Uriah Heep - 'Live In Armenia'

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Uriah Heep - 'Live In Armenia'

A good effort but neither a classic nor a must own.

Uriah Heep originates from that glorious era that gave birth to some of the biggest names in hard rock including Purple, Sabbath and Zeppelin.Heep’s very first album ‘Very eavy.....Very umble’ came out in 1970 and they haven’t stopped since amassing 24 studio albums and numerous world tours.The band currently consists of Bernie Shaw (vocals), Phil Lanzon (keys), Trevor Bolder (bass), Mick Box (guitar) and Russell Gilbrook (drums).In 2009 Heep released their 40th anniversary ‘Celebration’ album which included 12 of their most successful tracks re-worked.They toured extensively in 53 countries and made a live recording on one night during that tour, their first ever visit to Armenia and this is now issued as Heep’s second Frontiers Records release of 2011 and is a double disc affair. 

They kick off with three tracks from the previous studio release in 2009 including the title song ‘Wake The Sleeper’ as the opener.They visit this album a further four times over the course of the concert with ‘Book Of Lies’ being the highlight of that selection.The band opt to go right back in history with the remainder of their choices, with the next most recent track hailing from 1974. The classics ‘Stealin’ and ‘Gypsy’ are sandwiched by ‘Wake The Sleeper’ tracks and that makes up disc one.The first of these two seems especially well received by the audience and is the other notable track here.Disc two provides the celebration with five of Heep's greatest hits including ‘Easy Livin’ and ‘Sunrise’.They save the best for last and have the audience at their peak with the unforgettable ‘Lady In Black’ as the closer.

As live albums go this is a good effort but it is neither a classic nor a must own.This is due to the fact that it is let down by the track selection.Of the ten tracks on disc one, seven come from ‘Wake The Sleeper’. The likes of ’Overload’ and ‘Book Of Lies’ are fine tracks and well played, but you can’t help but feel that as this concert was being recorded one or two could have been replaced with some older numbers.The rest of the choices all come pre 1974 which means there is nothing from the 80s or 90’s.On the positive side the band sound energetic and lively with each song being well performed.The production is above average and allows each part of the band to play without sounding unnaturally polished, although it would have been nice to hear more of the audience interaction.

If you don’t already own any of Heep’s previous 13 live recordings, or have a deep love of that Hammond organ classic rock sound, then this album certainly has something to offer.The band put on a good show and there are some classics tracks well played - but it is unlikely to convert any new fans and this album is more for die-hard fans.

Dave Scott


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