Review Summary: Uriah Heep are faltering on this release but they show that there is still some embers of life left in the old beast yet. Bombastic hard rock that may find modern day metal fans running for a sick bag with their left foot involuntarily tapping.
Several semi-respectable old style hard rocks bands rode the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal in the early 80's and believed that updating their sound to give it a more commercial edge might win them new found success. Uriah Heep are a prime example of this philosophy. These unabashed dinosaurs of 70's hard rock decided to go even further with their change in style and tread the syrupy waters of AOR on their 14th studio release, 'Abominog', with it's cover art that seemed purposely designed to appeal to Iron Maiden fans of the time. This was the dinosaur raising it's head for a last stifled roar before the new wave and post-punk movements totally engulfed it's world.
Uriah Heep had a new vocalist on board for this release in the guise of Peter Goalby and his contribution is really one of the highlights of the album. The range and power of his delivery suit the typically bombastic cheesy hard rock that the band were famous for. He injects a much needed sense of passion when they tone it down and resort to balladry as on the Russ Ballard penned minor-hit 'The Way That It Is' and the pop metal anthem 'Think It Over'. Uriah Heep were sometimes the butt of many a joke referring to hoary old hard rock acts and things do take on a decidly 'Spinal Tap' edge at times. 'Running All Night With The Lion' seems to be an attempt at some literary influenced dabblings and it seems sort of apt that Mick Box chose a children's book. Maybe he was reading C.S.Lewis to his kids at the time but ridiculous lines such as 'And I'm thinking, what's this fox's game, to be honest, I was ready, to play that white witch's game' are likely to induce hilarity in even a 7 year old. At least the song has a catchy ascending riff and foot tapping rhythm. Maybe the highlight on here is the overblown opener 'Too Scared To Run', a song about being ..erm..too scared to run from something with typically half-baked hard rock lyrics. It does however have an infectious driving rhythm, some appealing lead guitar flourishes and maybe even ranks up alongside the likes of 'Easy Living' as one of the best of their cheesy straightforward hard rock numbers.
I very much doubt that the heavy pomp rock served up by Uriah Heep in this album would appeal to modern day metal fans. Fans of early Styx would probably love it but I guess that isn't much of a recommendation these days. However, if you can dispense with any prejudices towards this sort of overblown pompous commercial hard rock a lot of the music on here can be quite enjoyable at times. Not up there with the likes of 'Demons & Wizards' but entertaining nonetheless.