Ken Hensley was a major component of the ‘70s rock band, Uriah Heep. He scribed many of their songs, and held a strong hand over their production as well as the band’s direction. With classic albums (Demons & Wizards), Top 40 singles (“Stealin’,” and “Easy Livin’”), and excellent but lower charting albums, (Wonderworld, The Magician’s Birthday), Hensley helped to put Uriah Heep into a notable position for all to enjoy.
Hensley also enjoyed a solo career that delivered a multitude of albums beginning with Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf from 1973. On his latest album, the conceptual album that highlights music on the road and called Blood on the Highway, Hensley uses vocalist Jorn Lande to voice many of his songs. Reflecting a classic rock sound, not too far removed from the Uriah Heep sound, Blood on the Highway does a decent job of it particularly for fans who appreciated Uriah Heep and their many albums.
On this album, there are 14 songs, some of which recall the Uriah Heep sound easily enough, even if it doesn’t slot well next to any of them. The title track, “Blood on the Highway” is the first song on the album to walk amongst the growth of the Uriah Heep musical style. It’s followed by a few other Heep-like cuts (“It Won’t Last,” “Okay (This House is Down.”)
If anything, Blood on the Highway is a warm, nostalgic thought on the Heep metal years. The realities are there, sure enough. With Heep-era vocalists, John Lawton, a post-David Byron member of Uriah Heep, and Glenn Hughes (Trapeze, Deep Purple,) guests on a few Hensley originals, the music is certainly fun to listen to for a spin. Hensley sings on a few of his own songs but the album is largely adorned with the apt vocal work of Jorn Lande. One of the better cuts on the album is the soft, Glenn Hughes sung, “What You Gonna Do.”