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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.06 | 697 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Demonically bad Prog, but Wizard Hard Rock!

The dilemma; Do I choose the two star option, meaning for collectors/fans only, or the three star, meaning Good, but non-essential.

The truth is that neither are accurate since, as we are contemplating progressive rock here, this album is not a good progressive rock album, neither is it for collectors of prog.

Before I upset the Uriah Heep fans, of which, understandably, there are many, it must be noted that beyond the Roger Dean cover, Demons and Wizards references in the odd track, and the imaginative vocal "choirs", there is no prog here - but there is superb classic rock!

The Wizard starts with a simple 3-chord acoustic intro on a D-tuned guitar, and does nothing more than repeat the chord progression with a fuzzed guitar and organ until the chorus, a Zeppelin-esque riff around 2 chords. There's a nice breakbeat, which, together with the Heep "choir" is the only distinction between this and vanilla rock a la Status Quo.

Traveller in Time begins with another Zeppelin riff, which is quite a jolt after the previous track, removing any notion that we might be listening to a concept album of any kind as the cover would suggest. The bridge passage provides a nice oasis of contrast - but then we hear some bluff presented as a guitar/keyboard solo - I only hope this is tongue in cheek! The overall effect is nice, but falls over when subjected to any analysis.

Easy Living is a pop/rock song. Great, driving, hard - probably the best track on the album, but a pop/rock song. I love it - especially those walkie bass-lines and bells (no whistles though!!).

Poet's Justice, well, does poetry no justice at all. If ever there was a weakness on this album, it's the lyrics. Again, when taken in Spinal Tap mode, no harm done - but for anyone used to the pyrotechnica of Gabriel, Fish or Hammill, this is not for you! Basic chord progressions are used with another good breakbeat and walkie bass lines - and that wonderful organ texture which is a constant throughout these songs. The twin guitar soloing is fairly pointless, leads to sections of bluff and lacks drama and the track as a whole seems to meander despite the decorations. Hit skip.

Circle of Hands; now we're starting to enter prog territory - it's over 5 minutes! Simple organ intro leads to an interestingly broken break beat and sustained chords which are nicely atmospheric - until we are subjected to those lyrics. "Sky full of eyes, minds full of lies..." "We must prepare the way or pretty soon we'll pay" "Today is only yesterday's tomorrow". Ugh!. A guitar solo covers some new ground rather than exploring the old - wise decision really, except that there is little dynamic. We are treated to another one of these later, and I start feeling like a thug kicking a spaniel. I really shouldn't be analysing any of this - there's no substance, and certainly no prog.

However, take the prog hat off, and suddenly I'm listening to the original Spinal Tap! All I need now is an 18 inch model of Stonehenge and a few dwarves. Wonderful rock with imaginative "orchestrations" - although by today's standards not particularly heavy!

ENJOY - but don't make the same mistake as me and go taking it seriously! If you like this, you'll like Deep Purple even better ;0)

Certif1ed | 3/5 |


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