URIAH HEEP — Look At Yourself

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URIAH HEEP - Look At Yourself cover
4.30 | 52 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1971

Filed under Hard Rock
By URIAH HEEP

Tracklist

1. Look At Yourself (5:08)
2. I Wanna Be Free (4:00)
3. July Morning (10:24)
4. Tears In My Eyes (4:58)
5. Shadows Of Grief (8:36)
6. What Should Be Done (4:11)
7. Love Machine (3:36)

Total Time 40:54

Line-up/Musicians

- David Byron / vocals
- Ken Hensley / guitar, vocals, piano, organ
- Mick Box / guitar
- Paul Newton / bass guitar
- Ian Clarke / drums, percussion

- Manfred Mann / synthesizer (track 3)
- Teddy Osei / percussion (track 1)
- Mac Tontoh / percussion (track 1)
- Loughty Lassisi Amao / percussion (track 1)

About this release

8 November 1971
Bronze, Mercury

Reissued by Castle in 1996 with the following bonus tracks:

8. Look At Yourself (single edit) (3:07)
9. What's Within My Heart (out-take) (5:23)

Reissued by Castle in 2003 with the following bonus tracks:

8. What's Within My Heart (out-take) (5:23)
9. Why (early version) (11:18)
10. Look At Yourself (single edit) (3:19)
11. Tears In My Eyes (extended mix) (5:38)
12. What Should Be Done (alternate version) (4:26)
13. Look At Yourself (live at the BBC) (4:32)
14. What Should Be Done (live at the BBC) (3:26)

Thanks to Pekka, cannon, Time Signature, Lynx33 for the updates

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siLLy puPPy
After diving first into the possibilities of progressive rock mixed with the heavy blues rock of the 60s on the band’s first album of 1971 on the utterly unique “Salisbury,” URIAH HEEP crafted yet another album the same year. On LOOK AT YOURSELF, the band stepped back from the progressive rock influences a bit and went back down the road of hard rock with prog elements. The result was an album that would steer the course of the band’s sound of permanently settling into the hard rock style that would cement the band’s success beginning with the following “Demons and Wizards.” In between the two albums of 1971, drummer Keith Baker left the band not because of any dramatic altercations with the band or the musical direction but because he didn’t want to endure the extensive tour schedules. He was replaced by Ian Clarke of Cressida who turned out to have the extra drumming fiery passion that was conducive to the harder rocking style the band was settling upon.

While prog lovers salivated over “Salisbury,” the rock world wasn’t so keen upon this bizarre musical statement so early on and has to be relegated to classic status over time rather than having achieved instant success for URIAH HEEP. Seeing the writing on the wall, the band opted to pursue the more commercial approach of honing their chops into the less progressive arena rock which proved to be the right move financially speaking however on LOOK AT YOURSELF there are still plenty of progressive rock moments churning about despite no 16-minute closer with orchestral effects in sight. While the feisty guitar driven title track bursts onto the scene and sets the tone for the album as an organ driven heavy rock band that was in many ways similar to Deep Purple, the album’s two most progressive moments shine on the two tracks over eight minutes in length, the sublime “July In Morning” and “the heavier “Shadows of Grief” which exercised lengthy excursions into psychedelic space rock.

The album is dominated by heavy guitar driven blues rock with organ bombast. The title track starts things off whereas the following “I Wanna Be Free” displays the bands hard rock dynamics of mixing heavier rock with softer passages. The other major heavy rocker is the arena rock friendly “Tears In My Eyes” which breaks out the slide guitar effects and purveyor of massive walls of wah-wah which is perhaps the most Led Zeppelin sounding track of the album. Once again the dynamics alternate between the heavy and intermissions of space rock with interesting vocal changes. Although Mick Box’ guitar antics along with Hensley’s organ prowess dominate the URIAH HEEP sound, David Byron’s multi-octave vocal style also takes the music to higher levels than it could’ve achieved otherwise. The other heavy rocker is the closer “Love Machine” which pretty much portended the direction the band would continue for the rest of its career. The only track that doesn’t do it for me is the piano ballad “What Should Be Done,” which signifies the more commercial direction the band would settle upon.

