It might be hard to believe but Uriah Heep have been together for over 40 years. Their new album, Into The Wild, is the band's twenty-third studio album, their last being 2009's collection of re-recordings Celebration. Much like their last original studio album, Wake The Sleeper, Uriah Heep show that they are still a powerful driving progressive rock band and almost a rebirth of the band's sound in the 1970's. The band currently consists of singer Bernie Shaw (since 1986), guitarist Mick Box (since 1969, making him the only original member), former David Bowie and Wishbone Ash bassist Trevor Bolder (1977-1981, 1983-present), drummer Russell Gilbrook (since 2007) and keyboardist Phil Lanzon (since 1985). Into The Wild is another great entry in the band's discography.
Into The Wild opens with a very catchy tune called "Nail On The Head". It'll be stuck in your head, for sure. The lyrics are strong as is the music. Bernie Shaw's vocals are superb here and Mick Box delivers a wild guitar solo. The song is great but some people have pointed out something that's hard to ignore: the chorus sounds a bit like the Gap Band's "Oops Upside The Head". I really don't want to see a lawsuit breakout but I'm just putting it out there. "I Can See You" sounds a bit like "So Tired" from 1974's Wonderworld but whatever: the song is good. I love how it's very keyboard/organ driven. The self titled track opens with this droning keyboard sounds that eventually bursts into a fast-fueled rocker. The lyrics warn: "Don't cry little sister" and that there's "Red blood on the white snow". These lyrics create an image in your head, don't they?! "Money Talk" has this absolutely killer "stomping" rocker feel, lead by Russell Gilbrook's drumming and Phil Lanzon's keyboard playing. The chorus of "Down for the money" sounds wonderful as the band harmonizes on vocals. The instrumental section sounds something straight out of one of the band's earlier albums from the 1970's! Songs like "I'm Ready" and "Believe" give proof to what I previously said that there's till some "umph" in this band while a song like "Trail of Diamonds" is almost like a mini-epic, close in the vein of "July Morning" from 1971. "Southern Star" is just excellent, as it tells the tale of setting sail. The rising "Oh oh oh" vocals make it feel like somewhat of a sea shanty, except it's coming from a rock band. "Lost" sees bassist Trevor Bolder taking lead vocals, which isn't a first for Bolder. He's sung on a few Heep songs before and did sing for Wishbone Ash for a short time. Bolder has a nice voice and it's suited for progressive rock. "T-Bird Angel" might be the weakest song on the album but it's still got its strengths: its much like a "jock rock" kind of song, which is interesting. The album ends with the brilliant ballad (I refuse to call it a power ballad) "Kiss of Freedom". The chorus is well written: "We'll taste the kiss of freedom/It calls our name and everyone will shine/The truth is yours and mine".
Into the Wild is a hell of a Uriah Heep album. If you are a fan, then why don't you have it now like I do? It's a powerful album from a great band. It shall not disappoint any Heepster, for sure.