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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards CD (album) cover

DEMONS AND WIZARDS

Uriah Heep

Heavy Prog


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Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Full of magic

I must admit to finding it somewhat difficult to write dispassionately about this album, since for the last 30+ years it has been my all time favourite. I do remember however when I first heard it, the one minor criticism I had at the time was that, when compared to the previous "Look at yourself", there were too few instrumental breaks. That misgiving soon vanished however, and ever since it has taken pride of place in my collection.

This was the first album recorded by the "classic" line up, with Lee Kerslake (drums), and Gary Thain (bass), completing the quintet. Ken Hensley was now fully installed as the main composer with the band, and had just entered his "fantasy" phase. These were the final pieces which would see Uriah Heep creating it's finest works.

The album is supremely melodic, and much less "'eavy" than previous albums. The opening track, "The wizard" is an acoustic number, which finds David Byron in his best vocal form. "Easy Livin'" is wonderful three minute burst of driving rock, with everything turned up to 11. The Hammond organ and lead guitar combine with a great bass line from Thain, to provide the basis for this brief masterpiece. "Circle of hands" is similar in structure to "July Morning" from the previous album, with a repeating instrumental conclusion.

The closing two part track "Paradise/The spell", is awesome. It is two separate pieces, which happen to combine well together. "Paradise" is a soft acoustic number, on which Byron and Hensley alternate the vocals on the repeating choruses. "The spell" was in many ways a predecessor for Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody". It has a complex structure with a multitude of vocal styles, and time changes a plenty. The centre point is a choral backed slide guitar solo by Hensley, which on its own would have made an excellent single in the "Sylvia" (Focus) vein. It sends shivers up my spine every time I hear it.

Had the other tracks appeared on any other album, I would have been listing them individually with glowing praise. I'm sure you get the message though, this album is the pinnacle, a work of pure genius.

In another moment of inspiration, Roger Dean was asked to design the excellent cover, which looks so much better on the gatefold sleeve of an LP.

The recently released deluxe remaster has 5 bonus tracks including an extended version of "Why". An edited version of this track was released as a single B side, but other than that, this absolute gem was for many years generally unavailable.

Report this review (#31282)
Posted Saturday, June 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Hey hey hey . am I in the right space?? Where am I? URIAH HEEP! Is it a prog band? .. Uhm .. uhm .. ahem ahem . their SALISBURY album is definitely a prog rock music and it's wonderful. But "Demon's and Wizards" is a prog album????? Give me a break, guys!! C'mon .!

Well, I don't care really. The fact is that I love this band. Be it a rock or pop group but I like their music. But I never dare to say that this band is a prog band except SALISBURY album. And to me, this one album does not justify to conclude this band as a prog band. LUCIFER's FRIEND is much prog compared to URIAH HEEP. I think. I may be wrong. What is prog, anyway???

Let's stop the discussion on music boundary and talk straight about this album. Definitely this album is a masterpiece (wheter it is prog or not) musically. Even, this album represents my first introduction to rock music in my "right-placed" childhood, altogether with "Fools" (DEEP PURPLE), "I can See Him In The Morning" (GRAND FUNK RAILROAD) , "Hobo" (LUCIFER'S FRIEND) and "Space Shanty" (KHAN). My childhood days were filled by the music of that band in my school spirit. I was more excited listening to rock music than going to school, really. "Demons and Wizards" blew my mind, the whole album!

The acoustic guitar part of "The Wizard" had colored my childhood really. As I kept repeating my cassette of this album in 1972, my mom (then 45) also loved this band. "He was the wizard of a thousand kings ." wow! What a nice voice! I enjoy this album track by track and never miss any track. Their music is simple but able to create an intense musical nuances. The voice of David Byron is really good. "Traveler in Time" is an energetic song. It'll cheer up your day. "Easy Livin'" is also an upbeat rock music with great organ punch along the track. Hey, if you listen to this track, observe how the bass guitar is played. It's amazing Gary Thain man! (You should also listen to KEEF HARTLEY BAND's "Half Breed" as well). This song has been covered by many bands recently, includes ex ROYAL HUNT's singer DC COOPER. "Somewhere along the lonely road / I had tried to find you / Day after day on that windy road / I had walked behind you".

All other tracks are equally excellent tracks. I also like "Circle of Hands" which has a touchy organ intro followed by nice lyric "Circle of hands/ cold spirits plan / Searching my land for an enemy / Came across love's sweet cost / And in the face of beauty / Evil was lost". Really good. Well, I don't want to dwell into more details as it consumes your time reading it. JUST BUY THIS CD. You would hardly regret on your decision. Don't let your mind associate this band with PINK FLOYD, YES, ELP, or KING CRIMSON. Almost all tracks are straight forward hard rock music with great vocal, unique guitar sound, excellent bass, punchy organ sound. Mick Box guitar playing style and Byron's singing style that make this band unique. I give FIVE STAR is not of the prog (or non-prog) nature of their music. But this album is a masterpiece for rock music.

What do you think? - Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Report this review (#31283)
Posted Monday, June 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Prog Specialist
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.

Report this review (#31284)
Posted Thursday, June 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Demonically bad Prog, but Wizard Hard Rock!

The dilemma; Do I choose the two star option, meaning for collectors/fans only, or the three star, meaning Good, but non-essential.

The truth is that neither are accurate since, as we are contemplating progressive rock here, this album is not a good progressive rock album, neither is it for collectors of prog.

Before I upset the Uriah Heep fans, of which, understandably, there are many, it must be noted that beyond the Roger Dean cover, Demons and Wizards references in the odd track, and the imaginative vocal "choirs", there is no prog here - but there is superb classic rock!

The Wizard starts with a simple 3-chord acoustic intro on a D-tuned guitar, and does nothing more than repeat the chord progression with a fuzzed guitar and organ until the chorus, a Zeppelin-esque riff around 2 chords. There's a nice breakbeat, which, together with the Heep "choir" is the only distinction between this and vanilla rock a la Status Quo.

Traveller in Time begins with another Zeppelin riff, which is quite a jolt after the previous track, removing any notion that we might be listening to a concept album of any kind as the cover would suggest. The bridge passage provides a nice oasis of contrast - but then we hear some bluff presented as a guitar/keyboard solo - I only hope this is tongue in cheek! The overall effect is nice, but falls over when subjected to any analysis.

Easy Living is a pop/rock song. Great, driving, hard - probably the best track on the album, but a pop/rock song. I love it - especially those walkie bass-lines and bells (no whistles though!!).

Poet's Justice, well, does poetry no justice at all. If ever there was a weakness on this album, it's the lyrics. Again, when taken in Spinal Tap mode, no harm done - but for anyone used to the pyrotechnica of Gabriel, Fish or Hammill, this is not for you! Basic chord progressions are used with another good breakbeat and walkie bass lines - and that wonderful organ texture which is a constant throughout these songs. The twin guitar soloing is fairly pointless, leads to sections of bluff and lacks drama and the track as a whole seems to meander despite the decorations. Hit skip.

Circle of Hands; now we're starting to enter prog territory - it's over 5 minutes! Simple organ intro leads to an interestingly broken break beat and sustained chords which are nicely atmospheric - until we are subjected to those lyrics. "Sky full of eyes, minds full of lies..." "We must prepare the way or pretty soon we'll pay" "Today is only yesterday's tomorrow". Ugh!. A guitar solo covers some new ground rather than exploring the old - wise decision really, except that there is little dynamic. We are treated to another one of these later, and I start feeling like a thug kicking a spaniel. I really shouldn't be analysing any of this - there's no substance, and certainly no prog.

However, take the prog hat off, and suddenly I'm listening to the original Spinal Tap! All I need now is an 18 inch model of Stonehenge and a few dwarves. Wonderful rock with imaginative "orchestrations" - although by today's standards not particularly heavy!

ENJOY - but don't make the same mistake as me and go taking it seriously! If you like this, you'll like Deep Purple even better ;0)

Report this review (#31286)
Posted Wednesday, June 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
3 stars Easily one of the most over-rated albums of all time. The first of the widely acclaimed classic line-up with the fifth drummer( in four albums ) Kerslake and Thain filling in for Newton on bass. Regarding this subject , I am one of those that liked better Newton better than Thain especially on the backing vocals as he helped Byron better than his replacement did : I find some chorus line on this album really irksome On the plus side the drummer problem is soved as he will stay for a while as well as Thain , but his drugs problem will get him kicked out and then the bassist will become the revolving position in the late 70's . Until 79 , the line-up will stay relatively stable but t will be a disaster in the Black Sabbath way in the 80's.

On the whole , this album is not quite that good (apart from the Dean cover ) and if you take away highligfht Easy Livin' and Rainbow Demon , this is a very average album full of hints towards their very close sounding foes Deep Purple. On the other side , with the remaster comes in a real gem : the long version of Why. Easily surpasses anything on the original album.

Report this review (#31287)
Posted Monday, June 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Lighter in style than look At Yourself but still a worthy Heep album for any collection. The sleeve by Roger Dean also contributes to the final package as some vinyl did from an artists perspective.Uriah heep were still at that stage where attrition of band members had not reared it's ugly head. The album in the main has some solid material on most notably, Traveller In Time, Circle Of hands and the closer The Spell. Hensley penned songs come across strongest here. 1972 was a good year for UH fans and this is a worthy addition to any Heep fan.
Report this review (#31288)
Posted Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars " He was the wizard of a thousand kings And a chance to meet him one night wondering He told me tales and he drank my wine Me and my magic man kinda feelin`fine........"

Introduced with these wonderful lyrics wiith an acoustic guitar accopianment sets the rhe stage for this phenomenal prog album. Keyboardist Ken Hensley is in his finest hours on the Hammond Organ. Although the band took many subsequent musical directions as a result of personel changes as did many prog bands did in the 70`s this is a true prog classic with immaginative lyrics, a Roger Dean cover and great keyboard/ guitar interaction. If you do not have this one you don`t have a complete and comprehenshive prog library.Essenstial.

Report this review (#31289)
Posted Thursday, September 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
davidlevinson
4 stars Another overlooked classic. The band is a little more Refined then Led Zeppelin, a little ligher than Black Sabbath but over all good. David Byron has got to be the most underrated vocalists in th music Biz. He has that style that is similar to that of Ian Gillan and that of Brad Delp of Boston. I like those Fantasy Motifs given that i am a big fan of Fantasy novels like " Lord Of The Rings" and the Conan novels. 2 of my favorite tracks that stand out for me is Cirlce Of Hands, it is a real powerful and spritual tune for me. I also like Paradise/The Spell. The song is like something out of Jesus Christ SuperStar!! Its to damn bad this band had very little impact in the US
Report this review (#31292)
Posted Friday, December 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars URIAH HEEP: one of the greatest (most underrated) bands ever...the champions of accessible Prog-metal. This is considered their magnum opus, and goes hand in hand with its sequel The Magician's Birthday. It is simply a fantastic album: it has its ballads such as The Wizard and Paradise, rockers such as Easy Livin' and Circle of Hands, in addition to heavier songs such as the menacing Rainbow Demon. I still don't understand why Heep were constantly joked about by critics. Mind you, those who can't do criticise those who can. Please enjoy this album.
Report this review (#31294)
Posted Monday, January 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars At this point in their career Uriah Heep had gone relatively unnoticed and unappreciated by the music buying masses, and they were unfairly criticized by the so called critics. This album became their stepping stone to rock and roll immortality. Demons And Wizards showed the world just what they were capable of and then some. They found the right mixture of progressive rock to hang on to their core audience and just enough mainstream sound to have a hit single to put them over the top to get them the exposure to a new audience that they so desperately needed. This album offered an awesome combination that proved unequivocally that they were here to stay, and it allowed them to dig in their heels to become on of the best rock bands in the world. They already were one of the best; it just took this album for more people to notice.

"The Wizard" starts things off with a nice rhythmic acoustic guitar that works its way up to full-fledged rocker complete with swirling organ, pumping rhythm section, and big fat power chords on lead guitar. UH sounded metal, gothic, and progressive all in one fell swoop on this track. It was an exciting blood pumping start, and the energy would be maintained steadily throughout the recording session. "Easy Livin" was the first big hit single that raised some eyebrows and turned some heads. UH was on their way. "Circle Of Hands" and "Paradise/The Spell" are both prog-rock classics given a new sound that's fresh and full of vibrancy. This is an extraordinary remaster by Castle and Sanctuary Records that to date has no equal. It's such a nice tribute to the band and befitting their crowning achievement. I think there were many more albums before this one that deserved as much attention, although it's hard to argue just how important this release was to the group's place in history and their continuing popularity. I listened very closely several times to this and I don't remember it sounding so good. I had the vinyl version back in the seventies and enjoyed it; this goes beyond anything I could have hoped for. No doubt this has to fall into the top 100 rock and roll albums of all time.

Report this review (#31296)
Posted Monday, January 24, 2005 | Review Permalink
semismart
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Uriah Heep has been around since 1969 and have had some thirty musicians over the years playing under the banner of Uriah Heep. They have recorded some twenty albums in the intervening thirty-four years of which the first four were extremely good, the following two were very good but the quality of the next two mediocre, at which point I stopped buying their albums. If any of their newer albums are good I do not know, though I suspect not.

Heep was a very prolific band at first, having released five albums from 1970 through 1972. This was when Heep was at their peak. After one more decent release in 1973, when Heep got their first top twenty hit, "Stealin" they seem to have hit a brick wall. Whether musically the public's tastes changed or Heep had a creative block, they never again reached the peaks they had achieved in the early seventies.

Of course they had plenty of material from those first five years and continued to tour in one form or another, mostly on the strength of the material their first six albums, including the fourth and most Heep fans favorite, Demons and Wizards.

Demons and Wizards

Demons and wizards is the album that secured Uriah Heep's reputation as a master of gothic-influenced heavy metal. From short, sharp rock songs to lengthy, musically dense epics. With Demons and Wizards, Uriah Heep appears to run the gamut, seemingly covering all the bases with style and power, from soft rock to hard rock to progressive rock, while embarking on a voyage into fantasy and mythology.

