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Uriah Heep - Salisbury CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 826 ratings

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3 stars Released in 1971, Uriah Heep's second recording Salisbury could claim to be the band's most progressive album. Previously known for a blues inflected brand of heavy rock, Salisbury sees the band broadening its musical horizon by incorporating greater jazz and classical influences. This is most evident in the epic title track.

Bird Of Prey gets the album off to a vigorous start with Hammond organ, guitar and characteristic heavenly vocal harmonies, until the tempo shifts up a gear with sustained Mellotron and piercing guitar. This pattern repeats before a different closing section fades unexpectedly. The song could possibly have been developed further, but is a fine start to the album nonetheless. Ken Hensley reveals his skill as a song writer with The Park, a reflective ballad that demonstrates the refinement of the band's sound in contrast to Very 'Eavy. Hensley plays organ, vibes and harpsichord during the intro of this acoustic ballad, which also features a superb David Byron falsetto. A short jazzy instrumental section further enlivens the song with the band playing by fits and starts, before returning to the main song. Time To Live is a fairly typical Heep mid-tempo rocker with a bludgeoning riff featuring Hammond and corkscrew wah wah guitar. Next up is the poetic Lady In Black, another acoustic-led song featuring Ken Hensley on lead vocals. This track also includes some nice echoing snare drum and waves of Mellotron strings.

High Priestess begins in laid-back manner with slide guitar and harmonics before a wah wah broadside gets the main song going. This is another tasty rocker, with more of those heavenly harmonies. Finally we arrive at the epic title track. It's an ambitious piece featuring brass and woodwind, and tops the 16-minute mark. Suffice to say it features many different changes in mood, dynamics and tempo, with Box and Hensley soloing over superb orchestration. The song ends in dramatic style with Byron's final scream above the group and wind band accelerating en masse to a conclusion. Great stuff!

Salisbury is a fine album with no duff tracks and one or two great ones. For me it lies squarely between good and excellent, but my overall rating is a reluctant 3 stars. Tomorrow I'll wish I'd given it 4!

seventhsojourn | 3/5 |


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