I do not know much about the history of Uriah Heep. I know there was at least one line-up change prior to this album and many more afterwards. Wizards, along with their follow-up "The Magician's Birthday," are considered by most fans as Heep's finest works.
This song is sweet for a few reasons. First, it is very unlike many other songs on the album. It has a folkiness to it, with a Zeppelin-esque interlude. The acoustic aspect really brings me in and makes you feel at ease. Also, it is the only song with a strings-like patch on the keys. The song deals with the meeting of a Wizard and the meeting's affect on the person who does the meeting. The man claims to "have a deep desire to free the world of fear and pain." This theme continues throughout the album, which is considered a concept album in my books, which makes me think that this Wizard is some sort of charismatic force like a prophet or sophist. At this point the Wizard's affect is positive, but later we will see a somewhat different view. Good acoustic rocker. 4.5/5
Traveler in Time
This song is very catchy, with a rocking intro riff very much like Zeppelin. Lotsa Wah and I love it. The melodies are very catchy, with Byron using falsetto and the chorus with his characteristic deep power vocals. The themes of being lost and punishment are introduced in this song, which will reappear later in the album. Also, "helping mankind" reappears here. I always look forward to this song. 4/5
This is the only single that I know of on this album. Many have probably heard this on the radio or whatnot. Here the character is "finally forgiven" (for what I have not figured out yet) and has found what, I'm guessing, he was looking for in the previous song. This song is like a fast version of a Black Sabbath song, or a heavier version of a Doors song. Hard to classify. The tones on this album are amazing; you really hear the fuzz in this song. However, sometimes this song is boring. 3.5/5
The vocal harmonies in this song are wicked. This song goes back to a Zeppelin feel, but the thing is that his deep voice takes it out of Zepplin territory and into the Deep Purple or Aqualung-era-Tull sound. I'm not sure where the story goes here, but it seems that there is mourning of some kind here over a chick. Also, the theme of being lost and pursuing something is here as well. Decent tune. 4/5
Circle of Hands
Now this song is very strong. I love the organ intro and the riffage. It builds up beautifully and the vocals, backup and lead, are amazing. Like Byron has amazing vibrato. The lead guitar parts are very melodic, and even remind me of Brian May despite the total difference in tone. Very melodic and strong. The outro drags a bit....it would be better with another chorus at the end, but it's too sweet to deduct any points for that. The story has also entered a somewhat negative atmosphere, as the "sky full of eyes and minds full of lies" will eventually bring a price. Awesome tune. 5/5
This is pretty **** heavy. Definite Sabbath influence. The organ is heavy and the rhytm and guitars don't help. Also, Byron is singing about a demon, so what could be more metal? Obviously this is metal by 1972 standards, but it rocks. Oooo...that throbbing bassline sends chills down my spill. I suppose that the Rainbow Demon is some sort of charcter of deception. This song is strong, but a bit short for what its potential would allow for. 4/5
All My Life
This is a very bluesy riff that could be done by Aerosmith or, hey, Zeppelin. This is blues at its core though without the other rock ingredients. This song is somewhat boring just because of its two verses and repetitive outro. However, the vocals at the end of the song are so all over the place that it is very desirable; some of the best vocal work I've heard to date. This song seems to merely be about how the character will love someone all his life. 4/5
This song is broken up into two parts. The first is "Paradise" and it is on acoustic. The basslines are very melodic here, and the vocals are right on. This is the second acoustic song on the album, and I must say that they do it well. The beeping organ near the end reminds me of Rick Wakeman on the first verses of Close to the Edge. This section seems to be about the character and his break up with some chick or whatever he is in love with. Sweet section. The dark first section fades into an upbeat piano section at around 5 minutes which is "The Spell." This is one of, if not, my favourite moments in the album where great melodies and great vocals mould well together. There is an amazing melodic solo in this section, very similar to the one in Circle of Hands. The piano is also amazing and does the vocal melody one time around before Byron does it. Basically this is the highlight of the album. The upbeat part comes back around at the end and concludes the album. The story in "The Spell" seems to really be a reaction to heartbreak and the the words of the Wizard from the beginning. It is hard to see what exactly is going on concept-wise on this album, but it seems that it begins with hope and love which is basically crushed in this song. One of the best conclusions to an album that I have ever heard. 5/5
This album has three highlights: a sweet intro (The Wizard), a perfect conclusion (Paradise/ The Spell), and Circle of Hands. The rest of the songs, although pretty good with regard to melodies, rhythms, lyrics, and riffage, tend to lack decent structure and progression. So if you like Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, or Jethro Tull you will probably enjoy this album. I have even heard people compare them to Pink Floyd (although I miss alot of the connections). This album has a lot of lyrical dimension to it, which makes it attractive to me and probably will also to people who like good lyrics. Overall, this an awesome album that is not too dense musically, but fairly dense lyrically which is a combination that should be enjoyable. Not a necessary album to own or a historically/musically revolutionary album, but it should be heard at least once by any self respecting rock musician.