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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Heep
I first came across Uriah Heep's music in my local library, from where I borrowed High And Mighty for a few pence. I was not particularly impressed.

Then, a few months later, I heard Demons And Wizards at a friend's house: I was knocked out by the combination of powerful vocals (David Byron), the inventive guitar work (Mick Box), the roaming bass lines (Gary...
Published on 1 Oct 2011 by RLS

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3.0 out of 5 stars Wizards: The Best Of - a walk through their history
Uriah Heep have so many great songs that it will always be difficult to release a Best of. Wizards is definitely a walk through their lustrous history. The albums include all their hits, which is great. I bought the Wizards because one of my favourits, 'Hanging tree' is on it. I still think many good songs have been left out. If you're not familiar with Uriah Heep, the...
Published 9 months ago by Oli Hans Poulsen


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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Top of the Heep, 1 Oct 2011
This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
I first came across Uriah Heep's music in my local library, from where I borrowed High And Mighty for a few pence. I was not particularly impressed.

Then, a few months later, I heard Demons And Wizards at a friend's house: I was knocked out by the combination of powerful vocals (David Byron), the inventive guitar work (Mick Box), the roaming bass lines (Gary Thain, who died in 1975), and of course the mighty Hammond organ assault of Ken Hensley (as well as his occasional slide guitar): and more than that, the quality of the songs, and even the album cover! I remember the first time I heard Circle Of Hands, a particularly intense hard rock ballad of the sort that Uriah Heep specialised in. I couldn't imagine hearing anything better (this reviewer was a teenager into Dungeons and Dragons), but then came the superb Rainbow Demon. If there is one criticism of this CD, it is that these two tracks are not on it. But everything else is present and correct. And it is clear that, creatively and commercially, Uriah Heep peaked in the early Seventies with the forementioned line-up.

Apparently Uriah Heep were never popular with the critics, who tended to prefer their peers such as Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. Perhaps their image was considered weaker, their sound more derivative, even overly melodic for a hard rock group. But their seventies material has aged surprisingly well. A lot of their best songs are in 6/8 time, which set them apart from their contemporaries: these include Look At Yourself, Easy Living, Blind Eye, Stealin' and more. Musically and lyrically they were, perhaps, naive compared to their contemporaries, though in a good way. And the harmonies are awesome!
They are still going of course, though only Mick Box remains of the classic line-up.
The CD is chronological and so there is an interesting historical perspective in addition to the musical entertainment. There are even several live performances.

Standout tracks include:
Gypsy, which has a guitar solo about 20 seconds long, and an organ solo at least 2 minutes long: it suggests something about their musical priorities: the highlight though is actually Byron's fantastic vocal:
Lady In Black, the 2 chord chant sung by Hensley:
Look At Yourself: a BBC session which is as good as the album version: this is as good as they get:
July Morning (of course):
Easy Living and The Wizard: their 2 big radio hits of the early seventies.

After Demons And Wizards, the standard of their albums dropped, with increasingly average songs, and strange chord structures:
Sweet freedom and Wonderworld are good examples of this: how many chords can you fit into a single song? They are not bad songs as such, just more laboured and contrived than the earlier classics. On a positive note, Stealin' and Return To Fantasy are both out-and-out belters, the latter peculiarly under-rated.

After Byron left, John Lawton joined as lead vocalist, and Rollin' On and the furious rocker Free An' Easy are as good as the Byron tracks. It is clear though, that without the late Byron, Uriah Heep's sound lacked the same power, intensity and charisma.
After a few lacklustre albums, Uriah Heep re-invented themselves as a stadium-style 80s rock band, rather like a Journey or Foreigner with fierce wah guitar solos setting them slightly apart, courtesy of Mick Box of course. They maintained the fantasy 'demons and wizards' themes to a certain extent. The songs featured here are undeniably quite good (especially Too Scared To Run) but they are harder to love...

But overall this is a good, well-considered overview of an excellent band, and at 5 it represents superb value for money. They were not consistently brilliant, however in their pomp, Uriah Heep would blow most of today's bands offstage, and then some!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good album from a top band, 19 July 2012
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This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
Mick Box's guitar keep Heep apart from other bands and while the early stuff is excellent some of the later stuff is decidedly dodgy. Wizards gives some excellent and some not so excellent tracks. If you are a heep fan you will enjoy this cd.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surperb Recording and Selection of songs, 6 Jan 2012
This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
This selection is truly the best of the very best. The recording is excellent and just one listening will bring back the shivers up your spine. Can't find any current artists to match up with the 70s groups.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Wizards: The Best Of - a walk through their history, 29 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
Uriah Heep have so many great songs that it will always be difficult to release a Best of. Wizards is definitely a walk through their lustrous history. The albums include all their hits, which is great. I bought the Wizards because one of my favourits, 'Hanging tree' is on it. I still think many good songs have been left out. If you're not familiar with Uriah Heep, the Wizards is a good start to get to know them.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another copilation album of the best, 5 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
First c/d of the two is the old stuff with Byron, the original Best of Uriah Heep has better versions of some tracks so if you like the old stuff i would buy that instead. I bought this for the second cd which has the post Byron material with the numerous line ups and singers. This gives a good account of this era and is worth listening to.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It doesn't need a review, 18 Feb 2013
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A Gobbiner (People's Republic of Oswaldtwistle) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
If you know Uriah Heep then you don't need to read a review - if you have never heard of them then anything I say won't be of help.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 27 July 2014
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This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
Just full of great music
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fab service, 14 Aug 2014
This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
fast delivery great cd
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Heep at their best, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: Wizards: The Best Of (Audio CD)
Great album, takes me back to my teenage years every time I hear it....Helps to have a few lagers available!..
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