Uriah Heep
Outsider


3.0
good

Review

by Daniel Dias USER (67 Reviews)
June 9th, 2014 | 22 replies


Release Date: 06/01/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Uriah Heep are getting old, but the song remains the same.

Uriah Heep doesn't get tired of playing, touring and recording. At least, that's what history tells us. They've been around since 1969, that's a career made of 45 years, 24 studio albums, 18 live albums and 18 line-up changes! Mick Box, who is the founding member of the band, is the only musician who has never left UH. It's 2014, it's been 45 years since Uriah Heep's inception, and they're back with Outsider, the band's 24th studio effort. After Trevor Bolder's passing in May 2013 (he had been UH's bassist for 35 years, since he had joined in 1976) fans doubted Uriah Heep would ever release any new album again. They were wrong, though. After a hiatus that lasted for 2 years, Mick Box and Co. recruited bassist Dave Rimmer, while writing and recording sessions for Outsider took place. Now, even the most avid of Uriah Heep fans shouldn't expect much from a band who is way past its prime. Sure, Rush keeps touring and recording since 1974 and they're still very good at it, but UH is no Rush. But there's always that little bit of hope that they can surprise people. Outsider may not be very surprising, due to its predictability and some flagrant hints of repetitiveness, but that doesn't mean that it's all bad.

What can we expect from a band who has reached its prime about 35 years ago? Plus, how can this particular band surprise us at this point in their careers? In order for that band to raise any eyebrows, they'd have to make a radical change in their style and sound. In Outsider, Uriah Heep didn't do that at all. In fact, they might have played it all a little bit too safe. Mick Box said it himself once in an interview: "It's a straight ahead rock album. We didn't try to reinvent rock or even our style, for that matter. We just wanted to make some straightforward, fist-pounding rock music, and I think we achieved that". Well, it's true that, with this sort of music that Uriah Heep keeps putting out, they certainly aren't bound to lose or displease the fans they conquered along the years. However, that doesn't mean that they'll ultimately gain any new fans with this type of approach. That being said, there's probably only one way to describe Outsider: it's a typical Uriah Heep album. Fans know what they'll get when they buy this, and they can certainly invest in it without any fear or doubt. But Outsider is hardly the type of album that will gain UH some new fans, especially at this stage in their longstanding career. However, at this point, they're probably not too worried about that; they just want to make music the way they know how, and they still remain good at that.

Right from the start of the energetic, fast-paced opener Speed Of Sound, who is more or less familiar with Uriah Heep's career and style is bound to figure out what Outsider is going to be all about. If that's good or bad, it depends. Obviously, on the one hand, it becomes clear that the typical Uriah Heep sound is present, alive and kicking. On the other hand, though, it would be nice to see Uriah Heep branching out a little bit, even at this advanced point in their careers. Be that as it may, any fan of the band should enjoy Outsider without any problems, since it does contain some really good tunes. What's perhaps the biggest highlight of the album is the lead single One Minute. A track strongly reminiscent of Heep's style found in Wonderworld and Return To Fantasy, it builds from a beautiful piano climax set by Phil Lanzon to an edgy hard rock number, featuring some fantastic guitar work and some great drumming from Mick Box and Russell Gilbrook, respectively, and quite catchy, spot-on vocal melodies from Bernie Shaw. One Minute features one of Outsider's catchiest choruses and it's probably the best track overall. Besides One Minute, though, most of Outsider's tracks are basically hit or miss, sadly.

What's underwhelming about Outsider is the fact that, when it's listened to in its entirety, it starts sounding a bit redundant: it gets a little bit too repetitive and there aren't many distinctive factors about the tracks to make 'em special. What's even worse is that some tracks don't even have any redeeming factors at all, making you wonder how they could make it to the final cut. A strong example of that is Rock The Foundation. It has a chorus so awful that it just ruins any potential it might had. Some tracks such as Jessie and Can't Take That Away just don't seem appealing or interesting enough to make people want to listen to them. They do present some great guitar work but they sound a little bit repetitive to be considered good. The saddest case is Is Anybody Gonna Help Me, since it starts off with some potential but it has an underwhelming chorus. It does present a great musical moment, though, a nice interlude resemblant of The Who's style found in Quadrophenia. Great moments come up when Heep decides to change things up just a little bit. That's what happens in Looking At You, for example. It's probably the album's most punk rock moment and it carries a lot of energy. Some tracks in Outsider, such as the title track and The Law, are actually quite interesting rock numbers to listen to, they're good tracks in their own right, but they probably lack that extra factor that'd make them distinctive. That's probably the biggest problem felt throughout Outsider.

