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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 751 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Demons and Wizards" is my favourite Uriah Heep item: being an enthusiastic prog- head myself, I find myself quite appealed by the special dose of prog textures and ornaments that Hensley, Box and co. managed to instill into their melodic hard rock. This band has always leaned closer to the line of work of Deep Purple than to your average symphonic prog band from the UK by then. Yet, unlike their more virtuoso Purple neighbours, this band wasn't afraid to explore their hard rock essence and develop various artistic strategies in order to enrich the basic melodic ideas of the compositions. This album incarnates this tendency in its ultimate expression within the band's long discography. The entry of the golden rhythm section of Kerslake and Thain couldn't have been more timely: their well-oiled compenetration was obviously an asset for the band's maturity, patently achieved in this album. The acoustic ballad 'The Wizard' kicks off the album with full splendor: this number bears an amazing strength despite its predominantly acoustic basis and slow tempo, and the choral arrangements really help to keep things majestic. 'Traveler in Time' also bears a distinct melodic approach, which I wish had been developed further: I feel that it might as well be more expanded, lasted a bit longer and equal the vibrant colorfulness of another melodic rocker, 'Poet's Justice'. Now, this one is properly developed, including a well-ordained sequence of lead vocal lines and choral companions, solid organ playing, effective guitar leads and an inventive rhythm section work. 'Traveler' stays just very good as it is, but 'Poet's' manages to go to more places under a similiar frame. 'Easy Livin'' is a beautiful simple rocker with a captivating hook: this time the organ is a vibrant accomplice for the blues-rock rhythm section, including the occasional Baroque-like adornments. The most frivolous number in the album is 'All My Life', which mostly serves as a jolly relief among the most ambitious pieces. These are tracks 5, 6 and 8-9. 'Circle of Hands' is one of the most emotionally charged Hensley compositions ever. Singer Byron captures Hensley's meditative mood and makes it his own in a moving manner. Going for a more sinister mood, albeit moderate, is 'Rainbow Demon', which sounds to me like DP through a Genesis filter. Finally, the epic duet of 'Paradise' and 'The Spell' closes down the album with due bombast. 'Paradise' starts as a blatantly reflective acoustic ballad that softly incorporates somber organ textures while approaching the end. This feels accurate for the fade-out, which is when the fade-in brings the rockier 'The Spell'. This one includes an amazing eerie interlude lead by the slide guitar solo and a chorale (rather influenced by PF's suite 'Atom Heart Mother'), introduced and followed by beautiful piano chords. The reprise of the initial rocking motif ends things in an energetic way. Simply put, this albums shows Uriah Heep at their best.
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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