Review Summary: Highly overrated? Yes, but great, nonetheless.
"Return To Fantasy" was Uriah Heep's 8th studio album and it featured, for the very first time, John Wetton, the band's new bassist. John Wetton had previously played in King Crimson and Roxy Music, among other unknown bands. He would, in the 80's, of course, join Asia, where he'd gain a huge success. The band was recovering from Gary Thain's sad death. That, perhaps, took its toll on the band's members...
Don't get me wrong! I do enjoy "Return To Fantasy". It is a good piece of work, but, at least in my opinion, it lacks in quality and cohesion. The band's chemistry was shook up. Gary's death was hard for Mick Box, David Byron, Ken Hensley and Lee Kerslake. The band tried to recover, by getting back to business, but perhaps they got back way too soon. They wanted to end their mourning, but it seems to be a rushed project. As Ken Hensley once said, "it's actually not a bad record, but we rushed into it and it doesn't have any cohesiveness to it". Maybe, they just needed to re-group, slow down and take a rest. Now, let's see the album.
The album's first songs are filled with energy and strength. The album's opener, "Return To Fantasy", is a classic Heep song. The song's momentum builds up with great organ riffs. As the song reaches its highest sound, there are thunderous hard-rocking guitar riffs, keeping us entertained. It turned out to be a great live number, as well as "Devil's Daughter". The title track is a clear standout. "Shady Lady" changes the pace of the album, getting the listeners pumped! It has a great energy, from the beginning to the end of the song. "Devil's Daughter" is another great song, deserving recognition. "Devil's Daughter" follows "Shady Lady"'s ideas. It is, as I have mentioned before, a powerful live number. Its sound is similar to other Heep songs, such as "Suicidal Man" and "So Tired". It's a classic rock song, one of the highlights of "Return To Fantasy".
We start to have problems, though, in the middle of the album. "Beautiful Dream" is a rather weak song. The initial riff, the organ riff, is weird, to say the least, and the song only gets worst after that. It is an obvious failure, a flop. "Prima Donna" is only OK, it's basically in the middle of the whole thing. It can be catchy at first, but then it gets repetitive. But the worst songs of the album are "Why Did You Go?" and "A Year Or A Day". I can only describe them as cheesy, poppy, crappy songs. "Why Did You Go?"'s lyrics are particularly cheesy. Take a look: "I woke up today with my head in a daze; Cause my love had gone; With nothing to do, just to dream about you; And how we went wrong".
That pretty much sums things up. "Return To Fantasy" is actually pretty good, and it climbed the charts with quickness and ease. It is just missing that chemistry that was always evident in the band's previous releases. There are, though, incredible songs, such as the title track, "Return To Fantasy", "Devil's Daughter" and "Showdown". "Your Turn To Remember" is also pretty cool... I'll give them a thumbs up. After all, they were in a hard situation... Not bad!
Return To Fantasy