The lead off tune "The Wizard": sets the stage by starting as a simple acoustic tune, building into a melodic rocker that surges forth on a wall of sound built from thick guitar riffs, churchy organ, and operatic vocal harmonies, often giving chills along the way. "The Wizard" is a gentle semi-acoustic ballad that recounts a night-time meeting with "a wizard of a thousand kings... he told me tales and he drank my wine." It is only as the song progresses that we realize that the wizard is within us all, the wise "voices in our hearts" that so few people listen to, but which whisper the secrets of happiness and freedom regardless. This may be the most popular of all UH's music. It's just too bad it's not longer than three minutes.

Other highlights include "Traveller in Time," a fantasy-themed rocker built on thick wah- wah guitar riffs, UH's very first top forty single, "Easy Livin" peaking at #39 in July 1972, a punchy hard driving number that left fans breathless on their tours and "Circle of Hands," a noble sounding power ballad with a gospel-meets-heavy Hammond meets heavy metal feel to it, a six and a half minute masterpiece.

Some think However, the top highlight of the album is the closing medley of "Paradise" and "The Spell", the first part of the medley starts in an atmospheric, melancholy, acoustic mode and slowly adds layers of organ and electric guitar until it becomes a forceful slow-tempo rocker, eventually segueing into part two, a punchy, organ-led rocker that includes an instrumental midsection where choral-style harmonies fortify an exquisite, Floydian style guitar solo from Mick Box.

CONCLUSION

Demons and Wizards works well both as a showcase for Uriah Heep's instrumental prowess and a a primary display of their songwriting skills in a variety of rock styles. Demons and Wizards is considered by many fans to be their finest work and is definitely worth a spin for anyone with an interest in 1970s heavy metal with prog influences.

Although it was an immensely popular album among HEEP/Heads, Demons and Wizards is not, in my opinion, a particularly great album. It is, an average to good album with several average songs but happening to contain three of HEEP's all time best songs (some would say four or five with Easy Livin and Paradise)

Even so, the presence of three to five of Uriah Heep's best songs makes it a must have for HEEP fans or even Quasi-Heep fans.

Report this review (#31297)
Posted Friday, February 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This seems to be the most appreciated Uriah Heep album, but for me "Salisbury" and "Magician's Birthday" left impressions of being yet better albums. The A-side of this LP is certainly wonderful, the fabulous Wizard's mountain hall being instantly seen through the illuminated Aether steaming from a boiling teakettle's sounds of the verses. Both "Traveller in Time" and "Poet's Justice" are really wonderful songs with both energetic drive, massive voice presence and relaxed mythic feeling; Elements which I find characteristic to the sound of this band's classic releases and performances. Solemn "Circle of Hands" is my own album highlight, being hopeful, touching and earthbound ins pite of the grandiose ponderings and instrumental maneuvers. Somehow the B-side of the LP sounded bit duller to my ears however. Maybe I should give that side another spins someday. I have this album as an old vinyl so I haven't heard the CD reissue bonus tracks, which might be interesting to check out too. As an anecdote I recall Roger Dean mentioned in some his books that the original painting of this album cover was destroyed in a fire.
Report this review (#31298)
Posted Sunday, April 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Well I think this is a wonderful album. It's my favorite Uriah Heep Album. It starts out with The Wizard, an acoustic song with a really nice feel to it. Lots of vibratos in the vocals, it almost sounds similar to Styx, just not over used. The Wizard sounds as the name says. Traveller In Time is one of the best songs on this album. Lots of wah in the guitar. One of my favorites on the album. Easy Livin' is probably the most popular song on this album, and its really good its got a nice organ in it and its just generally a good song. Poet's Justice is also pretty good. It starts out with a vocal part that sounds a little bit lame but after that its good. Thats all there is to say about it. Circle of Hands is a good song. Just enjoyable. Rainbow Demon is the slowest and heaviest song on the album, another one of my favorites. All My Life is also a good song with a nice guitar sound in it, good to listen to. The most progessive song on this album is Paradise/The Spell. It is really good. You can also clearly tell when it goes from Paradise to The Spell. If not you must be brain damaged. Not that it really has to do with anything.

If you like bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Styx, Black Sabbath and others of that peticular genre you will love this album, and you should pick it up soon.

Report this review (#38254)
Posted Friday, July 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This albums is considered to be Uriah Heep's best album. It is very good indeed but there are several other Uriah Heep albums that is equally great! My favorite is "The Magician's Birthday" which I consider Uriah Heep's masterpiesce. But "Demons and Wizards" is also an essential album. The first track "The Wizard" starts off with an acoustic guitar riff and features a slightly funny lyric. The albums also contains the hit "Easy Livin'" and the classic "Traveller In Time"

Highly recommended in addition to "The Magician's Birthday", "Salisbury", "Look at Yourself" and "Wonderworld"

Report this review (#39333)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
ttaylor102003
5 stars I think this is probably my favorite Heep album, although its a hard call between this and the Magician's Birthday. It starts off with the Wizard, a great acoustical ballady opener. Great catchy upbeat acoustic riffs, and great vocals. Then comes Traveller in Time, another fantastic song, heavier this time, with great wah- metal guitar and great vocals and lyrics. Easy Livin, Heep's best known track, is deserving of the title, with great heavy metal guitar and organ lines and great catchy lyrics and melodies, although it is very short. Poet's Justice is probably the least memorable song on the album, but it is still good. Circle of Hands is a great atmospheric, uplifting song.

Side Two starts off with Rainbow Demon, one of my alltime favorite Heep songs. Featuring great atmospheric heavy metal guitar riffs and organ riffs, and insanely awesome lyrics and vocals, its almost impossible not to like this song. All my Life is the worst song on the album, because it is one of those straight up rock'n'roll song with generic lyrics. Its not terrible though, but it will get stuck in your head for some reason. Paradise/the Spell is a great little epic. Great riffs, great vocals, great lyrics, great everything. Catchy castchy stuff.

This album from Heep is quite good, featuring songs which range from light hearted ballads (the Wizard, Circle of Hands), to heavy metal songs (Traveller in Time, Rainbow Demon, Easy Livin) to epic prog stuff (Paradise/the Spell). A must have album for any hard prog rock fan.

Report this review (#39365)
Posted Wednesday, July 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Only one reviewer so far has liked "Poet's Justice." I would recommend they take another listen. Surely it's one of the best rock songs ever. "The Wizard," "Paradise," "The Spell" and "All My Life" are also very fine. "Easy Livin" is really the only tune I take exception to. This album is probably worth getting if you ever liked Sabbath or Zeppelin. Uriah Heep might become your favorite band for a while.
Report this review (#41369)
Posted Wednesday, August 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
Starette
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars Ah ...Uriah Heep: the first Progressive Rock Band I ever knew about. Or ARE they Progressive Rock? With the knowledge that this topic has been debated before- I won't go into detail. All I can say is that some of their songs are prog and some aren't. They vary. However they are definitely classic 70s rock and a great inspiration in general.

The Wizard: This is a calming acoustic ballad. The way it's formatted is generic but it's a good simple singalong rock-song. Not really prog. "..And help the people to feel free again." There is definitely an overtone of hippy-ish optimism in some of Uriah Heep's songs. And during the chorus we hear, for the first time in the album, the lovely David Byron's ability to sound like a GIRL! You can't deny the 'we've-just-been- castrated' "Ah"s that this band like to put in many of their pieces...singing together in harmony. (When I first heard 'Bird of Prey' I had a habit of referring to it as the Castration Song...probably much to my Uriah Heep-crazy boyfriend's annoyance but I couldn't care less- listen to it and you'll see what I mean!) Just one note about David Byron: to me, he is the lord and master of all things beautiful in the male singing-voice. His blue-blood accent adds clarity- as does the way he sings long resonating notes with good vibrato. From low notes to the highest falsetto- this man stretched the masculine voice to its' full extent. In all honesty- I much prefer David Byron-era UH in comparison with their later music.

Traveller in Time: Smashing beginning! I enjoy the range of techniques they use (eg: a wah-wah pedal from Mick Box's guitar.) According to the lyrics- this is a very optimistic album indeed. Creative drumming from Lee Kerslake. There's a phrase that pops up in many of this band's songs: "I'm a man..." Stating the obvious about ones' gender...is this hyper-masculinity, homoeroticism or a battle again'st an identity crisis? I'll leave you to come up with your own hypothersis on that one. I love the guitar as it plays towards the end...but Byron's whining towards the end sounds horribly like Axle from Guns n' Roses! One of his rare 'lesser' moments.

Easy Livin': I don't see what's so fantastic about this 'hit'- it's more for the generation who lived their youth in the 70s maybe. Ken Hensley on the organ and Kerslake on the drums are thumping like a train all the way through this track. Again- a large amount of falsetto to the ding-dong of a bell at the bridge. Yes- I am indeed at liberty to use the term 'bridge' for this track...this song is definitely not prog.

Poet's Justice: I, personally, love this one. You tend to love a song that you can relate to the lyrics of. All sing with their characteristic "Ah"s like a choir at the start- melody always going UP in the verse. This is a gorgeous lovesong: "The half of me is all of her, I'd be much happier if I were whole." Very sexy distorted electric-guitar work in this too. Sure the format of this song prooves that it's not prog- but it's still a damn good song!

Circle of Hands: This is a rather boring song. It's not completely bad- it just doesn't do anything for me. The reason why is a sub-conscious one. But David Byron is the highlight of this song- if anything needs to be largely applauded in it. The organ chords remain solemn and everything else is a constant recurring beat. Things get better after the bridge- one again there's a head-banging guitar solo. Squeaky guitar effects and tinkling piano at the end - the whole track was leading up to this bit!

Rainbow Demon: The beginning of this reminds me of Ritchie Blackmore's 'Rainbow' album. This is a very hard track to get into because the melodies have been heard before. David Byron is still the main attraction. The bass also plays a good part in this organ-dominated song. That's Gary Thain for you- a fantastic musician while he still lived. He was also a kiwi- something for me to actually be proud of my country for!

All my Life: An extremely SHORT song for all the happy-and-horny blokes out there to relate/sing to. "I wanna make-love and it's gotta be you!" Cute. Gotta love the guitar work the whole way through: it may be repetitive but it's the way Mick Box, Henley and Thain work together on this one riff that really makes it as good as it gets. This song has a fast-paced verse but a slow choir-like chorus. Again Byron sounds like he's just been kicked in the nuts. Close to the end he improvises and sings as if he's being slapped constantly in the face. The man basks in his own torture!

Paradise/ The Spell: Quintessential UH- this song is, most sincerely, the masterpiece of the album. It's also definitely Progressive Rock for you!-due to the length of the song and the changes in tempo and melody throughout it. Firstly we hear a gentle and romantic acoustic ballad. Soft, husky singing goes in beautiful contrast with Byron's strong and clear voice. In contrast with the last song- the theme of this song is that his girlfriend has just dumped him. I love the changes in feeling seen in this song: from 'How could you do this to me darling?' to 'f*ck you- I'll manage without you'. (My ex is still going through this changing-of-emotions phase... poor guy.) This song captures the essence of human emotions quite vividly by using this technique. The changes build-up, firstly, at "What's the use, you turned me loose and left me here to die." One hears a repeating melody but the drumming, organ and guitar build up to a 'chant'. As this fades-out- a happier song drifts in over it. It's a cute dancing-style piano and organ. Apparantly "Darkness" (is Byron's) "tool". *giggle* Could Uriah Heep have been early 'goths'? The 'Darkness' imagery is also used in 'The Magician's Birthday'..see- this is pure evidence that 'The Darkness' were indeed inspired by Uriah Heep! (Hawkins really does love to take the piss out of 70s falsetto, doesn't he.) The sad melody comes back again abruptly as the piano plays a solemn chordal progression and the guitar takes over- emphasizing the feeling of a VERY depressed man as it improvises. The piano highlights this even more and as it changes to a major key- it's enough to make me cry: "The morning sun will warm away what you have done and leave you cold." From then on the piano takes the lead above all the other instruments- till the transition back to the happy, dancing organ chords that we heard before and the falsetto-sung melody. The end is a bit too happy for my liking- it takes away the authenticity and sincerity of the song. (Or maybe that's just me being a tad too 'feminine'.) It ends on a major key that it rises to as Byron sings: "...everyday that I'll be watching YOU!"

In conclusion: Uriah Heep are fun to listen to- their music conveys the type of rock n' roll you still get nowadays sung by hot, talented, lazy, shaggable men of a questionable sexuality..not that I think they were hot back then. In fact they all looked like poodles to me.....ANYWAY- on the other hand, some of their songs can be so easy- listening that they don't really capture me as something to care about if they weren't on a Prog-Rock site. But....They have their moments. They DEFINITELY had their moments!

Report this review (#46006)
Posted Thursday, September 8, 2005 | Review Permalink
horza
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I was 11 when this album came out in 1972. At age 15 I did a music presentation on Uriah Heep to my high school class. Someone else did Queen, another pupil did Be Bop Deluxe and I think Cockney Rebel were also put forward for our classmates perusal. I'm sure I was the only Heep fan at my high school so my peers were in for a treat. I chose 4 tracks in the time allocated to me and 2 of them came from this album, 'The Wizard' and 'Easy Livin'. Both tracks came in at roughly 3 minutes each and represented different aspects of the band. The two of them featured the excellent vocals of David Byron, however the first was more acoustically driven (powerful nonetheless) and the latter was pure ROCK - a classic, timeless slab of pure adrenalin-injected R-O-C-K. Heep were always the uncool, less fashionable brethern of Deep Purple, and it'so unfair that they never reached the heights of Blackmore and his legions. 'Rainbow Demon' is a more menacing track than the two I chose all those years ago - it has a hypnotic quality about it, and features excellent guitar from Mick Box. Mick was a hero of mine when I was young. His solo from the title track of the album 'Magician's Birthday' is probably my favourite heavy rock guitar solo. I feel he, like the band, never got the recognition he truly deserved. The albums second track, 'Traveller in Time' is a great track, it has superb organ on it, as do many of the tracks on here (especially Easy Livin'). Ken Hensley was a superb keyboard player, easily on a par with Jon Lord, and he also played guitar and percussion. Many years later Hensley would join Blackfoot, and he was a multi-talented addition to them, but Heep was his true home and along with Box and Byron he was responsible for many Heep classics. This album is a good place for the Heep novice to check out. I haven't discussed all the tracks found here - go on that journey for yourself with the knowledge that you won't be disappointed. I'm thrilled to say that I haven't discussed whether or not Heep are prog. Lets just say that I'm glad they are in here, and that YOU, my classmates of today, are in for a treat.
Report this review (#57319)
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
3 stars Heep are turning in a stronger path, less symphonic. This is why they were thrown in the 'Art Rock' basket. If you like those baskets, you're well with this and the next album. If not, like I am, then you will like half of the numbers. Can't afford more than 3 stars as 4 stars are too much.
Report this review (#60196)
Posted Monday, December 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars It is almost inexplicable why Uriah Heep never achieved major success in the Americas. The band, and particularly this album, had all the prerequisites for the New World market: highly melodic songs, intricate arrangements, but most importantly – the ability to flat-out rock, led by the gravity-defying vocals of the late David Byron. In fact, it was mostly the stoners that could be found with a Uriah Heep 8-track in their car in America back in the 70s though, or at least that was the case in my part of the country.

