Your Turn to Remember: The Definitive Anthology 1970-1990
Release Date: September 16, 2016
Uriah Heep is one of those bands that means different things to different generations. Throughout the seventies, the band was a mixed bag of Progressive Rock, Heavy Metal, and Arena Rock. In the eighties, they evolved into a more mainlined Hard Rock beast- a part of the band’s career that is too often ignored (as is their continued contribution to music to this day). Much of the focus is placed on the first decade of the band’s career and as a child of the eighties, and a fan of Heep, it’s awesome to have this more comprehensive anthology available. This 2 CD anthology spans 1970-1990 and, admittedly, it’s kind of wild to hear just how much the band changed throughout years.
The seventies rock the first disc of this collection. It’s easy to forget how psychedelic and progressive these guys were in their formative years. “Bird of Prey” is as strange as they come, laying foundation stones of Heavy Metal while fully embracing the fusion and Jazz elements that Progressive Rock made a staple of AM radio. “Suicidal Man” is another moment that lets the Heavy Metal flag fly high- from the darker lyrical matter to the gritty guitar work. Of course, the stomping, epic sounding, wizardry (musical and lyrical) of “Gypsy” screams seventies cool from the first note to the last. The more grandiose single edit of July Morning is my personal favorite here. The song is a journey in and of itself. I liken it to a shorter “In A Gadda Da Vida” or “Stairway To Heaven.” It’s part folk, part psychedelia, part progressive and incredibly fascinating to listen to.
Disc two finishes up the seventies and then takes a radio-friendly turn with 1980’s “It Ain’t Easy” from the Conquest album. This is the Heep I mostly grew up on but it is pretty shocking when you listen to all the seventies stuff first. Synthesizers, balladry and some near-falsetto vocals dominate the song and it’s, honestly, a little hard to listen to in retrospect. “No Return” has an Elton John kinda quality to it, but it’s progressive quirk sells it wholly. By the time you get to 1983’s “Straight Through the Heart” though, the Heep are rockin’ again. This is my favorite Heep era with it’s massive guitars, big anthem swagger, and powerful lead vocals. When you intertwine it with songs like the futuristic “Rockarama” and the poppy “Voice on My TV” (which concludes the anthology at 1989) you have an entirely different, but just as thematically interesting band. The psychedelia is long gone, replaced by pristine production and stadium-worthy anthems.
All in all, this is a fun trip through across the many faces of Uriah Heep. Throughout the next two decades, they would find some balance between what was and what is, making this is a fascinating listen to one of the few bands that have managed to evolve, survive, and thrive for nearly four decades.
Reviewed by mark1340