Originally recorded in concert in Koln, Germany for broadcast on German radio in 1996, Spellbinder was URIAH HEEP’s fourth official live album, and was recorded by the well established line-up of founding member Mick Box on guitar, drummer Lee Kerslake, Phil Lanzon on keyboards, lead vocalist Bernie Shaw and Trevor Bolder on bass. This version features two studio bonus tracks “Sail The Rivers” and “Across The Miles (Radio Version),” as well as featuring a brand new essay from Classic Rock and Metal Hammer’s Malcolm Dome and has brand new interviews with the band members included.
The performance on this album is first-rate, with classic HEEP songs trotted out for the punters, but there isn’t anything new on here, they knew what the fans wanted to hear and they gave it to them in spades. Some of the older tracks, such as “Devil’s Daughter” and “Rainbow Demon” had not been performed live for many years before this and “Circle Of Hands”, “The Wizard”, and “Look At Yourself” are included, all still sounding remarkably fresh for a band with only one original member. They include the new at the time song “Words In A Distance” that is titled “Words In The Distance” on the Sea Of Light album that came out two years after this was recorded and the crowd gave a really positive response to it. The band is definitely having a great time and the love for their craft is on display here with performances filled with energy and excitement, that you can almost feel. The bonus song “Sail The Rivers” from the Sea Of Light album is a great mid-paced rock song that deserved to have been included on the album, but at least it’s on here for our listening pleasure. The last bonus song is “Across The Miles (Radio Version)” from the 1998 album Sonic Origami and it’s a slower song that has beautiful vocals that are heartwarming and the playing takes the song into the stratosphere.
Yes I know, another HEEP live album, but it really is worth getting, for the performance, the excellent remastering job and the two bonus songs. Get this and play it loud, get out your denims and relive your younger days with a pint or three and ‘ear the ‘EEP getting ‘eavy!