Uriah Heep

Future Echoes of the Past

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Hard to believe that the band no one thought had a future in 1970 is still going strong thirty years later. Granted, Heep has recorded more live discs than new material in recent years, but it's rather a case of celebrating the past than living in it. Future Echoes of the Past is a double-disc live set recorded in Germany over two nights: November 29 and 30, 1999. Some may view this lineup of Heep as usurpers to the throne, but they'd be mistaken; this version of the band (first unveiled on Live In Moscow) has been together longer than any other, not even taking into account the then-longstanding membership of Trevor Bolder, Lee Kerslake and original guitarist Mick Box. In that time, Heep has perfected performances of old and new material. "Gypsy," "Stealin'" and other dusty classics sparkle in these shows (and on much of Heep's later live releases). Kerslake and Box have evolved over the years from merely good players to great ones, while Bolder continues to impress with his busy basslines. What drives Heep to pour so much effort and energy into a catalog that by all rights should have grown cold from inattention is what drove this band from the beginning: determination and conviction in what they were doing. Recent releases like Sonic Origami and Sea of Light flew beneath the big radar, but Heep's fans were listening and liking what they heard. In fact, the audiences clearly relish the new material, which is delivered with care by Bernie Shaw and the band. Heep has even grown comfortable enough to tamper with the original arrangements, like the lovely version of "Rain" featuring only Shaw and Phil Lanzon on keyboards. A spate of live releases (Spellbinder, Acoustically Driven, Electrically Driven) renders Future Echoes of the Past as something of a luxury, but fans won't regret treating themselves to a double helping of this Heep.

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