominog), at the time, fans could scarcely have asked for anything more.
by Dave Thompson