Review Summary: Fallen Heep.
"Fallen Angel" was Uriah Heep's 12th studio album and it was released in July 1978. It was the 3rd album that featured the line up: John Lawton; Mick Box; Ken Hensley; Trevor Bolder; Lee Kerslake. The previous year, "Innocent Victim", the band's 11th LP, had been released and that album alienated many of the traditional Heep fans, that dissaproved the band's sudden change of style and musical direction. After all, the band was drifting away from its origins and its rock 'n' roll roots. Despite the harsh criticism that suddently attacked the band, "Fallen Angel" was released and it tried to rebuild "Innocent Victim". "Innocent Victim" had charted in many countries, although it failed to chart in the UK. Plus, it had renewed interest in the band. Thereby, the albums are extremely similar in many ways.
"Fallen Angel" is inexplicably and inexcusably boring, repetitive and monotonous. The songs are certainly radio-friendly and pop/disco-driven and they're so similar to each other. There is no creativity, there is no musicianship, there are no ambitions and the members of the band seem so uninspired. The production seems to be incredibly messy. Ken Hensley, one of the band's most important musicians, has always been the main lyricist of the band. In "Fallen Angel", the lyrics are lame, cheesy and highly predictable. Mick Box gives the listeners the feeling that he's a tamed beast. There aren't wah-wah guitar solos, there aren't crazy, wicked guitar riffs. There aren't any of his trademarks. There's just an ordinary guitarist. Once again, John Lawton and Trevor Bolder are the only ones that have motivation and will to play.
"Woman Of The Night" opens the album and it gives you a clear picture of what you are about to hear. It is a disco-influenced song that only has a couple of good musical moments. Ken Hensley's organ riffs set the rhythm of the song. They are way too "poppy" and they ruin the song. The worst part of the song is the chorus. It has a silly, embarassing choir that just lets the listeners down. Mick's solo is OK and it saves the song from being a complete disaster. It's not a good song, and it's certainly way too weak for an opener. "Falling In Love" gives the fans a little bit of hope, because it's slightly better than the opener. It's also extremely pop-driven but it turns out to be a simple catchy number. The chorus is somewhat disappointing because it gets too repetitive but the song has a great sense of comfort, it is a happy song. It's not a masterpiece, but it's a pleasant song to listen to. But, from here on, things get ugly...
There are huge problems in the middle of this. There are radio-friendly songs that are so similar to each other. "One More Night", for instance, is just crying for the attention of the media and "Love Or Nothing" could very well turn out to be a song that could play on the radio. It has all the fundamentals: awful/cheesy lyrics, embarassing choirs, weird arrangements... There are also songs that had an incredible potential. With decent production and minimal ambition, they could be Heep classics. "Put Your Lovin' On Me" has amazing guitar riffs that, combined with Lawton's voice, create a great environment. The chorus is somewhat unexpected and light, but then the bridge just kills the song. In "Save It", Mick Box's initial riffs are very interesting, but then the song turns out to be just like every other song in this album.
You could very well say that this album is full of fillers. But the last two songs are certainly the best of the album, because, for once, we can hear the musicianship and a real connection between the once bored musicians. "I'm Alive" has interesting guitar riffs, as Mick Box finally decides to show up. John Lawton sings with soul, giving the song a real edge. "Fallen Angel", the title track, may be slightly weaker than "I'm Alive", but it is an amazing song to listen to. For once, the choir isn't embarassing and childlish. The chorus may be repetitive but the song is very strong, finishing an album that's not too strong...
Overall, "Fallen Angel" is a huge letdown. It's probably slightly better than "Innocent Victim" but it's far from being a hearable album. The songs are tedious, throughout the whole album. The fans did not aprecciate the album at all, as the band was departing from its roots. Plus, the internal issues were getting bigger and bigger. There was a constant unrest between John Lawton and Ken Hensley and between Lee Kerslake and Gerry Bron. Lawton and Kerslake left the band quickly. The band hopelessly needed a vocalist and a drummer. Uriah Heep was crashing and it seemed like nothing could stop the crash.