With the weakest opener since years the new Heep album comes up. "Speed Of Sound" is exactly the opposite of what the title promises. It really starts with the atmospheric "One Minute". Wonderful organ sounds meet a Bernie Shaw in top form. Finally the sympathetic singer can put himself in the limelight. The Canadian, who took over the heavy legacy as successor to David Byron and John Lawton about two decades ago, often still appears to be the weakest link in the band chain. While Phil Lanzon has long since left the shadow of Ken Hensley on the keyboards, just as Russel Gilbrook is no longer measured against Lee Kerslake, Bernie is still reserved. Last year, when Lawton stood in for the sick Shaw for a few concerts, there were several voices in the audience who would have liked to have made this exceptional situation a standard again. Back to "Outsider": Apart from the weak start, "Outsider" is fully convincing. It partly sounds so like "Salisbury" meets "Look At Yourself" that it's hard to believe that "2014" is on the CD.
Top track: The Law