Uriah Heep is way past their heyday. The days of classic albums such as Look at Yourself and Demons and Wizards are long gone. So, whoever wants to listen to Outsider obviously has to understand that the material found here is no match to the one found in those classic albums. It's material coming from a band who has been around for 45 years. Considering that, Outsider is actually a good album to listen to. It doesn't come without its fair share of misfortune and clear hints of filler, but it also comes with some quite interesting material, especially considering that it's coming from a 45 year old band. Any fan of Uriah Heep can certainly buy it and he's bound to enjoy it. I'm just not sure if other listeners, who aren't too familiar with the band, will feel the same way. Similar to Wake the Sleeper and Into the Wild in this aspect, Outsider focuses more on Heep's blues-based rock influences than on their progressive rock ones. They show that, at this stage in their careers, they're not willing to take many risks, musically. But they still remain good at what they do.

Recommended Tracks

Speed Of Sound
One Minute
The Law
Looking At You




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user ratings (13)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
danielcardoso
June 9th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Mick Box and Russell Gilbrook rock hard in here. They're the ones who stand out the most.

Album is what we've come to expect from Uriah Heep. Not bad at all, but no masterpiece either. Still, worthy of listening to.

Any chance the review could show up on the front page featured, given that it's a brand new release?

danielcardoso
June 9th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Frippertronics, thanks for the positive feedback.
Do I hit "post reply" to ask for my review to be featured?

TWIGtheWONDERKID
June 9th 2014


846 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This album actually isn't half bad. There's no surprises, like you said, but it's a fun listen for a Heep fan . . . Nice review.

Digging: Johnny Marr - Playland

danielcardoso
June 9th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Wonderkid. Yeah, it's not that bad of an album, it actually has some pretty interesting tracks.

MrSirLordGentleman
June 9th 2014


4555 Comments


Hell yeah, this band!

Snowdog808
June 9th 2014


1598 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice to see Heep release another album. I hope I like it when I try it.

danielcardoso
June 10th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hello, Lord. Hope all is going well. Will you give this album a spin?

Snowdog, when you listen to it, feel free to comment about it on my review. I want to see what you think.

Nagrarok
June 10th 2014


8259 Comments


A featured Uriah Heep review, now this is a bit of a surprise! Good work man, I didn't know they had a new album coming, but if I had, I would certainly seen this coming ;).

Into the Wild proved they can still make a solid record, I'm curious enough to give this one a listen as well.

danielcardoso
June 10th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hey Nag, thanks for stopping by and commenting, I appreciate it.

"A featured Uriah Heep review, now this is a bit of a surprise!" - Yeah, I asked for my review to be featured, but given that almost no one here even knows Uriah Heep, I didn't even think that would actually happen. Glad it did, they need more exposure here for sure.

"I didn't know they had a new album coming, but if I had, I would certainly seen this coming ;)" - Of course, I gotta keep my streak of Heep reviews alive ;)

"I'm curious enough to give this one a listen as well." - If you do listen to it, I should let you know that it's a bit similar to Into the Wild in terms of quality. It has some decent tracks and some pretty good ones, but it also has some quite uninspired tunes too. You should also keep in mind that it follows more Heep's blues and hard rock influences, rather than their progressive and psychedelic ones.

By the way, any plans coming up for ProgJect anytime soon? I read that Moody Blues review you guys wrote and it actually made me want to listen to that album. I'm interested in seeing what you'll write next.

Nagrarok
June 10th 2014


8259 Comments


If you do listen to it, I should let you know that it's a bit similar to Into the Wild in terms of quality.


I'm expecting just that.

By the way, any plans coming up for ProgJect anytime soon?


I'm afraid we've got nothing planned currently.

I read that Moody Blues review you guys wrote and it actually made me want to listen to that album.


And have you? If not, get to it!


MrSirLordGentleman
June 10th 2014


4555 Comments


Moody Blues m/

danielcardoso
June 11th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's on my playlist but I haven't checked it out yet. My dad used to be a big Moody Blues fan so he probably owns that album.

Nagrarok
June 11th 2014


8259 Comments


My dad too, he's got a fair number of their original LP's lying around somewhere.

danielcardoso
June 11th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

My dad's tastes have had some influence on me over the years. For instance, he's the one who introduced me to progressive rock. Seriously, he's crazy about it.

MrSirLordGentleman
June 11th 2014


4555 Comments


he rules then

danielcardoso
June 11th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well, he has some very good taste, I'll give him that. But there's just one major detail we don't agree on: he doesn't care for blues.

Antonius
July 10th 2014


236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

nicely written daniel. Have my pos. You could have kept it more consice tho

danielcardoso
July 10th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks for the feedback Antonius, I really appreciate it. How do you think I can improve upon my review?

Antonius
July 10th 2014


236 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

You've certainly made much improvement in your reviews since those early days in the site. Well done.
In regards to your review i think it would have been more appropriate if you kept it short and simple and just deliver your points. There was no need to enter into contradictions (ie that part with Rush) or too many details. It was very good that you had provided info about the bassist and also the statement of Box. Overall it was very good though. Keep up your review ethos!



danielcardoso
July 10th 2014


2317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks very much man, your advice is very appreciated.
Are you planning on listening to this album anytime soon?



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