Too bad, because this is a band with a fascinating (and at times morbid) history, and widely rumored to be much of the inspiration for the Spinal Tap movies of the 80s. For my money Demons and Wizards is their best studio album. There is an impressive range of styles demonstrated here, from progressive to metal to pseudo-classical to art rock fantasy music, to 60s throwback. With a few minor exceptions, the production is also top-notch – there are a couple of feedback glitches in Circle of Hands that are a tad distracting, but that’s about it.

Byron’s voice on “The Wizard” pretty much set the bar for all art and metal rock male vocalists that followed in my opinion. His sense of both melody and timbre are almost breathtaking. The music itself isn’t very complex, with just some strumming guitar, mildly whining keyboards, and basic drums. Byron’s vocals are clearly the difference making this song work. The wizard would of course become a recurring character for the band, and this song became an instant signature sound.

“Traveller in Time” is also not a particularly complex tune, but the keyboards give it a much richer feel than what the rhythm section is able to do. This is a song that sounds dated now, but was very much in the vein of the Byrds, and even a little bit of early Aerosmith. The sound off this song was copied a lot by many bands in the later 70s.

“Easy Livin’” is the most energetic and most recognizable song in the Heep catalog. The Hammond organ, simple percussion, and driving bass-drum rhythm are still infectious today. This is a three minute blast of energy that should have propelled them to permanent stardom. Interestingly, this was by far their biggest hit in America, but not in Europe. The style is much closer to blues-based hard rock or even metal than it is to a progressive sound.

“Poet’s Justice” is another slightly bluesy song, particularly with Byron’s vocals. This is typical blue-collar rock from the early 70s, distinguished largely by the fantasy theme and a couple of interesting tempos changeups.

“Circle of Hands” is one of the more ambitious tracks on the album. From the opening somber Hammond chords, to the mystic one-liners (“skies full of eyes, minds full of lies”, “cold spirits plan, searching the land for an enemy”), this has the feel of a tale of an epic journey. It isn’t really, more of a kind of Blues Image or Joe Cocker hippy tune, but the extended play and heavy organ give it a bit more substance than similar music that was en vogue at the time.

“Rainbow Demon” is another heavy, moody song, and this one is complete with mystic lyrics telling the tale of the rainbow warrior. This one is all heavy organ and bass, with some somber vocals that would have made Ronnie James Dio proud.

The short “All My Life” is pure blues guitar with very little organ, and is a song that was almost definitely intended for live performances. This is a love-you-at-least-for-tonight song of unbridled lust, with some vocal gyrations by Byron and a freakish but harmonic all-male vocal backing that makes this kind of a fun song to listen to.

“Paradise” isn’t really paradise at all, more like a sad, gloomy breakup ballad. This is a partially acoustic number, with Byron wrapping his voice in a gentle echo that gives this a more tender feel, but also serves to make it sound quite dated now. This is a nice song, but not really typical Heep fare.

I’m not sure what the band was trying to achieve with “The Spell”, a seven and a half minute tirade about some scheming witch who is apparently plotting destruction –

“Seems I made it just in time to use my reason and my rhyme to save us from the evils of your mind;

I will cast the spell, be sure I'll cast it well. I will light a fire kindled with desire - I'll fill you with fear, so you know I'm here –

and I won't be treated like a fool”.

Apparently whoever pissed off Byron in ‘paradise’ is still after him. This isn’t really a progressive type of song either, but the extended piano tracks, spacey vocals, and complex drums makes it feel like a profound statement, which is good enough, I suppose. The honky-tonk piano ending is a bit odd though.

Demons and Wizards is a solid offering from the band, and one of their most recognizable albums. They get an extra nod for the excellent Roger Dean album cover as well. These guys will never go down in history as one of the progressive rock giants of their era, but this is a highly melodic album, easy to listen to, and a great example of the blend of art rock and blues from the early 70s. Four stars is the right way to rate it.

peace

Report this review (#79750)
Posted Monday, May 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Apart from their "Uriah Heep Live January 1973" album, I think that this is their most important album, because at last they had a very good line-up with new members drummer Lee Kerslake and bassist Gary Thain. This line-up was the most popular and with this line-up they were at their peak, IMO. Also this album has one of their best songs, "Circle of Hands", maybe the most important song among their Fans everywhere. This album also has other important songs from URIAH HEEP: "Easy Livin`" (with great bass playing by Gary Thain), "Traveller in Time", "The Wizard" (composed and recorded with bassist Mark Clarke, who stayed in the band for a few months before Thain joined the band) and "The Spell". Their next studio album, "The Magician`s Birthday" , also was very important, but I prefer this album.
Report this review (#82257)
Posted Thursday, June 29, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars By now, Uriah Heep has become somewhat matured on the road. In this album, the golden line up has been formed with Lee Kerslake on the drums and Gary Thain on the bass. the band is emitting power and energy throughout the album with nice little songs and more importantly, nice poetry by Hensley. Hensley has been soul searching spiritual and ideological leadership and his lyrics reflected his quest. the songs of this album does not give any one a clear cut prominence-- then again gives prominence to all. You can distinct individual performance of each player and appreciate their skills. All the songs are enjoyable along with their lyrical content. The Wizard, Traveller In Time and Easy Livin' will push you through easily into the rest part of the album. One of the finest specimen of seventies rock and off course, Uriah Heep.
Report this review (#83984)
Posted Monday, July 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.
Report this review (#90843)
Posted Thursday, September 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Cristi
COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
5 stars This is in my humble opinion one of the best albums in rock history. The music is simply superb, the musicianship is uotstanding, David Byron's vocals amazing. There are no filler songs here (who says different either is ignorant or overpretentious - excuse my insolence); The Wizard and Easy Livin which appear on most live albums and UH compilations are the most accessible songs of the album. The rest of the songs are prog- rock superlatives, especially Paradise/The Spell which has become one of my personal Heep favourites; it's one of uriah Heep's most inspired song (IMO).Rainbow Demon, Traveller in Time, Poet's Justice, Circle of Hands display inspired musicianship and great lead and backing vocals. All My Life is a nice rocker (almost forgot about this one).

Demons and Wizards is one of the few Uriah Heep albums that honestly deserves 5 stars, that is "masterpiece". I may be subjective in stating that but this album's strong points are that the music really is timeless and aged extremely well and also it's one of those albums that one never gets bored with; this album is a must have for any prog-rock or rock collection.

Report this review (#93321)
Posted Wednesday, October 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#113464)
Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars From the very first listening of this album I considered it to be good, as well as interesting one. The first impression relates to the music material it offers-A side of the record is in my opinion it's better part; the opener 'Wizard' starts the whole affair in acoustic tune and moderate tempo, followed by 'Traveller In Time' which combines hard rock rhythm with nice melodic line so leading us to heavy metal furore 'Easy Living'. My personal favourite of the whole album, 'Circle Of Hands' , closes this side of the record with Hensley's trenchant organ and strong lead and backing vocals. B side is less impressive, but it nevertheless contains some good numbers, particularly 'Paradise' . The second impression this album aroused is regarding the genre under which Uriah Heep had been classified, namely 'Art Rock'. Uriah Heep alongside King Crimson, Audience, Van Der Graaf or Gentle Giant ? However, I look at 'Demons and Wizards' as the best Uriah Heep release and as such an excellent addition to any rock collection - the word 'prog' has been omitted on purpose, no hard feelings !
Report this review (#118405)
Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Matti
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars "Although the titles would suggest it, there is no magic in it - it's just a collection of our songs we had a good time recording". Humble words by Ken Hensley, the keyboardist & main composer of Uriah Heep. Magic or not, this album made Heep big globally. I first listened and partly taped it some 16 years ago, never been very deeply into this band. Now I'm having a 2003 edition on my hands, and all the praises of how everything came together perfectly with this "definitive desert island classic rock album" make me a bit bored. I agree with Sean Trane on the fact that it's quite overrated - though more so by 'classic rock' enthusiasts than by progheads; here in PA it's not even the highest rated Heep. And that pretty much summarizes what's the music about. Masculine and havin'-a-good-time hard rock with a recognizable own sound, not TOO arty to suite for a large audience. Is there anyone who has never heard at least 'Easy Livin'?

Of course I'm not saying that the fast-rolling hit with the famous organ riff gives a right picture about the whole album. There are variety to the songs and the production is really succesful; why argue, this IS a Classic Rock Album par excellence. I really enjoy the relaxed opener 'The Wizard'. And the final pair of songs 'Paradise/The Spell' have very great moments. But in between there frankly could be a bit less organ and a bit more progressivity in the compositions to keep me in spell. On the other hand, considering that hard rock is not my field in general, it must be noted that every minute of this album is completely listenable to me.

Since I saw no descriptions of bonus tracks on previous reviews I try to give some. 'Why' was originally a single's B-side and here is a 10-minute version of that very good Heep song. It's not any prog epic and yet not even a minute too long! 'Rainbow Demon' single cut: the album song in a slightly shorter form. 'Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf' (Mick Box called it 'Brown Turds on a Rusty Elf') wouldn't have much improved the original album, but it ended up being a title track of Ken Hensley's solo work. 'Home Again To You' and 'Green Eye': the text refers to the latter as "a heavy little Hammond number" and I don't have anything to say about either of them. Let's say the bonuses are in a middle class of bonus materials, certainly not any embarassing half-baked demo stuff as on many YES albums for example, neither any hidden gems, except maybe 'Why' comes close. Naturally the 20-page leaflet does its best to justify the words "expanded de-luxe edition". Even Roger Dean has his say about the cover art - which is among my favourites.

Report this review (#128231)
Posted Thursday, July 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
febus
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars THE CLASSIC URIAH HEEP ALBUM!

Where all the pieces of the puzzle fit perfectly! DEMONS AND WIZARDS is considered the definitive URIAH HEEP album by many, including myself. Also this is the beginning of the ''classic'' line-up with the arrival of LEE KERSLAKE on drums and the late GARY THAIN on bass. My guess it was named the ''classic'' line-up because the 2 new members arrived at the time the popularity was starting to peak up at this time as i think NEWTON and CLARKE did also a great job on LOOK AT YOURSELF. So we can say it was perfect timing for mrs KERSLAKE and THAIN to join.

First thing you notice of course is the superb sleeve artwork designed by no less Mr ROGER DEAN of YES fame. One of the most beautiful covers ever made in my opinion. Does it mean URIAH HEEP is going back to progworld?? not exactly! The sound of course is definitely less brutal than on LOOK AT YOURSELF! there is more refinement, more subdued sounds, more and more great vocal harmonies, but most important an absolutely first class songwriting.

KEN HENSLEY is (almost) completely in charge of the music writings and it shows; the guitar of MICK BOX is taking a back seat, not too many ferocious solos, he is mostly playing harmonious notes getting along with the flow of the song. Of course, the hammond is everywhere like a wall of sound, but at least it is not overwhelming the rest of the band (not yet)

What do we have here? mostly mid-tempo songs, some even acoustic like the opener ''The wizard'' and gentle rockers like ''Traveller in time'' ''all my life''or the big hit, the wonderful ''Easy Livin''.

There is also a 12mn epic in 2 parts/ ''Paradise/the spell'' which is the highlight of the album with a great build-up and of course, magnificent, gorgeous, powerful vocals of mr BYRON followed by one of the most wonderful guitar solo i have ever heard.No,No nothing technical or flashy , just an emotional beautiful solo to give you goosebumps all over your body , even 35 years later!

I wouldn't be complete if i didn't mention also the power of beautiful songs like ''Rainbow Demon'' and especially the gorgeous ''CIrcle of hands''. Thanks, Ken Hensley to have come up with songs like that, thanks, David Byron to sing them so well.

