‘Equator’ was the third and last of the Pete Goalby era fronted Uriah Heep years.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Uriah Heep
SERIAL: PRT 26414
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Pete Goalby – vocals * Mick Box – guitars * Trevor Bolder – bass * Lee Kerslake – drums * John Sinclair – keyboards
TRACK LISTING: 01 Rockarama * 02 Bad Blood * 03 Lost One Love * 04 Angel * 05 Holding On * 06 Party Time * 07 Poor Little Rich Girl * 08 Skool’s Burnin’ * 09 Heartache City * 10 Night Of The Wolf
WEBLINKS: Site Link
‘Equator’ was the third and last of the Pete Goalby era fronted Uriah Heep years, and effectively ended the second phase of Heep’s career. It shared much in common with the heavily AOR tinged ‘Abominog’ and ‘Head First’ albums of 82 and 83, with the synthesizers more glaring than ever.
Heep had finally broken free of Bronze Records who had gone bankrupt and signed with Portrait, home to so many melodic rock acts of the 80’s. Bassist Trevor Bolder took his place in the studio in place of Bob Daisley who had left several years earlier to work with Ozzy Osbourne.
The sound of ‘Equator’ is considerably more high tech and clean than the previous two albums. ‘Rockarama’ immediately opens to a squall of synthesizer blasts, setting a fine tone. The guitar seems buried, until Box delivers his solo halfway through. Goalby, tongue in cheek, sings ‘hey leave that on, I’m on M.T.V., now I’m seeing things’, a reference perhaps to the lack of promotion to Uriah Heep’s music at the time.
‘Bad Blood’ could be the most blatant shot of AOR on all three albums featuring Goalby. An all-time classic, the rhythms, synths and riffs are packed into wavering layers of melody, never relenting. Top of the line AOR lyrics cap it off, ‘she cuts clean to the bone, tight jeans, danger zone’, a sample of the writing flair. ‘Lost One Love’ moves into ballad mode, a tearjerker for all ages, Box contributing scorching accompanying harmonies.
‘Angel’ is far more jovial in nature, very light AOR. ‘Skools Burnin’ is one of those coming of age rockers, but check out the synths. Sinclair must have imposed himself on this album, because he overpowers everything else on offer. Box does inject some very heavy riffs when he gets the chance. But who’s complaining? Not I. Other staunch anthems like ‘Heartache City’, ‘Night Of The Wolf’, ‘Party Time’ and ‘Holdin On’ are similarly as well constructed, vintage 1985 material. Pretty much perfect AOR.
Uriah Heep lost Goalby and Sinclair shortly afterwards as documented in earlier reviews. It ended perhaps the best period of their career in terms of creativity, melodically and musically. That the albums failed to sell after ‘Abominog’ was due to poor promotion on the part of Heep’s record labels, according to Box anyway.
This is sad as they had shown increasing confidence with each release, and unfortunately ‘Equator’ sunk fast, a lost classic. It appeared on CD as late as 2000, after years of waiting by Uriah Heep fans. And although Heep have made some fine music since, they have never quite recaptured the urgency and melody of the 82-85 era.