Sunday, June 16, 2013

Uriah Heep - Demons and Wizards, Magician's Birthday, 1972

These two are one. You can tell it just by looking at the magnificent cover artworks painted by Roger Dean (also famous for his Yes and Asia covers). Then you check the release dates - only six months between two greatest albums Uriah Heep have ever put together. They were pushed hard, but they managed with honor - the newly formed lineup of unearthly gifted musicians which will forever stay the golden one, and which was not going to last long. In few years Thain would join the 27 club; the bottle would take over Garrick; star sickness over Hensley; even Kerslake would try his luck with Ozzy; and Box would be desperately searching for powers to save the ship, of which only the flag remains above the waterline. But all that was only going to happen later, right now they are in 1972, in the very middle of progressive rock blossoming over the United Kingdom and the rest of the Known Universe. 

And then you hear them... One after another, one as the continuation of another. Albums. And musicians. Opening with a delicate acoustic fingerstyle of The Wizard it immediately starts building up melodies in layers, twisting and overlapping within each song, still never obscuring the melody itself - clear and fluent. Faster and heavier with Traveller In Time and its a little bit surrealistic bridge in the end to the eternal action hit Easy Livin'. Poet's Justice takes off the tension a bit, leading us to the ending of the original side A - Circle Of Hands, which actually took me a while to appreciate. Nevertheless this ballad is exactly when Byron's voice makes me shiver and Thain reminds that bass guitar is an instrument indeed. 

Moving on to side B, Rainbow Demon probably did more for my artistic career than quarter of art instruction books I've ever read. I still ultimately adore the character, the image painted so thick, vividly and subtle at the same time with Ken's pen and David's voice. Measured and powerful - just stepped out of Warhammer universe – he... 

Guess that was enough bullshit for you to realize Uriah Heep are my favorite band. Thus it would be fair to deprive you of suffering further lines and discover the rest on your free will.