Review Summary: Without a doubt, Uriah Heep's all time best album."People often ask me what my favorite Heep record is and, though it's impossible for me to have one absolute favorite, 'Demons And Wizards' will always be special to me. It was a time of great creative harmony in the band" - Ken Hensley
"That was a really important album for us, as it really did put us on the world stage. 'Demons And Wizards' was our first visit into the world of fantasy lyrics and that seemed to capture everyone's imagination. Along with the Roger Dean inspired artwork, we felt for the first time we really had the total package" - Mick Box
As Uriah Heep's popularity continued to intensify and as Look At Yourself
quickly climbed the charts, obtaining silver status in the United States, the boys rushed back to the studio and, in March 1972 began writing Heep's fourth studio album. However, more adversity seemed to be in Uriah's path. In conclusion of touring for Look At Yourself
, founding member and bassist Paul Newton parted ways, amidst some disarray, and drummer Ian Clarke followed his footsteps. What seemed to be a demoralizing situation, however, turned out to be a blessing for Box, Hensley and Byron. One night, Mick Box saw a certain band named Keef Hartley performing in a club around Brentwood, Essex. That's when he met a young New Zealander bassist named Gary Thain. The rest is history, as Thain, now a part of the infamous "27 Club", played a huge part in helping Uriah Heep define its classic sound. Add in Lee Kerslake to take up the drums and you have perhaps Heep's most talented and definitely the most accomplished lineup.
The said lineup steadily recorded in one month Uriah's definitive album. Not only does it feature the "classic" lineup performing for the first time on studio, but it also marks the first time they entered the world of fantasy lyrics, which now represents a trademark for Heep. It's funny how that happened almost by accident, as Mick Box contacted Roger Dean, known for his artwork in various Yes albums, to create an album cover for Demons And Wizards
, being given absolute creative freedom. His fantasy inspired artwork, alongside songs such as The Wizard
, The Spell
and Traveler In Time
linked the band to mystical themes, although there wasn't a conscious effort to create such themes. However, the amazing success of the album inspired Mick Box and Co. to further explore the fantasy territory. In Demons And Wizards
, every little aspect about Uriah Heep's classic sound seems to fit in, combining for probably the most memorable album of the band.
From the Zeppelin-inspired, acoustic driven opener The Wizard
to the epic progressive rock closer Paradise/The Spell
, the album sets itself as a truly amazing experience from start to finish. The mellow and simple but beautiful acoustic riff of The Wizard
is an amazing way to start off, accompanying Byron in a spectacular vocal delivery and resulting in one of the band's most timeless and beautiful songs. Yet, it's only an indicator of what's still to come. From the psychedelic-infused festival Traveler In Time
, showcasing Box's dirty guitar sound, to the hard rockers All My Life
and Easy Livin'
, the latter being one of the band's most successful and recognizable songs of all time, demonstrating Hensley's sublime organ playing and vocal harmony alongside Byron's powerful touch, to the progressive masterpieces Circle Of Hands
, immortalized by Thain's breathtaking, melodic bass performance and Byron's delivery of the classic line "Today is only yesterday's tomorrow"
, resulting in a classic outro, and closer Paradise/The Spell
, which puts out the best of everybody in the band, to even touches on proto metal on the classic Rainbow Demon
and Poet's Justice
, Demons And Wizards
is Heep's most versatile and diverse album ever, and one of the most accomplished ones.
Words can't do it enough justice. Demons And Wizards
is a classic album in every sense of the word. Even the bonus tracks are simply outstanding, Why
could've easily made it onto the official release, showcasing a memorable performance by Gary Thain, and Home Again To You
isn't in the same level, but it is also a great number. Everything about Demons And Wizards
is just so amazing that makes it an absolutely essential listen for any fan of the genre, showcasing every member of the band at its creative best. Astounding musicianship, amazing lyrics, great instrumental sections, it's become an extremely influential album, it's that
good. Uriah Heep's masterpiece.