Right off the bat, when the needle digs into the first track ever by Uriah Heep, you know you're in for a wild ride. Suddenly, "Gypsy" stops dead in the middle, then continues its swirling cacophony of organ and guitar fisticuffs while lead singer David Byron belts out verbose bombast about a vagabond queen whose dad needs to be taken down a notch. (Rick Nielsen shoplifted the main riff for Cheap Trick's "Ballad of TV Violence.") And even that mega-opus opening can't topple the taloned "Bird of Prey," by far one of the zaniest pomp/metal/choral chemical explosions in history. "Bird's" inclusion on this American pressing makes the slab superior to the homeland edition Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble which substitutes the comparatively lucid ballad "Lucy Blues." If you need more, "Real Turned On" and "Walking in Your Shadow" set prescient standards in the undefined genre that transmogrified into metal, while "Dreammare" serves up a steaming broth of psycho goth and roll. Brooding psychedelic breaks and progressive runs are snapped back into place through sheer sonic thrust, and the recording range has even kept these medieval shenanigans up to snuff, lo, these many years since the somber Uriah Heep first descended from its deadly castle. Somewhere between the powerhouse operatics of Deep Purple and the sonorous sorcery of Black Sabbath lurks this vital component in the alchemy of heavy metal. Incidentally, the band name is derived from a character in David Copperfield.
-STONE, Cheap Trash NYC