A new Uriah Heep album is something I look forward to, and after the last few years this is most welcome! Now, there is no song titled “Chaos & Colour”, and I am sure I’ll be saying those 2 words in the wrong order at some point. There is an explanation of the title tho from guitarist/founding member Mick Box – “The album title reflects that we were in chaotic times with being locked down, tours being cancelled, businesses folding, and all the chaos that was thrown into the world,… and as far as I could see it, the only colour people had was through music. It helped so many people get through those difficult years, using that strength and power which music has, to make those bad times not quite so bad.” And the cover art, it’s colorful, created (again) by Paul Tippett (whos’ credits also include Black Star Riders, It Bites, and Europe).
So, at this point in the band’s career (having turned 50 in 2020, and recently touring their 50th anniversary), some may expect a break. But, instead Heep have recorded and will release their 25th studio album at the end of the month. And Chaos & Colour will be worth the wait to Heep fans, especially those who were happy with 2018’s Living The Dream. That record was very good, the first 4 tracks on that alone had me hooked on first listen. Chaos & Colour is 9 tracks (vinyl), and 11 – if you get the CD! The new album keeps up with some standout Heep-heavy rockers, and adds more variety with progressive tracks, ballads, and a couple of excellent lengthier numbers., all produced (again) by Canadian Jay Ruston.
Overall, Chaos & Colour is more consistently strong song-wise, kicking off with the first single “Save Me Tonight”. It’s another collaboration between bass player Davey Rimmer and Jeff Scott Soto. At 3 and a half minutes, it’s a full-on energetic rocking opener with all that’s expected in a Heep rocker — heavy guitar and Hammond organ, harmonies, a memorable chorus.. The first 5 tracks are rockers, “Silver Sunlight” & “Hail The Sunrise” are both good, but (for me) it is “Age Of Changes” (one of many from Mick Box & Phil Lanzon) and “Hurricane” (one of four from Russell Gilbrook & Simon Pinto) that stand out, and are early favorites. “Age Of Reason” is a classic Heep styled melodic rocker that lyrically reflects on a first love/past relationship, I’ve played this one (and the next) more than anything else here, and I’m already putting this one alongside the best Shaw-era tunes (see “Between Two Worlds”, “Take Away My Soul”, ” One Minute”). I was surprised to see this was one of the ‘CD only’ tracks! “Hurricane” is more of a thundering rocker, that sounds like it will make a great live song. Side one (LP) ends with the soaring ballad “One Nation, One Sun”, a feel-good number that slowly builds throughout. It is one of 3 tracks that clock in over 7 and a half minutes, all of which longtime Heep fans will dig.
Side 2 (of the LP) is the more progressive half, it opens with the glorious “Golden Light”; this one is highlighted by Mick’s guitar performance throughout this one. “You’ll Never Be Alone” is a story based epic about a child’s magical dream that involves magical places, lurking danger, and rescues. And musically it plays out very fitting with a heavy intro, soft piano, build up, going through a few changes; racing to the edge and then simply dropping back in to piano, starting over as a new dream. Progressive rockers “Golden Light” (love Mick’s guitar melody throughout this one), and the more hypnotic “Fly Like An Eagle” (Phil Lanzon’s keyboards weave throughout this one and it’s an outstanding vocal from Bernie) are both excellent, with both tracks offering something new and are fairly heavy. Now, the LP closes with the eight-minute + heavy prog-rocker “Freedom To Be Free”, it’s full on Hammond & guitar, but also has a few surprises fans will dig, as the song progresses (and I will leave it at that!) The last track is (CD only) “Closer To Your Dreams”, a shorter rock track that is reminiscent of “Easy Livin'” and “Everything In LIfe”, a fitting end to a great ride. I think Heep fans will enjoy Chaos & Colour more so, as it journeys a bit further than the band’s previous 4 albums in sound and song. Now, when’s the tour start!?
Save Me Tonight
Hail the Sunrise
Age of Changes (CD only)
One Nation, One Sun
You’ll Never Be Alone
Fly Like an Eagle
Freedom to Be Free
Closer to Your Dreams (CD only)
Save Me Tonight (Demo; Deluxe CD only)