Demons & Wizards: Uriah Heep

Rating: 90%

Demons_and_Wizards“Demons & Wizards”, released in 1972 is the fourth record by Uriah Heep. There’s a good collection of musical styles on this record. Here we see Uriah Heep establishing themselves as the Prog Rockers they are known to be. What’s surprising is that three of the eight songs come in under three minutes. Two of which are considered to be the best from this release. “The Wizard” and “Easy Livin.”

This record has a good even keep of harmony and melodies that is perfectly balanced. It has several mild tempos, that doesn’t overwhelm the listener. But at the same time, it doesn’t bog down the music.  Much fantasy influence has been put into the lyrical themes. Using a ballad approach on a few of the songs, this album has a certain degree of wickedness to the sound. Musically, this album is not as heavy as the band’s previous four releases, but don’t let that fool you. This album is a rocker.

What this album does have, is plenty of great guitar riffs and lots of great guitar leads from the slide to the wah-wah sound effects giving some of the leads a very eerie sound. The organ is not overwhelming, but, compliments the overall sound. The other instrumentation on this record shows the power of that the band has and the influence they would later have on heavy metal music. The vocal work is amazing and clear.

This is a good album. It shows the band at the high tide of their career. From here, the “Magician’s Birthday” would be a quick follow up, released in the same year. The first five releases by this band leading up to the “Live” album are to me, the greatest pieces of art by the band. This record here, is just one of those records that I enjoy by the Uriah Heep.

Track listing:

Side one
1. “The Wizard” 2:59
2. “Traveller in Time” 3:25
3. “Easy Livin'” 2:37
4. “Poet’s Justice”4:15
5. “Circle of Hands” 6:25
Side two
6. “Rainbow Demon” 4:25
7. “All My Life”2:44
8. “Paradise” 5:10
9. “The Spell” 7:32

Performers:

David Byron – lead (2-7, 10-14) and co-lead (1, 8, 9) vocals
Mick Box – lead guitar
Ken Hensley – keyboards, backing and co-lead (8, 9) vocals, guitars, percussion
Gary Thain – bass (2-9, 12-14)
Mark Clarke – bass (1, 10, 11), co-lead vocals (1)
Lee Kerslake – drums, backing vocals, percussion

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