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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 In my early efforts to discover the roots of heavy metal, I came across the name Uriah Heep and I thought it sounded pretty cool. By chance, the first album I picked up of theirs was Salisbury. I bought the cassette back in the 80s and the lead track, Bird of Prey was not included. Instead High Priestess started off the album and Simon the Bullet Freak, a bonus track here, appeared on side B.

High Priestess impressed me enough with its heavy rock guitars and fast paced soloing. The high vocals and organ I could live with because I was already a fan of Deep Purple. But I read that Bird of Prey was often used to open UH's shows and so when I finally bought the CD many years later, I was at last able to hear the song. I have to say now that even though the music is great as typically UH heavy rock goes, the high vocals here tend to stretch the limits of my ability to appreciate such sounds. One reviewer called them "Danish fjord vocals" because it's the sound someone makes when falling into a cold Danish fjord in winter.

The Park was a surprise track for me. At the age of 14 or 15 one wouldn't expect a young metalhead to like a slow paced song with Hammond organ and acoustic guitar and with a jazzy organ and guitar duet in the middle. But something about the sound really appealed to me. Had the long-haired guys playing Motley Crue and AC/DC on their ghetto blaster at lunch break known what I was listening to I would have received a severe taunting and ridiculing. The lyrics of The Park talk about children playing and the narrator walking somewhat dreamily in the beautiful setting. The most poignant line that always gets my attention is, "My bother's dreams once here did soar until he died at the hand of needless war." It should be noted that this is one of two songs on the album that don't have any words in the chorus, just melodic ah-ah-ahs.

As if to wake you up, the next song - for a long time my favourite of the album - is the heavy rock Time to Live. A simple riff and a pounding beat accompany a song about a man who is a day away from release from prison and his reflection on his crime, killing a man who did something terrible to the prisoner's woman.

If progressive rock is about difficult musical compositions, odd time signatures, and classical-like playing then this next song would seem to defy all that. Based on two chords and a chorus of uh-huh-huhhh-huh-huh-huhhh-huh-huh-huh, Lady in Black is a simple but very catchy tune. Uriah Heep somehow manage to engage the listener in a captivating piece and only later do you stop to think how musically simple that song is.

The real showstopper of this album the main reason why it's on a web site dedicated to progressive rock is the title track Salisbury. At over 16 minutes long and with a full brass and woodwind orchestra and a choir, UH definitely outdid themselves here. The has an overture, a main theme, a lengthy instrumental break with very jazzy sounding organ, bass, and brass, a second vocal theme, a long wah-wah guitar solo, and a return to the main theme before a dramatic end. Recently this song gets frequent plays as I really love this one more now than ever before.

I'd say that this is one of Uriah Heep's best albums of the early 70s, though for progressive rock lovers it will be the Salisbury track that makes the biggest impression.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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