URIAH HEEP — Salisbury

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URIAH HEEP - Salisbury cover
4.35 | 47 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1971

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Bird Of Prey (4:21)
2. The Park (5:47)
3. Time To Live (4:08)
4. Lady In Black (4:51)
5. High Priestess (3:46)
6. Salisbury (16:21)

Total Time 39:15


- David Byron / vocals
- Ken Hensley / guitar, vocals, piano, harpsichord, organ, vibraphone
- Mick Box / guitar, vocals
- Paul Newton / bass guitar, vocals
- Keith Baker / drums, percussion

About this release

8 March 1971

Released in the US by Mercury with the following tracklist:

1. High Priestess (3:39)
2. The Park (5:38)
3. Time To Live (4:02)
4. Lady In Black (4:43)
5. Simon The Bullet Freak (3:25)
6. Salisbury (16:12)

Total Time 37:39

Reissued by Castle in 1996 with the following bonus tracks:

7. Simon The Bullet Freak (3:27)
8. High Priestess (single edit) (3:13)

Reissued by Castle in 2003 with the following bonus tracks:

7. Simon The Bullet Freak (3:27)
8. Here Am I (7:51)
9. Lady In Black (single edit) (3:34)
10. High Priestess (single edit) (3:39)
11. Salisbury (single edit) (4:23)
12. The Park (alternate version) (5:19)
13. Time To Live (alternate version) (4:13)

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


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
URIAH HEEP didn’t waste any time after releasing their debut “…Very ‘Eavy…Very ‘Umble” in mid-1970 to little fanfare. The band found that the musicians’ chemistry allowed them to progress quickly which allowed them to release not only one but two albums the following year in 1971 of which this album SALISBURY was the first to be released in February. After a debut album more geared towards hard rock with subtle progressive elements, on the second album the songwriting duties were much more in the hands of keyboardist Ken Hensley whereas the debut was more democratic with guitarist Mick Box and lead singer David Byron contributing a substantial amount of the material. The result of this is that SALISBURY was much more of a progressive rock album than a straight forward hard rock album per se. While the tracks and title would remain the same, this album had two different album covers for the UK and North America. The UK version dons the famous army tank shrouded in an orange mist whereas the American counterpart displayed a demonic corpse of some kind with a dark red backdrop.

While the opening track “Bird of Prey” launched the now standard heavy rock guitar driven formula of the debut (and was even chosen to replace the UK version’s “Lucy Blues” on the fourth track on that album), this album quickly drifts off into more keyboard driven rock that culminates in the grande finale 16-minute title track that featured a 24-piece orchestra filled complete with brass and woodwind sections. But make no mistake, SALISBURY contains hefty doses of heavy power chord guitar bombast, sizzling solos, dynamic bass and drum rhythm sections and the soaring operatic vocals of David Byron which made the band stand out from the pack immediately. While the rock elements hadn’t disappeared, they had been infiltrated by many other musical styles. Perhaps none so blatantly apparent than the folk-styled “Lady In Black” which narrates the story of a man encountering a goddess who consoles him after the turmoil of a major war. The single became a huge hit in Germany upon its re-release in 1977.

SALISBURY was a major step-up in every way from the debut without jettisoning the bluesy hard rock which provided the canvas to paint upon. While considered progressive rock, the easily accessible heavy rock melodic approach remains intact and the prog complexities don’t result from jarring inconsistencies with the melodic flow but rather stem from complimentary constructs which allow greater dynamics, more sophisticated songwriting and greater space to improvise clever technical aspects around. The album is also perfectly paced as it allows the hard rock to provide the main emphasis but is punctuated by the softer acoustic guitar and spaced out psychedelic moments to break the monotony. The heavy rock and softer approaches alternate up to the progressive behemoth highlight that closes the album, namely the 16 minute title track that took URIAH HEEP into a whole other level of heavy rock sophistication that no other of the day had even come close to approaching.

This period in the band’s history proved to be the most experimental and nothing showcases this ambition than the title track which swallowed up more than half of the album’s running time. While based in the same melodic hard rock of the rest of the album, the track turned into an extended progressive jam session that was complimented by John Fiddy’s outlandish arrangements for a 22-piece brass and woodwind section which allowed flutes and choirs to augment Byron’s vocals into a major production. Add to that some extraordinary organ and guitar solos and the track easily goes down as URIAH HEEP’s most ambitious piece of their half century career, a feat they would never tackle again as they settled into the more streamlined hard rock sounds that would launch their success on the album “Demons and Wizards.” Unfortunately for the band at this point this album was a little too far ahead of its time for hard rock listeners but has resonated strongly for the prog crowds ever since.

