Rating:
9.5
Uriah Heep - Look At Yourself
1971


01. Look At Yourself
02. I Wanna be Free
03. July Morning
04. Tears In My Eyes
05. Shadows Of Grief
06. What Should be Done
07. Love Machine
08. What's Within My Heart [out-take version] [2003 re-release bonus]
09. Why - [extended version] [2003 re-release bonus]
10. Look At Yourself [alternate single version] [2003 re-release bonus]
11. Tears In My Eyes [extended version] [2003 re-release bonus]
12. What Should Be Done [alternate version] [2003 re-release bonus]
13. Look At Yourself [live] [2003 re-release bonus]
14. What Should Be Done [live] [2003 re-release bonus]


There is more than just a hint of progressiveness about this album and yet it never takes this factor to its tedious extremes. Uriah Heep throws into this album a great mix of educated hard rock, great musicianship and shows their skill to the full extent of their abilities through their willingness to experiment.

The vocals on this album are simply spectacular. You won't find yourself reaching for the lyric book as every single word is crisp and clear as day. David Byron has absolutely astonishing range in his voice, whether it's the blood curdling scream near the end of "Shadows of Grief", the ballad harmonies echoed on "July Morning" or simply just the rock 'n' roll ferocity of "Love Machine". He does it all. His band mates help him out on a couple of tracks with some truly beautiful multi-layered harmonisation.

The opening title track shows straight away what lies in store. Incredibly heavy for its time the guitars and organ get continuously heavier and faster as the number progresses. There is an absolute monster of a guitar solo, which is very typical of the style of the great guitarists of the decade except played at breakneck pace. The song just keeps getting faster before breaking into some weird percussion insanity.

There is ballad like tendencies on the track "July Morning" but this mammoth composition eventually turns into a cacophony of music and reference must be made to the unearthly moog synthesiser solos towards the end well complimented by the organ/guitar structures beneath it.

"Shadows of Grief" is a very dark piece of music. At almost nine minutes in length it takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions at the despair of lost relationships and female treachery. Ken Hensley's hauntingly brilliant organ work is shadowed by a guitar riff disturbingly doom laden. The interplay between these two instruments as they duel for supremacy is quite enchanting and epitomises the whole album. The song drifts between morbid organ solos to up-beat anger and everywhere in-between.

They show their influences on "What Should be Done" which is a masterpiece of blues/jazz/funk crossover executed with such precision like only a progressive British band of the era could have done.

Their first album lacked maturity and was fairly mediocre and their second was an experimentation of epic proportions but "Look at Yourself" was a coming of age release for Uriah Heep. They developed their sound to such a degree that they stood heads and tails above their peers. I've never understood why this band weren't recognised or lauded as much as some of these very same peers in the early 70's hard rock scene. Their influence has always been underrated and they have never been very popular in the mainstream music press but the music definitely speaks for itself.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 9
Production: 9


Band profile: Uriah Heep
Album: Look At Yourself


 


written by Stuart | 05.05.2008


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



Comments

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Passenger - 22.06.2008 at 12:01  
I had no idea Uriah Heep were even in MS. A debatable decision,.

This album has one of the best openers ever. Seriously, the title track may well be the best track of the entire decade. Led Zepplin, you wish you had come up with this one!

The rest of the album is absolutely dreadful. Ballads, lame instrumentation, bleh.
JohnDoe - 26.09.2008 at 19:50  
^ dreadful album??!! the way I see it, Look at Yourself is one of the best hard rock albums ever made. I find the musicianship on this album very good, not to mention David Byron's vocals which are amazing.

in the end, i guess it's all a matter of taste.... I happen to love this album.

great review by the way.
Paradox0 - 26.09.2008 at 20:47  
The opening track is great. Kind of annoys me though when the best track on the album is the opener (but I guess most albums should start out with a bang, no?). the rest of the album ranges from mediocre to intriguing, with songs like "July Morning" and "Shadows of Grief" having interesting components, but never really going to the point that the songs are great (perhaps a little overextended), but I understand this is early prog rock, so extended songs without a terrible amount of polish or a bit less direction than what would be to come (in the genre that is) is to be expected. Overal a very listenable album 7/10
JohnDoe - 26.09.2008 at 21:58  
Written by Paradox0 on 26.09.2008 at 20:47

The opening track is great. Kind of annoys me though when the best track on the album is the opener (but I guess most albums should start out with a bang, no?). the rest of the album ranges from mediocre to intriguing, with songs like "July Morning" and "Shadows of Grief" having interesting components, but never really going to the point that the songs are great (perhaps a little overextended), but I understand this is early prog rock, so extended songs without a terrible amount of polish or a bit less direction than what would be to come (in the genre that is) is to be expected. Overal a very listenable album 7/10


You must be a very demanding listener; 7 is a very low rating for such an album IMO; this was a groundbreaking album for its time, for 1971. july Morning is an amazing song, the vocals, guitars and keyboards are great, that song alone make the album worth checking out, at least that's what I think.
Paradox0 - 26.09.2008 at 23:43  
Written by JohnDoe on 26.09.2008 at 21:58

Written by Paradox0 on 26.09.2008 at 20:47

The opening track is great. Kind of annoys me though when the best track on the album is the opener (but I guess most albums should start out with a bang, no?). the rest of the album ranges from mediocre to intriguing, with songs like "July Morning" and "Shadows of Grief" having interesting components, but never really going to the point that the songs are great (perhaps a little overextended), but I understand this is early prog rock, so extended songs without a terrible amount of polish or a bit less direction than what would be to come (in the genre that is) is to be expected. Overal a very listenable album 7/10


You must be a very demanding listener; 7 is a very low rating for such an album IMO; this was a groundbreaking album for its time, for 1971. july Morning is an amazing song, the vocals, guitars and keyboards are great, that song alone make the album worth checking out, at least that's what I think.

I guess I am pretty picky as far as a listener, although I have a pretty weird preference in music when it comes down to it. I suppose that this album was ahead of its time but I just didn't find it THAT great. 7 to me means its good, nothing more, nothing less. I think their are definetly some albums in the genre which still stand on their own today as opposed to something which is OK by todays standards (although admittedly, that statement tends to become rather subjective sometimes). I suppose the highest I could rate it is a 7.5 but I just didin't find it to be in an album I'd call an 8.
Stuart - 30.10.2008 at 00:39  
Its strange how some people absolutely love this band and others just don't seem to get them...

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