This 2-CD set was originally re-recorded 14 years ago as they were getting ready for both the Acoustically Driven and Electrically Driven concerts. They were released under a puzzled title, “Remasters”, but it soon was out of print very quickly. Now released last year on the band’s first on their own label, Uriah Heep Records via Cherry Red label and it is the band’s full input. And the moment I put on the CDs on my portable CD player, it’s like a trip back in time to the golden era of the Hard Rock, and Progressive format they bring.
It’s also a symphonic and orchestral side to Totally Driven thanks to the Uriah Heep Classic Rock Ensemble. In this line-up recorded in 2001, was considered; Mick Box on Guitar, Trevor Bolder (David Bowie, Wishbone Ash) on Bass, Bernie Shaw on Lead Vocals, Lee Kerslake on Drums, and Phil Lanzon on Keyboards. The album artwork done by Igor orski and the graphic designs by Wieslaw Wiszowaty, has a steampunk atmosphere of the beginning of the early 20th century which is a mind-blowing cover like something straight out of either a Jules Verne or H.G. Wells’ story.
But let’s get straight to the music. The classical choir’s gives some of the Uriah Heep classics an epic roar as Shaw himself nails those vocals very well to capture the essence of both David Byron and John Lawton while guitarist Mick Box himself shows that there is no sign of stopping. He is still growing stronger and stronger without stopping. And the ten centerpieces on here, shows that Uriah Heep are still keeping the flaming fire’s burning.
July Morning has the Rare Bird-sque feel with a haunting and moving rhythm section thanks to Phil’s roaring Organ, the late great Trevor Bolder’s bass lines and Mick Box’s ascending improvisations on the lead guitar and it’s such a powerful, eruptive, emotional, and strong like an explosion to hit at the right exact moment. And then, the roaring rocking tempos continue on with a bullet-driven speed in searching for hope on Sunrise, Return to Fantasy and Easy Livin’ while the acoustic side on the second disc, is a very interesting and at times ascending, balladry, and catchy.
There’s the journey into the unknown with Wonderworld and the Spooky Tooth in your face power for More Fool You. But it’s The Golden Palace that shows their classical side with a haunting intro that feels almost as if Uriah Heep have done an epic score and then the wonders inside the palace gives it a chilling atmosphere and feeling the tension that sends shivers down the spine before it rises to a heavenly rhythm.
But then back into the Electrical drive with the flaming fire for the revving ready to rev into the night. The thumping and eruptive Look At Yourself and Traveller in Time are audiences crowning achievements and Bernie himself nails those chops on his vocals and staying true to both the vocalists I mentioned earlier. And then the closing on the second disc of Lady In Black, is in true honor of the original with the symphony orchestra, that shines brightly and the backing vocals blend very well.
This is my eighth time listening to Totally Driven. I have to admit, I’m not a wild Uriah Heep fan, but I really appreciate and respect both the talent, the power, and the glory that the band brings into the live recordings, they really take the Prog and Hard Rock levels up a notch. This here is a true gem for Uriah Heep fans to delve to see where both Electric and Acoustic work together with the Classic Rock Music Ensemble to have an orchestral rock take on the classic hits.