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Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards CD (album) cover

DEMONS AND WIZARDS

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

4.03 | 516 ratings

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Alitare
2 stars Some great classic rock! I want you all to get out your pens, papers, bic lighters, and hippie do rags, for this is a lesson in 1970's radio rock.

Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards (1972)

Overall Rating: 5

Best Song: It's all the same! EASY LIVIN', if you're really desperate

You want classic rock? Well come get some! This is it, boys! This is the most notable arena prog rock since early Styx, baby, and god I love me some early Styx, boy howdy. Yeah, for all you folks who've exhausted Led Zeppelin's IV, or Foreigner's debut, this is the next inevitable step forward (or backward). Uriah Heep are known for being precursors of early heavy metal, and early hard prog rock. Well, I'm here to clarify some things. Boy does this stuff suck! No, it don't do a damn thing for a single bone in my body, even the painfully simple radio accessible "Easy Livin", which is a song that some band like foreigner would have killed to have written, and a guy like Peter Gabriel would have committed suicide for having written.

What did that little spiel mean, my cheddar pals? Well, This is some shallow stuff. It doesn't even rock, man. Jethro Tull rocked harder on Aqualung, and they even took the time to write memorable riffs, and, oh, I don't know, expand on their base? Uriah Heep has really limited vision, and it makes listening to the entire album quite difficult. This is generic hard rock mush at its finest (or is that lowest?) It doesn't matter. The vocal melodies are so simple and derivative that it hurts my ears, man. What is this shit? Poetic Justice has that gaudy vocal soar, with the male choir ooh's and aah's in the background. Shoot me. Did the band take themselves seriously? I don't take them too seriously.

I won't even mention the lyrics, because they suck. Wait, I just mentioned the lyrics. These guys are screwing with my head! Lets pretend there are no lyrics, anyway. You know what we don't have to pretend, though? Melodies. We don't gotta pretend there are no melodies. Uriah Heep were kind enough to package each copy of Demons and Wizards, sans melodies, for our wonderful listening un-comfort. I bet Ken Hensley worked as a sales representative for a car company in his earlier days.

There's a big focus on thick, simple hard rocking with some keyboard interplay, and it's all done with the lowest common denominator in mind. The band is hardly exceptional, and I've a mind to peg them as fairly inadequate for their aims. the energy level is low, and tracks such as Circle of Hands ooze unnecessary mush. The guy's voice makes me want to stab my ears off, though. This is all the bad sides of progressive music, such as pretentious ideals, cheesy and hollow sound and song structure, and a nerdy lead vocalist, without the benefits of the genre, like being melodically ingenious, or having brilliant musicianship, or taking you to another world. Where does the band take you? Possibly to your favorite teenage dive on the outskirts of town, playing in some boring empty bar on a damaged juke-box. That isn't right, who would spend good money on an Uriah Heep song?

I know I said I wouldn't pay attention to the lyrics, for my own sanity, but this made me cringe: "Sacrifice, the future has its price, and the future is only yesterday's tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow." Isn't yesterday's tomorrow, today? I get it. Today is when I'm listening to Demons and Wizards, and tomorrow is when I'll kill myself over it. Holy hell, those lyrics are so downright awful that I can't help but subtract some points. Even the solo is repetitive and lifeless. At least Page had the gall to do some in your face and energetic punching stuff. This was probably a large influence on heavy metal, specifically power metal, but was that such a good thing? I'll let someone else decide. I'll just hate it to myself, irregardless of judgment. It would have helped if the band had stopped being so cold-stoney long enough to actually have made the record diverse, but they didn't. It's just one generic slab of proto-power metal, one after another, until you fall asleep. Actually, this record made me laugh, like when the dude tries his hand at being Ian Gillian near the end of All My Life, failing miserably.

Hey, truth is, some of this stuff rocks out, and they are all competent musicians, but with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple, you really don't need this album, and you definitely don't need the band. At their best, Uriah Heep undeniably epitomized the bad side of 1970's hard rock. At their worst, Uriah Heep records could easily replace nuclear bombs, if you dropped enough of them on one centralized location.

Alitare | 2/5 |

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