The list of bands who formed thirty-something years ago and are still going is pretty short; if you jump back another twenty, it's even shorter. English prog-metal heroes Uriah Heep are one of the lucky few who've been around long enough to become part of English music heritage. Now in their 49th year, original member and guitarist Mick Box has steered the band through the decades. There may have been some lineup changes over that time – that's the band equivalent of a hip replacement – but unlike some of their peers who are musically moribund, Heep have continually transplanted their new musicians to make their sound a living organism. The aptly titled Living The Dream is a testament to their seemingly endless brio. Album 25 is brought into the world kicking and headbanging with a hefty drum roll from Russell Gilbrook and a killer keyboard riff from Phil Lanzon. Grazed by Heaven may have overtones of Maiden and Purple, but it's a beast of an opener that refuses to be caged. The titular track doesn't disappoint as the energy levels continue to rise. Take Away My Soul is delivered with similar pomp with Bernie Shaw's bellowing vocals easily comparable to Dickinson, Coverdale or Gillan, and the instrumental sections similarly ferocious. Three tracks in and the vintage rockers have marked out their territory and are en route to deliver their best album this decade.
Rocks In The Road offers a flavour of classic Heep among the contemporary boom. At eight minutes long the track winds and bends with sonic precision and is replete with those familiar energised harmonies. Goodbye to Innocence celebrates the feverish lust of adolescence and calls to mind the frenetic nature of Deep Purple's Speed King, while Falling Under Your Spell steers the good ship Uriah back to its progressive course.
There may not be anything remarkable about the album in terms of being groundbreaking; pretty much everything has already been covered in the last five decades already. That said, Heep has nothing left to prove, but the Red Bull-fueled energy on this record demonstrates their continued hunger and enjoyment for making music. Uriah Heep are still enjoying living the dream, and it shows.
Groupie Rating 4/5