Uriah Heep

Empty the Vaults: Rarities

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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson

Empty The Vaults does exactly what it says on the tin -- that is, delve deep into Uriah Heep's classic past, in search of the ones that got away. And it does a remarkable job of it, reaching back as far as Very Eavy Very Umble for alternate versions of "Come Away Melinda" and "Born In A Trunk"; pulling Ken Hensley's "Home Again To You" from the Demons and Wizards out-takes shelf; together with two further off cuts from High and Mighty, a remarkable live "Sweet Freedom" from the 1974 Shepperton Studios show, and a similarly superlative "Gypsy" from 1979… and that's just for starters. Ranging throughout the band's career, onstage and off, Empty The Vaults is the kind of collection that fans would have spent decades dreaming about -- with just one major caveat. Every one of the eighteen songs here had already been made available at some point in the previous five years, as bonus tracks on Castle's then on-going program of Heep remasters, meaning that anyone who cared enough for Heep to be wanting their out-takes would probably have already picked them up. A shame, then, and perhaps a wasted opportunity as well. But it's still a great collection!