Released By : Frontiers Records
Genre : Classic Rock
Links : http://www.uriah-heep.com/newa/index.php
01. Nail On The Head
02. I Can See You
03. Into The Wild
04. Money Talk
05. Trail Of Diamonds
08. Southern Star
09. I’m Ready
10. T-bird Angel
11. Kiss Of Freedom
It’s always hard to review bands that have long illustrious careers like URIAH HEEP have had…On one hand you have try and be as honest as possible, but on the other hand sometimes just the fact that a band like this have a new album is enough to give you a false sense of excitement. Will long-time fans of the band fall in love with INTO THE WILD? I’d say the answer is a resounding yes. But look a bit deeper and the cracks begin to show unfortunately. Look, I’m not going to come out here and pan this album as it really is pretty good, but it’s far from the masterpiece fans have been heralding it as.
The first thing that strikes me here is the lack of any progressive rock tendencies. Yes the band have been heading closer and closer to a straight pure rock sound for a long time now, but with progressive rock really witnessing somewhat of a resurgence of late, now would have been a perfect time to add some more intricate layers back through their sound. That’s not to say that there zero progressive rock leanings as it is there if you look hard enough for it, I just wish it had of been a little more prominent. The other thing here I really noticed is what I would consider an over-use of the Hammond organ sound. Sure, this is one of the signatures of the URIAH HEEP sound and most of the seventies classic rock band too, but in this day and age it can feel a little too much at times. The DEMON’S EYE band, who released a classic seventies rock inspired album just last month are a perfect example of how to use the Hammond without overdoing it, but on INTO THE WILD it just feels a little too loud in the mix and drowns out just about every decent guitar part on the whole album.
As you would expect from a band with as much experience as URIAH HEEP there are a few genuine rippers here that will certainly please long-time fans to no end. I CAN SEE YOU just simply rocks with a very classic HEEP backbone mixed with some DEEP PURPLE and it’s one of the songs where the guitar riffs shine through past the organ work. MONEY TALKS has as much swagger as anything the band has done in the past and would be a great track to catch live I’m sure. SOUTHERN STAR could have easily been written in 1977 and just has that pure classic feel to it. The highlight here though is the six and a half minute epic TRAIL OF DIAMONDS, which is the only song on the album that feels like true progressive rock. Compared to this great piece of music a lot of the rest of the album comes off sounding a little pedestrian and paint-by-numbers. I also have a big problem with the opening track NAIL ON HEAD, easily the most boring and repetitive song the band has ever released and it’s a real mystery to me as to why they chose it as the first track.
Released by anybody else this would have been a very good classic rock record, albeit with a few minor problems like too much organ and a few filler tracks, but considering the fact that this release is from the almighty prog rock monsters URIAH HEEP it actually falls a little short. The biggest problem here is that TRAIL OF DIAMONDS is so great that it just outshines the rest of the album. Look don’t get me wrong, after a monstrous twenty seven studio albums, URIAH HEEP are more than entitled to start coasting along, and the chance of them ever matching some of their classics is very, very slim, but judged on its own merits it is a good album, but not a great one.
Written By ZeeZee
Rating : 7/10