Uriah Heep

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Wonderworld Review

by Donald A. Guarisco

Wonderworld continues in the vein of Sweet Freedom, trying to bring Uriah Heep's appeal to a wider level while still retaining the grandiose trademark elements (the organ-guitar attack, David Byron's operatic shriek) that got them noticed. The result is an album that is solid but not as inspired as Look at Yourself or Demons and Wizards. The hard rock quotient is a little stronger on this album than it was on Sweet Freedom: "Something or Nothing" is a galloping stomp-rocker in the vein of past classics like "Love Machine" and "Suicidal Man" is an organ-fortified speed-rocker that is one of the band's finest hard rock tunes. On other tracks, the group continues in the experimental vein of Sweet Freedom: "The Shadows and the Wind" tacks a Queen-style round of a cappella harmonies onto its tag and "We Got We" marries one of the band's gothic melodies to a funky rhythm track that features some tasty clavinet jamming from Ken Hensley. However, the most successful experiment is "The Easy Road," an orchestrated romantic ballad that features a lovely, understated vocal performance from David Byron. Despite these highlights, the remainder of Wonderworld has trouble sustaining a similar level of inspiration: The title track is powerfully performed but feels like the band is going through the motions and "Dreams" lacks the strong melody necessary to prop up the song's interesting riffs. Ultimately, Wonderworld lacks the consistency and the high number of standout tunes that would help it win over new listeners but contains enough highlights to please the Uriah Heep fan base.

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