Review Summary: The fall of the mighty.
"High and Mighty" was Uriah Heep's 9th studio album and it was released in November 1976. It represents a huge turning point. It is the last album that featured the famous bassist John Wetton, who would, in the future, join Asia, and the legendary frontman David Byron. By the time of "Return to Fantasy"'s release, the band was climbing the charts. Their success was now bigger and bigger. Sadly, "High and Mighty" marks the beginning of the fall.
It was indeed a huge fall. And it just got worse, as David Byron was becoming a problem to the band. He was literally getting out of control. He used to have a few drinks to the calm the nerves before shows. Now he was simply a drunk, and he started to screw up the band's performances. The band tried to control the situation, getting back to business. The writing and recording process took place at The Roundhouse Studios. Another bad decision, though, was taken. Gerry Bron didn't produce the album with the band. They had decided to produce the album by themselves. Therefore, "High and Mighty" turned out to be very different than any other Heep album...
Here's the main problem: "High and Mighty" is too soft. Way too soft. It doesn't even sound like a Heep album. It's a combination of weird experiences and an uncharacteristic sound. "This album became a very lightweight Heep album. I feel we lacked any real hard rock numbers", Mick Box mentioned.
We actually have a very solid opener. "One Way Or Another" is a very steady song. It's possibly the best track of the album, because it's the one that most resembles Uriah Heep's true sound and style. There is a very pleasant surprise in this song. David Byron's not the singer of this one. John Wetton and Ken Hensley grab the mic. "One Way Or Another" is indeed a pleasant song. Hereafter, there is an inconsistency.
"Weep In Silence", although having some great musical moments, fails to deliver. It can be very slow and boring and Mick Box's solo is not bad in separate but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with the rest of the song. "Midnight" starts off with incredible potential, but when David Byron starts to sing his verses, the song's energy is completely killed. "Can't Stop Singing" and "Confession" can easily be seen as fillers.
There are some good moments, though. There are cool acoustic numbers, such as "Misty Eyes" and "Footprints in the Snow". And then there's "Can't Keep A Good Band Down". It's one of the few songs that can actually captivate the listeners. For once in this album, there are really meaningful lyrics. They finally sing and play with soul and guts. It's certainly not as good as their previous works, but it's pretty damn good.
Overall, "High and Mighty" leaves much to be desired. It's primarily a lightweight album for Uriah Heep. It looks more like a bunch of Europe b-sides than a Heep album. It's not completely bad, but could do a lot better, so it's just average. Most of the fans obviously didn't like it at all. The band had truly reached the end of an era. As I've mentioned, after the release of the album, John Wetton left the band and David Byron was fired. Serious decisions would have to be mand. Would the band really recover?
One Way Or Another
Can't Keep A Good Band Down