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Uriah Heep - Salisbury CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 824 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Uriah Heep released their debut album Very 'eavy...Very 'umble (called Uriah Heep in the U.S) in 1970. After its release, Keith Baker became the group's drummer; he performed on this album, Salisbury, the group's second album, before bowing out because of the band's extensive touring and was replaced by Ian Clarke. Later that year, Clarke was replaced by Lee Kerslake and Gary Thain ultimately replaced Newton and became the group's bassist. This lineup of Uriah Heep was its most stable and popular, releasing five albums between 1972 and 1975.

Salisbury redirects the band's style in the prog direction, at least the title song does. Containing only six songs dominated by the lengthy and elaborate epic-length title track composition. On Salisbury, Uriah Heep moderates the heavy, gloomy rock sound of their debut and works toward perfecting a new sound, a confluence of heavy metal power and progressive rock complexity.

At 16-minutes, I would be surprised if the title track, Salisbury, ever received any radio play. It features a 26-piece orchestra, which revealed the band's latent progressive tendencies. Highlights on the remaining songs side include "High Priestess," a soaring rocker that blends furious, power chord-fueled verses with spacey, keyboard-drenched instrumental breaks, and "The Park" is a light slow paced ballad sung falsetto by Byron and soaring harmonies by the band accompanied by a light blend of acoustic guitars and ethereal keyboards in a totally different style from the rest of the album. This song, which exudes a gentle, appealingly psychedelic feel, seems to recall a childish innocence as juxtaposition to the other more dreary themes. There is a nifty jazzy stop and go bridge in this song that reminds me in timbre, tempo and texture of Alice Cooper's "Steven".

In "Time to Live" we seem to return to the throbbing guitar/keyboard style of their debut album, while telling a story about a guy in prison for killing someone who hurt a little girl. Next, "Lady in Black", is one of the better known songs by Heep. A stylishly arranged and very catchy tune that escalates from a folksy styled acoustic tune into a pulsating rocker with ambient harmonies and crunching guitar riffs.

The fifth track, "Simon the Bullet Freak", is a bluesy tune that again reverts to the style of their debut with a throbbing beat led by the bass player and additional emphasis on piano and guitar. Byron sounds like he's singing through a megaphone and there don't seem to be any of their trademark background vocals.

The climax, "Salisbury" is truly a climax. I don't know how anybody could not appreciate this song since "Salisbury" is one of my all time favorite long songs, yet I have read some reviews that don't. As previously mentioned this 16:02 minute song utilizes a twenty-six piece orchestra which gives the song a huge sound and allows Heep to spread their progressive wings. This is a remarkable band playing a remarkable song in which they are totally in their element. "Salisbury" is bombastic, it's subtle, it's fast, it's quiet. It has horns and violins and organs and choirs and Byron has never sung better and oh those guitars of Mick Box. "Salisbury" is phenomenal, it is a classic.

Mick Box - guitar Keith Baker - drums Paul Newton - bass guitar Ken Hensley - keyboards David Byron - lead vocals

Song/Track List 1 High Priestess Hensley 3:41 **** 2 The Park Hensley 5:42 ***** 3 Time to Live Box, Byron, Hensley 4:01 ****1/2 4 Lady in Black Hensley 4:44 ***** 5 Simon the Bullet Freak, 3:43 ****1/2 6 Salisbury Box, Byron, Hensley 16:12 *****

You may have and like any of the twenty or so albums Uriah Heep has made and they have made some good ones but if you haven't heard "Salisbury" you haven't heard Uriah Heep.

I, being of the older persuasion, have seven or eight of Heep's albums on vinyl and I'm slowly replacing them with CDs. The first CD I went after was this one because if you don't have Salisbury you are missing an integral part of this rock/metal fixture.

This album is Heep's most progressive effort, especially the title tract which is almost the equal of the other five songs in length.

semismart | 5/5 |


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