Sound: Uriah Heep is a sadly forgotten band, which made several classic LPs in the seventies. "Demons And Wizards" is often regarded as their masterpiece, and without a doubt, it is. Heep were largely responsible for establishing the "fantasy" theme in the hard rock genre, and they inspired many of the bands who would later create the power metal genre (such as Helloween and Blind Guardian). This was the first album where Heep successfully merged the theme with their own brand of operatic, falsetto-driven, epic rock music. // 8
Lyrics and Singing: Keyboardist, occasional singer and occasional slide-guitarist Ken Hensley was the main songwriter and lyricist of Uriah Heep, and while his lyrics are not too intelligent, they can be very atmospheric and enchanting at times. Songs such as "Circle Of Hands", "Rainbow Demon" and "Paradise/The Spell" showcase his style and complement the music very well.
Lead singer David Byron had a bit of a melancholic quality to his voice, and he is mostly a delight to listen to. However, Hensley's vocal spots are just as good as Byron's, if not better. Listen to the amazing mid-section of "Paradise/The Spell" and hear for yourself. // 8
Impression: There are some aspects of Uriah Heep's sound that can be annoying at times, but this album doesn't show any of those problems. Most of the songs are fantastic, some are even major classics ("The Wizard" was famously covered by Blind Guardian, and "Easy Living" is recognized by most rock fans even today). Ken Hensley absolutely dominates this album, his distorted Hammond organ on "Circle Of Hands" and his soaring slide guitar on "The Spell" are not of this world. However, "All My Life" is an idiotic piece of filler which brings the overall impression down somewhat.
If you enjoy heavy, organ-based 70s rock/proto metal, or if you're just researching the origins of power metal, then this album is absolutely essential. By the way, there is even some subtle porn on the front cover... Can you find it? // 9