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Uriah Heep - The Magician's Birthday CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

3.84 | 542 ratings

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4 stars As Ken Hensley put it at the CD liner notes this album was a natural follow-up to "Demons and Wizards" and supposed to be a concept album with a theme revolved around the Magician. But this album was done in a rush with a released date the same year with its predecessor. As far as Heepsters concerned it's not a bad album at all, even an excellent one. It kicks off with an impressive opening through an organ sound followed with "aaaaa.aaaa." choir which is very unique Heep sound through "Sunrise" (4:04) which later become the opening track for the band's legendary Live 73 album. The song is very strong in melody as well as composition combining dynamic drumming, long sustain Hammond sound, guitar and great Byron voice.

"Spider Woman" (2:25) is not one of the band's hits but this short track has a good harmony on guitar and keyboard as well as good melody. "Blind Eye" (3:33) reminds us to the style of "Demons and Wizards" album through a good combination of acoustic guitar, drums, keyboard and good vocal harmony. "Echoes In The Dark" (4:48) is an interesting track in medium tempo using Hawaiian / sliding guitar style combined with long sustain keyboard work. This is a song-oriented composition with a nice musical flow from start to end augmented with symphonic textures.

Those who were there in the glory days of 70s must remember this mellow track "Rain" (3:59) dominated with piano and sweet vocal. People would always remember this song whenever they talk about Heep or Hensley. "Sweet Lorraine" (4:13) is the band's legendary song where it features dynamic and pulsating keyboard buzz throughout the song combined with energetic voice line. I always enjoy this track performed live as well as original version. It has a heavy rhythm and good melody.

I did not pay attention to "Tales" (4:09) by the time the album was released. But when Iwatched the Magician's Birthday Party DVD I was so amazed with this song because it was featured with guest appearance of Mr. Thijs Van Leer (Focus). Indeed, it's a great track with a medium tempo. "The Magician's Birthday" (10:23) is the main icon of this album. This song comprises multi-structure which combines different style from a ballad rock to heavy metal complete with hard-edge guitar solo augmented with dynamic drumming. At first listen the different styles did not seem to jive one to another but having listened to this song many times I came to realize that all parts were connected nicely. I have to admit whenever I play this CD I always repeat this track and the most memorable part of this track is the lyrical part "I challenge you! I challenge you All! ." oh .. what a rocking segment man! Of course I also love the long guitar solo work by Mick Box accompanied by Kerslake's drumming. Wonderful!

It's an excellent addition to any prog rock collection. Recommended. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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