This shotgun marriage of two previous Heep albums, released by enterprising German label, Membran Music, works surprisingly well.
'Between Two Worlds'
takes Heep's 19th and 20th studio releases, 'Sea Of Light'
(1995) and 'Sonic Origami'
(1998), shuffles the tracks and deals them out onto two vastly entertaining discs.
By 1995's 'Sea Of Light'
both the music and the lineup had changed markedly since the band's earlier career defining heavy metal and progressive rock excesses.
That said, the current team have been together since 1986, so Bernie Shaw (v) and Phil Lanzon (k) could hardly be termed new boys. Mick Box, Lee Kerslake and Trevor Bolder are all seventies' veterans, with Box of course being a founder member.
Musically, there's a clear shift away from the past. On both 'Sea Of Light'
and 'Sonic Origami'
the garish, strident sound for which the band were notorious is filtered out and replaced by something more considered. An attractive style that tailors the best of their prog and metal past with a subtler, more measured touch.
The two albums could therefore be easily merged, with no jarring juxtapositions and no refugees looking vainly for an escape route.
Only the sequencing of the tracks could be subject to criticism.
More of a ripple than a splash, Disc 1 opens with 'Heartless Land's
sophisticated acoustic strum and sweet, compelling melody.
On the other hand, second track 'Perfect Little Heart'
has zest and bounce, with Shaw's clipped vocals admirably suited to the band's economic accompaniment.
This Spartan production treatment is a trait that you can trace all the way through 'Between Two Worlds'
and although you sometimes wish for a more lavish approach on some of the songs - 'Question
' and 'Love In Silence'
for example - this streamlined, uncluttered methodology serves the songs well.
What is also remarkable is this: across 26 cuts you never once step into the soft , yielding quicksand of filler tracks. Every one of these is solidly grounded by melodies that range from the sturdy (Change
and Mistress Of All Time
) to the outright infectious (Sweet Sugar
and Sweet Pretender
) and performances that always opt for the perfect fit.
Each disc has its share of truly outstanding songs with the evocative 'Time Of Revelation',
the smokin 'Against The Odds'
and the spacey 'Universal Wheels'
being among the better songs this iteration of the band have written.
If you don't have either, this double disc set is a really neat way of buying both.
Life and old dogs indeed.
Written by Brian
Monday, September 24, 2007Show all reviews by BrianRatingsBrian: 7/10
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