| Uriah Heep
- "Sweet Freedom, 1973 (re-release)"
Sanctuary Records 2004
You might think they've settled down a bit after giant success of their million seller double live vinyl. No way! Band was heading for another studio release. This time Uriah Heep moved into France for tax purposes. New album called "Sweet Freedom" sounded heavier with colors of and intense shakin' rock'n' roll in songs like Dreamer and R&B oriented Stealin'. "The Magician Birthday" was a pure dreamland, I mean a record where you could fully switch off your conciseness, while entering into world of your dreams. "Sweet Freedom" also contains strong dreamy moments but at the same vein offers more earthly and punchier shapes of rock... and roll than it's predecessor. It strikes very intense right from the start with Dreamer, where David is accompanied with some astonishing guitar lead hooks by Mick with his usual enthusiastic squealing wah wah guitar language. Band did complain a lot over recording conditions in new studio, but with "Sweet Freedom" as band's sixth studio album, Uriah Heep produced the heaviest sound so far.
With passionate band's all time classic Stealin' Urah Heep proved again that composing of smashing hits was always among their strongest trademarks. After short mid tempo rollin' jam One Day, Uriah Heep takes the listener with title track into world of dreams, surely a first atmospheric highlight on a record. Massive chunky Hensley's Hammond dashing and fantastic tender approach of soulful David sourounded with angelic back vocal choir are fantastic counter points which in same vein draw expressive contrasts inside songs and establish many spine-tingling climaxes.
What follows next is fantastic continuing of this high ambinet with If I Had A Time. Well this song was actually written by Hensley back in 1971 and here on this very special re-release it is included among few bonuses as a version performed by Ken on grand piano and lead vocals with a little help from his friends Simon Kirke (Free/ Bad Company) and Paul Kossoff (Free/Back Street Crawler). I was in seventh heaven as a huge Free fan when I found this version included here on this reissue. Funnily enough, but at same time as I bought renewed version of "Sweet Freedom", I also did The Spencer Davies Group re-release of their forth album "Living In A Back Street" where SDG bonus We Can Give It A Try with special guest Gary Thain playing bass guitar is included. A track recorded back in 1974, so in times of Gary's splitting with Uriah Heep.
Still Uriah Heep mastered with supremacy their great sense of bringing the wondrous stories convincible alive. This unique band's magic shines further on through brighter and more naughty Seven Stars.
Circus is a very special song. Fantastic flamenco driven acoustic lesson with genuine expressive guitar melody arrangements accompanied with tasty percussion and David's gentle vocals in pivotal position. Magnificent change from heavier massive and chunky sounding tunes to journey to the tropical sandy shores of the Caribbean Sea.
Now everything is set for the song where real huge atmosphere rules the scene. Pilgrim of course. Mood changes completely once again. Dramatic charging opening motive with Hammond organ really providing some sounds as if angels would came down from heavens above. This is Hensley's masterpiece. Uriah Heep perfectly joined their rocking heaviness with tones of emotive eruptions, which brings us to the moodiest moments of a record. Just how the band towards end upgrades climax, this is real all time jewel penned by this golden UH line up. Mick wah-wah soloing is something very close to what we experienced with his performance in song The Magician's Birthday. Than prior to end atmosphere reaches highest peak on a record with David doing his dramatic vocal lines in higher sequences, accompanied with Mick's heavy wah wah riffs plus Ken's eruptive Hammonds and Lee hitting his drums harder and harder from each and every circle towards the end with tasty inclusion of military sounding bridges that helps to built this special shivering climax.
"Nothing left to say" (Stealin'). Uriah Heep remained with "Sweet Freedom" right on their top! Sweet Freedom is another versatile, dynamic and unpredictable record full of explosive dynamite with straight rocking pieces as Stealin', Dreamer and Seven Stars or unrepeatable magic dreamy moments caught inside masterpieces like Pilgrim and title song, accompanied with tender and fragile acoustic Circus. It captures diverse shivering mood changes that draw bursting emotions of sorrow, pain, joy, happiness, passion and love convincible alive which makes this record in all senses a true masterpiece.