After over fifty years in the business, this is one band who have recorded a whole heap (apologies for the appalling pun) of albums over the years, and they are one of only a few legacy bands that can reasonably claim that their recent output is a match, and sometimes exceeds their best-known classic material from the seventies. Since returning to recording after a decade gap with the strong ‘Wake The Sleeper’ in 2008, they haven’t looked back, with each of the three subsequent albums better than the last. That run of form continues here on ‘Chaos & Colour’. I’m not sure what more the band could do to satisfy their fan base than what they have done on this record. There are big energetic rockers that have a vibrancy that astounds, when you consider two members of the band here are in their seventies!
On the opener ‘Save Me Tonight’ Bernie Shaw steps forward with his strong, distinctive voice, commanding the song, while Russell Gilbrook’s drumming powers it along, buoyed by a big melody, and Mick Box elevates it further with a boisterous solo. The pace doesn’t let up on the psychedelic tinged ‘Silver Sun’, and ‘Ages Of Changes’ brings Phil Lanzon’s organ to the fore (if you haven’t picked up his solo albums, then you’re missing out).
It’s not just spirited rockers, there are epic songs; ‘One Nation, One Sun’, which is a slow, atmospheric ode to the planet and unity, plus the proggy ‘You’ll Never Be Alone’ that starts softly on piano before it bursts into magical technicolour and includes a dynamic wig-out mid-song. ‘Freedom To Be Free’, a song of positive vibes, also weighs in at eight minutes, allowing the band the freedom to stretch out. Lyrically, the album has a very uplifting, spiritual edge, such as on ‘Fly Like An Eagle’ with its Native American references, and ‘Golden Light’. You can even let them off for the very Spinal Tap ‘Hail The Sunrise’, a song about solstice and the building of Stonehenge because its otherworldly feel wins you over. They also manage to fit in a knees-up on ‘Closer To Your Dreams’, which has a whiff of ‘Easy Livin’’ about it.
Everything you could want from Heep is here. If only all bands could grow old and retain such vigour as the ever humble Heep.
Reviewer & Album Information
Reviewer: Duncan Jamieson
Label: Silver Lining
Genre: Hard Rock
Issue Reviewed In: #102