(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
David Byron (1947-85) will for most be remembered as the vocalist in the golden period of 70's rock band Uriah Heep. After leaving the band in 1976 he started pursuing a solo career, which finished much too soon when Byron passed away in 1985. In the last few years Robin George, who worked with Byron in The Byron Band, have managed to dig up and release previously unreleased material by Byron, and on this latest release 3 previously unreleased songs and 6 remastered versions of previously released tunes are included; and a 5 part interview with 6 songs played as part of the interview have been added. An oddity ends the album – “Angelsong”, a song that seems to have been pieced together from several different recordings.
My main focus when going through this release has been to listen to the 9 songs first on the CD, seeing the rest of the material on this release first and foremost as bonus material mainly of interest to fans.
The songs here are quite different in sound compared to the material Uriah Heep produced. The basic influence and style explored are pretty similar in many ways though, blues based hard rock with a distinct 70's flair to it, but while Uriah Heep spiced up their tunes quite a lot, the songs here are less pompous and much more basic in approach and performance. Few of the tunes made me think of Uriah Heep at all.
A driving and dominating bass guitar is prominent in many tunes here, and more often than not it has a boogie flavor that made me think of Status Quo. The guitar work by George on these tunes are of substantially better quality of course, but the strong and dominating bass sound makes this comparison quite valid. Other tunes have more of a similarity to early Kiss and other hard rock acts from the early to mid 70's; catchy hard rock with good drive and lots of groove. A blues dominated composition (“Bad Girl”) and a funk-flavored tune (“Learn the Dance”) adds some variety to the album, but the main impression for all the songs here is that they are quite typical 70's hard rock in sound.
Most of the tunes come across as rather enjoyable though, despite the somewhat dated sound and over-explored style. Driving rockers like “It Gets a Little Crazy” and “Safety in Numbers” are cool tunes, and even if you've heard dozens of similar sounding tunes the catchy grooves are undeniably entertaining and catchy. Good vocal performance from Byron and skilled guitar playing from George will obviously have something to do with that.
Hardcore fans of Uriah Heep will probably be the ones most interested in this release; and with the 5 part interview in addition to the 9 tunes opening the album, the 6 tunes played during the interview and the last tune “Angelsong” there's a lot of material to keep that crowd happy here. People into 70's hard rock should also find this release to be of interest though, especially if they don't mind hard rock tunes with a distinct boogie flavor to them.
My rating: 71/100