Lyrics | Fan Reviews

Sonic Origami

September 14, 1998

Sonic Origami cover
Click cover for full scan (370 x 369 20K)


  • Mick Box (G)
  • Bernie Shaw (LV)
  • Phil Lanzon (K)
  • Trevor Bolder (B)
  • Lee Kerslake (D)

Overview: This album is far, far better than what I expected. This is the closest to Classic Heep we've heard since Byron and Wetton left. This is better than Sea Of Light. THIS IS ONE OF THE GREATEST HEEP ALBUMS EVER!!! Bernie is indeed incredible. He may not sound like David but he is achieving the same kind of emotion and color with his voice. I feel charisma like I haven't felt since John Lawton. Trevor's bass isn't the melodic lead bass of his 70s style but it's still solid and he definitely doesn't rely on the root of the chord. Phil has for the most part dropped the synths and sticks almost entirely to the Hammond and the piano. e's only using the synths for color in parts, the way synths should be used. Mick is not as prevalent as he normally is but he does offer up several tasty solos and uses more acoustic guitar than he has since The Magician's Birthday. The biggest disappointment is the lack of Mick's Riffarama! Lee is probably the best he's ever been on a studio album, with both plenty of power but also more subtlety than before. It's such a relief not to hear synth or computer drums! Grade: A+
note: This is the first true double LP-length studio album Heep has ever released!

  1. Between Two Worlds
  2. I Hear Voices
  3. Perfect Little Heart
  4. Heartless Land
  5. Only The Young
  6. In The Moment
  7. Question (segues into...
  8. Change
  9. Shelter From The Rain
  10. Everything In Life
  11. Across The Miles
  12. Feels Like
  13. The Golden Palace
  14. Sweet Pretender (limited edition bonus track)

1. Between Two Worlds - very good opener, although not as aggressive as Against The Odds. But all the trad Heep elements are here, including a very progressive feel, especially clever harmony vocals (lots of oohs and aahs), and the return of the Hammond Organ! Quite reminiscent of the title track off Return To Fantasy. Grade: A+

2. I Hear Voices - unexpected changes, great arrangement, and full of Classic Heep elements, which somehow Mick & The Boys (as they do thruout the album) make sound fresh. Grade: A+

3. Perfect Little Heart - Starts off quite poppy, but turns into a great tune. Bridge is excellent but way too short. Lots of Hensleyesque minor/major chord changes. Grade: A

4. Heartless Land - One of the best Heep ballads ever, this should go into the Heep pantheon of ballads along with Rain, The Easy Road, Dream On, etc. Lovely acoustic guitar, arrangement, lyrics. Bernie oversings this a bit in grand Byronesque style. Would've loved to hear this with the London Symphony Orchestra backing. Grade: A+

5. Only The Young - At first I thought 'another ballad', but this is great!!! The first verse and intro are a bit boring but the chorus has quite unusual chord changes, then the bridge is killer. The ending sounds like an update of July Morning or Circle of Hands! Wow!! Classic Heep!! Grade: A+

6. In The Moment - Right from the first chords I like this, sounds like a Bolder song but it's not (I had to check!). It could be the sequel to Sail The Rivers. Lovely mid-tempo rocker. Lee really holds back nicely, keeping the beat driving without overpowering the band except where the song calls for it. The ending is an extended solo for Mick but I could've listened to another 1-2 minutes of this. Grade: A+

7. Question - Holy Smokes!!! And I thought Heartless Land was good!! This is shear bloody ballad brilliance!! If this isn't the Classic Heep sound, nothing is! On first listen, this is now my all-time favorite Heep ballad. This beats Rain, Easy Road, Dream On. And then Mick wrote to me and told me that this his favorite song on the album! Grade: A+

8. Change - Uptempo song, not a rocker, don't know how to describe it except that it's chock full of trad Heep, including Bird Of Prey-type vocals, lots of minor/major chord changes, excellent lyrics, mood changes. Musically, this would've fit in well on Firefly or Innocent Victim. Grade: A+

9. Shelter From The Rain - Another gorgeous ballad, full of longing and another gorgeous arrangement. I could probably listen to just this song for an hour straight. Like most of the songs on Sonic Origami, there is absolutely nothing radio-typical about this song. Mick's unusual guitar solos (you hafta hear it to understand, especially the first one) stand out, as does Bernie's performance. Grade: A+

10. Everything In Life - I didn't know if there was going to be another rocker, but here it is. Very much like Look At Yourself, part 2. Phil's organ swirls all thru this and Lee's cymbal/snare are quite intricate. One of the best rockers this version of Heep has ever done. Grade: A+

11. Across The Miles - This is okay but I like the Beach Boys doing Kokomo better (which is what this sounds like). An excellent radio-friendly song (which I don't care for). Still, an outstanding arrangement - nice percussion touches. Grade: B

12. Feels Like - Finally, a good chunky rocker (we gotta have one of these on every Heep album) that sounds more like traditional Deep Purple than anything on their recent Abandon album does! By sticking to piano/Hammond, Phil singlehandedly raises this above Heep's 80s/early 90s stuff. Not an outstanding track but if this album filler, I'll take it over 99% of what's considered "great" for 90s music. The eerie ending is the best part. Grade: A-

13. The Golden Palace - Now this is the way synths should sound - very cool intro to the longest song Heep has done since The Magician's Birthday!! Strong Russian overtones but an somewhat overlong song. Another song that would've been greatly improved by adding the LSO, this song seems to lack the energy of the earlier songs. This is about as far from Classic Heep as anything this lineup has done, but then it's never done anything quite like this. Grade: A-

14. Sweet Pretender (bonus track) - Great rocker, nice 70s riff, lots of energy, lots of Hammond, some nice synth touches, very good merger of the Classic Heep sound with the Modern Heep sound. Much too short guitar solo. I'd take this track over Across The Miles anyday. The "good night my sweet pretender" chorus makes for a much better ending than The Golden Palace. Grade: A+

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