RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

 

Ken Hensley – Love & Other Mysteries
Esoteric Recordings

www.ken-hensley.com

Rating: B+

Ken Hensley is best known for writing and performing Uriah Heep classics such as “July Morning” and “Lady in Black.” Hensley, however, has had a long and successful solo career outside of Heep. His music outside of the band has remained, for the most part, in the same realm …until now.

With Love & Other Mysteries, Hensley has stepped outside the box, and instead of putting out one of his classic prog masterpieces, he decided to let his guard down and open up, emotionally.

Hensley explains the decision to move in this new musical direction, "No one is free from emotion and its effects. I am a poet and songwriter with the dreams and ambitions of an 11-year-old boy still running rampant in my heart. The songs on this CD came to me as naturally as breathing, from the source I have always believed in and in, which I now believe more strongly than ever. I think this CD represents a very positive shift in my musical focus, and for me, it is exciting to travel new and unexplored territory. It must be every songwriter’s dream to be able to make a record in this way.

I know it was mine. The lyrics are the single most important thing on this album and it is these words that were permitted to produce and guide the direction of the album”.

The album only features lead vocals from Ken on three songs, “This Bleeding Heart,” “Come to Me” and “Eyes (The Girl in the Purple Dress).” The album has many guest vocalists including Glenn Hughes, Santra Salkova, Sarah Rope, Irene Forniciari and Roberto Tiranti.

This is a concept album that sees the artist writing music for his own sake, releasing the desires of his creativity. The album is very passionate and emotional. It is not a rock album, rather it tells a story of love and life, the ups and down and desires we have all faced. It is a powerful work of art and should be taken as a whole. It is not an album one would put on to cruise the boulevard on a Friday evening. Instead, this is music that should be taken in and listened to as the emotional soundscapes are deep and provocative. This is a piece of work that opens up to the listener more with each playing.

While the classic Hensley sound is absent, and there are no rockers that compare with anything he has done in the past, this album is a complete and thought out album. Don’t expect Uriah Heep, or even the usual Ken Hensley, or you will be disappointed. If you are open-minded enough to allow an artist to reveal a different side of his musical soul, then you will find a deep appreciation for what Ken has done with this album.

Oddly enough, if I was to review this work based only on my love of Ken’s unique style of prog rock, then I would give rated it lower, however, looking at this as a whole, and allowing the artist to be an artist, one can’t deny the majestic forces at work on this recording.

By Jeb Wright

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