An absolute masterpiece: URIAH HEEP at its peak

5 STARS only as i can't give more 5 STARS

Report this review (#130581)
Posted Saturday, July 28, 2007 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars A magical album in every way, a true masterpiece of prog, one of the best Uriah Heep albums, and one of the best of the '70. To me is the second best after Look at yourself. I will not describe every track but The wizard and Circle of hands are the best here, the rest are also good, on the other hand, 2 members arrived, Lee Kerslake on drums and the bassist Gary Thain, and this line up remains like on this album for next 2 and a half years till Wonderworld inclusive. What to add, just listen and feel the magic of Demons & Wizards, for sure a masterpice, to me a classic of music in general, 5 stars. Recommended.
Report this review (#131033)
Posted Wednesday, August 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars For sure, Demons and Wizards is a 5-star album. The bigger question is whether its a Prog Album or not and this is much of the debate of previous reviews, but I would say yes, with a couple of tracks falling in the maybe category. Its an LP that I recently re-discovered after 20 years as like many (I would think) I was put off by their later body of work. "Easy Livin' " sounds more like Gillan 8 years later and stands out as being the most mainstream track on the album, but for me its the opening track "The Wizard" that sets the tone and mood. Its a polished, complete sound (compare it to "Birds of Prey" from Salisbury, two years earlier). "Traveller in Time", if you were being really generous, has that soft-then-loud style much beloved of Seattle bands 15-20 years later, but maybe its something I notice in lots of tracks now I am aware of it. "Poets Justice" keeps the pace and quality going and still has that Deep Purple / Machine Head feel to it, followed by "Circle of Hands" which has a more unique style and feel to it. "Rainbow Demon" is a little laboured and gives me Spinal Tap flashbacks about amps to 11 and big bottoms, but again its not a track you skip (infact there aren't any). "All My Life", "Paradise", and "The Spell" close out the album and although "The Spell" has that US mock-rock fell to it (Supertramp?) they complete a superb set. If not out-and-out prog, if you need one Uriah Heep album, then its this one for its overall quality and statement. Deep Purple never did a single album this good.
Report this review (#133885)
Posted Monday, August 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Wizards at work

Masters of the heavy and humble, Uriah Heep return after their masterpieces Salisbury and Look At Yourself with this superb offering. Heavy on the guitar and voice, this is a piece of prog best described as heavy. Though it may go through changes in pace and mood it certainly is an album best described as upbeat and as many others have noted, magical. David Byron's voice mixes well with the acoustic and electric guitars with his shrill shrieks and otherwise high-pitched singing as he belts out the fantasy flavored lyrics that power the music. Propelled often by rocking and memorable riffs, other times by pressing or floating keys the music gives off quite a catchy feel. This is rock and roll taken to a heavier side with an extremely large dose of progressive leaning.

It's very easy to see where this band would inspire later and heavier acts to pick up their axes and get out there to travel time, the music is invigorating with a heavy victorious feel thanks to the winding riffs and upbeat feel mentioned before. This is not an album to listen to if you're looking for something dark and evil, because this is an album that while heavy, is certainly for the people who like a story over top of their guitar solos. Organ and keyboards also lend heavily to the mood of the album during the more dark moments of the album which really help to add that progressive feel to the album.

In terms of music there's a nice variety to the tracks. Tracks like the hard rocking keyboard and very distorted guitar driven Easy Livin' inspires head banging (despite it's laid back name) while others such as the opening The Wizard and the later Circle Of Hands are a bit more directed towards the soft acoustic. The tracks segue incredibly well as the band seems to have an ear for placement since there's never a time where the momentum slows down, even during the more mellow tracks.

The final two tracks on the album are the ones that dominate. Paradise/The Spell can be taken as one song as suggested by the cd version of the album which combines the tracks into one. Like most prog behemoth tracks, this one encapsulates the entire album in one song. Starting with a slow acoustic bit the song makes good use of the vocals until the song picks up coming into The Spell segment of the song when the guitars start to get heavier and then the keys come in to wipe out the dark feeling and replace it with that upbeat tempo that we've been used to on the album thus far. Vocals reach a new high (pitch wise) and the organs just keep driving the track. Very well done.

A very good track from a band which any heavy prog fan should check out. Heck, anyone who likes a heavy and upbeat album with a fantasy feel will just be delighted with this release. Highly recommended, this is certainly a great release which, if the band's style appeals to you, you'll be sure to listen to at some point. 4 stars! Excellent addition to your collection.

Report this review (#171134)
Posted Thursday, May 15, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Quite a landmark album, and very important for prog music (radical progheads will cringe at this). The fantasy themes are here for the first time and UH was the first major band to use this kind of subject that I can remember. It´d influence many other artists in the future, both in prog and heavy metal. And, as a band, they reached their peak here and on The Magician´s Birthday.

With the addition of Gary Thain on bass and Lee Kerslake on drums, the group finally found the right line up and the perfect overall sound. What was promising in the past was now fully delivered. The chemistry was perfect and I must say that Thain is one of the most underrated bassist is rock history. The guy was simply amazing, with a style that reminds of Paul McCartney (fluid, melodic, filling all the gaps, amazing!). Ken Hensley has always pointed how important he was to form the classic UH sound and often cited him as the best musician the band ever had. Too bad th guy wa also very shy and addicted to heroin. But that´s another story.

Teh music is also amazing and influential over the years. There are no weak tunes and the sound is quite unique. Personally I found Circle Of hands, Easy Livin´and the Wizard the most remarkable songs, but everything fits very well, with the fantastic Roger Dean cover to wrap up the perfect album.

Like Bob wrote, it´s not easy to write about this album without passion. It was one of the most important rock albums in history and if the band never really got the recognition they deserve it was not their fault. This is a truly prog album, in the deep (and subtle) meaning of the concept. And although I still think The magician´s Birthday is better, this is a classic, a masterpiece. And a must have in any prog music collection. Five stars.

Report this review (#177092)
Posted Thursday, July 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars After the progressive Salisbury and the more straightforward hard rock of Look At Yourself, Uriah Heep came up with this one. The material is pretty strong here and the Roger Dean artwork (though looking a bit unfinished) contributes to giving this album a conceptual feel. The presence of acoustic numbers like The Wizard and Paradise completes the sound that Uriah Heep has become most remembered for.

Still, this is far from the masterpiece it is sometimes claimed to be. The production is far from perfect with the sound coming of as muddy at times. The vocals are very problematic; David Byron cannot comfortably reach the high notes he aspires to and some passages are quite painful to these ears. The lyrics are often rather childish and naďve, as are some of the arrangements. But the lyrical simplicity actually contributes something to the charm of the album. Indeed, this album might even be partly responsible for the association of hard rock with fantasy-themes like wizards, rainbows and demons.

The strongest aspect of the album is its apparent consistency. Only All My Life stands out as really weak and this song also features David Byron's unbearable out-of-tune- screams. But this low point is better hidden on this album then the worst songs on many other Uriah Heep albums.

The high point of the whole album for me is the extended slide-guitar solo on The Spell; Uriah Heep almost never came closer to Symphonic Prog than they did here. This is hardly Steve Howe, but it has something of his style.

Demons And Wizards could have been a great album with better production and more effort in the vocal department. Still it is something of an unpolished gem, though a much unpolished gem.

Report this review (#177812)
Posted Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
poslednijat_colobar
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Demons and Wizards is the first album from the classic Uriah Heep's line-up; and it is obvious the best period in Uriah Heep's history with Demons and Wizards and The Magician's Birthday being the highlights by the band. What about Demons and Wizards??? This is really fascinating album with clear sound and irreproachable songwriting in every little song on the release! I must mark the variety in the musicianship on the album. Each instrument make that we need of. The bass works are incredible here. Gary Thain bring in new fresh sound to the band. All other guys are in top form, too! After the mixed sound from the first album, the progier sound from the second and the harder sound from the third album, here we can hear the beginning of the psychedelic sound in Uriah Heep's history. All songs = magic!
Report this review (#189990)
Posted Thursday, November 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
2 stars Even considering the final extended track, there is very little progressive about this album. For the most part, it consists of straightforward rock and roll, with by and large outrageously simple chord progressions, uninteresting melodies, and precious few instrumental moments to speak of aside from a usually well-performed guitar solo. I have come to terms with the fact that I really do not like the lead singer much at all; David Byron's high-pitched squealing is very much present on this album, and it just sounds terrible no matter how many times I try to appreciate it, and much of the falsetto vocals sound amateurish and unpleasant. There are a few very good moments to the album, but not many, and nothing terribly magical.

"The Wizard" A combination of straightforward acoustic rock with strange vocal effects on the tail ends of the stanzas begins the album.

"Traveller in Time" Like quite a bit of the music on this album, this song sounds like Three Dog Night if they had become a hard rock outfit. It ventures between falsetto and belted vocals. At times, the wah effect on the guitar sounds really out of place.

"Easy Livin'" The organ and overdriven electric guitar build a heavy wall of sound over the steady bass and competent drumming. For once, the high-pitched vocals are not annoying, and actually serve the music well.

"Poet's Justice" For the most part, this song is very strong, with pummeled drums and crunchy guitar. The vocal harmonies are some of the strongest on the album. Some heavily panned dual lead guitar works over the sturdy beat, interspersed by some of the best organ work on the album.

"Circle of Hands" More pleasantly gritty organ follows on this track. The vocals are generally restrained and pleasant, and the guitar does not disappoint. The bass guitar stands out a bit, with little fills thrown in here and there. The final segment of the song, while repetitive, is decent enough and for some reason reminds me of ELO a little bit.

"Rainbow Demon" Here is one with (again) more satisfying organ, but rather than being another a song loaded with driving drums and raging electric guitar, this has a sinisterly somber feel. The guitar solo growls along, Mick Box heavy-handed on his whammy bar.

"All My Life" The music picks back up with a fast and original guitar riff, but the music becomes typical classic rock fare. The screeching and imitation tremolo at the end is insanely ridiculous and destroys whatever credibility this song may have had with me.

"Paradise / The Spell" This track begins with a pleasant acoustic guitar and equally pleasant vocals and backing instrumentation, but is a fairly repetitive song. At the same time it fades out, the second, jauntier section fades in, which sounds absolutely horrific. It has some bad falsetto singing and really weak lyrics ("I will cast the spell; be sure I cast it well"). The guitar over the choir and the subsequent piano-led section that follows are two of those very good moments I mentioned earlier, though.

Report this review (#204041)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Isa
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars |B+| A total progressive(ish) hard rock classic!

I actually first heard of Uriah Heep, ironically, from Mike Akerfeldt's own mouth at the first ProgNation concert ever in 2008 at the Gibson Amphitheater in Hollywood, California. It was before playing the track Baying of the Hounds from Ghost Reveries, and he said the intro to the song was based on the intro to an Uriah Heep song called Easy Livin'. After the concert I asked my Dad if he'd heard of the band, and he said loved their music back in the day, and he recommended I check out the band as well. So naturally I became interested in discovering this band and song, and found this album, Demon's and Wizards. I remember thinking, wow, this isn't really all that proggy, but it sure is awesome hard rock! And the intro to Baying of the Hounds does in fact sound a lot like the intro to Easy Livin', just slowed down and heavier. Now there's some prog trivia for you!

But this is so much more than your standard hard rock. In a sense, this was the progressive metal of its time, even though by today's standards it is neither all that proggy nor all that metal. It is classic hard rock, similar to early hard rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, ect., only it transcends the style in it's own sort of way. It has some of the most brilliant use of effects I think I've heard, the acoustic sections are just as catchy and musically interesting as the heavier parts, and the use of keyboards is some of the best I've heard from hard rock (Rainbow Demon!). The lyrics are very fantasy oriented, and provide an adventurous imagery that perfectly compliments the quite adventurous, yet still accessible, music. The musical contrast between the soft, whimsical acoustic parts and the head-banging hard hitting distortion guitar lifts my emotions more than almost any of the other hard rock bands I have (besides Rush, of course ;).

I'd also say this is Uriah Heep's best album. Unlike most prog bands, they seem to work better with shorter tracks (though Salisbury itself is probably their best track, overall they're better with standard two or three minute songs), other than Circle of Hands, probably my favorite track on the album, though it's certainly hard to choose. Each track sounds fantastic in its own musically condensed way. I'd even go as far as to describe them as site monitor Easy Livin' does for the album as a whole: MAGICAL. Every track makes it's point, tells its story, and something about the assortment of the instruments, chord changes, structural laying, and vocal lines and harmonies all blend together to create something beyond hard rock. Shall we call it prog or not? Who cares! This is an amazing album, regardless! It's another one of those awesome hard-rocking albums that you can play in your car and and sing (or scream) the lyrics to while driving on the freeway. Unlike most prog, Uriah Heep focuses on emotional heights rather than complexity, yet still manage to outmatch the artistic integrity of most hard rock bands. And the Roger Dean album art... man, that's awesome!

So if this album is so amazing, why isn't it getting a five, you might be wondering? Well, two minor flaws each knock it down from an A to a B+. The most obvious one is that it isn't the head spinning prog that I normally recommend, thus A-, and the mediocrity of All My Life, a song which clearly hasn't aged well and gets WAY over the top with the high pitched vocals, though even that's a pretty fun song in its own way. those two marks make it a B+.

So to whom would I recommend this album? Well, everyone who thinks they like/might like hard rock. This album is borderline essential - not a masterpiece for the ages, but epically awesome nonetheless. If you like hard rock bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, or Blue Oyster Cult, this is a must! Sorry if I've gotten carried away with emotion in my review, but its hard to write one that isn't with an awesome rocking album like this. Here I am, 19 years old, head-banging to an album made in that magical year 1972. Thank's Mr. Akerfeldt! As he himself said (apparently with humor), Uriah Heep is really f---ing metal!

Report this review (#209917)
Posted Friday, April 3, 2009 | Review Permalink
BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars I've read other reviewers here who had experiences with "Demons and Wizards" that are similar to mine: This was the LP that opened my eyes to "progressive rock." While I had heard and fondled "Sgt. Pepper's," "Magical Mystery Tour," "Days of Future Passed," and "Abbey Road" before my brother came home with D&W (and BLUE OYSTER CULT's "Secret Treaties"), I had never been so engaged, so enriched, so inspired as I was by the overall D&W experience-opening guitar chords to ending piano cadence. One thing I've also remembered upon repeated recent listenings is how Mick Box uses layers of his lead guitars to produce either a dueling or harmonic effect. To me, a fairly innovative ploy.

