1. Keep On Ridin' - A good rocker but a little lightweight, especially when put up against the heavy rock of the time like Ted Nugent or Van Halen. The groove that Trevor and Lee lay down makes this one cook. Grade: B+
2. Flyin' High - Little more than Keep On Ridin' revisited. Trevor shines on this piece and the band's boogie energy can't be denied but once more too lightweight. Grade: A-
3. Roller - Another high-energy boogie/funk piece but now the lyrics are starting to slip in quality as well. Again, the band's energy sustains the piece. Great, fun arrangement. A precursor to the Conquest album. Grade: A-
4. Free 'N' Easy - This is it! THE GREATEST ROCK 'N' ROLL RIFF OF ALL TIME!! Sorry for shouting, but if anyone can tell me of a better riff, let me know! Great dueling guitars in the middle and absolutely incredible energy. This song should've been sent out as a promo to all those US FM rock stations. If the band had done this in their heyday, it might've been bigger than Easy Livin'. Grade: A+
5. Illusion/Masquerade - Originally, the two songs were separate,
Illusion being on the album and Masquerade released as a 'B' side. Thank
goodness for remasters as we can now hear the track as it was originally intended.
Illusion is a wonderfully dark slow piece that rolls on for several minutes until
Ken's acoustic guitar kicks in, picks up the tempo and hurls us into Masquerade.
Both pieces are very unlike most anything Heep had tried before and both succeed quite
well. Grade: A+
note: The original edit of Illusion is included on the remaster. The original edit of Masquerade can be found on Rarities From The Bronze Age.
6. Free Me - A monster hit world wide, and still quite popular among most Heep fans, this is nonetheless lightweight Heep. It's John's soulful vocals that make the song work while the band plays this with far less energy than on any of the other pieces. Sounds more like Eagles or Firefall than Heep to my ears. Grade: B+
7. Cheat 'n' Lie - Great arrangement on the intro and verses but a very commercial chorus. Again, the chorus falls into Eagles territory. Grade: B+
8. The Dance - Heep does reggae! And does it quite well indeed! Excellent song with great performances by all, especially Trevor and John. The chord changes, as handled by the band, are quite nice. Grade: A
9. Choices - Very powerful, moving song. Slow and grinding, the band plays with great fervor. Lee and Trevor are outstanding. Ken is heavy on the synths and John does a fine job, his voice sounding at the end of the song like he's got almost nothing left to give. Mick should've been given a long solo on this. Grade: A+
The River - (Bonus track) I have no idea why this track was dropped in favor of some of the other pieces on this album. This is much more traditional Heep and Trevor's playing rivals that of Gary Thain's. The band is tight, the arrangement is excellent, the lyrics are far better than most on the album, the song rocks. I guess it just wasn't commercial enough! Grade: A+
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Content Copyright © 1997 Jay Pearson
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