Review Summary: One more Heep album...Sonic Origami
was Uriah Heep's 20th studio album and it was released in September 1998. This is the 4th album that featured the following line-up: Bernie Shaw; Mick Box; Phil Lanzon; Trevor Bolder; Lee Kerslake. The band's previous album, Sea of Light
, had been released in August 1995, and it was very good for the members of the band. This album managed to hit the charts and it proved the critical press that these guys still could come up with something special and meaningful. Sea of Light
achieved a moderate success and Uriah Heep tried to maintain this momentum with Sonic Origami
. This album is very peculiar, because it is a little unbalanced
. Let's see why.
The 1st half of this album is surprisingly consistent. The songs aren't properly astounding or legendary, but they turn out to be viciously catchy, enjoyable and easy to listen to. But they aren't just soft songs that one can listen to on a boring afternoon. No, the lyrics are deep and meaningful, instead of being banal and futile. Between Two Worlds
, for instance, is dedicated to David Byron and Gary Thain, and that song's lyrics are very poetic and profound: You're not the only one; amongst the saints and sinners; there are those that we can see; and those no longer with us; to take that walk again; with someone you were close to; on stage in the other world tonight.
It is incredibly strong for an opener. Then, there's I Hear Voices
. That song follows the story of a frightened man. Apparently, he has given up on the world and his hope has been crushed: I feel the pressure pushing down on me; can't face the world and can't change the things I see; I got my hands in my pockets staring at the walls; can nobody help me to escape from it all?
It's a song that portrays the society's problems and injustices with perfection. Some of the songs in the 1st half of the album get repetitive and boring, after a while, but there are some great musical moments and there is a great sense of chemistry and musicianship between the members of the band. Perfect Little Heart
easily gets cheesy, but it has an amazing riff and a catchy chorus, and Only the Young
has an anthemic chorus.
But the 2nd half of Sonic Origami
is very poor, boring and tedious, and it can't support the solid 1st half of the album. Shelter From the Rain
is as cheesy as it can be and there's not a moment that can be interesting or intriguing, and The Golden Palace
has a slow start, and when the listener is hoping for that big moment that will change the entire dynamic of the song... Well, that moment doesn't exist. By the end of the album, some of the songs sound so similar to each other. Nonetheless, throughout Sonic Origami
there are some standouts. The first two songs of the album are very powerful and interesting, and the ballad Question
is very strong and touchy, and the lyrics are addressed to the ones who have lost hope: Follow the voice that lives inside your heart; never the choice that tears your world apart.
Maybe, the best song of the album is Everything in Life
. It sounds like a cheesy ballad, doesn't it? Well, it doesn't. It's almost a recycled Easy Livin'
. The nostalgia is evident and Shaw's powerful voice is appropriate for the song.
Considering the poor 2nd half of the album, I could give Sonic Origami
. That rating would probably be more appropriate for the album. But these guys clearly had a nice time recording this album. They seem to be focused and motivated, but mainly they're happy doing what they want to do. Plus, there's a sense of connection between them.
Overall, Sonic Origami
can be a good album. It has lots of positive moments and some negative moments, but it turns out to be a good album. But maybe that's the album's biggest problem. It's just good
. Anyway, the album did not achieve good sales and Sea of Light
's momentum was apparently shattered to pieces. In 10 years, they would not release another album. One more line-up change would be witnessed in that period. Due to health problems, drummer Lee Kerslake left the band and he was replaced by Russell Gilbrook. In 2009, Wake The Sleeper
would be released and the fans would have one more surprise...
Between Two Worlds
I Hear Voices
Everything In Life