Ken Hensley – My Book Of Answers
Cherry Red Records
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Running Time: 45:10
Review by Chris Galea
“He was a wizard of a thousand kings. And I chanced to meet him one night wandering.”
(‘The Wizard’ – Uriah Heep)
The above verse, from the classic song penned by Ken Hensley when part of Uriah Heep, roughly sums up how this album came into existence. A chance encounter between Vladimir Emelin, Russian superfan, and Ken Hensley quickly developed into a strong friendship. Before long Emelin sent Hensley some poems he had written and his idol agreed to work those poems into songs. The result of all that is this album, “My Book of Answers”.
Sadly, Ken Hensley passed away a few months ago just as the album’s recording had been finished. Of course, the dark cloud’s silver lining is that we get to indulge in a new set of songs from Mr Hensley.
I sensed a particularly strong resonance of The Beatles in this album. Overall, the songs are well-balanced with choir vocals, opportune guitar solos and tasteful keyboards sounds. ‘The Cold Sacrifice’ is cathartic in spirit; ‘The Silent Scream’, by contrast, feels nostalgic; in ‘The Darkest Hour’ amongst other elements we find the Hammond and guitar working together to exorcise some interesting vibes. I also cannot fail to mention the song ‘Suddenly’ with its magnificent orchestrations and glorious melodies. On the other side of the coin ‘Lost’ and ‘Cover Girl’ lack memorable hooks but they’re no slouchers, mind you.
All compositions possess an aura of bleakness but also driven by hope and this was very typical of Hensley’s songwriting style.
In today’s world of over-produced and bombastic music it’s sobering to be able to, once in a while, delve into nothing other than good songs. It’s an apt swansong from Ken Hensley.
The wizard may be gone but his spells endure.
‘The Cold Sacrifice’ (Official Video)
01. Lost (My Guardian)
02. Right Here, Right Now
03. The Cold Sacrifice
04. The Silent Scream
05. Cover Girl
06. Light The Fire (In My Heart)
07. Stand (Chase The Beast Away)
08. The Darkest Hour
10.The Darkest Hour (Alternative Version, Bonus Track)
Ken Hensley – Vocals, Guitar, Hammond
Izzy Cueto – Guitars
Moises Cerzo – Bass, Piano, Backing Vocals
Tommy Lopez – Drums
Francesco Severino – Bass (Track 8)
David Gonzales – Piano (Tracks 6, 8)
Jacke Knight – Piano (Track 5)
Roberto Tiranti – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Ekaterina Nadaresihvil – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Belinda Campbell – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
Rosie Doonan – Backing Vocals (Track 7)
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