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

THE MAGICIAN'S BIRTHDAY

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

3.84 | 402 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog_Traveller
3 stars This is one of three Uriah Heep albums to be certified gold in the US. The other two are "Demons and Wizards" and "Sweet Freedom." I am not familiar with "Sweet Freedom" so I can't comment on that other than it does include one of the more well known songs in "Stealin." Demons and Wizards is actually a stronger album than The Magician's Birthday from my perspective. However, "The Magician's Birthday" sounds fresher and less dated.

The album starts with "Sunrise" which is a very good song to start off an album. The vocals and guitar virtually come out of nowhere and propel this heavy hitting song. It contains a very good example of what could be considered the trademark guitar sound of Mick Box. The song predates grunge in that it alternates between both soft and harsher moments.

Next up is "Spider Woman" which is a decent enough track but nothing extraordinary and probably one of the weaker songs on the album. It doesn't make the album poor but does little to raise it's quality either.

Next up is "Blind Eye" which is a mid tempo tune with acoustic guitars at the foundation with electric soling on top of it all.

Track number four is "Echoes in the Dark" which has more keyboards than the other songs heard on the album so far. This is probably the closest the band ever got to sounding like Pink Floyd mainly because the weepy guitars have a very David Gilmour quality to them. The analog synths are a nice touch also.

Next up is "Rain" which is the most mellow song on the album. It has a slow dreamy quality that makes you think of staying home on a rainy afternoon. The song mostly consists of just vocals and keyboards(organ and piano). A very lovely song.

Track number six is "Sweet Lorraine" and it is possibly the best song on the album for my money. It's a very catchy up tempo rocker with lots of quirky synthesizer.

The second to last track on the album is "Tales" which is based around acoustic guitar. Some of the electric guitar that is heard mostly in the background sounds a bit on the country side but over all this track has the same kind of unique sound as "Echoes in the Dark" and "sweet Lorraine" due mainly to the spacey analog synths.

The last track on here is "the Magician's Birthday" and is by far the longest track on the album. By default it is the epic and probably the center piece(as well as obviously the title track). This track goes through a lot of different themes musically and even includes the children's instrument known as the gazoo. I find the part of the song that includes the "happy birthday" chant and the gazoo to be a bit silly but your mileage may vary. Still, it's a very good song and along with "Sweet Lorraine" the best song on the album. As quirky and unique as the other songs on this album are, I think this one takes the cake(pun intended).

While I still prefer "Demons and Wizards" there is really nothing weak on here and it's a very solid album for the most part. Maybe it has been lost in time to some degree but if you are looking to discover the discography of Uriah Heep this should probably be purchased earlier rather than later.

Prog_Traveller | 3/5 |

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