URIAH HEEP — Demons And Wizards

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URIAH HEEP - Demons And Wizards cover
4.32 | 54 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1972

Filed under Hard Rock


1. The Wizard (3:02)
2. Traveller In Time (3:25)
3. Easy Livin' (2:37)
4. Poet's Justice (4:17)
5. Circle Of Hands (6:27)
6. Rainbow Demon (4:28)
7. All My Life (2:46)
8. Paradise (5:07)
9. The Spell (7:35)

Total Time 39:48


- David Byron / vocals
- Ken Hensley / guitar, vocals, keyboards, percussion
- Mick Box / guitar, vocals
- Gary Thain / bass guitar
- Lee Kerslake / drums, percussion, vocals

- Mark Clarke / bass guitar, vocals (track 1)

About this release

19 May 1972
Bronze, Mercury

Reissued by Castle in 1996 with the following bonus tracks:

10. Why (single edit) (4:53)
11. Why (extended version) (7:39)
12. Home Again To You (demo) (5:28)
13. Green Eye (demo) (3:46)

Reissued by Castle in 2003 with the following bonus tracks:

10. Why (extended version) (10:34)
11. Rainbow Demon (single edit) (3:36)
12. Proud Words On A Dusty Shelf (2:52)
13. Home Again To You (demo) (5:36)
14. Green Eye (demo) (3:46)

Thanks to Pekka, cannon, Time Signature, Lynx33 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
By 1972 the rock music universe began to settle into distinct marketing packages as the free for all 60s experimentation that trickled into the early 70s began to dissipate. Bands that mixed various styles of music were suddenly finding it more prudent to settle on one side of the fence or the other. While some progressively infused heavy rock bands jumped the fence to pure prog (T2, Atomic Rooster, High Tide), many of those bands ceased to exist after an album or two as the prog universe became more sophisticated however as that scenario unfolded the world of hard rock was becoming more popular and as a result more financially viable. While URIAH HEEP straddled both worlds equally on its 1971 bouts with excellence on the albums “Salisbury” and “Look At Yourself,” it wasn’t hard to see which way the wind was blowing with bands like Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin tearing up the charts and laughing all the way to the bank.

And so it was decided that URIAH HEEP would follow their initial inclinations as demonstrated on their debut album “…Very ‘Eavy … Very ‘Umble” that they would hone their musical constructs into the world of hard rock and as the band became more confident of their abilities the band finally found the success that eluded them during the experimental phase with their breakthrough album DEMONS AND WIZARDS in 1972. The band joined the ranks of many of the fringe prog related bands of the era that implemented a more direct heavy rock approach but augmented with a few proggy features which usually included an epic track that delved into greater complexities without what many deemed overweening prog excesses. So in the year 1972 when rock could exist as the bubblegum glam rock of Sweet, T. Rex or Roxy Music, or the over-zealous art rock of prog’s bigwigs such as Yes, Jethro Tull, Gentle Giant and Genesis,

URIAH HEEP found the perfect middle ground and in the process found their greatest success as well as their only American top 40 single in the form of the 60s garage band meets heavy psyche single “Easy Livin.” The album eschewed the excesses of the past and crafted nice neatly packaged smaller chunks of melodic hard rock mixed with softer acoustic guitar and shifted the emphasis off of Ken Hensley’s virtuosic organ driven antics to the vocal prowess of lead singer David Byron. His vocal style was exactly what the doctor ordered for not only breaking the band into the mainstream but also as a major inspiration for the heavy metal bands of the late 70s and 80s. DEMONS AND WIZARDS found a new bassist in the New Zealand born Gary Thain who had played with the Keef Hartley Band after the departure of Paul Newton who seems to have dropped out of the music industry. Additionally Lee Kerslake replaced drummer Iain Clark. Ironically despite finding more in common with Blue Oyster Cult or the less progressive Mark II lineup of Deep Purple, DEMONS AND WIZARDS displayed the fantasy artwork of Roger Dean on the album cover, who had made his name more synonymous with the prog world with bands like Yes and despite the connotations of a fantasy album by the album cover art, the tracks were really just a collection of feel good songs that had nothing in common with each other. Concentrated and to the point, DEMONS AND WIZARDS cast the perfect hard rock spell that mesmerized the public’s appetite for short no nonsense hard rockers and as the track “Easy Livin” hit #39 on the Billboard charts and the album became one of the year’s best sellers and has sold well over six million copies ever since as well as hitting #23 on Billboard’s album charts.

