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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover


Uriah Heep


Heavy Prog

4.07 | 740 ratings

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4 stars At last the circle closed and Uriah Heep presented an album with their classical (and best) lineup. I won't talk about the operatic voice of David Byron, the complex Mick Box and the amazing keyboards skills of Ken Hensley who does magic with his powerful B3 Hammond Organ because I mentioned them in a previous review, so let's go with the newbies.

Lee Kerslake is far from having a perfect drumming style, but with that power he needs nothing more, specially when working the rhythm section with a bassist that has enough class and style for ten guys and that's the case of Gary Thain, one of the best bass players in Rock history (I'm not talking only about prog' but about all rock), Gary did in a couple of years what other musicians don't achieve in a life time, his early death was a total waste of talent.

After the brilliant "Look at Yourself" it was a hard task for the band to do something even close in quality, but with the help of the new members the band's level rise very much and even though the previous album is my sentimental favorite, must accept Uriah Heep's sound evolved very much in "Demons and Wizards".

"The Wizard" is a soft start for a very strong album; a power ballad that begins with a beautiful acoustic guitar and it's followed by sober vocals with complex chorus. Even though it's soft and calm, the track shows enough strength, the keyboards support the track in a delightful way.

"Traveller in Time" has a more progressive approach, starts aggressive and violent, but suddenly softens when the high vocals by David make their entrance, the song keeps changing rhythm and timing during the 3:26 minutes it lasts, Mick Box's Wah-Wah guitar is unbelievable

"Easy Living" is the first typical Uriah Heep frantic song the beautiful vocals and chorus blend with the aggressive keyboard and guitars, the sound of bells give a special and mystical touch to a very short track that I always wished would have lasted at least 10 minutes, simply perfect.

"Poets Justice" has one of the best vocal and drums intro I ever heard by prog/metal band, the bass by Gary Thain is absolutely unique instead of only providing support for rhythm section, Gary goes a step beyond and plays a special part of the lead melody. This is what makes the difference between an excellent bass player and a virtuoso.

"Circle of Hands" starts with Ken's Hammond B3 at it's maximum and with a splendid percussion support by Lee Kerslake, who is extremely precise. David Byron's voice sounds strangely calmed and low toned (for him) proving he was a complete vocalist and not only a singer limited to extremely high ranges. Mick Box also plays a special role with his guitar chords.

"Rainbow Demon" is a darker track that always frightened me a bit, the mysterious keyboards added to the almost percussive chorus and David's unique voice; create an obscure sound that situates the listener in a dungeon atmosphere.

Won't talk too much about "All my Life" because it's the only disappointing track of the album, 2:46 minutes of a promising introduction that never fully develops.

Paradise and The Spell are two different tracks that are united in what I like to see as a 12.42 minutes epic, because they fit together perfectly. The first section (or track for the purists) is Paradise, a soft acoustic ballad well balanced by an excellent percussion where Byron and Hensley take turns on the lead vocals as if they were in a dialogue, while this track is fading you can listen the first notes of "The Spell", one of the first things that can be noticed after the vocal based introduction is a very pleasant piano section not common in Uriah Heep followed by Mick's guitar and very complex vocal combinations that are way ahead of the time the album was released. Again the extremely beautiful piano can be heard but this time is progressively joined by David vocals and the rest of the band as to prepare for the fast ending, the perfect closer for an almost perfect album.

Of course the album will not be complete without the excellent art cover by Roger Dean, which I had the luck to find in a garage sell as a big poster version already framed and protected with a glass, that has a special place in my bedroom.

Uriah Heep presents at this point their definitive lineup at their peak but "Look At Yourself" still remains being my all-time Heep favorite release.

"Demons and Wizards" is a true gem that every music lover must own.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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