Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.82 | 424 ratings

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4 stars Maybe not the best URIAH HEEP album, but in my opinion, the most essential.

It opens with mini-epic "Sunrise". Although the song is borrowing a lot from the "July Morning", it's not just a bad carbon-copy; it's a standalone valuable track with well-sung lyrics, good organ background, multi-layered vocals as usual, catchy chorus. The guitar is somewhat dull, perhaps. The album continues with a "Spider Woman", the most stupid song on the album. Skip her. Luckily, the rest of the album is on a very high level: "Blind Eye" is gorgeous acoustic-electric hybrid at its best, with simple chords but highly enjoyable.

Epic feeling creeps in while you are listening opening of the "Echoes In The Dark"; a majestic piece with excellent piano and great, breathtaking arrangement of all the instruments in the chorus part. Anyway, after a majestic piece a piano ballad follows. "Rain" is pretty song, it's creating a mood of a rainy day indeed, and somewhat it 's out of the time; it sounds very 80's in a positive way, maybe because of something in the melody, I just don't know.

The B-side opens with weaker "Sweet Lorraine", another hard rock tune with strong synth, however it's much better song than "Spider Woman". "Tales" is a little bit to hermetic for my taste (should I say: boring) but the good refrain balances it well.

And the grand finale - "The Magicians Birthday" forces me to use the word "majestic" again. This epic consists of few quite different pieces (all of them are individually quite good), including uriah-heep-esque epic proclaiming style, psychedelic birthday part and incredible guitar solo...one of the most expressive electric guitar solos ever played, full of wah-wah howling, formants...it sounds like a guitar talking in a way that Hendrix never managed to do. Anyway, that part isn't really related to the rest of the epic really, but hey, I don't think that anyone who likes multi-part epics will mind a bit of pretentiousness, right?

Anyway this is an excellent album...despite the few weak moments, it's fully of enjoyable music and nice surprises. Do yourself a favour and give it a listen.

clarke2001 | 4/5 |


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