Innocent Victim

Uriah Heep

Essential Records, 1978

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


By all accounts, I should hate Innocent Victim, the eleventh studio album from British popsters Uriah Heep (and their second release in 1977). The second of three albums with vocalist John Lawton, there are more pop-oriented songs on this disc and less of the heavy space-rock that the band had become known for.

Yet I don't hate this album; despite everything I've heard about it and read from other critics, I actually like this album. I should know; I spent almost an entire day listening to nothing else but the re-release of this album, and I still don't hate it. Are mistakes made on this disc? Yes. Are they as fatal as some people would like you to believe? No.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Lawton and crew showed they were moving in a slightly different direction on Uriah Heep's previous disc Firefly - the first of their albums I had enjoyed in a while. Innocent Victim builds on those changes, and helps to cement the band's direction a bit. The end result, I think, is a better album.

Besides, it's unfair for people to say that Innocent Victim abandons the rock that Uriah Heep had become known for. Take "Free 'n' Easy," for example. Mick Box's guitars let you know that this track has all of the power that Uriah Heep had become known for. And while "Keep On Ridin'" and "Flyin' High" might not have had the sonic crunch that a track like "Easy Livin'" had in their early days, these songs also prove themselves to be more than enjoyable.

And now, for the mistakes. They number two - the first being "Free Me," which is just too light and disjointed to have any real musical muscle. It's not a bad try, but it's just not Uriah Heep, and it sounds as uncomfortable as a wetsuit made from burlap. The second mistake is "Cheat 'n' Lie," which follows in the pseudo-ballad-rocker vein that "Free Me" does. One of the bonus tracks, "Masquerade," would have done a better job than either of these tracks.

For that matter, had both been eliminated and "Illusion" stretched out to include "Masquerade" (as it does on the included bonus track), Innocent Victim would have been a better album originally. As bonus material, it just makes me wonder what could have been.

If Innocent Victim is guilty of anything, it might be trying too hard to break new ground. Sometimes, it works ("The Dance," "Roller"); other times, it doesn't ("Free Me"). But Uriah Heep did produce an enjoyable album in Innocent Victim, even if I'm one of the handful of people who will come out and say so.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2001 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Essential Records, and is used for informational purposes only.