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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.06 | 699 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars For a long time this was just about the only Uriah Heep album I had or listened to. I had one other, return to fantasy, which was good but for some reason rarely played it. Demons and Wizards on the other hand I played the crap out of. For the longest time I only had it on vinyl but recently bought it on cd and it sounds good.

There are both good things and bad things to say about this flawed but still very good album. First a few of the flaws. The track "circle of hands" while a good heavy rocker that starts out with ominous organ, has a screechy sound at the end that I find rather annoying. I'm not sure what the sound is that is causing the high pitched screech. It might be a microphone or guitar. In fact it might even be intentional since it was left in and not edited out. Speaking of which, with a little careful editing and going back and carefully examining the master tapes or acetate the band could have cleaned things up a bit including that aforementioned screeching and made and even better album. My guess is that this being 1972 everyone in the band was either high, drunk, stoned or all three and didn't give a crap. The other annoying thing about this album and this is probably the worse offense is the high pitched strained falsetto singing at the end of the song "all my life." It's not a very good song to begin with but David Byron's singing at the end of it should have been either redone or not sung at all. I don't see how anyone can think that was ok to leave in. Like I said, must have been the drugs.

Now, for the good stuff. The album starts with what is probably one of my favorite songs under three minutes of all time(2:59 to be exact)"the wizard." I saw Uriah Heep a few months ago in the summer and thankfully they did this song which alternates between strummy acoustic guitar backed balladry and more up tempo rock with a slight heavy metal sound going on the background. I'm not sure I can say exactly why I like this song so much but it just has a very nice flow to it and definitely sounds of the times. Some people regard UH as a proto metal band or even a proto prog metal band but to be fair the band did a lot of different kinds of things. Some stuff was heavy some not so much. There are definitely some real rockers on this album such as "rainbow demon," "easy livin" and "traveller in time" and all are pretty good. "Easy livin" is possibly the most well known song by Uriah Heep and probably the only one I have heard on commercial radio. The two part track "paradise/the spell" is possibly the most progressive thing on this album and is very nice. It really grows on you. It's also very well done and is a nice conclusion to a classic but not perfect album.

I haven't heard every album by Uriah Heep. I have only heard maybe half a dozen or so but this is my probably my personal favorite although to be fair I haven't listened to the others that much. Magicians birthday is good too and in someways maybe an improvement but I still prefer this one. Roger Dean signed my vinyl copy which does have a pretty cool cover but I'm sure it's the music more than anything else that makes it special for me. A very very good album that has some charming flaws but still very enjoyable especially for fans of seventies heavy prog or hard rock with some proggy moves. A solid four stars. Crank it up!

Prog_Traveller | 4/5 |


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