Chaos & Colour by Uriah HeepRelease date: January 27, 2023
Label: Silver Lining Music
It’s going to be a breath of fresh air to hear fellow hard rock maestros Uriah Heep coming back in full swing! And you may ask yourself, “Why do you ask that the Heep’s are coming back in full swing?” Well, the band have unleashed their 25th (Yes, you heard right!) studio album, Chaos & Colour. Following up to their 2018 release Living The Dream, the Heep’s have brought out the big guns to let their fans know that they have the almighty power inside the hearts and minds that have been with them on their amazing journey.
54 years, various line-up changes, and the passing of three former members; Lee Kerslake, Ken Hensley, and John Lawton, they know that their spirits are still alive, and never letting the fires burn into the water. Chaos & Colour is riveted, fiery, fierce, and eruptive at the same time!
For Mick Box, Phil Lanzon Russell Gilbrook, Dave Rimmer, and Bernie Shaw, they ride off into the night and brought out this huge amount of energy that they’ve unleashed on their new album. Since being re-introduced to their music thanks to the 3-CD set, Time Machine: A Vertigo Retrospective: 1969-1973, Andy Votel’s 2005 compilation Vertigo Mixed, and the 2017 BMG 2-CD reissues of the band’s first five albums, Chaos & Colour had me on this enormous roller-coaster ride that’ll never stop!
‘Save Me Tonight’ opens the album off with a giant cannon blast as they dive into UFO’s Mechanix-era with sprinting drums, heavy riffs, and epic-like lyrics with a blistering organ solo and Mick’s guitar sound, going in for the kill. It is such a killer song, that it will one day become a live favourite to start their concerts off to get audiences fists pumping and head banging like there’s no tomorrow.
Then, the parallel doors have been unveiled to the public as the ‘Silver Sunlight’ approaches the heavens to channel the unsung rock opera of Smoke Rise’s The Survival of St. Joan while returning to the Demons And Wizards-era as ‘Hail The Sunrise’ becomes a semi-sequel to the ‘Traveller in Time’ as Shaw details the story of what happened to the main character had done by meeting new characters he encountered.
The mournful organ becomes an arpeggiated introduction to make it the warm-up act for the soldiers who are now bruised, battered, and bloodied up, ride towards the storm on the ‘Age of Changes.’ Harmonising vocalisations, the trip to Heaven, and the reflections between the past and present, you just got to love the chemistry between Mick & Russell as they have each other’s back.
Swirling intro turned into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse, the battle between good and evil, becomes a ticking time bomb, ready to explode at any second for the ‘Hurricane’ to happen. Lanzon lays down the law as he lights the fuse and unleashing the cage for this monstrous wolverine, ready to attack.
Not only the monster is high with angel dust, but he goes on this blood-thirsty, flesh-eating attack that’ll make you shit your pants like a motherfucker! When he goes in for the attack, you better run like hell. Because he ain’t going back to his cave, for a long time.
While the first side has more of the heavier textures with their proto-prog-like metallic powder kegs, the second half shows a bit of their softer side. Once Phil moves from organ to the piano on the Carole King arrangement for bringing peace to the entire world for ‘One Nation, One Sun’, Uriah Heep share a message throughout the land.
But once after the three-minute mark hits, they return to the AOR route with an ascending climb towards the mountain top as Box and Shaw’s high-arising vocal lines, reaches to see this August-like sun coming over the horizon. The orchestra morse code beeper for the ‘Golden Light’ and the finale of all finales ‘Closer to your Dreams’, marks a return to their Bronze years with some nods to ‘Easy Livin’’.
It’s an attack of all senses that’ll get your motorcycles up an drunning while ‘You’ll Never Be Alone’ sees them going into David Coverdale’s territory from their 1987 self-titled Whitesnake release. But it’s back to the prog-rockin’ branches once more with an Italian flavour as they chopped the trees, one by one to ‘Fly Like an Eagle’. Not, not the Steve Miller song, but with different lyrics.
Throughout time and space with synthesisers flying off the walls, Lanzon times it right for Russell and Mick to come in, and drop the heavy missiles down below with a Premiata Forneria Marconi twist, a-la ‘Celebration’ style! And it’s back to the galloping horses once more with ‘Freedom to be Free’.
The song details themes of troubled childhoods and sexual harassment that aren’t comfortable subject matters, but are told right in centre on what has happened to them by not getting the childhood they deserve. It hits you very hard over what you went through. Not only with troubled parents and abusive relatives, but confronting your inner demons and being free from the past and present whilst looking forward into a brighter future.
And you have to give Rimmer a chance to enter the limelight by playing this incredible metallic bass solo by laying out the big guns for Lanzon’s piano movement until Uriah Heep calls him back to Earth and prepare for this climatic fight to the death. Chaos & Colour is the album that is ready for 2023.
It’s a fine return for Uriah Heep to unleash those mighty dragons who breathe fire out of their mouths, and roar like crazy! While the New Year for music has just got started, it is time to turn this bad boy up to 11, And when I say turn it up to 11, I mean this album is to be played at maximum volume.