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Uriah Heep - Salisbury CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.19 | 824 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Difficult second album? Quite the contrary!

After the band's mediocre debut effort, Uriah Heep's second album took them in an entirely new direction. Rather than play it safe, the band decided to write a 16-minute epic. Fortunately for the band, this action didn't backfire, and 'Salisbury' is now regarded as one of Heep's best albums.

Of course, there's more to this album than just the epic title track. A brief description of the shorter tracks follows. The album starts with the heavy rocker Bird Of Prey, featuring brilliant vocals, including some comedic 'ooh's and 'aah's towards the end. The Park is more mellow and soft and is quite uncharacteristic of Heep. The jazzy organ and guitar instrumental makes this my second favourite song of the album. Whilst not being brilliant, Time To Live is a fun stand-alone song with good lyrics and some fantastic guitar soloing from Mick Box. Lady in Black is an acoustic guitar-based song with five verses in quick succession. It's quite a repetitive tune, but was destined to become a classic amongst Heep fans. High Priestess is a heavier song with a lot of guitar soloing towards the end, but this track fails to impress me really.

Of course, the highlight here is really Salisbury. The story of how the album was named is a peculiar one. The band had been at a gig in Salisbury, but their show had overrun, so the bouncers turned off the power rather than let them play the encore. The band had been given just ten minutes to vacate the premises, but the audience joined in and helped carry their equipment off the stage. As means of a thank you, the album was titled as a tribute to those audience members who helped them.

At 16 minutes, the title track isn't the most progressive epic you'll ever here, but it is certainly epic. The first two minutes are dominated by a Ken Hensley's organ solo with an orchestra sounding away on top, as a sort of introduction. Afterwards the drums and all the other instruments kick in, and the track really begins. In the next 14 minutes, the track ebbs and flows through many different moods and tempos. My favourite part of the song is the 2 minute guitar solo which seems to go on forever. This is such an exciting, anthemic track that it's hard not to get carried away with all the drama. A rich composition if there ever was one.

At this point in their career, Uriah Heep were around the peak of their creativity. Even the album out-takes are enjoyable, like the 8 minute Here Am I, available on the deluxe edition on this album. This might just be my favourite Heep album, and I highly recommend it to those who have not heard the group before.

baz91 | 4/5 |


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