For prog lovers, it doesn’t get any better than the third track “July Morning” which found a cameo appearance of Manfred Mann creating bizarre calliope riffs on a Minimoog synthesizer. The track starts out slow and seductive with Byron’s lyrics tenderly ratcheting up the tension as the track alternates between verses and chorus before erupting into a frenzy of virtuosic organ and guitar tradeoffs that make up the last four minutes of the track which continuously build up the tension until the track fades out. While it is absolutely phenomenal i find it odd that some of the lyrical content suddenly drops out in mid-verse only to be replaced by a series of la-la-la’s. For true URIAH HEEP fans, this one has been deemed the equivalent to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” or Deep Purple’s “Child in Time.” The track was even the inspiration for a Bulgarian event called Julaya where participants gather on the Black Sea coast on the 1st of July to watch the sun rise over the waters.

While the other prog standout is the almost 9 minute long “What Should Be Done” it is primarily based on an organ driven heavy rock standard but deviates into the realms of psychedelia which ultimately find their way back to the main rock theme. Lots of interesting musical interaction on this one with strong riffing, call and response instrumental prowess and interesting dynamic shifts. LOOK AT YOURSELF is easily one of the best albums in the entire URIAH HEEP canon. While i find “Salisbury” to be just a wee bit more interesting, there is no doubt that LOOK AT YOURSELF is an outstandingly crafted example of early 70s hard rock with prog influences and most likely the album of choice for those who didn’t appreciate the meandering nature of its predecessor. For my money, it plays it too safe at times but still offers an excellent tightrope act of progressive and hard rock with this album on the hard rock side of the fence. One thing is for sure. The year 1971 was when the band’s musical mojo was at fully fueled. Two excellent albums in one year is no small task and this band dished them out in near perfection.

UMUR
"Look at Yourself" is the 3rd full-length studio album by UK heavy/hard rock act Uriah Heep. The album was released through Bronze Records/Mercury Records in September 1971 (US)/October 1971 (UK). After the excursion into progressive territory with "Salisbury (1971)", Uriah Heep returned with a more hard rock oriented album in "Look at Yourself".

The trademark organ and guitar driven hard rock with semi-progressive elements is still the order of the day on "Look at Yourself", so forget about this being a stripped-down and raw hard rock album, athough the progressive tendencies aren´t as dominant here. There are some great hard rocking tracks on the album though. Take a listen to the title track for an example of that. In the other camp there is a track like the 10:36 minutes long progressive rock track "July Morning". The great epic ending to that track with the organ motifs by Ken Hensley and the moog themes played by guest musician Manfred Mann are nothing short of stunning.

The musicianship are as always excellent. Uriah Heep were in those days (and still are) a really well playing band. To my ears the vocals by David Byron are exceptional and the vocal harmonies and choirs are outstanding too. "Look at Yourself" is well produced too, which is another asset, that makes the album a great listen.

Although "Look at Yourself" doesn´t add that much new to Uriah Heep´s sound it´s an excellent album by the band. While "Salisbury (1971)" saw the band experiment with different sounds and styles (that album is arguably the band´s most progressive effort), "Look at Yourself" is more a consolidation that Uriah Heep is first and foremost a hard rock act and only secondly a semi-progressive one. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Warthur
Look at Yourself finds Uriah Heep swinging back to the hard rocking side of their sound after indulging their progressive side more on Salisbury. That isn't to say the prog angle to their music is entirely gone - just as the hard rock side never entirely disappears on their more proggy albums, their progressive angle is still apparent here and there, particularly on July Morning. But by and large, the material here is likely to be more palatable if you already dig organ-heavy proto-metal stuff like Deep Purple or Atomic Rooster - if you come with those expectations, you'll find Look at Yourself to be a more than credible contribution to that particular sound.
AtomicCrimsonRush
"Look at Yourself" features incredible heavy Hammond and guitar riffing excellence on one of Uriah Heep's most consistent albums. The front cover is a mirror that many who owned the vinyl would have spent hours watching the reflective surface shine patterns on the roof. The music on the album also reflects the band, the power of progressive symphonic meets heavy rock.

The title track, 'Look at Yourself' is a definitive rocker with trademark driving guitar and organ with a pounding bassline. Mick Box's lead break crunches with incredible staccato Hammond of Ken Hensley and phased guitar. The vocals of David Byron are excellent with a straight clean performance and vibrato. There are so many brilliant tracks on the album that many found their way to best of compilations and concerts. The first 3 are Uriah Heep at their best.

On 'I Wanna Be Free' the harmonies are terrific and the riff is patented crunching guitar blasts similar to 'Gypsy' and 'Lady In Black'. Another great track on the album.