Of the two albums released in 1971, this one and the following “Look At Yourself,” this one has the upper edge for its bold statements that are utterly unique in not only the band’s canon but for the era in which it was produced. To me this is the type of sound that the early Mark I version of Deep Purple was trying to capture but didn’t quite have the chemistry to pull it off. With URIAH HEEP, all the band members were in sync with the direction of the band’s musical development and crafted one of the most demanding albums of their career with an utterly unique hybridization of heavier blues rock fused with the more sophisticated approaches of progressive rock. For many this was deemed unfocused and while it’s true that many disciplines of music are required to understand this, i personally find this to be a rather flawless album. The diverse elements that are strewn out are by far its strength not its weakness. If you only care for the simpler hard rock approach, there are countless other albums to explore however if you crave something existing in its own world and is the perfect embodiment of hard rock, blues, classical and prog then look no further. This is an excellent example of that little corner of unbridled experimentation.
"Salisbury" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK semi-progressive hard rock act Uriah Heep. The album was released through Mercury/Vertigo in January/february 1971 (US/UK release dates respectively) While being a relatively enjoyable release, the debut album "Very 'eavy...Very 'umble (1970)" didn´t exactly do much for me and unfortunately that´s the only Uriah Heep I listened to for many years. "Salisbury" is a totally different creature and I´m glad that I got the opportunity (and took it) to take a listen to this album. The UK and the US releases have different tracklists as "Bird of Prey", the opening track from the UK release, was replaced by "Simon The Bullet Freak" on the US version. I recommend getting either the 1996 remastered CD version or the 2003 expanded deluxe CD version where both songs are included.

The basic organ and guitar driven bluesy hard rock from the debut is still present on "Salisbury", but the sound on "Salisbury" is much more progressive and adds many new elements to Uriah Heep´s style. The two hard rocking tracks "Time To Live" and "High Priestess" are probably the tracks that remind me the most of the debut but the excellent "Bird of Prey", the progressive "The Park", the folky "Lady In Black" and the epic 16:02 minute long title track, which features a 24-piece orchestra, are all very different from the songs on the debut. The band are well playing and I have to give a special mention to lead vocalist David Byron who is quite fantastic in my book. He has a very varied vocal style and can go from powerful hard rocking vocals to softer styled vocals to his trademark high pitched vocals. I mentioned this in my review of the debut album but I´ll mention it again here. Those high pitched vocals must have been one of the main influences on artists like Rob Halford (Judas Priest) and King Diamond (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate).

The sound production is powerful and much better sounding than the sound on the debut.

"Salisbury" has ignited my interest in Uriah Heep like the debut never accomplished and I think it´s an excellent progressive hard rock album. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
"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.
Progarchives got it right in categorising this one: "Heavy Prog" is the name of the game. Whilst the brutal guitar work characteristic of heavy metal is more or less absent on this album, Ken Hensley's organ skills and, on the title track, Mr Fiddy's brass and woodwind instruments play a crucial role in keeping the music loud and, where it needs to be, aggressive. Whilst not all of the songs on the album are top-notch - High Priestess, in particular, feels like lightweight filler, though the vocal harmonies are admittedly gorgeous - it deserves credit for managing to establish a heavy and metal-like atmosphere despite eschewing what would eventually be seen as typical metal instrumentation and compositional practices. Four stars.
Salisbury is Uriah Heep right at the peak of their game. I always liked them most when they had that gentle melancholy in their music; something which gradually faded out after this album.

All songs collected here are exceptional, very different from one another but building up to a coherent album. The performances are stellar, very tight, inspired and passionate.

Bird of Prey kicks the album into action. Excellent guitar riffing and oh my god those voices. I guess you have to like them but in the high range of hard rock vocals not much compares to David Byron. Apart from the heavy beginning, most of the album is quite soft. The Park and Lady In Black for example are gentle melancholic tunes and very good ones.

The song that will get you on board for this album or not would be the title track. With its extended length and orchestral brass sections it sure is an acquired taste. A taste that took me some time to acquire as well I must admit. But I always liked the melodies and vocals on this song so I persisted and came to like it in the end.

One of Heep's most daring albums, with a brilliant first half and a second side that is a bit of an acquired taste, but I like it!
The flaws from the first album are fixed here and I can say this is the first album from long series of great albums for Uriah Heep. That's the most progressive record by the band and contains some of the most polished moments in Heep's discography and that makes it on of their bests. There's not a weak song here. Bird of Prey is so appropriate for opening song and then The Park is so heart-breaking ballad with gentle jazz line. The album contains one of the biggest hit singles for Uriah Heep Lady in Black, which will be immortalize as frequent radio sample forever. Here is the greatest one - the epic one - Salisbury, a perfect composition with opera - influenced structure - just incredible - three guitar solos by Box, theatrical voice by Byron, great symphonic arrangement incorporated in this mini rock opera. Perfect!

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