While there is no doubt that the progressive rock tendencies on the previous albums took URIAH HEEP to a whole new level and that this demoted hard rock style does seem a little lackluster in comparison, DEMONS AND WIZARDS nonetheless emerged as a brilliant slice of early 70s hard rock that still managed to throw in a few proggy touches such as the organ sequences on “Circle of Hands” or the pseudo-prog combo pack of the final two tracks “Paradise” and “The Spell” that appear as a single track on some CD editions. While straight forward hard rock rules the roost on this one, this closing duality found an atmospheric acoustic guitar progression that sounded more like Pink Floyd than Deep Purple but found resolution as things morphed into a honky tonk blue rock based upbeat sequence.

Personally i would’ve preferred that URIAH HEEP had stuck to their heavy prog compositions that they crafted in 1971 as i find them much more interesting than the rather watered down albums that follow but i have to admit that DEMONS AND WIZARDS stands out as the best of the hard rock years that continued throughout the 70s into the modern era. The album not only displayed a band that crafted some of the tightest tracks of their career but also showcases how their melodic hooks are utterly irresistible excellent guitar performances made all the better by David Byron’s phenomenal vocals. This was the first step into a highly successful stream of albums that stacked up in the 70s and although the band’s popularity started to diminish in the 80s the band has remained a popular arena rock act with some of the classic tracks on DEMONS AND WIZARD remaining steadfast crowd pleasers. A step down in the world of prog complexities but the first step in a highly lucrative career. Can’t say i blame them for their decision.
"Demons and Wizards" is the 4th full-length studio album by UK hard rock act Uriah Heep. The album was released through Bronze Records in the UK and Mercury Records in the US in May 1972. "Demons and Wizards" turned out to be Uriah Heep´s breakthrough in the US and the album is to date their best-selling album in the that country (500.000 copies). To this date it has sold around 3 million copies worldwide.

The music is semi-progressive organ and guitar driven hard rock. Strong vocals and vocal harmonies grace the album throughout. As the case were with both "Salisbury (1971)" and "Look at Yourself (1971)", the album features both hard rocking tracks and more semi-progressive ones. The short effective hard rock track "Easy Livin'" became quite a big hit and it´s easy to hear why. It´s quite a catchy track and a powerful rocker to boot. As mentioned there is more to "Demons and Wizards" than catchy hard rock tracks. Check out a heavy rocker like "Rainbow demon", or the last couple of minutes of "Circle Of Hands" to hear the semi-progressive side of the band´s sound.

While the instrumental part of the music is impressive enough and delivered with the right organic and technical skill, it´s the vocals by David Byron that always blow me away. There was a strong set of pipes on that man and in 1972 he was arguably in his prime. The album is graced with a strong, powerful, and organic sounding production and all in all "Demons and Wizards" is among the band´s best output and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
Uriah Heep's 'Demons And Wizards' is a hard rocking melodic excursion into fantasy and whimsical landscapes of castles inhabited by wizards.

The Roger Dean cover spells out the concept from the outset but as far as actual prog material, this album does not deliver. Having stated that fact it is still great melodic rock and highly memorable and one of the best of the Heep. It deserves 4 stars on a metal site.

It begins with 'The Wizard' which begins with a melancholy acoustic three chord structure sand then the distorted guitars and organ take over. A great track with iconic lyrics and remains a live favourite to this day.

