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High & Mighty

May, 1976

High & Mighty cover
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Overview - A vastly underrated album, due to lighter arrangements than Heep fans are used to. While most fans feel there's too much softness and not enough rock, I beg to differ. The arrangements are heavily influenced by John Wetton, as well as Ken, and create a much more mystical atmosphere than had been heard since The Magician's Birthday. While I do find a couple of weaker tracks, the songwriting is abolutely superb and some are so gorgeous that if they don't bring tears to your eyes, nothing will!

This was the last album with David Byron (and John Wetton as well) and was their last charting album for 6 years. Grade: A
note: Want to hear the album in the order as it should've been released? Try substituting the bonus tracks: Name Of The Game for Woman Of The World and Sundown for Can't Stop Singing. These are two of the best bonus tracks in the entire reissue series.

1. One Way Or Another - An excellent rocker featuring John and Ken on lead vocals (John on verses and chorus, Ken on the bridge). Hot riff matched with a great melody line. I love the harmonies at the end. Interestingly, this song has no chorus! Grade: A+

2. Weep In Silence - Lovely melancholy ballad with a great band performance; everyone plays and sings with great emotion. I love John's mellotron on this song. Grade: A

3. Misty Eyes - A beautiful solo intro by David gentle mid-tempo rocker that works well. Again, excellent harmonies and acoustical arrangement, although less mood changes and emotion. While this is a good song by itself, it lacks the progressiveness of earlier Heep and sounds a little lackluster sandwiched between Weep In Silence and Midnight. Grade: A-

4. Midnight - One of Heep's best ballads ever. A lush intro featuring Mick on top of John's Mellotron. David sings his best on the quieter sections while John's bass playing is more melodic than usual. The half-speed break is one of the most gorgeous sections of any Heep song. Grade: A+

5. Can't Keep a Good Band Down - Side 2 starts off with another good riff rocker, with Ken providing the riff on synth! A fun, if simple, rocker. Grade: A-

6. Woman of the World - This starts off promisingly but quickly turns into a dance hall piece. There are good sections, including some Beatle-esque harmonies but as a whole this song isn't quite up to normal Heep quality. Grade: B-

7. Footprints in the Snow - This haunting piece is the best song on the album, sounding like it came straight off Demons & Wizards, not only in its arrangement but in its mood as well. David is outstanding in his use of emotion. Grade: A+

8. Can't Stop Singing - This is the worst thing Heep did with David. Simple pop that reminds me of Elton John during his Little Jeanie period. The only thing that redeems this song is the wonderful break. Grade: C+

9. Make a Little Love - Another hot rocker with (finally!) some great slide work from Ken. Although it sounds slightly dated today (especially the backing keyboards), the band boogies with intensity. Ken's fills are some of the best he ever did. Grade: A

10. Confession - One of the prettiest ballads Ken ever wrote. This short piece is essentially Dave with Ken on piano and the guys on bgv's. Beautiful. Grade: A+

Name of the Game - (Bonus track) This track merges Gypsy with Pilgrim and was probably too heavy(?!) for the album. Too bad as it's traditional Heep in a great way and as good as, if not better than, the songs that were released. David and Mick are both standouts on this song. Grade: A+

Sundown - (Bonus track) A little quirky but who cares? This rocker is great fun as the band lets loose and tries some new things. One of the more rhythmic pieces that Heep has done. Grade: A

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