'July Morning' is captivating with quiet passages of serenity and loud majestic music crescendos. The verses are a lighters-in-the-air sway-along melodic ballad, and this is balanced with an outbreak of Hensley's Hammond smashes and Box's vibrant lead guitar. Crunching staccato Hammond blasts and a memorable guitar motif make this a progressive classic.

The descending riff is awesome on the proggy 'Shadows of Grief'. Some excellent Hammond answers and trade offs leading to a vibrant lead break. The organ shimmers on this and the musicianship overall is some of the best from the band. The quiet ending sounds like Pink Floyd's Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' as it is very psychedelic, building gradually with powerful high harmonies, very much like Deep Purple in some ways. The weird ending is the shimmering Hammond sound heard in the middle of 'Gypsy'.

'What Should Be Done' is next and we have a grand piano intro and Byron's very gentle vocals. This is the Heep ballad that is added to every album. It's okay but I prefer when they are in full flight and hammering hard. The wah-wah guitar break of Box is quite beautiful.

'Love Machine' ends the vinyl album on a powerful note. Tons of Hammond and a riff that motors along with a quick tempo are the dominant sounds. Byron's vocals are fantastic on this. It sounds a bit like Rainbow's 'Starstruck' in melody. The lead break is terrific and caps this album off on a high note.

The bonus tracks are great, a single edited hard rocking version of the title track, and 'What's Within My Heart'. This second track features some banter prior to the song by the band as they count in the sparse twin acoustic guitars. It is a forgettable soft ballad, with minimalist acoustics, and feels like a demo track. It is lovely the way the bass comes in though, and the vocals are well performed.

In conclusion, "Look at Yourself" is one of the best Heep albums without a doubt. It features some fabulous Hammond and is a real proto-metal rocker. The tracks are all excellent with a few patchy sections, and not as proggy as some others, but this album is still very consistent quality rock.
bonnek
Look at Yourself is my ultimate Heep experience. After the symphonic experiments of Salisbury, they got their hard rock act together again and concentrated on heavy rock songs with an occasional proggy excursion. The album doesn't offer much that they hadn't done on the preceding albums but in many ways it perfected their earlier ambitions.

The title track is just perfect. Five minutes of sweeping organ, wahwah and inciting percussion. It’s the first Heep song that I have heard and it has always remained the yardstick to measure any other Heep song against. I Wanne be Free, Tears in My Eyes and Love Machine are all a outstanding hard rock songs and What Should be Done a mandatory but satisfactory ballad.

For prog metal fans July Morning and Shadows of Grief will probably be of major interest. Especially July Morning with its dramatic onset and crescendo structure, layering waves of Hammond organ and synths into a dramatic climax. It's one of Heep's finest moments. Shadows of Grief is particularly appealing for its gothic atmospheres.

Uriah Heep never managed to equal this album, let alone top it. It serves as a perfect introduction to the band and stands as the one essential Uriah Heep album in my collection.
poslednijat_colobar
Incredible, masterpiece, unique and so on! Probably the best Uriah Heep album with so much energy. The next face of Uriah Heep's perfection. Salisbury was the prog face of the band, while Look at Yourself is the hard/heavy face of the band. That's real classic at the dawn of heavy metal music. Every moment follows completely the previous one. Despite made before the classic line-up and without Gary Thain and Lee Kerslake, it's rocks you terrific! All of the songs are landmarks of Uriah Heep career. Perfect songwriting and musicianship! The first song, Look at Yourself, is virtuous piece of hard rock with elements of frequent changes of the tempo. I Wanna Be Free is outburst of completely mastered energy. July Morning... I don't have any words about this song. In my country - Bulgaria - this song is a religion! We have a tradition and we celebrate on the beach on 1st of July. Sometimes, there are some of the heepsters with us - Ken Hensley or John Lawton! This is the only country to celebrate this tradition. July Morning is unique with its folk, hard and progressive sound. The song is constructed on some different levels. The beginning is slow and gradually the tempo goes faster and faster until it reach its peak at the end of the song, where the dramatical feelings are at the top of you. Exceptional song! Tears In My Eyes has big rock & roll influence with crazy guitar solos. Shadows of Grief is constructed in the same way like July Morning, with frequent tempo changes and theatrical style. What Should Be Done make some changes on the album because of its dark and slow blues style! The vocals preformed by David Byron reveal that he is one of the best rock vocals of all time! Love Machine carries the mood of Tears In My Eyes with cult guitar solos and hard rock & roll! Everywhere on the album you can feel dungeon keyboard sound, typical for Uriah Heep! 5 doubtless stars!

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