'Traveller in Time' is essential Heep and a definitive highlight. The killer riff is classic Sabbath, Purple or Zeppelin; in other words classic rock. There is a delicious keyboard solo over scorching guitar riffs and the lyrics are downright fanciful but somehow appropriate.

'Easy Living' is the legendary single that always appears on compilations as quintessential Heep. It just motorvates at a quick tempo and drives headlong with grinding organ and guitar riffs. Absolutely wonderful and the first track I had heard from the band. I am sure many people would have only heard either this or 'Free Me' as they are the most recognisable singles. Every Heep fan knows this track and it is great to sing along to.

'Poet's Justice' is perhaps a lowlight and is quite forgettable though it does feature a great walking bassline and organ riff.

'Circle of Hands' is a more progressive song than the previous tracks with irregular beats and a great organ driven sustained motif. It is a strong track and one of the longest with a credible lead break that takes the song in a new direction.

'Rainbow Demon' is definitely one of the better tracks with a slow paced hard driving guitar and organ riff and a catchy chorus. I always found this to be a strong track and a perfect side two opener.

The next two tracks are rather forgettable but they are sandwiched with the wonderful closing track, 'The Spell'. This track has become a concert closer too in a medley with 'The Wizard' to good effect.

Overall this album is a great rocking delight for the Heep fan. The band would do better with albums to follow but this is still full of highlights. Very 'eavy and not very 'umble, it is still an album that is bombastic enough to confirm the hype surrounding it.
Somewhat more firmly metal-oriented than previous albums, but still mainly existing in the sphere of progressive rock, Demons and Wizards combines often-goofy lyrics with dynamic, emotionally powerful music that can't help but raise a grin despite the cheesiness on display. Many of the lyrics would be laughable were it not for the complete sincerity and overwhelming force of their delivery, whilst the musical ideas are the strongest and most diverse the band had attained to date, ranging from the feelgood anthem Circle of Hands to the progressive epic of Paradise/The Spell, a one-two punch which ends the album with a bang. This is how Uriah Heep should be remembered; with heavy organ, a Roger Dean cover, and songs about wizards.
Uriah Heep’s 4th album is one of their most popular among symphonic rock fans and while it has plenty of music to justify that status, it also has some lesser songs that indicate the steady decline that would follow on the ensuing albums.

The opening Wizard is just perfect. Wonderful song. In under 3 minutes it succeeds in creating a big epic feel. Traveller In Time is a lot less already. The lead riff is still fun but they had better vocal melodies before. The break around 2 minutes is painful, predictable chord changes like this are a typical feature of pop music and always indicate a lack of better ideas.

Easy Livin’ is a classic. Period. Poet’s Justice on the contrary has the honor of being the first really forgettable song on a Uriah Heep album.

The next two tracks are also classics, both Circle of Hands and Rainbow Demon can not be omitted from any Heep collection although only Rainbow Demon hits gold for me.

All My Life is ok but rather mediocre hard rock again. Paradise is a last decent moment but again they’ve done this much better on the preceding albums. The reissue added a track called Why which surpasses most of the regular tracks.

With only a good 20 minutes of excellence this album sits closer to 3 stars then to 3.5, but as this is the last but one good Heep album 3.5 will do.
Demons and Wizards is the first album from the classic Uriah Heep's line-up; and it is obvious the best period in Uriah Heep's history with Demons and Wizards and The Magician's Birthday being the highlights by the band. What about Demons and Wizards??? This is really fascinating album with clear sound and irreproachable songwriting in every little song on the release! I must mark the variety in the musicianship on the album. Each instrument make that we need of. The bass works are incredible here. Gary Thain bring in new fresh sound to the band. All other guys are in top form, too! After the mixed sound from the first album, the progier sound from the second and the harder sound from the third album, here we can hear the beginning of the psychedelic sound in Uriah Heep's history. All songs = magic!

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