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Uriah Heep - 'Live In Armenia' (frontiers records) 4/5

Of all the great founding fathers of UK hard rock and Heavy Metal I've always felt Uriah Heep, have had a rough deal over the years. Despite being just as successful commercially as the likes of Led Zep, Purple and Sabbath, and filling just as many stadiums with just as many rabidly loyal fans, they have always had a rough ride from the critics and are never shown as much credit as their aforementioned peers as being one of the true greats.

Still I get the impression that the band themselves are well past caring (if they ever cared at all), they have blazed trails for UK rock all over the world, First UK rock act to play in the Soviet Union, First into China and now we have a double live set recorded in Armenia of all places.

Now there is nothing too surprising on show here, Live In Armenia is a guided tour of the bands 40 year career, from the early classics like Gypsy and July Morning (a song that has inspired a folk tradition in parts of Eastern Europe, what other band can claim that?) and a whole host of tracks taken from their more recent releases like the Wake The Sleeper album from a few years ago. All good stuff, although as a bit of a Heep fan myself  would like to see some of the stuff from the late 70's albums like High And Mighty and Fallen Angel recorded, or at least performed, live at some point.

The performance is top notch as is to be expected from a group of guys who have been fine tuning their craft for over 40 years. Mick Box is on blistering form, especially on the solo for Look At Yourself, and his interplay with Phil Lanzon on the keys is sublime.

There is one small downside, Vocalist Bernie Shaws haranguing the crowd to stop videoing the show gets annoying in places; 'This night is a special one just for you', (right, so when's the official 'Live In Armenia' DVD out then guys?) - To be fair I can understand where he is coming from, but they surely they could have lost those bits at the editing and mastering stage.

That gripe aside, this album is a very worth addition to the cannon of Uriah Heep albums, a must buy for all Heep fans and a great starting place for anyone new to the band who wants to check out some of the true masters at work.

For fans of... Deep Purple, Budgie, Led Zeppelin and the masters of classic rock

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