Salisbury: Uriah Heep

Rating: 80%

MI0002771958.jpgFor their second release in 1971, Uriah Heep’s “Salisbury” is a bit different than their first record and those three that would follow. To me, the first five records by Uriah Heep are the best. followed by the live album. After these records, I never got into the band. The musical style just changed like more bands did in the mid 1970’s.

  1. … Very ‘Eavy … Very ‘Umble
  2. Salisbury
  3. Look at Yourself
  4. Demons and Wizards
  5. The Magician’s Birthday
  6. Uriah Heep Live

Although, “Salisbury” is highly experimental, it’s a very important record nonetheless. The band takes the best of the best from each member and tries to make the perfect Prog Rock album. What the records does instead, it resets the band’s musical direction. The version of the that I have is the U.S. release. The only difference is that “Simon the Bullet Freak” replaces “Bird of Prey” that was released on the European version of the record.

The album has some riffs, but the music itself is more complex with lots of strumming, scales and picking. Chords are more strummed and picked loosing that metallic sound.  Some of the music has blues influence with the usage of slide guitar in the leads. The album has some classical influences and some orchestra and folk influences.

“Salisbury” is not a heavy record by any means as compared to Uriah Heep’s first record or the following three albums. It’s more mellow and does skim the easy listening world at times. The heaviest song on this release is “Time to Live.” The ballad “The Park” is an acoustical piece that has a bit of a psychedelic feel to. “Lady in Black” has a heavy folk feel to it. It’s an Anti-War song in the form of a ballad. Lot’s of vocal harmony. This song also was one of the biggest hits for the band. It’s a great song, but the song structure is based around two chords on the guitar Am and G. The music at times falls flat. “Salisbury” is one of those songs. The orchestra is overpowering on this 16 some minute song. The guitar on this song is very eerie and has a good sound to it. But, the orchestra and the organ drowns out the band at times.

The album is focused more on melody and harmony, both musically and vocally. The song structures are put together nicely, but there are parts where the album fails to show the power of the band. The vocal harmony is probably the greatest work on this record than any other.

Track listing:

Side 1
1. “High Priestess” 3:39
2. “The Park” 5:38
3. “Time to Live” 4:02
4. “Lady in Black” 4:43
Side 2
1. “Simon the Bullet Freak” 3:25
2. “Salisbury” 16:12

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