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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 725 ratings

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4 stars Uriah Heep's fourth album, 'Demons and Wizards' is often regarded by fans as the band's magnum opus. Whilst I don't hold the same opinion ('Salisbury' is definitely better), it's not hard to see why they would think so. Despite the title, and the glorious Roger Dean artwork, this album is not a concept album, but just a collection of songs, just like any other Heep album. However, more than a few of these songs have fantasy-tinged lyrics, and this is the first Heep album where such lyrics would be used.

The album starts off with one of these fantasy songs, The Wizard. Beginning with an acoustic guitar intro, this piece is surprisingly light for a Heep album opener. However, this is quite an anthemic song, and great for singing at concerts.

Traveller In Time is a great hard rock song with a progressive edge. The final minute of this 3 minute track is dedicated to a groovy instrumental with weird sound effects.

Easy Livin' is a no-bullshit hard rock song. This is one of the most quintessential Heep songs; a classic with a great heavy riff. The grinding organ and guitar build a heavy wall of sound that is a delight to the ears. Probably the best thing about this song are the nonsensical lyrics: 'This is a thing I've never known before / It's called Easy Livin' / This is a place I've never seen before / And I've been forgiven.' Despite being just over 2 mins long, this music will linger in your head long after you've heard it.

Poet's Justice is the most forgettable song on the album, but still features a great instrumental and strong vocal harmonies.

Circle Of Hands was recorded to sound epic. Hensley's signature organ leads into a loud heavy riff in the intro and on into the first verse. At 6 minutes, this is one of the longer songs on the album, but the last 2 minutes are devoted to the anthemic outro. Byron's vocals on this song are timeless.

Rainbow Demon is definitely the silliest track on the record, but the awful thing is that the band seemed to take this too seriously. The vibrato heard on the word 'Demon' along with the 'Oo-oo-oo-oo' sound at 3:49 is just too much. What were they thinking?

Just like Real Turned On from '...Very 'eavy ...Very 'umble' and Love Machine from 'Look At Yourself', All My Life is another song about making love with an overdriven guitar backdrop. The lyrics remain as daft as ever: 'I only took one 'cause I couldn't take two / I wanna make love and it's gotta be you.' However, for the first time, I find myself enjoying this song. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the melody and tempo of the song is more appealing than it's predecessors and secondly, the song has a more appropriate message in the lyrics: 'I never ever thought I was looking for a wife / But I think I could love her for the rest of my life!'

The next track, Paradise, appears boring and repetitive at first but, after a couple of listens, becomes more gripping. This is quite a sombre track that is seemingly about two people who have fallen out of love. The three repeated verses in the outro bring the song to an intense close before segueing directly into The Spell. This is something of a sandwich track; an epic slow track shoved in the middle of an upbeat rocker. This is my favourite track on the record simply for the powerful guitar solo and awesome lyrics over a heavy backdrop in this middle section. A wonderful end to a great record.

Perhaps the most tragic thing about Uriah Heep is that their creative peak was reached so early in their career. The trio of albums 'Salisbury', 'Look At Yourself' and 'Demons and Wizards' are by far the best albums in Heep's long-winded career, meaning that it'd only get worse from here. Worse still, none of these three records are downright masterpieces, meaning that the bad stuff is really bad! However, 'Demons and Wizards' is still a fine album and should be judged on it's merits. Definitely a Heep album worth having!

baz91 | 4/5 |


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