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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover

DEMONS AND WIZARDS

Uriah Heep

 

Heavy Prog

4.07 | 748 ratings

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ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
4 stars For the very time in four records, the opener of this one is not at the same level of the Heep's good habits. "The Wizzard" is just an acoustic average track : it would have fit better on "Salisbury". If I would have been involved in the management, no doubt that I should have selected "Traveller in Time" to do the job. It would have been a lot better. For those of you who are too young to have known this period (the early seventies), you must know that when we entered a record shop to buy a disc, there was one pick-up controlled by the owner to play the music we were going to buy. Most of the time we got 30 sec. of the first tune to make up our minds. So in this case ...

I like very much "Traveller In Time". Not too violent, catchy melody and some nice (but short) intrumental breaks at the end. A kaleidoscope of a typical Uriah Heep song, actually. Thus, very good...

Then, we get "Easy Livin" (the track, of course...). This song was my entry one to the Heep's catalogue. How many times did I hear it on the radio in those glorious days ? I can't tell ! It is an extraordinary song. Incredible rythm : the Heep really at his best : fabulous backing band, great Byron of course (as usual should I say), Hensley pumping his organ like a ... demon. One of my top five fave from the band. IMO, this studio version has never been equalled in live performance. The definite highlight (maybe an extended version with some guitar and organ breaks would have been even greater...).

Next song "Poet's Justice" is fully in-line with the mood of the album : rocking (but not too hard), nice melody but not a lot of instrumentals.A good track.

With the next song, we enter again in the legendary tracks of the Heep : "Circle of Hands" will be another live favorite. Full of Byron's emotion (great back vocals as well), impressive bass and great Box's solo. It ends up in a bombastic vocal and guitar combination : brilliant. The second highlight of course and a great way to close side one of this good album.

"Rainbow Demon" is another good hard rock song like. A bit scary and mysterious. Somewhat heavier (thanks to the great Hensley) than the other tracks so far. It is on par with the previous numbers (except the opener). "All My Life" a short hard tune which is deeply inspired by "I'm Coming On" from Ten Year After (on the album "Watt" in 1970). The excercise of playing both songs one after the other will reveal this with no ambiguity. The Heep keeps on with the good work...

The last track "Paradise / The Spell" could have been a mini-suite (still over twelve minutes though !). Each part being rather different. While the first one (just over five minutes) is an acoustic ballad (similar to the opening number), part two is a rather complex number. An absolute jewel of inspired vocals, wonderful guitar breaks, Mick sounding very passionate. This guitar part is very emotional (arghhh). The vocal harmonies of the last part are absouletely magical. The song ends like it has started : like a good old rock'n'roll song. I would have expected a more bombastic finale though. It ends up a bit abruptedly and I'm really lacking some "grandeur" to close this album. "The Spell" is the third highlight.

IMO, both parts are not at all compatible and the transition between one another is quite awful. I consider this really as two separate tracks.

This album is not as hard-rock oriented as "Look At Yourself" (I agree it was difficult to reach the violence contained in this album) : the Heep offers here a somewhat more harmonious effort and a softer approach to hard-rock music. This tendency will be even more investigated in their next effort. Hensley keys while always present are not so dominent as in their previous release which is my favourite one from Heep. More backing than leading on this one. Still, it is a must have for all Heep's fans (as most of their previous works actually).

This album keeps on with the tradition of their very good albums so far. Four stars.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |

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