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Uriah Heep - Demons And Wizards (1972)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by Nololob, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. Nololob

    Nololob Long Live Wock 'n' Woll

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    "Demons And Wizards" is the 4th studio album by Uriah Heep, recorded at Lansdowne Studios London March/April 1972 and released in May 1972 on Bronze Records. It is the first album by a classic line-up:

    David Byron - vocals
    Mick Box - guitar, backing vocals
    Ken Hensley - slide/acoustic/electric guitar, Hammond organ, backing vocals
    Gary Thain - bass, backing vocals (except The Wizard)
    Lee Kerslake - drums, backing vocals
    Mark Clarke - bass, vocals (middle section in The Wizard)

    Album cover was designed by Roger Dean, who is famous for making gatefold album designs for hard and progressive rock bands, such as Yes, Budgie, Asia and Gentle Giant. Apparently on the cover there are hidden male and female genitalia. I don't know how about you, but I managed to spot them. Inside there are pictures of band members in recording studio and notes by Ken Hensley.

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    Track listing:
    Side A
    1. The Wizard (Hensley/Clark)
    2. Traveller In Time (Byron/Box/Kerslake)
    3. Easy Livin' (Hensley)
    4. Poet's Justice (Box/Kerslake/Hensley)
    5. Circle Of Hands (Hensley)
    Side B
    1. Rainbow Demon (Hensley)
    2. All My Life (Box/Byron/Kerslake)
    3(a). Paradise (Hensley)
    3(b). The Spell (Hensley)

    The Wizard

    Very soft and magical opener. semi-acoustically driven with a touch of heavy distortion in the middle part. This song was written before Gary Thain joined the band, Mark Clarke (Colosseum) sings the middle section and plays bass. It is confusing, people may think it is Ken Hensley as he tends to be a lead singer. There is an interesting fact about this track, the high pitch noise is actually a multi-tracked whistling kettle. This effect gives a climate of a song about wizards. It was released as a single.

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    Traveller In Time

    First "somehow bluesy" heavy rock on this album with a lot of wah-wah from Mick, though is more radio friendly. Probably the best song to play while driving an old 70s car on a motorway thinking "I need petrol, where is the closest service station.... 32 miles?! Holy ****!!!"

    Easy Livin'

    Nearly 3 minutes track despite lacking of Hammond organ or guitar solo can be credited as one of an underrated definitions of (early) heavy metal. Released as a single it gave Uriah Heep first major success in United States and to date it is regarded as one of the best songs ever recorded by them. Bass nicely keeping the tempo and hammering every beat, everything loud as it should be. Because we all know - louder is better. Live set without Easy Livin' is unacceptable.

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    Poet's Justice

    Great harmony at the beginning. I would say it's a standard rock song with Mick's guitar solo.

    Circle Of Hands

    Hammond organ driven with a slide guitar solo (probably by Ken Hensley on another channel). It seems to be Ken's one of favourite songs (he has of course written) as he plays it quite regularly live with his band Live Fire. Good demonic side A closing.

    Rainbow Demon

    Another Hammond organ opening and together with David's vocals sounding mysteriously (in my opinion). Rainbow Demon has one of the finest guitar solo in whole Heep catalogue.

    All My Life

    I'm a bit iffy about this song and putting it on DaW somehow. Twin lead guitar and strong vocals, but it's not demonic and it's not wizard-ish, as the b side is anyway.

    Paradise/The Spell

    Paradise, slow tempo acoustic ballad. I find it somehow depressing, especially the bit at the end, just mainly because of the lyrics:
    Though I love the idea of playing chord C for 4 bars and then back to the sequence until the change to The Spell, which is a massive "mood" change into a happy piano song. But then again, in the middle it changes into a soulful Mick's guitar solo and back to piano.

    Overall

    It is difficult to say more about individual track, you must listen to them by yourself and make your own judgement. I think it is a step (or 5) away from purely heavy album Look At Yourself and a move towards progressive rock. Probably Easy Livin' could be a remake of Look At Yourself (song), if we take away guitar and organ solo at first place. Comparing to previous 3 albums, David's vocals are limited. He's not singing very high, just like Bird of Prey, July Morning or Gypsy. The only song from DaW he sings a very high note is All My Life, but then it lasts for a very short time. When I listen to this album I don't really care if it should be heavier, it is a classic album and surely an inspiration for the future power and progressive metal scene. If you find a song you don't like after first listen, give a time and I guarantee you will like it.

    Demons And Wizards is my second favourite album by Uriah Heep and if I had to rate it, I would give 4.5 out of 5. This 0.5 is a missing bit from Look At Yourself.

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    L to R: Ken Hensley, Gary Thain, David Byron, Mick Box, Lee Kerslake​
     
  2. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Now what were the odds that you Nolo would do a Heep album review...:think:

    :D

    Very nicely done, has a personal point of view I enjoy reading in a review.

    This is my Favorite Heep record, my brother bought it when it came out so I've been a fan for many decades now.:cheers2
     
  3. Nololob

    Nololob Long Live Wock 'n' Woll

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    Thanks, LG. :D

    No one reviewed this album, not even joe, until now. :heheh:
    Bow to your brother, he bought you a classic that led you to become a Heepster.
    :bow:
     
  4. LG

    LG Fade To Black

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    Indeed I have all of their albums, Magician's Birthday is next on my list after that they change up a bit over time.:D

    You can point out the various "anatomical" bits and pieces Roger put in the album cover art if you want to, just put the "Adult Content" warning on your post so Magic knows better than to read it...:oyea:
     
  5. Nololob

    Nololob Long Live Wock 'n' Woll

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    Might do, but later. :oyea:

    Also I forgot to mention a point on David's vocal. I marked it on red colour on original post.
     
  6. Garrett

    Garrett ✯ Blues Man ✯

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    Good review! This and Magician`s Birthday are my favorites....never left home without them, of course in them daze it was on 8 track!
     
  7. Metal Head Mike

    Metal Head Mike Senior Member

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    Great Album. I love the all the songs on this release
     
  8. E-Z RIDER

    E-Z RIDER Senior Member

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    Me to Metal Head Mike along with MAGICIAN'S BIRTHDAY & FIREFLY probably there best albums of the 1970s although LOOK AT YOURSELF has 'July morning' on it and a few tracks off of VERY EAVY... VERY UMBLE :D

    The HEEP wasn't the same first after David Byron left but especially after Ken Hensley left cos Ken was THE MAN :grinthumb
     
  9. Sox

    Sox Avoiding The Swan Song

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    Great review Nolo, one of the top three from Heep for me. :grinthumb
     
  10. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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    Yeah, what a great album and the first post looks sooo awesome. Glad you got the gatefold in there!! :grinthumb

    I think I'm with you across the board on this one man. It didn't bother me though that David wasn't sining as high...I didn't really notice I guess, or wasn't looking for it. But now that you mention it...yeah.

    His voice to me is still sooo powerful on the title cut. :grinthumb
     

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