"Salisbury" is one of the first great Uriah Heep albums after a slow and steady start with inconsistent albums that always had at least 3 killer tracks. David Byron on vocals, Ken Hensley on keyboards and Mick Box on guitars was the driving force of the band.
It opens with 'Bird of prey' that riffs along with excellent vocals. The music is dynamic and powerful on 'Time to Live' leading to the quiet tranquillity of 'The Park'. The beauty and peace of quiet organ and acoustics with high falsetto vocals are later subjugated by Hensleys' hammering Hammond and Box's monster riff.
'Lady in Black' has a simply awesome proto-metal riff that locks into your brain. The lovely acoustic driven verses are counter balanced by the heavy guitars. The sound is similar to 'Gypsy' and the way it fades to a bass and drum at the end and harmonies is inspired creativity, and then the rest of the music is tracked back in, as if the mixing editor were fiddling with the sound, it's the stuff of innovation.
'High Priestess' is a straight rocker with some great lead guitar on Box's wah-wah pedals.
The final track is 'Salisbury', the monster epic, with huge majestic intro using brass and flute by John Fiddy. The guitars are powerful and drive the song along consistently with one riff after another. The 26 piece orchestra is an inspired touch and it is overwhelmed by crunching Hammond and blazing guitars. It is not as memorable an epic as some others from the 70s, but it is unique to Heep and a definite triumph or a band who opted for shorter tracks on subsequent albums.
The bonus tracks are 'Simon The Bullet Freak' and a single edit of 'High Priestess'. Both bonus tracks are very good rockers and cap off a solid album, showcasing the musicianship of the band. It contains some of the band's best material featuring in many concerts and compilations.
"Salisbury" has a memorable iconic front cover of a tank crushing a flower, that is ironic as the music often reflects the feeling of heavy metal stomping on the flower power generation once and for all. The album comes recommended to those who like hard driving rock with a taste of symphonic orchestral arrangements.