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Uriah Heep - Salisbury CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 824 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars The opener "Bird Of Prey" is another Heep classic. High voice, strong bass and keys in the background : a very dynamic and good hard rock number. Vocal effects are superb (the echo is really a fantastic idea). It was already featured on the US release of their first album. It is my favourite song of this album.

"The Park" starts with acousitc guitar and very high Byron vocals (Mercury could have write this one). Although the song is promising in its initial part, we get some jazzy improv in the finale which kinda ruin the ensemble. Sounds as if the Heep is trying to simulate King Crimson. Not a great idea.

"Time To Live" on the contrary is a great Heep song : pure and solid hard rock again : Hensley key's work is just fabulous. He is probably one of the most underrated rock keyboard players. IMO, he belongs to the top ten. Definitely. His input to the Heep (he is the driving force, actually) will be inmense from this album onwards. He IS the Heep.

"Lady in Black" is a folk/rock ballad which could have been avoided. I must say that this album sounds significantly different than their excellent debut one. I am quite confused with it, but I start to understand why it is so praised on this site.

"High Priestess" is a good rock'n'roll tune and fits perfectly well on this album. Vocal effects are similar to the ones from "Bird Of Prey".

Then the closing number and title track. The longest Heep studio track. Violins, brass and woodwind adds a symphonic sound to this piece. If you have read some other of my reviews (Yes, Tull, Purple) you already know that the use of an orchestra in combination with rock music is not really my cup of tea. This track, although interesting, will not change my opinion.

The intro (almost ELP-esque) is impressive. Byron enters the scene like in "July Morning" : two minutes of pure joy. Then, we get a long and pompous musical break in the style that Romans must have welcomed their warriors on the way home... After about five minutes of this torment, Byron comes back for a while to bring a bit of life in here. It leads to a great finale with a fantastic Fox guitar play (hi Ritchie).

I probably expected too much of this song than it is worth (IMO) due to the glorious reviews I read on this site. Maybe too much different from the traditional Heep output ? I do not know.

There are an incredible amount (seven) of bonus tracks on the Japanese remastered version (over thirty minutes), almost as much as the original album). Some unreleased songs : "Simon The Bullet Freak" which is a good rocking number with good piano and guitar work. Tempo is slow (but the original album is not really a wild one, so...).

"Here Am I" is a long (almost eight minutes) psychedelic and slow track for about four minutes. All of a sudden, it turns into a wild guitar solo which is really good. It is the most interesting of the bonuses and could have easily make the album. One of the best track available (together with the title track and "Bird Of Prey").

Some very good remixes of existing album tracks are also available. IMO, most of them (if not all) are superior to the original ones "Lady In Black" "Time To Live" and most of all "The Park" : the jazzy section here (much shorter) is more accessible and by far superior to the album version.

Some single edits : "High Priestess" sounds rockier and fresher (when I listen to it, I really believe that it is a rather brilliant remix which gives more life and a more modern angle to the original song).

One could call it a crime to cut down "Salisbury" to 4'21" (like those stupid versions for "Thick" or "APP" reduced to a mere three minutes) but I must say that, on the contrary, this one is not too bad. If some of you believe that the long title track is a bit "too much" it is rather interesting and summarizes the original not too badly.

Heep has produced one symphonic/progressive album with this effort. In my discography, the Heep is itemized in the hard-rock genre. It is as such that I prefer them.

I would not recommend this album if you want to have an overall idea of the band's production. On the contrary, if you would like to discover the progressive side of the Heep, there are no other album for you than "Salisbury". I would recommend you the remastered version, but pay attention : prices range from 15 to 40 (forty !) US $ depending on which internet supplier you will buy from.

Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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