"The Wizard" - Wow! What an opening. That first declarative sentence with that supernatural echo just sucks you in! The vocals, guitars, keys, bass(!), and effects on this LP are so confident and diverse, so tight yet flowing. 10/10

"Traveller in Time" - As noted by predecessors, a very progressive song with all kinds of time, volume and mood changes highlighted by the drum and wah-guitar work. A very ZEP-feeling section at the end. 9/10

"Easy Livin'" - This one got heavy FM play in my native Detroit so I got kind of sick of it (story of my life: find a new group/sound/song and suddenly it gets overkilled in a pop-kind of way), but it's a very solid classic rock song. The driving pace is IMHO a bit monotonous but the organ and vocal work are admittedly superb. 6/10

"Poet's Justice" - Another progressive classic with many time and mood changes and some incredible bass playing. The weakest lead vocal performance on the LP is still awesome! 8/10

"Circle of Hands" - Swirling organs and sensitive/powerful vocals tie together more straightforward rock beats/chords until the amazing outflow with Hensley repeating "tomorrow" over the amazing one, two, three, four, and even five guitar leads. 9/10

"Rainbow Demon" - Slow heavy beat with raging organ coupled with slightly edgy lyrics and vocal effects gives this song a SABBATH-like, "Iron Man" feel-guitar solo, too. 8/10

"All My Life" - More classic rock with a great vocal and slide guitar exit. I was always a big fan of this song because of the vocal play in the end section. 8/10

"Paradise/The Spell" - How great are the acoustic guitars of this group?! I love the alternating vocal arrangement Hensley and Byron use in "Paradise." Though I'm not always a drums percussion listener, I really hear and appreciate the work in this one. The whole song has a very GRAND FUNK RAILROAD feel to it. The wizard theme that seems so pervasive on this LP is really brought to a head in "The Spell" with Box's GILMOUR-like slide solo over choral voices really promotes that mystical tension. An amazingly strong, emotional vocal performance. Great piano-bass-drums ride till the end reprise. 10/10

The best album cover artwork ever. Definitely a prog masterpiece-the first one I had the good fortune of being exposed to and my epiphany of the style of music I would pursue for the next ten years or more. Five Stars

Report this review (#210842)
Posted Thursday, April 9, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Don't argue, there is always a counter-argument...

What is there to say about Demons & Wizards tht hasn't already been said? Some tracks are simply mind-blowing, while some are hard-rock nonesense, but that doesn't matter, as Demons & Wizards is worth it!

Starting with the song The Wizard (the only song to feature former Uriah Heep bassist Mark Clarke, replaced afterwards by virtuoso Gary Thain), a half-acoustic half-electric song, reminiscent of the poppier songs of prog bands, such as Sympathy by Rare Bird. It's a good song, but not one of the great songs on this album.

Then comes Traveller in Time, which sounds like a cross between Deep Purple and Rush, mixing distorted Hammond organ sounds with heavy guitar riffs to create a masterpiece of prog.

The third song is the famous Easy Livin', which isn't that good of a song, featuring bluesy shufflle beats and again, distorted Hammond sounds.

Circle of Hands is one of the masterpieces on this album, a 6 minute prog piece starting with only a hammond organ, which now becomes a central part of this album, and vocals, and transforms into a full-band song, with an amazing guitar solo by Mick Box.

Rainbow Demon is another rocker track, similar to Easy Livin', but actually better. There is not much to say about these tracks, as they feature no complexity whatsoever. I can say they are recommended for fans of Deep Purple though.

Paradise/ The Spell is THE moment where all of your listening pays off! Paradise starts off acoustic, and around 2 minutes in, turns into an amazing fade out part, with a simple chord sequence, yet grandiose. The song fades out and then fade straight back into The Spell, which is rocky at first, but then becomes a massive prog piece, featuring a lengthy slide solo by guitarist Mick Box, yet again.

Demons & Wizards is a must-buy for every fan of Rush, Deep Purple, and Uriah Heep. 5/5, and one word; amazing.

Report this review (#229895)
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars The Wizard title which begins the album, very beautiful piece of music, very pleasant, the sound is superb. Heavy Progressive Rock in all its beauty on the second title Traveler in time, very fine piece, beautiful. It now expects a third title and it's better, Easy Livin 'title hypnotic absolutely beautiful, the musicians really sends the packet and the voice of singer David Byron literally explodes, great art, it frankly dépote! Poet's Justice is a cool title, but always with this beautiful sound if found on the album, the dexterity of the drummer Lee Kerslake among others. Circle of Hands offer here with Ken Hensley keyboards sound very heavy, as seemed quite heavy, but very sweet in this song and pléinitude, Uriah Heep that class anyway. Rainbow Demon, is the title that starts slowly, chuchotté voice, and it shows it rises to the top. All my life is more heavy rock, the work of bassist Gary Thain is important. Paradise has a very soft guitar of Mick Box, a song very cool, wise. The Spell finally starts normally, but there is a concern, a listening, an absolutely phenomenal solo by Mick Boxqui proves that it was a prodigious guitar, the solo is hardprog sweet, one of the best solo ever heard as very deep .
Report this review (#229921)
Posted Tuesday, August 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Well I have to agree with febus, this is "The classic URIAH HEEP album". I've never been a big fan of this band but this is the album I keep around so I can spin it once in a while. Ken Hensley states: "Somebody left a space between our last American tour and our European trip and we used literally every second to put "Demons And Wizards" together". He goes on to tell how much fun they had doing this. This formula seemed to work perfectly for URIAH HEEP as this album would turn out to be their most popular.

"The Wizard" opens with acoustic guitar before vocals then a fuller sound arrive. Fantastic sound when it kicks in. "Traveller In Time" hits the ground running then settles quickly. These contrasts continue. Some nice instrumental work after 2 1/2 minutes to end it. "Easy Livin" for some reason makes me think of the name Bob. Hmmm. Anyway this is the shortest track on here but it's full of energy and organ. "Poet's Justice" opens with some excellent drumming before settling with vocals. I like the bass and organ as well. Guitar 2 1/2 minutes takes the spotlight.

"Circle Of Hands" opens with some great sounding organ. The drums and bass then kick in followed by vocals after a minute. Love the powerful undercurrent that comes and goes. Piano late. "Rainbow Demon" is dark with organ as reserved vocals come in. It picks up 1 1/2 minutes in as the chorus arrives. Some nasty organ here and some good guitar before 3 1/2 minutes. "All My Life" is another short and catchy tune like "Easy Livin" but the vocals are much more passionate at times. "Paradise / The Spell" opens with strummed guitar with drums and bass. Reserved vocals before a minute. It's darker 3 1/2 minutes in, great sound here. A change after 5 minutes as it turns uptempo with piano. Guitar and vocal melodies 7 1/2 minutes in. Vocals are back 9 1/2 minutes in then it turns uptempo with piano again 11 1/2 minutes in to end it.

4 stars for this their best album.

Report this review (#235527)
Posted Friday, August 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Uh ? This is a ballads and songs record. What's great here are David Byron and collective vocals harmonies. The compositions are easy listening.

Clearly a record made to reach the charts and sell records. My interest is in music not in fame, prog and substantial music is what grabs me, so in a prog perspective I can give ** to "Demons and Wizards" and 5 stars or if possible more to unknown records like KORNELYANS "not an ordinary life" from 1974 Iron Curtain or LAGGER BLUES MACHINE "s/t" 1972 from Belgium. Anyway "demons and wizards" is a nice ballads record with hammond organ, so I'll keep ***. I consider "Salisbury" by far a more challenging and interesting record.

Report this review (#245161)
Posted Sunday, October 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Demons and Wizards" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK hard rock act Uriah Heep. The album was released through Bronze Records in the UK and Mercury Records in the US in May 1972. "Demons and Wizards" turned out to be Uriah Heep´s breakthrough in the US and the album is to date their best-selling album in the that country (500.000 copies). To this date it has sold around 3 million copies worldwide.

The music is semi-progressive organ and guitar driven hard rock. Strong vocals and vocal harmonies grace the album throughout. As the case were with both "Salisbury (1971)" and "Look at Yourself (1971)", the album features both hard rocking tracks and more semi-progressive ones. The short effective hard rock track "Easy Livin'" became quite a big hit and it´s easy to hear why. It´s quite a catchy track and a powerful rocker to boot. As mentioned there is more to "Demons and Wizards" than catchy hard rock tracks. Check out a heavy rocker like "Rainbow demon", or the last couple of minutes of "Circle Of Hands" to hear the semi-progressive side of the band´s sound.

While the instrumental part of the music is impressive enough and delivered with the right organic and technical skill, it´s the vocals by David Byron that always blow me away. There was a strong set of pipes on that man and in 1972 he was arguably in his prime. The album is graced with a strong, powerful, and organic sounding production and all in all "Demons and Wizards" is among the band´s best output and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

Report this review (#247256)
Posted Friday, October 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Filled with some heavy metal moments, some progressive rock moments, and some flat out rock and roll moments, this album can suite anyone's needs for music. Gary Thain had joined the band as full time bassist, and so did Lee Kerslake on percussion and drums. Along with those two musicians, or wizards, David Byron can really shine on vocals, Mick Box can shred on guitar, and Ken Hensley can rock out on the organ. This album is a masterpiece.

The opener "The Wizard" is very much a ballad, with the chorus section being a bit more rocking and much more heavy metal sounding. The lyrics are mystical, though they might not be as well thought out as well as Yes or King Crimson songs. The bassline is very nice, thanks to the additional bassist, Gary did not play on this track. David's vocals are amazing on this song, perfection. The electric guitar in the background is very nice. "Traveller in Time" has much more abstract and mystical lyrics, but the music overall is much more heavy metal for this time. The wah-wah pedal is very intereseting in this song, and it adds some nice interest. The vocals are amazing, David sings some clear falsetto. "Easy Livin" has a laid back title, but it knows how to rock so well. The guitar and hammond organ played by Mick and Ken respectivly are played so well. The bassline is melodic and very fast, holding down the bottom end very well. The lyrics aren't as good as some of the other songs, but they are very good with the song. Drumming is excellent. This is one of Heep's only popular songs in the United States, actually. "Poet's Justice" is a nice blend of prog and some metal. The vocal harmonies are very nice with the music, working very nice with the excellent lyrics. The bassline is nice, fast and melodic, and the guitar is very nice throughout the song. This maybe one of their more proggy songs. "Circle of Hands" is another fairly proggish song, longer than their poppy song standard length, it runs about six minutes. The organ intro is very nice, and the hammond is very well played by Ken throughout. Mick is really rocking it on this song, his guitar structures are nice. The lyrics are amazing, for some reason, the words just seem to pull me in. David, of course, just has that charm. "Rainbow Demon" is a scary song, it makes you feel uneasy, making you wonder if there really is a demonic force coming. David, of course with his theatric voice and wails, sings the lyrics perfectly. The drums seem to work well in this track, hitting right on the perfect time. "All my Life" isn't the proggiest, and maybe the worst track on the album. There isn't very interesting, if just kind of sounds like, been there done that with all their previous albums. The guitar is respectable. The vocals sounds a little bit by Steven Tyler for some reason on this track, with that echo and that tone of voice just sounds like Steven. Aerosmith is very far from prog though, but I can respect them as musicians. Back to the album, "Paradise/The Spell" is their, more or so, prog epic for the album. Starts ballad like, with acoustic guitar, tuned down a whole note, it sounds, it's very haunting. The bassline is very flowing. The drums are forceful for this kind of track, and work well. David sings sweet and frightening falsetto, though maybe not as high as some of their songs from previous albums. Then, the second part starts a more or so rocker type of sound and is very different. It still has that frightening type of sound because of those interesting lyrics, and the hammond organ just seems to gel with that kind of song. It's a masterpiece of the heavy prog sub-genre.

With the Roger Dean cover art and some sweet lyrics, you cannot go wrong with this album at all. Beautiful musicianship, I have to give it a 5 stars because of my love with Uriah Heep, and because it's one of my favorite albums.

Report this review (#254463)
Posted Sunday, December 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Uriah Heep's 4th album is one of their most popular among symphonic rock fans and while it has plenty of music to justify that status, it also has some lesser songs that indicate the steady decline that would follow on the ensuing albums.

The opening Wizard is just perfect. Wonderful song. In under 3 minutes it succeeds in creating a big epic feel. Traveller In Time is a lot less already. The lead riff is still fun but they had better vocal melodies before. The break around 2 minutes is painful, predictable chord changes like this are a typical feature of pop music and always indicate a lack of better ideas.

Easy Livin' is great of course, besides there's no way we'll go criticizing songs that serve as nickname for fellow reviewers. Poet's Justice on the contrary has the honour of being the first really forgettable song on a Uriah Heep album.

The next two tracks are classics of course, both Circle of Hands and Rainbow Demon can not be omitted from any Heep collection although only Rainbow Demon hits gold for me.

All My Life is ok but rather mediocre hard rock again. Paradise is a last decent moment but again they've done this much better on the preceding albums. The reissue added a track called Why which surpasses most of the regular tracks.

With only a good 20 minutes of excellence this album sits closer to 2.5 stars then to 3, but as this is the last but one good Heep album 3 will do.

Report this review (#254728)
Posted Monday, December 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars With a delicious '70's vibe, elegant vocals, energetic rockin', and psychedelic camp, "Demons and Wizards" is a tremendously enjoyable, if somewhat light-weight release which accomplishes little except tickle classic-rock sensabilities with the lightest of progressive flair.

The album as a whole is optimistic, cheerful, energetic, and at times quite beautiful. The vocal melodies and lead singing of Byron are very memorable, as is the occasionally creative guitar work which cranks out a nice combination of heavy licks and tones. With the exception of some of the lyrical content and great keyboard playing of Hensley, there isn't much here to label this group as "prog"; these are straight-forward, typical, early '70's hard rock. Not especially hard now mind you, but still quite good, and always enjoyable. The biggest impact is made by the mood of the album, which will almost certainly strike a chord with the listener.

But, looking deeper we don't see much more than that. Appealing, certainly, but not a masterstroke of artistic genius. "Demons and Wizards" is then a fun diversion into thoughtful '70's rock, maybe smarter than its peers, but nothing to engender itself as a hallmark of the genre. Although it clearly has the coolest title of almost any rock album... ever.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Report this review (#258593)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Demons and Wizards is a very good album by URIAH HEEP. Demons and Wizards is a nice heavy prog album. The album is mainly about what the title implies. On this album there is very little filler that many albums have. All the songs are very well put together. Not all the songs on the LP are completely prog or fit into one concept. While the overall album does flow together, it does seem to break up. This is not really a bad thing.

