Uriah Heep

The Best of Uriah Heep, Pt. 1

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Don't be misled; no matter how you slice it, this is definitely not the very best of Uriah Heep. It is actually a selection of tracks from the years 1977-1991; in other words, when they were well past their prime. In fact, most of the albums these songs are culled from (1977's Innocent Victim and Firefly, 1978's Fallen Angel, Live in Europe 1979, Abominog from 1982, 1983's Head First, 1989's Raging Silence, and 1994's Different World) retain only a small percentage of the band who had moderate success with albums on Mercury and Warner Bros. in the early to mid-'70s. By the time of these later releases, only guitarist Mick Box and drummer Lee Kerslake were aboard from the original crew, and although the sound was vaguely similar, the absence of songwriter/organist Ken Hensley and founding singer David Byron resulted in a lack of a defined or innovative sound that proved debilitating. Compare the live versions of "Look at Yourself," "Easy Livin'," and "Gypsy" included here to the originals and the difference is immediately discernible. Since those who remained fans of the prog/hard rockers probably already own the albums these songs are on, it's unlikely there is much of an audience left who would want this collection. For curiosity seekers, this is a sensibly selected although poorly annotated hour-long compilation from a group long past their peak. It shows only glimpses of their old firepower, and in cases like the bland, commercial AOR rock of "Lonely Nights," is an indication of just how far they fell.

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