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Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 798 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars |B+| A total progressive(ish) hard rock classic!

I actually first heard of Uriah Heep, ironically, from Mike Akerfeldt's own mouth at the first ProgNation concert ever in 2008 at the Gibson Amphitheater in Hollywood, California. It was before playing the track Baying of the Hounds from Ghost Reveries, and he said the intro to the song was based on the intro to an Uriah Heep song called Easy Livin'. After the concert I asked my Dad if he'd heard of the band, and he said loved their music back in the day, and he recommended I check out the band as well. So naturally I became interested in discovering this band and song, and found this album, Demon's and Wizards. I remember thinking, wow, this isn't really all that proggy, but it sure is awesome hard rock! And the intro to Baying of the Hounds does in fact sound a lot like the intro to Easy Livin', just slowed down and heavier. Now there's some prog trivia for you!

But this is so much more than your standard hard rock. In a sense, this was the progressive metal of its time, even though by today's standards it is neither all that proggy nor all that metal. It is classic hard rock, similar to early hard rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, ect., only it transcends the style in it's own sort of way. It has some of the most brilliant use of effects I think I've heard, the acoustic sections are just as catchy and musically interesting as the heavier parts, and the use of keyboards is some of the best I've heard from hard rock (Rainbow Demon!). The lyrics are very fantasy oriented, and provide an adventurous imagery that perfectly compliments the quite adventurous, yet still accessible, music. The musical contrast between the soft, whimsical acoustic parts and the head-banging hard hitting distortion guitar lifts my emotions more than almost any of the other hard rock bands I have (besides Rush, of course ;).

I'd also say this is Uriah Heep's best album. Unlike most prog bands, they seem to work better with shorter tracks (though Salisbury itself is probably their best track, overall they're better with standard two or three minute songs), other than Circle of Hands, probably my favorite track on the album, though it's certainly hard to choose. Each track sounds fantastic in its own musically condensed way. I'd even go as far as to describe them as site monitor Easy Livin' does for the album as a whole: MAGICAL. Every track makes it's point, tells its story, and something about the assortment of the instruments, chord changes, structural laying, and vocal lines and harmonies all blend together to create something beyond hard rock. Shall we call it prog or not? Who cares! This is an amazing album, regardless! It's another one of those awesome hard-rocking albums that you can play in your car and and sing (or scream) the lyrics to while driving on the freeway. Unlike most prog, Uriah Heep focuses on emotional heights rather than complexity, yet still manage to outmatch the artistic integrity of most hard rock bands. And the Roger Dean album art... man, that's awesome!

So if this album is so amazing, why isn't it getting a five, you might be wondering? Well, two minor flaws each knock it down from an A to a B+. The most obvious one is that it isn't the head spinning prog that I normally recommend, thus A-, and the mediocrity of All My Life, a song which clearly hasn't aged well and gets WAY over the top with the high pitched vocals, though even that's a pretty fun song in its own way. those two marks make it a B+.

So to whom would I recommend this album? Well, everyone who thinks they like/might like hard rock. This album is borderline essential - not a masterpiece for the ages, but epically awesome nonetheless. If you like hard rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, or Blue Oyster Cult, this is a must! Sorry if I've gotten carried away with emotion in my review, but its hard to write one that isn't with an awesome rocking album like this. Here I am, 19 years old, head-banging to an album made in that magical year 1972. Thank's Mr. Akerfeldt! As he himself said (apparently with humor), Uriah Heep is really f---ing metal!

Isa | 4/5 |


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