The first song sets the tone for the rest. It's a bit heavy and coveys a nice over all message. I don't want to go into too much detail. This is not the greatest album ever made, but it certainly is a good one. Overall it deserves a 3.5/5.

Report this review (#258700)
Posted Thursday, December 31, 2009 | Review Permalink
Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal Team
3 stars I've never been a huge fan of Uriah Heep since I could never really determinate their musical direction. The band seems to prefer jumping all over the place and Demons And Wizards demonstrates these tendencies quite well.

The album starts off like a concept album that all of a sudden gets disrupted by Easy Livin' which is a great track but it sticks out like a sore thumb in this conceptual setting. After this minor change of pace we get back to the concept album's theme once more although this time the songs like Poet's Justice and All My Life sound too much like general rockers without any real thought or meaning to them. I might be missing some point here but I've honestly given up hope after hearing this album more than 15 times already.

Finally we get a pompous finale of Paradise/The Spell, but that is the point when I ask myself - "What is this dramatic finale all about?" and -"Am I missing something here"? Unfortunately this album is too disjointed for my tastes and in the end I feel like it promises a lot more then it actually delivers. I recommend Salisbury and the great Look At Yourself to anyone interested in hearing a really good Uriah Heep album and save Demons And Wizards for later.

***** star songs: Easy Livin' (2:36)

**** star songs: Traveller In Time (3:26) Circle Of Hands (6:34) Rainbow Demon (4:30) Paradise (5:15) The Spell (7:26)

*** star songs: The Wizard (2:59) Poet's Justice (4:14) All My Life (2:46)

Report this review (#259075)
Posted Sunday, January 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Uriah Heep is probably one of the most underrated bands and Demons and Wizards is for sure most underrated album. Beautiful art cover shows you what you can expect inside. Entire album is like wizards tale as opening song says. It starts softly (opening of "the Wizard") but very soon builds up in strong album with some great guitar (Traveller in Time) and keyboard work (Easy Livin). Poet's Justice is another great song you got to love that aaaaa aa vocals start. Magic fantasy feeling of album continues with Circle Of Hands and Rainbow demon great music, lyrics and vocals. Short but kick ass All my life starts with nice introduction witch builds up to great high vocal ending . Paradise/The spell the crown of the album where slow melancholic Paradise combines with "scary" The spell. Essential a masterpiece of progressive rock music.
Report this review (#259840)
Posted Thursday, January 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
5 stars Uriah Heep is classified as Heavy Prog on ProgArchives and Demons And Wizards has been criticised in some quarters for not being very prog-oriented, although I hasten to add that this criticism is not entirely unfair. Ok, so Demons And Wizards isn't very proggy. In fact it isn't really all that heavy either. I don't know how the band members themselves would have described their music in 1972, but I doubt they would have referred to it as Heavy Prog. Who knows? However, if we set aside these arbitrary labels what we're left with is a great rock album, in my opinion one of the best ever recorded irrespective of genre. Demons And Wizards is a truly iconic recording that represents the complete package, from the fantastic songs to the erotically charged Roger Dean cover (look for the hidden images!).

From the acoustic intro of The Wizard to the final fade-out of The Spell this is a great album. It was the first Heep album to go gold, although it only reached number 20 in the UK album chart. Uriah Heep never seemed to be the most popular of bands, even when this kind of stuff actually dominated the UK album charts in the early-mid '70s. Highlights for me are the aforementioned The Wizard, which was released as a single. Easy Livin' also had a worldwide single release. Both of these releases bombed in the UK of course (shame on you Britain!), but I believe Easy Livin' scraped into The Billboard chart at 39. I defy anyone to listen to Easy Livin' without wanting to get up to dance, or at the very least to jiggle about in their chair! Circle Of Hands is one of my all-time favourite songs, featuring a rasping Hammond intro, thundering rhythm section, and an emotionally cathartic guitar solo to end. Stunning. The mini-suite of Paradise and The Spell close the album beautifully and these two songs taken together probably constitute the only progressive part of the album.

Judging by the song titles and the album cover Demons And Wizards might seem like a fantasy-laden concept album. The lyrics do contain fantasy themes but in the sleeve notes Ken Hensley states 'it's just a collection of our songs'. The album doesn't feature complicated time signatures, modulation to distant keys, or overt virtuosity. There's nothing complicated or 'difficult' here, just a sublime collection of great melodies and heavy riffs. Uriah Heep arguably reached its creative peak with this album. Its sister album The Magician's Birthday came close to matching Demons, but after that it was really downhill all the way for Uriah Heep. However Demons And Wizards was, is, and always will be the pinnacle of... 'Heavy Prog'. Keep on truckin'.

Report this review (#261532)
Posted Monday, January 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Wizard: starting with acoustic guitars, nice and bright to my ears, the voice begins to sing a melody of the past, talking a story or something so, really melodic, easy listening and digestible, then begin the good noise, with calm and beautiful voice. voices again claim their value and make scene, we can also appreciate operatic stage and screaming, I can say that King Diamond was inspired by such kind of voices.

Traveler in time: what an amazing intro, OMG, nice guitars!, Yeah!, one of his best known songs around the entire world, really wonderful, I think this song is a great inspiration in hard rock and progressive in itself.

Easy Livin: another catchy, interesting, motivated, remember the time where these pieces were created metalheads.

Poet's Justice: starting with aggressive, heavy rhythms, movers and energetics, and a distortion similar to Blue Oyster Cult, the style of the background vocals and a melody, we have something fast on the guitar, a great voice range. you could say it's a little rock and roll, heavy stuff, with occasionally psychedelic passages the battery is the same throughout the song, making it a little predictable, at least the change in 2 : 49 is great, and from there we have brilliant moments, very progressive.

Circle of hands: starting with a keyboard a la Jon Lord, really similar style, a plane is approaching?, Then begins the typical electric rhythming guitar by Mick Box, after an apparent atmosphere of tranquility with the great voice of David Byron, well as continuing the melody a bit, back to the typical operatic background that characterizes much of this band,catchy choirs a little hard to diggest, good and sad one style, apparently, also could be thought of as one happy. the organ is the basis of this song, and finally we have a good solos by mick box. it can remind a little from ITCOTCK song.

rainbow demon:glorius type intro, as if something is coming, great keyboards mysterious, mysterious voice begins as usual, and a chorus for my taste lacks in power, although it remains a great composicion

all my life: WTF?

Paradise: nice intro, with good melody, a lot of sadness, And a good song.

The spell: the piano is the key of this song, a cheerful melody, where we find a truly psychedelic scene, masterly, that makes us travel in fantasy when we hear it, easily the best song of the album, which combines all the elements of this magnificent band, pianos are the ultimate music and interesting finishes.

in conclusion, one of his best albums with TMB, this band has inspired future generations and we notice with bands like Black bonzo, which are very similar, good album. 3.5 stars

Report this review (#267662)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars Uriah Heep's 'Demons And Wizards' is a hard rocking melodic excursion into fantasy and whimsical landscapes of castles inhabited by wizards.

The Roger Dean cover spells out the concept from the outset but as far as actual prog material, this album does not deliver. Having stated that fact it is still great melodic rock and highly memorable and one of the best of the Heep.

It begins with 'The Wizard' which begins with a melancholy acoustic three chord structure sand then the distorted guitars and organ take over. A great track with iconic lyrics and remains a live favourite to this day.

'Traveller in Time' is essential Heep and a definitive highlight. The killer riff is classic Sabbath, Purple or Zeppelin; in other words classic rock. There is a delicious keyboard solo over scorching guitar riffs and the lyrics are downright fanciful but somehow appropriate.

'Easy Living' is the legendary single that always appears on compilations as quintessential Heep. It just motorvates at a quick tempo and drives headlong with grinding organ and guitar riffs. Absolutely wonderful and the first track I had heard from the band. I am sure many people would have only heard either this or 'Free Me' as they are the most recognisable singles. Every Heep fan knows this track and it is great to sing along to.

'Poet's Justice' is perhaps a lowlight and is quite forgettable though it does feature a great walking bassline and organ riff.

'Circle of Hands' is a more progressive song than the previous tracks with irregular beats and a great organ driven sustained motif. It is a strong track and one of the longest with a credible lead break that takes the song in a new direction.

'Rainbow Demon' is definitely one of the better tracks with a slow paced hard driving guitar and organ riff and a catchy chorus. I always found this to be a strong track and a perfect side two opener.

The next two tracks are rather forgettable but they are sandwiched with the wonderful closing track, 'The Spell'. This track has become a concert closer too in a medley with 'The Wizard' to good effect.

Overall this album is a great rocking delight for the Heep fan. The band would do better with albums to follow but this is still full of highlights. Very 'eavy and not very 'umble, it is still an album that is bombastic enough to confirm the hype surrounding it.

Report this review (#278405)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Not exactly a masterpiece of prog rock but definitely a masterpiece of hard rock. Let me just say that Ken Hensley is now one of my favourite Hammond organ players, he also plays a mean 'heavy metal' piano as proven in The Spell. Mick Box is better at the acoustic guitar than at the electric one in my opinion and he definitely shouldn't be allowed too many electric guitar solo. His style during a solo seems to be to play it as slow as possible and keep it simple, which isn't a particular problem (he is just showing he isn't a virtuoso) but after a while, they all seem the same and they get a bit tedious.As usual the lyrics aren't the strong point, but if you can kind of put these to the back of your mind and concentrate on the good stuff (Byron's vocals, the four-part harmonies, Hensley's keyboards and occasional slide-guitar, and the interplay of the band in general) this kind of cancels out the slightly iffy lyrics, doesn't it? The album starts off wonderfully with The Wizard with Box on acoustic guitar and it seems to be a nice subtle start, with a great middle part, where we first hear the vocal harmonies. Traveller in time is more of their traditional sound and again is a very good track. Easy Living is arguably their best known track and it is definitely a majestic song: very short but very fast and it's a thrilling ride. Poets justice doesn't seem quite as excellent after that excellent track but it's still more than average. Circle of Hands is another majestic track and is very well put together, the most progressive track on the album. Some reasonably good lyrics as well. Rainbow Demon is my favourite track on the album though. Just love the way it builds up from the scratchy organ intro, then introducing the vocals and then introducing the rhythm section after the second verse. Byron's voice sounds great here too. The only slight problem is there is an unnecessary (and characteristically slow) guitar solo near the end. All my life is a mediocre track, its like a wannabe Easy Livin' and it doesn't come anywhere near that track. The ending medley Paradise/The Spell is not as good as some would have you believe. The main problem is that the two songs together are too long, and this is because there is a guitar solo in the central section of the Spell which makes me feel as if I want turn the song off which is a shame considering their instrumental sections are usually so awesome. Paradise is alright (good acoustic guitar and relatively good lyrics). So overall the album starts slightly better than it ends although it's relatively consistent throughout.

PS I have the deluxe edition but I havent really got much to say about the bonus tracks except that Gary Thain's bass on Why is excellent and he takes a lead role for part of it.(or is it Gary thain on this track? I've just noticed that apparently he didn't play on this track. Anyway whoever it was, the bass playing is great!) PPS I am soon going to get the Uriah heep live 1973 album and will review it as soon as I have a good idea about how much I like (or dislike) it!

Report this review (#291786)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
2 stars Some great classic rock! I want you all to get out your pens, papers, bic lighters, and hippie do rags, for this is a lesson in 1970's radio rock.

Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards (1972)

Overall Rating: 5

Best Song: It's all the same! EASY LIVIN', if you're really desperate

You want classic rock? Well come get some! This is it, boys! This is the most notable arena prog rock since early Styx, baby, and god I love me some early Styx, boy howdy. Yeah, for all you folks who've exhausted Led Zeppelin's IV, or Foreigner's debut, this is the next inevitable step forward (or backward). Uriah Heep are known for being precursors of early heavy metal, and early hard prog rock. Well, I'm here to clarify some things. Boy does this stuff suck! No, it don't do a damn thing for a single bone in my body, even the painfully simple radio accessible "Easy Livin", which is a song that some band like foreigner would have killed to have written, and a guy like Peter Gabriel would have committed suicide for having written.

What did that little spiel mean, my cheddar pals? Well, This is some shallow stuff. It doesn't even rock, man. Jethro Tull rocked harder on Aqualung, and they even took the time to write memorable riffs, and, oh, I don't know, expand on their base? Uriah Heep has really limited vision, and it makes listening to the entire album quite difficult. This is generic hard rock mush at its finest (or is that lowest?) It doesn't matter. The vocal melodies are so simple and derivative that it hurts my ears, man. What is this [&*!#]? Poetic Justice has that gaudy vocal soar, with the male choir ooh's and aah's in the background. Shoot me. Did the band take themselves seriously? I don't take them too seriously.

I won't even mention the lyrics, because they suck. Wait, I just mentioned the lyrics. These guys are screwing with my head! Lets pretend there are no lyrics, anyway. You know what we don't have to pretend, though? Melodies. We don't gotta pretend there are no melodies. Uriah Heep were kind enough to package each copy of Demons and Wizards, sans melodies, for our wonderful listening un-comfort. I bet Ken Hensley worked as a sales representative for a car company in his earlier days.

There's a big focus on thick, simple hard rocking with some keyboard interplay, and it's all done with the lowest common denominator in mind. The band is hardly exceptional, and I've a mind to peg them as fairly inadequate for their aims. the energy level is low, and tracks such as Circle of Hands ooze unnecessary mush. The guy's voice makes me want to stab my ears off, though. This is all the bad sides of progressive music, such as pretentious ideals, cheesy and hollow sound and song structure, and a nerdy lead vocalist, without the benefits of the genre, like being melodically ingenious, or having brilliant musicianship, or taking you to another world. Where does the band take you? Possibly to your favorite teenage dive on the outskirts of town, playing in some boring empty bar on a damaged juke-box. That isn't right, who would spend good money on an Uriah Heep song?

