Lyrics | Artist Comments | Fan Reviews

May, 1995

Sea Of Light cover

Overview - From the opening riff of Against The Odds to the final ring of the acoustic guitar of Dream On, this is a classic Heep album. Not just a return to the classic sounds of heavy organ or full, Beach Boys-like harmonies, but in the quality of songwriting, both musically and lyrically. This is truly the album Heep fans the world over had been waiting for since the glory days of the Byron/Hensley era. If you're a Heep fan without this in your collection, you need to search until you find it, seeing as it's never been released in the US. :-(
Grade: A+

1. Against The Odds - A blistering riff, the heaviest Heep has ever done, launches the album with more energy then the band had shown in more than a decade. Every member is playing superbly, Lee and Phil playing especially well with their subtle fills and rhythm work. This song has all the classic Heep trademarks: great melodies and harmonies (especially the harmonies), heavy organ, powerful guitar (Mick gets 3 solos!), melodic bass and thundering rhythm. Grade: A+

2. Sweet Sugar - Another riff, this one chunky and fun, backed with lots of great organ work from Phil. Bernie sings with as much power as Mick plays with. Very much the party tune, but the lyrics fall flat. Grade: A-

3. Time Of Revelation - The riff on this one will take you right back to Look At Yourself, but it doesn't sound dated at all. Lee in particular stands out, especially on Mick's solo. Again, the harmonies are gorgeous. Bernie sounds a little tired, however. Still, it is such a relief to hear Phil stay away from the synth on most of these songs. Grade: A+

4. Mistress Of All Time - The first ballad, and Phil's synths sound right here on the opening, especially his fills. Mick makes the right move by sticking with his acoustic guitar rather than trying to make the song too heavy with an electric. Phil finally gets a solo, a beautiful piano solo! Great harmonies once more. Grade: A

5. Universal Wheels - Another fast riff on top of classic Heep trademarks. while relying primarily on the organ, when Phil does turn to his synths it works once more. Interesting break with newsclips played over a new riff. The music is a nod to Ken Hensley, with its minor/major transitions. A lot of interesting effects on this song that you'll either love or hate. I think it succeeds, my wife thinks it doesn't. Grade: A

6. Fear Of Falling - This may be the wildest riff Heep has ever done. In fact, this may be the wildest song Heep's ever done. A very harsh, grating sound but to my ears it works fabulously as it fits the lyrics perfectly. Trevor takes the lead vocals on this one and Mick's guitar playing is superb. Extremely progressive piece of work. Trevor's bass work is some of his best ever and is in fact about the only trad Heepish sound in the song. Grade: A+

7. Spirit Of Freedom - A mid-tempo commercial rocker that doesn't quite work the way the Scorpions' Winds Of Change did. Great harmonies and a rock-solid rhythm section but stale songwriting. Grade: B

8. Logical Progression - Another mid-tempo rocker but this one works. Much more subtle in its approach, this features some of the best harmonies on the album, harmonies aided by some of the most interesting chord progressions the band has done since Ken Hensley left. Trevor even gets a bass solo! If Demons & Wizards had been released in the 90's, it would've sounded like this. My only complaint is that Mick should've added acoustic guitar to this. Grade: A+

9. Love In Silence - A beautiful ballad, featuring Phil on acoustic piano and some gorgeous bass work by Trevor. Bernie's voice fits perfectly. Then the break kicks in with an insistent synth riff that leads into some great organ and guitar work as the intensity of the song slowly builds to a wonderfully joyous climax. But the climax doesn't end quickly, it goes on for another 3 minutes! In my very 'umble opinion, one of the greatest Heep tracks ever! Grade: A+

10. Words In The Distance - Here's the obligatory Gypsy-style rocker that Heep should be including on every album, especially when they're this good. Great all-around band performance that absolutely rocks, especially Mick's chuncky guitar. Excellent harmonies again supported nicely by Phil's organ. Grade: A

11. Fires Of Hell - The last great riff and another Gypsy-style rocker. Some of my favorite lyrics about the futility of war. Mick's wailing guitar solo reminds me of crawling tanks from those World War II movies. Bernie's vocals are full of anger and frustration - perfect for this song. Grade: A+

12. Dream On - The most beautiful ballad Heep has done since Rain, and maybe even better. The acoustic guitar (could this be Trevor?) is gorgeous and Bernie's voice is full of the longing that the lyrics convey. Phil's synths are nicely subtle. Great album closer. Grade: A+

Mr. Majestic - ('B' side of Dream On) Finally, a studio version. I still haven't found a copy of the single so if you've got one to spare, let me know!!! Grade: ?

Holy Roller - (Bonus track on Time Of Revelation) Lots of energy and drive from Lee and Trevor and some nice work from Mick. The construction beneath his solo, as well as the solo itself, is the highlight of the song. Bernie sings with far more power than he did on his first two albums but Phil's use of a cheap organ synth greatly weakens the Heep sound. Grade: A-

Still Calls His Name - (Bonus track on Time Of Revelation) Well-constructed but not well executed. Lee's drumming sounds like it's from the Grand Funk Railroad school of percussion (i.e., repeat the same drum pattern thru the whole darn song!) I really like Phil's work but again, cheezy keyboard sound. Grade: A-

Sail The Rivers - (Bonus studio track on Spellbinder from the Sea Of Light sessions) Possibly Trevor's best song ever. A long, slow-building hypnotic song that reminds of Hensley's best work. The whole band performs this with a lot of emotion. Why this got left off I don't know. I've listened to this song for an hour straight and not gotten bored! Grade: A+

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