Recorded at The Roundhouse Studio, London, England between July and September 1977. Includes liner notes by Robert M. Corich.
All tracks have been digitally remastered.
After breaking in new vocalist John Lawton on the back-to-basics outing Firefly, Uriah Heep once again found themselves feeling the need to experiment a bit on Innocent Victim. The resulting album doesn't cohere as neatly as Firefly did, but manages to keep the listener engaged thanks to a combination of slick performances from the band and a handful of truly great Uriah Heep songs. Overall, Innocent Victim's blend of sharp, short rockers and pop-friendly ballads feels like an attempt to court the American AOR market. The rockers are all pretty strong stuff: "Free 'n' Easy" is a fast-moving tune built on an ear-scorching guitar riff that feels like boogie rock in overdrive, while "Roller" is a stylish midtempo track that blends funky, languid verses with a faster, bass-driven chorus that ups the song's rock quotient. The band also weaves in some experimental tracks that hit the bull's eye: "Illusion" is a spacy tale about dreaming that creates a rich atmosphere through an arrangement built on strong keyboard and vocal textures, while "The Dance" successfully marries a reggae beat to its prog-like melody. Meanwhile, the album's ballad leanings brought Uriah Heep one of their biggest international hits in the form of "Free Me," a tune whose acoustic style and accent on harmonies brought the group dangerously close to Eagles territory. The downside of Innocent Victim is that it works a little too hard at being radio-friendly: despite their high level of energy, songs like "Keep on Ridin'" and "Flyin' High" are too contrived and self-consciously poppy to sit comfortably alongside gutsy rockers like "Free 'n' Easy." Despite this unevenness in tone, Innocent Victim remains a likable album with enough strong material to satisfy Uriah Heep's admirers. ~ Donald A. Guarisco
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