I know I said I wouldn't pay attention to the lyrics, for my own sanity, but this made me cringe: "Sacrifice, the future has its price, and the future is only yesterday's tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow." Isn't yesterday's tomorrow, today? I get it. Today is when I'm listening to Demons and Wizards, and tomorrow is when I'll kill myself over it. Holy hell, those lyrics are so downright awful that I can't help but subtract some points. Even the solo is repetitive and lifeless. At least Page had the gall to do some in your face and energetic punching stuff. This was probably a large influence on heavy metal, specifically power metal, but was that such a good thing? I'll let someone else decide. I'll just hate it to myself, irregardless of judgment. It would have helped if the band had stopped being so cold-stoney long enough to actually have made the record diverse, but they didn't. It's just one generic slab of proto-power metal, one after another, until you fall asleep. Actually, this record made me laugh, like when the dude tries his hand at being Ian Gillian near the end of All My Life, failing miserably.

Hey, truth is, some of this stuff rocks out, and they are all competent musicians, but with Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, and Deep Purple, you really don't need this album, and you definitely don't need the band. At their best, Uriah Heep undeniably epitomized the bad side of 1970's hard rock. At their worst, Uriah Heep records could easily replace nuclear bombs, if you dropped enough of them on one centralized location.

Report this review (#291795)
Posted Saturday, July 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars When I did realize about the existence and Uriah Heep and listened to its early work album by album I was really satistified and surprised. I found their music very appealing, heavy and humble, but so melodic and touching. But then it comes to Demons And Wizards. And there's some magical here. When I need some music to take me high I often think about my picture disc version of Demons And Wizards...and here they are!

The liner notes by Ken Hensley are quite clear. That was a moment of pure inspiration, some kind of perfect moment to write and play for the five piece band, completed by Gary Thain and Lee Kerslake. Everyone here shines bright, but especial mention goes for the vocal interpretation of David Byron and, of course, everything that was touched by Ken: the magnificient hammonds (is there anyone out there who can make them sound this way!?!?), the gorgeous slide guitars, even when he sings. Gary Thain makes an amazing work on the bass lines, sustaining the overall sound in a perfect way. This music touches me. The first side of the album is completely flawless.

The acoustic opening The Wizard warns you about what deserves you. And then Traveller In Time (one of my heep favourite song) with its heavy riffing and gorgeous wah guitar blows you away to the classic Easy Livin'. Poet's Justice and Circle of Hands are more mystical and mellow songs that are so emotional it makes me cry, wonderful instrumental passages there. The it comes for the second side, that opens with the oriental oriented Rainbow Demon, a fantastic piece that sets you in another place and time, really makes you strange images. Maybe All My Life is the weakest song in the album, but the slides guitar and Byron's performance make it really enjoyable. So it comes to the end with Paradise/The Spell, two songs envolved by each other that once again have a mystical and magical flavour, the vocals are so good and so they are the instrumental thing.

I don't know if this is real prog or not, but what the hell, this is rock, heavy and touching, just as it got to be!

Report this review (#307144)
Posted Friday, October 29, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I have always been a big Uriah Heep fan especially the David Byron/Ken Hensley days. Demons and Wizard album was a superb album a nice prelude the Magican's Birthday album which is my all-time favorite Uriah Heep Album. Starting with the first track

1) Wizard - IMO this start was a fantastic start to a great album a very beautiful tract with great harmony vocals this was the track that won me over to become a Uriah Heep fan 2) Traveller in time - Great Track with a wonder wah-wah start this is nice kick ass tune everything fits nicely together 3) Easy Livin - this was a nice commercial radio friendly tracks its a nice bopping of the head tune, the vocals are amazing, this is truly a classic uriah Heep tune 4) Poet's Justice - this has similar feel to Traveller in time track wonderful 5) Circle of hand - has that nice Organ intro tis song for me its a very epic type tune even though the track is only 6:25 mins but its one of them tunes you close your eyes and let this song take you on a journey masterful song 6) Rainbow Demon - personally this is my favorite track from this album, this is the track I sometimes have on repeat mode nice organ sound Ken Hensley is probably IMHO one of the best keyboard player in Prog-Rog listen to Gypsy Live 1973 the vocals on this track with the music just blows me alway 7) All My life - is a good track but the weakest track on this album, has some nice guitar work a good track but not great the end goes on and on it drags in the end 8) Paradise/the Spell - this is actually two tracks in one - Paradise section to me is Uriah Heep at its best with some fantastic bass playing this song is a true blue Prog-rock tune very Epic at almost 13 mins

Overall a great album a must have album if you are into Uriah Heep

Report this review (#414841)
Posted Saturday, March 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars The middle section of the wonderful trifecta of LOOK AT YOURSELF, DEMONS AND WIZARDS, and THE MAGICIANS BIRTHDAY. All 3 getting 4 star ratings from me. (Hard to give 5 stars to any as they are not perfect, just excellent). The entire first side is made up of some of the best work I have heard out of Heep. From "The Wizard" to "Circle of Hands" is pure perfection, only marred by the lesser "Rainbow Demon" which is more in the style of future, harder Uriah Heep tunes. And, of course, the ending "Paradise/The Spell, are classics. In total, a one of the pinnacles of "Hard-Prog". ( I don't have the remastered edition with bonus tracks, so this review is based on the original album/CD). A solid 4 stars.
Report this review (#442896)
Posted Wednesday, May 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Somewhat more firmly metal-oriented than previous albums, but still mainly existing in the sphere of progressive rock, Demons and Wizards combines often-goofy lyrics with dynamic, emotionally powerful music that can't help but raise a grin despite the cheesiness on display. Many of the lyrics would be laughable were it not for the complete sincerity and overwhelming force of their delivery, whilst the musical ideas are the strongest and most diverse the band had attained to date, ranging from the feelgood anthem Circle of Hands to the progressive epic of Paradise/The Spell, a one-two punch which ends the album with a bang. This is how Uriah Heep should be remembered; with heavy organ, a Roger Dean cover, and songs about wizards.
Report this review (#494895)
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2011 | Review Permalink
baz91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Uriah Heep's fourth album, 'Demons and Wizards' is often regarded by fans as the band's magnum opus. Whilst I don't hold the same opinion ('Salisbury' is definitely better), it's not hard to see why they would think so. Despite the title, and the glorious Roger Dean artwork, this album is not a concept album, but just a collection of songs, just like any other Heep album. However, more than a few of these songs have fantasy-tinged lyrics, and this is the first Heep album where such lyrics would be used.

The album starts off with one of these fantasy songs, The Wizard. Beginning with an acoustic guitar intro, this piece is surprisingly light for a Heep album opener. However, this is quite an anthemic song, and great for singing at concerts.

Traveller In Time is a great hard rock song with a progressive edge. The final minute of this 3˝ minute track is dedicated to a groovy instrumental with weird sound effects.

Easy Livin' is a no-bull[&*!#] hard rock song. This is one of the most quintessential Heep songs; a classic with a great heavy riff. The grinding organ and guitar build a heavy wall of sound that is a delight to the ears. Probably the best thing about this song are the nonsensical lyrics: 'This is a thing I've never known before / It's called Easy Livin' / This is a place I've never seen before / And I've been forgiven.' Despite being just over 2˝ mins long, this music will linger in your head long after you've heard it.

Poet's Justice is the most forgettable song on the album, but still features a great instrumental and strong vocal harmonies.

Circle Of Hands was recorded to sound epic. Hensley's signature organ leads into a loud heavy riff in the intro and on into the first verse. At 6 minutes, this is one of the longer songs on the album, but the last 2 minutes are devoted to the anthemic outro. Byron's vocals on this song are timeless.

Rainbow Demon is definitely the silliest track on the record, but the awful thing is that the band seemed to take this too seriously. The vibrato heard on the word 'Demon' along with the 'Oo-oo-oo-oo' sound at 3:49 is just too much. What were they thinking?

Just like Real Turned On from '...Very 'eavy ...Very 'umble' and Love Machine from 'Look At Yourself', All My Life is another song about making love with an overdriven guitar backdrop. The lyrics remain as daft as ever: 'I only took one 'cause I couldn't take two / I wanna make love and it's gotta be you.' However, for the first time, I find myself enjoying this song. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the melody and tempo of the song is more appealing than it's predecessors and secondly, the song has a more appropriate message in the lyrics: 'I never ever thought I was looking for a wife / But I think I could love her for the rest of my life!'

The next track, Paradise, appears boring and repetitive at first but, after a couple of listens, becomes more gripping. This is quite a sombre track that is seemingly about two people who have fallen out of love. The three repeated verses in the outro bring the song to an intense close before segueing directly into The Spell. This is something of a sandwich track; an epic slow track shoved in the middle of an upbeat rocker. This is my favourite track on the record simply for the powerful guitar solo and awesome lyrics over a heavy backdrop in this middle section. A wonderful end to a great record.

Perhaps the most tragic thing about Uriah Heep is that their creative peak was reached so early in their career. The trio of albums 'Salisbury', 'Look At Yourself' and 'Demons and Wizards' are by far the best albums in Heep's long-winded career, meaning that it'd only get worse from here. Worse still, none of these three records are downright masterpieces, meaning that the bad stuff is really bad! However, 'Demons and Wizards' is still a fine album and should be judged on it's merits. Definitely a Heep album worth having!

Report this review (#525152)
Posted Saturday, September 17, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars This album is a very good rock album, with a very slight prog edge. I don't mean to upset the Uriah Heep fans here, but really, this is barely prog. But there is a tinge, so I won't argue against the band's inclusion here.

This album does contain the Uriah Heep song that I've heard the most on the radio, Easy Livin' (I think someone on the site may have gotten their handle from this piece). It is a great, energetic hard rock piece in the Deep purple vein, with some almost proggy breaks. And that's the most memorable song, as well.

Much has been made of the two last tracks, Paradise and The Spell, which run together, as being a prog piece. I don't hear it. The songs are good, but not prog to my ears. And the awkward melding of the songs doesn't qualify either.

But outside of prog, this is a great rock album. I'd give it 4 stars. But here, just 3.

Report this review (#556456)
Posted Monday, October 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I've never really gave into Uriah Heep completely, but every album I've heard thus far had some fine rocking moments that I could at least respect. DEMONS AND WIZARDS still has one rocking moment, but it isn't enough.

''Easy Livin'' is a pretty good head-banging track that deserves its airplay, a case for Uriah Heep's riffing ability. But of all the moments on DEMONS AND WIZARDS, this is the only good one. The rest of the album, well, I am not on the bandwagon to put it politely. Let's throw out the ''is it really prog rock'' discussion and get to the meat of the matter here.

The execution simply isn't there. The previous album LOOK AT YOURSELF had so many great, memorable riffs like the title track, ''Love Machine'' and ''Tears In My Eyes'', so Uriah doesn't have a riff problem overall. It just so happens on this album, little works (for me; it's really all subjective). I'm now convinced that if Uriah Heep isn't going full-throttle on the tempo, they implode into boredom. ''The Wizard'' is one of the worst openers I've ever heard; nonchalant tempo, singing that really isn't convincing (Byron's had better moments), and laughably predicable rhyming schemes plague the opener and foreshadow the remainder of the album.

I prefer to remember Uriah Heep as a hard rock band with Hammond organ, not a prog rock band. Keep in mind I've yet to listen to SALISBURY, so this is probably the proggiest I've heard the band so far. This new ''hard rock bordering on prog'' doesn't work at all for me; the musicians may be skilled enough to make such a transition, but I feel that there's something missing in order for that transition to work, and I don't know exactly what it is. They try hard to make ''Rainbow Demon'' and the epic ender work, but the musical end result is simply too boring to really convince me. That tremolo effect on the former track makes me cringe without question every time I hear it.

As much as I loathe this record, I would call DEMONS AND WIZARDS an essential listen in prog rock. You need to hear this at least once just to hear what the buzz is with this record. I am one of the minority that could never understand this album and finds the music too boring and somewhat unimpressive to really push forward.

Report this review (#584431)
Posted Wednesday, December 7, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Demons and Wizards" is one of my favourite Uriah Heep albums. "The Wizard" is the band's biggest all time anthem. It sets the mood and rhythm for the entire album, a mixture of simple acoustic and rock guitar riffs along with those classic soaring vocals. "Easy Livin' is a rocker and another short, concise piece. However, the lengthly epic art rockers "Circle of Hands", "Paradise" and "The Spell" solidified their reputation as progressive rock innovators. Great variety of tracks here and the guitar and keyboard solos are very inventive. Although Uriah Heep had set the ground work for their signature sound on albums such as their first and the generally underrated "Look at Yourself", "Demons and Wizards" towers above it's predecessors in many ways. They earned the credit as one of the top rock bands of the 70's along with the likes of Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy etc. Four and a half stars!
Report this review (#595595)
Posted Saturday, December 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
stefro
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Arguably the British group's most cohesive and consistent effort, 'Demons & Wizards' was Uriah Heep's fourth overall release, showcasing the group's fondly-remembered 'classic' line-up during that great prog year of 1972 operating at pretty much the zenith of their powers. Issued in the wake of some pretty strong predecessors - 'Salisbury' and 'Look At Yourself' both spring to mind - 'Demons & Wizards' actually beat them all, shifting an impressive three million copies worldwide and turning Uriah Heep into minor rock stars. Featuring the classic line-up of Ken Hensley(vocals, keyboards, guitar), Mick Box(guitar), David Byron(vocals), Gary Thain(bass) and Lee Kerslake and the necessary Roger Dean artwork, this is undoubtedly a great album thanks to its glut of excellent tracks, though the real trick here is the Heep's insistence on exploring a fairly wide range of styles. As a result, 'Demons & Wizards' runs a razor-sharp line between anthemic AOR and organ- doused progressive rock, all the while adding dashes of folk, tinges of blue and a generous helping of fantasy- inspired mysticism. It also, like many great albums, features some serious heavy moments - by heavy I mean great - with the acoustic-strummed opening of 'The Wizard', the grinding, organ-soaked power chorus of 'Rainbow Demon' and the chundering, good-time stomp of 'Easy Livin'(a big hit in the Netherlands) just some of the classic moments that have helped make 'Demons & Wizards' one of the classic progressive albums. Virtually always found in progressive rock 'best of' lists, this is one of those rare albums in which almost every individual track shines bright. Lowlights are prevalent - the almost doomy ambience of 'Paradise' may be a bit too downbeat for some; the seven-minute closer 'The Spell' flirts aimlessly with psedo-symphonic aspirations - yet for the most 'Demons & Wizards' is the sound of an inspired and confident group. Many groups are defined by a key album; for Uriah Heep look no further than this hard rockin' power-prog set. STEFAN TURNER
Report this review (#931224)
Posted Saturday, March 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars 'Demons & Wizards' saw Lee Kerslake join the band, again joining forces with Ken Hensley (Lee and Ken had both been in The Gods, which had featured at different times both Greg Lake and John Glascock). With new bassist Gary Thain also now on board, this was the line-up thought by many to be the 'classic', completed of course by guitarist Mick Box and vocalist David Byron. This was a continuation in many ways of the last, with loads of operatic vocals, plenty of keyboards, but mixed in were some rockers such as "Easy Livin" which gave Mick a chance to shine. It is hard to pick out a fave on this album as they are all so good but "The Wizard" is sheer class.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

