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Abominog

and The Abominog Jr. EP

February, 1982

Abominog cover
Lineup:

Overview: Heep's great comeback album and one of the best metal albums of the 80's. Mick's reformed Heep made the right decision not to try recreate the old Heep of the 70's but to update the sound. Pete's voice not only matched the metal sound of the early 80's, he also wrote great music. John, unlike many of his contemporaries, did not abandon the organ and, like Ken Hensley, mixed it in well with his synths. The album's greatest weakness, however, was its lyrics, most of which make no effort to make the listener think. Grade: A+
Personal Note: This is the album that introduced to me to Heep. I'd of course heard the hits (and had always loved Stealin') but at the time I was very much into Gillan, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, etc., and when I saw that horrific cover I just had to try it. I quickly fell in love with Heep, and after a college buddy introduced me to the Byron-era Heep, I became a Heepster for life!
note: - European Order: (American order is much better - try it!)

  1. Too Scared To Run
  2. Chasing Shadows
  3. On The Rebound
  4. Hot Night in a Cold Town
  5. Running All Night (With The Lion)
  6. That's The Way It Is
  7. Prisoner
  8. Hot Persuasion
  9. Sell Your Soul
  10. Think It Over

1. Too Scared To Run - A great opener from Mick's initial riff. Tons of energy, great organ work, and a hot solo with decent length. Now that the band was firmly in his control, Mick's guitar became the centerpiece of the Heep sound and his great style much more distinctive. A modern Heep classic (?)! Grade: A+

2. On The Rebound - Lots of synths and wild sounds from John on this rocker which predates Yes' Owner Of A Lonely Heart by more than a year! Packed on top of a great riff by Bob and Lee, John's distinctive keyboards really drive this song. Grade: A

3. Chasing Shadows - Full of great melody and countermelody, this song is highlighted by the marvelous harmonies. Too often the vocal prowess of this lineup gets overlooked, yet this lineup produced some of the most incredible harmonies of any Heep lineup. The verse reminds me of My Joanna Needs Tuning, but the chorus and bridge are outstanding. Grade: A

4. Prisoner - A moving ballad with decent lyrics, this is a vastly underrated song in the Heep canon. Both Mick and Pete match the emotive feel latent in the song's lyrics and structure. Too bad John's keyboards don't. They're much too light, ruining the melancholy tone of the song and create a distraction for the listener. Grade: A

5. Sell Your Soul - One of the best rockers Heep ever did. Charged by a blistering riff, this absolutely crackles with energy. The intro, verses and bridge race along to a dramatic half-time chorus. The sudden change in pace just adds to the thrill. Great lyrics as well. Grade: A+

6. That's The Way It Is - The monster MTV hit that convinced me to check out the album and discover Heep. A cover song, but Heep turns it into their own classic. Sure it was arranged for MTV but what a great arrangement, especially when you listen to the original demo and see how far they came in developing it. Grade: A+
note: There is an alternate demo version on the remaster. Biggest changes made to this were in the keyboards, which John really upgraded for the album, and in adding harmonies to the final version. However, the urgency in the song, and especially in Pete's voice, are there right from the start. Grade: A-

7. Think It Over - A remake of their last single before the collapse in early 1981, the band turns in a vastly improved performance. Both Goalby and Sinclair show what a vast improvement over Sloman and Dechert they are. Pete in particular changes the emotion from Sloman's pleading to that of a demand that his woman 'think it over.' Nice work by Mick as well. Grade: A+

8. Hot Night in a Cold Town - Nice intro and verses but the chorus is a let-down musically as fails to maintain the energy. Both the bridge and Mick's solo (too short again!) pick the intensity back up again, but each time the chorus backs off. Nice ending. Trite lyrics. Grade: B+

9. Hot Persuasion - Centered around another great riff from Mick, this is yet another underrated song. The harmonies and Mick's solos (two!) in particular stand out. John's special keyboard effects work great. Really dumb lyrics, however. Grade: A
note: There is an alternate demo version on the remaster. It's only about 80% of the speed of the album version, losing some of the energy, but John's organ is much more the traditional Heep sound and really adds to the sound much better than his keyboard effects. The melody line is not fully developed and there's no harmonies. Where's Mick's solos?? Grade: A-

10. Running All Night (With The Lion) - I like this much better as a closer than Think It Over, probably because it has much more of an 'up' feel. Great melody line on the chorus. The riff is simple but effective. Although I'm glad John played organ here, it's obviously no B3 and no doubt a synth. Too bad, as the rest of the band sounds great, especially Mick on his fills. Grade: A

Tin Soldier - (From The Abominog Jr. EP) The old Small Faces tune, covered quite well by the band, although Pete mumbles his way through much of the song. Mick is particularly strong on this and it sounds like John is back on a B3. The band would've been well-served to have released this as a single. Grade: A+
note: Who brought this song to the band remains a mystery, as different Heep publications claim that it was Bob, no Mick, no John that wanted to do this!

Son of a Bitch - (From The Abominog Jr. EP) Great music, stupid lyrics. Too bad, as this has a real strong traditional Heep sound. The bridge in particular is reminiscent of Circle Of Hands. If John had stuck with the B3 instead of the cheezy synth organ and Pete had written decent lyrics, this would probably be quite the favorite of Heep fans today. The whole band plays with a lot of energy, especially Lee and John. Grade: A

Valley Of The Kings - (Bonus track from Time Of Revelation) The best Gypsy-style stomper the band has done since Wonderworld. Sounds very much like a rewrite of Sunshine. If Sinclair had used the B3 Hammond more often (instead of those cheezy synths), he'd probably be more accepted in Heep circles today. Grade: A

I'm Alive Again - (Bonus track from Still 'Eavy Still Proud) A great rocker very much in the Lawton-era tradition. A fun riff atop lots of Hammond and a well-constructed melody. Why this never got past the Ridge Farm sessions, I don't know. It would've made a great transition song from old to new Heep. Best of all the Ridge Farm sessions that have been released so far. Grade: A+

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