Slaughtered by the music press from the beginning, Uriah Heep were always a prime target for the cool brigade. Indeed, they were one of the most obvious bands to go up against the wall when punk rock hit town. That's a shame, as this debut album reveals that they were a proficient outfit with some craft and imagination. 'Gypsy', which opens the album, is the oustanding track by some distance. The striking opening bars make up for a protracted introduction, David Byron draws you straight into the story the song tells, and the main theme drives the whole thing forward. In the six minutes allotted, the band vary the combinations between guitar, organ and rhythm section. Across the album, they also vary their style.
If there is a problem with UH, it is that, whatever they tried, there was always someone else who did it better. Deep Purple rather stole their thunder using the same band format, having the edge on musical talent, finesse and, sometimes, material. That doesn't make UH a pointless exercise, however, as they were no Purple clones and much of their music rocks harder. Some of the material is a tad ordinary: 'Lucy Blues' is competent, but blues was a dead end for a band like this. 'I'll Keep On Trying' isn't all bad, but hasn't aged too well and it's one of those tracks on which th band seem to forget to rock. Even so, this is the first of a series of five fine rock albums by UH in the early 1970s.