Report this review (#968567)
Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars FIrst off, I rated this as 5 stars in 2013 because it is an amazing album. Also, my favorite track from Uriah Heep is Why, and that is a bonus track to give you an idea of the quality of songs on this album. The bass playing on that track is excellent along with the layers of keyboards. Fast Forward to 2018, and I finally picked up the 2017 remasters version. I am blown away by the sound quality. Some of Heep's best songs have never sounded better. This is a classic album that belongs in every collection from classic rock to hard rock and progressive rock.
Report this review (#969385)
Posted Sunday, June 2, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars Uriah Heep keeps an excellent heavy sound in the album Demons and Wizards, I like the mixture of the voices alongside with acoustic guitars, and the Hammond sound, and the heavy riffs. Easy Livin' is not particularly a prog song, but definitely is one of the best heavy tracks in this album. The Wizard and Rainbow Demon are excellent songs, and in fact, all the album has the same level of quality. This is definitely an excellent addition to any prog collection but to any music collection you may have because Uriah Heep is one of those bands which had a major influence on many others.
Report this review (#1012069)
Posted Tuesday, August 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Andrea Cortese
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars It's easy to talk about this album. It's easy to say that this is the ultimate UH album. A word is enough to the wise expert of heavy prog.

The songs are all memorable and very melodic: "The Wizard" (with the famous acoustic guitar intro), and "Easy Livin'" (one of their best rockers ever with that typical fast paced tempo that the band used also in the late seventies for "Free 'n' Easy", from the Innocent Victim album), "Circle of Hands" (an epic ballad sharing a common mood with "July Morning"), "Rainbow Demon", "Traveller in Time" and "Poet's Justice" (pure heep sound). But the absolute best and most satisfactory number for a prog lover is the mini epic closer "Paradise/The Spell": wonderful choruses, melody and solos for a perfect conclusion. To be mentioned the amazing Roger Dean's cover art (please note that the butterfly wings on the wizard are real butterfly wings).

If you wonder where hard rock / heavy metal's fascination with fantasy world came from, please look at this record. This is not heavy metal but heavy and intense music and it surely had a strong influence on later bands from that genre. An underrated classic.

Report this review (#1235232)
Posted Tuesday, August 5, 2014 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars One of the stronger albums that Uriah Heep ever put out, among the ranks of "Look At Yourself" and "Salisbury", "Demons and Wizards" is a collection of 8 solid heavy prog tracks. The album contains just about everything anyone would ever want from a Uriah Heep album. Fantasy lyrics feature on most tracks and David Byron's operatic vocal style and extensive range are put to good use. Heavy distorted guitar and Hammond organ riffs dominate on tracks like "Traveller In Time", "Easy Livin'" and "Poet's Justice". "The Wizard" is a very good acoustic- based ballad and is one of my favourites in the band's catalog. What really sets this album apart from other Uriah Heep albums, though, is the band's decision to venture into more progressive territory with the epic "Paradise/The Spell".

Along with "Salisbury" and "July Morning", "Paradise/The Spell" is probably one of their stronger works. "Paradise" is reminiscent of "The Wizard" in terms of music but the lyrics instead speak to deception and a failed romance. This is hardly typical pop break-up material, though, as "The Spell" develops on Byron's contempt for his former lover into something of epic proportions. The acoustic ballad fades into an uptempo shuffle that starts innocent at first but gradually grows more violent, aggressive and melodramatic before Byron finally erupts, giving way to an instrumental ballad. A somber, emotive section, Mick Box takes center stage with a powerful, haunting slide guitar solo backed by equally chilling operatic vocals. Even though I've grown a little tired of much of the material on this album over the years, this instrumental section still stands out as a definite "goosebumps" moment, and certainly makes the album worth listening to. When the next verse begins, David Byron matches Mick Box's same mood until the song picks back up an uptempo shuffle conclusion.

"Demons and Wizards" isn't perfect from start to finish, and isn't necessarily an album with exceptional staying power, but it certainly reflects some of Uriah Heep's best work. A 3 star album featuring plenty of good Uriah Heep fare and a particularly standout slide guitar solo.

Report this review (#1472267)
Posted Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
4 stars By 1972 the rock music universe began to settle into distinct marketing packages as the free for all 60s experimentation that trickled into the early 70s began to dissipate. Bands that mixed various styles of music were suddenly finding it more prudent to settle on one side of the fence or the other. While some progressively infused heavy rock bands jumped the fence to pure prog (T2, Atomic Rooster, High Tide), many of those bands ceased to exist after an album or two as the prog universe became more sophisticated however as that scenario unfolded the world of hard rock was becoming more popular and as a result more financially viable. While URIAH HEEP straddled both worlds equally on its 1971 bouts with excellence on the albums 'Salisbury' and 'Look At Yourself,' it wasn't hard to see which way the wind was blowing with bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin tearing up the charts and laughing all the way to the bank.

And so it was decided that URIAH HEEP would follow their initial inclinations as demonstrated on their debut album ''Very 'Eavy ' Very 'Umble' that they would hone their musical constructs into the world of hard rock and as the band became more confident of their abilities the band finally found the success that eluded them during the experimental phase with their breakthrough album DEMONS AND WIZARDS in 1972. The band joined the ranks of many of the fringe prog related bands of the era that implemented a more direct heavy rock approach but augmented with a few proggy features which usually included an epic track that delved into greater complexities without what many deemed overweening prog excesses. So in the year 1972 when rock could exist as the bubblegum glam rock of Sweet, T. Rex or Roxy Music, or the over-zealous art rock of prog's bigwigs such as Yes, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant and Genesis,

URIAH HEEP found the perfect middle ground and in the process found their greatest success as well as their only American top 40 single in the form of the 60s garage band meets heavy psyche single 'Easy Livin.' The album eschewed the excesses of the past and crafted nice neatly packaged smaller chunks of melodic hard rock mixed with softer acoustic guitar and shifted the emphasis off of Ken Hensley's virtuosic organ driven antics to the vocal prowess of lead singer David Byron. His vocal style was exactly what the doctor ordered for not only breaking the band into the mainstream but also as a major inspiration for the heavy metal bands of the late 70s and 80s. DEMONS AND WIZARDS found a new bassist in the New Zealand born Gary Thain who had played with the Keef Hartley Band after the departure of Paul Newton who seems to have dropped out of the music industry. Additionally Lee Kerslake replaced drummer Iain Clark. Ironically despite finding more in common with Blue Oyster Cult or the less progressive Mark II lineup of Deep Purple, DEMONS AND WIZARDS displayed the fantasy artwork of Roger Dean on the album cover, who had made his name more synonymous with the prog world with bands like Yes and despite the connotations of a fantasy album by the album cover art, the tracks were really just a collection of feel good songs that had nothing in common with each other. Concentrated and to the point, DEMONS AND WIZARDS cast the perfect hard rock spell that mesmerized the public's appetite for short no nonsense hard rockers and as the track 'Easy Livin' hit #39 on the Billboard charts and the album became one of the year's best sellers and has sold well over six million copies ever since as well as hitting #23 on Billboard's album charts.

While there is no doubt that the progressive rock tendencies on the previous albums took URIAH HEEP to a whole new level and that this demoted hard rock style does seem a little lackluster in comparison, DEMONS AND WIZARDS nonetheless emerged as a brilliant slice of early 70s hard rock that still managed to throw in a few proggy touches such as the organ sequences on 'Circle of Hands' or the pseudo-prog combo pack of the final two tracks 'Paradise' and 'The Spell' that appear as a single track on some CD editions. While straight forward hard rock rules the roost on this one, this closing duality found an atmospheric acoustic guitar progression that sounded more like Pink Floyd than Deep Purple but found resolution as things morphed into a honky tonk blue rock based upbeat sequence.

Personally i would've preferred that URIAH HEEP had stuck to their heavy prog compositions that they crafted in 1971 as i find them much more interesting than the rather watered down albums that follow but i have to admit that DEMONS AND WIZARDS stands out as the best of the hard rock years that continued throughout the 70s into the modern era. The album not only displayed a band that crafted some of the tightest tracks of their career but also showcases how their melodic hooks are utterly irresistible excellent guitar performances made all the better by David Byron's phenomenal vocals. This was the first step into a highly successful stream of albums that stacked up in the 70s and although the band's popularity started to diminish in the 80s the band has remained a popular arena rock act with some of the classic tracks on DEMONS AND WIZARD remaining steadfast crowd pleasers. A step down in the world of prog complexities but the first step in a highly lucrative career. Can't say i blame them for their decision.

Report this review (#2202214)
Posted Sunday, May 12, 2019 | Review Permalink
TCat
COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Team
4 stars 1972 was a great year for Uriah Heep as it saw the release of their two best albums they would create in the many years that the band has been active. "Demons and Wizards" was one of those two albums. Yet with all of it's popularity and love that it receives from progressive music lovers, it took a long time for me to finally get it. I have always been a lover of the other 1972 album "The Magician's Birthday", but often failed to be as enthusiastic about "Demons and Wizards" until just recently, when I started exploring the band again. With these two great albums, I have never understood why the band would soon move to a more pop/hard rock type of sound, but that is what would happen as they moved away from these two albums.

So, Demons and Wizards features the classically known line-up of the band, the one that is the most loved of the fans. Of course, there is Mick Box, the only constant member and lead guitarist through the years. At this time, David Byron was providing the lead vocals, and would until about 1977, and these two created that classic sound. Most of the bass was done by Gary Thain, except for two tracks where it was performed by Mark Clarke, the only tracks to be performed by him as a member of the band, while Gary would remain with the band until 1974 to be replaced by John Wetton. Lee Kerslake was the drummer, and, except for a short break between 1980-82, would be until 2007. Original member Ken Hensley would play everything else, especially all the keys, which at the first and best years of the band, were probably the most important instrument as the band was notoriously keyboard heavy with many synth and organ solos. Ken would remain with the band until 1980.

This classic lineup was responsible for the bands two most important albums, and also for the sound the band is most famous for, the blues based, fantasy inspired, keyboard heavy music that most everyone is familiar with. Demons and Wizards is one of the albums that spotlight this sound the best, and is one of their most popular albums. The music isn't heavy on it's progressive style, meaning that the meters are fairly standard and constant through each individual piece. The thing that makes them considered progressive is more in their choice of lyrical content and their concepts. I usually compare their music to that of Deep Purple and Rare Earth, soulful, with a heavy leaning towards blues-based music, heavy on organs and synths, some tracks with extensive jamming, and just a touch of psychedelic flavor, yet also quite heavy. That is the overall case with this album also. The main thing that separates this from "The Magician's Birthday" is that the songs are a bit less emotional, yet they are more high-energy and upbeat, more rock-oriented yet less pensive and personal.

The album starts off with "The Wizard" which is actually sung by the short-term bassist Mark Clarke. It is also composed by him and Ken. The track is not necessarily the best opening track, though it is an okay song, it doesn't really have the energy or upbeat attitude of the rest of the album and isn't really developed that well. It was released as a single, yet it is a song that is unremarkable and not memorable. "Traveller in Time" however, is the polar opposite of that, bringing in the high energy that will last throughout the rest of the album, especially on the more accessible first side. It is a bit more progressive sounding and brings the band in full force. "Easy Livin'" was the band's most successful and recognizable single, the 2nd released from the album and their only one to break the American Top 40. The melody is simple and has that arena rock style that invites the crowd to sing along to.

From here on out, the album continues with high energy rock, dowsed with some excellent keyboard solos and sprinkled with great guitar work. The real standouts on the album are "Poet's Justice", "Circle of Hands" and "The Spell" which reach masterpiece status, and actually help carry the album. Even the weaker tracks like "Rainbow Demon", "All My Life" (which could have been a single too), and "Paradise" still have enough energy to make them relevant.

Strangely enough, one of the outtakes that later appeared on the 1996 remastered edition and the 2003 expanded deluxe edition is probably the best track from those sessions that created this album. Why it wasn't originally included on this album is a puzzle because it is one of the strongest. That track is simply called "Why", and the best version of it is on the 2003 edition since it is in an extended 10 minute version. This version has one of the best jamming tracks recorded in studio by the band, that will definitely conjure up memories of some of the best blues-based rock jams from Rare Earth and early Grand Funk Railroad. It also showcases that talent of the band, and can give you an idea of what their live show jams were like. This 2003 expanded edition is the best of the re-releases of the album. It also includes and unnecessary single edit of "Rainbow Demon", but also has a decent outtake called "Proud Words on a Dust Shelf" that unfortunately repeats itself too much, but also the excellent track "Home Again to You" which also should have been included on the main album as it is better than some of the weaker tracks. "Green Eye" is another demo, but it sounds a bit unpolished and unfinished, not quite as interesting. However, overall, this expanded edition is worth it and with the two excellent tracks, actually elevate the album to a 4 star affair.

Demons and Wizards is a great album that I finally appreciate, however, I still don't consider it quite as good as The Magician's Birthday, I at least finally appreciate it for what it is. There are some great tracks here and show the band at it's best.

Report this review (#2272195)
Posted Monday, October 21, 2019 | Review Permalink

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