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Uriah Heep - Salisbury CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 911 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "All that is to be must surely be"

Uriah Heep's second album took its name from a town in England. Apparently the audience at a UH gig there helped out when the band found themselves in a tight spot and this, or more precisely the title track, was their reward. Salisbury Plain nearby is used for army exercises, hence the tank (about to symbolically destroy a flower) on the sleeve.

The album was a natural but defined progression from "Very 'eavy, very 'umble", with greater emphasis on melody and refinement. This was in part due to Ken Hensley having a much greater involvement in song-writing duties, something he would come to dominate on future albums. His poem "The park" which became the album's second track, has Byron singing falsetto. It's a song about as far away from the metal image of the band as you could find. Hensley takes lead vocal on "Lady in black", an acoustic guitar driven chant-based track, which became their biggest hit in some countries.

The stand out track is the 16 minute title epic, which is quite different from anything else the band has done. This difference is mainly down to the addition of orchestral backing (the band appear to have conflicting recollections as to whether they actually recorded with the orchestra or whether those parts were added later). The track has a far more complex and progressive structure than the vast majority of the band's work. Mick Box is truly inspired on the three improvised guitar solos he adds, and Byron's vocal timing is immaculate throughout. This really is one of Uriah Heep's best pieces on any album.

The risk with having such a dominant piece on an album is that the remaining tracks are overshadowed. The lasting appeal of "Salisbury" is that the tracks are strong throughout, with the title track providing a wonderful climax.

The deluxe remastered version of the CD has 6 bonus tracks, including "Simon the bullet freak" which replaced "Bird of prey" on the US release of the album.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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