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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 750 ratings

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5 stars Uriah Heep is classified as Heavy Prog on ProgArchives and Demons And Wizards has been criticised in some quarters for not being very prog-oriented, although I hasten to add that this criticism is not entirely unfair. Ok, so Demons And Wizards isn't very proggy. In fact it isn't really all that heavy either. I don't know how the band members themselves would have described their music in 1972, but I doubt they would have referred to it as Heavy Prog. Who knows? However, if we set aside these arbitrary labels what we're left with is a great rock album, in my opinion one of the best ever recorded irrespective of genre. Demons And Wizards is a truly iconic recording that represents the complete package, from the fantastic songs to the erotically charged Roger Dean cover (look for the hidden images!).

From the acoustic intro of The Wizard to the final fade-out of The Spell this is a great album. It was the first Heep album to go gold, although it only reached number 20 in the UK album chart. Uriah Heep never seemed to be the most popular of bands, even when this kind of stuff actually dominated the UK album charts in the early-mid '70s. Highlights for me are the aforementioned The Wizard, which was released as a single. Easy Livin' also had a worldwide single release. Both of these releases bombed in the UK of course (shame on you Britain!), but I believe Easy Livin' scraped into The Billboard chart at 39. I defy anyone to listen to Easy Livin' without wanting to get up to dance, or at the very least to jiggle about in their chair! Circle Of Hands is one of my all-time favourite songs, featuring a rasping Hammond intro, thundering rhythm section, and an emotionally cathartic guitar solo to end. Stunning. The mini-suite of Paradise and The Spell close the album beautifully and these two songs taken together probably constitute the only progressive part of the album.

Judging by the song titles and the album cover Demons And Wizards might seem like a fantasy-laden concept album. The lyrics do contain fantasy themes but in the sleeve notes Ken Hensley states 'it's just a collection of our songs'. The album doesn't feature complicated time signatures, modulation to distant keys, or overt virtuosity. There's nothing complicated or 'difficult' here, just a sublime collection of great melodies and heavy riffs. Uriah Heep arguably reached its creative peak with this album. Its sister album The Magician's Birthday came close to matching Demons, but after that it was really downhill all the way for Uriah Heep. However Demons And Wizards was, is, and always will be the pinnacle of... 'Heavy Prog'. Keep on truckin'.

seventhsojourn | 5/5 |


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