The old adage of 'never judge a book by its cover' was never more apt than when applied to this - Uriah Heep's 3rd album. The album cover has to rank as one of the worst in rock history (along side such greats as Black Sabbath's Sabotage). But as with the Sabbath album, once you get this record onto your turn table you are in for a serious treat. Opener Bird of Prey is one of the most insanely fantastic tracks ever written. It starts with a cracking guitar riff from Mick Box - Ken Hensley is on fine form on the keys - and then (from so left field, it's out of the stadium!) David Byron et al burst in with a falsetto barrage of notes that is inspired lunacy, copied note for note on guitar, before the song truely lets rip. And then half way through the song the band launch into a stop start harmony vocal run that beggers belief. The song is either the worst piece of music ever conceived - or the most outlandishly brilliant song yet committed to vinyl. Other tracks on the album include the slightly hippyesque accoustic 'The Park' (a really nice Sunday afternoon number); the deliciously heavy 'Lady in Black' with another gem of a guitar riff from Mick Box; and of course 'High Priestess' which is a galloping metal and organ monster. And as if that wasn't enough, they close the album with the 16 minute Salisbury. Deploying strings, and jazzy brass instruments to carry you through the twists and turns of a real corker of a number. My only quibble with this song is the rather lame lyrics, which feel as if they've been quickly scribbled down at the last minute to give David something to sing.
And there you have it. One of the best albums in Uriah Heeps rather vast catalogue. But also one of the best and most diverse rock/metal albums of the early 70's. A real classic.
19 people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?