| Uriah Heep
- "Magician\'s Birthday, 1972 (re-release)"
Sanctuary Records 2003
To make two sensational albums in one year was quite a thing to do. And guys weren't fully satisfied with what they've done. Some of you might hardly believe that. Uriah Heep entered into their golden era and they were powerful act in all senses. Line up became even more tightened up and it functioned like "perpetual mobile". Further goal for the band was to make full conceptual album. They even focused on a double vinyl output, but unfortunately they were not allowed to do that. Their chief Gary Bron was highly motivated to squeeze all the juices out of band. Record was done to quickly. A mini epic masterpiece with its length of a little less than eleven minutes was everything that left from band's idea of making double vinyl record.
Let us finally focus on music. Sunrise is different song than July Morning, but it leaves somehow the same feel. As I was taught sun usually rises in the morning, maybe that's why I'm close connected with July Morning here. Sunrise is sad song with incredible atmosphere and David's great involvement on vocals again. Typical Uriah Heep song and a great opener!
Unique Easy Livin' riding rhythm drive became band's trademark. They used it again in rocking piece Spider Woman released also as a single. Blind Eye is different story than Gypsy, but acoustic guitar rhythm drive, and doubled guitar harmony theme reminds me as if I found myself among gypsies. What I like very much on entire record is the way Lee plays his drum kit. Lee's approach was even subtler than on "Demons And Wizards". Listen to the Echoes In The Dark. How Lee accompanied with Gary's howling bass slides, gently pierces this fantasy song somewhere far, far from background with his pure feeling involvement. Here they add spine tingling slide guitar theme that develops familiar atmosphere as it is captured in Paradise/The Spell from band's previous studio effort.
And than fascinating fragile ballad Rain begins. Well I must point out David's performance that really sends shivers down the spine. He never forces his vocal and simply adopts it through entire song. David shows here also his great feeling for improvising. Rain is truly David's song.
Following rocking piece Sweet Loraine brings warmer feel on a record. It contains genuine whispering stereo-chorused effect that derives out of Hensley's Hammond organ. Middle instrumental part of a song captures completely different mood inside the song. Tales is pure fantasy song that supremely collides with fascinating Roger Dean's front cover. And the way it is assembled pretty hard to describe. Climax is upgraded from the first beat of the song to its end and sound becomes full mind blowing experience, especially because of misty UFO waving sound effects, that were added here.
The Magician's Birthday is strong composition from every angle. What make this song so special are lyrics and the atmosphere it captures. It truly takes you far beyond the horizon. Front cover couldn't fit better to it. Middle section presents a fight between white (good) and black (evil) wizard. First we have fighting crossfire between Mick's fascinating soloing and Lee's thunderous drumming. Lee also used kazoo and he still uses it on stage. I'll never forget Riolo Terme (Italy, 6.7.2002) and performance of this immortal creation. What follows after instrumental middle section, is a conversation between good and evil wizard. Heeps divided both wizards' verses on left and right monitor. And as a crown of all verses this song ends with: "and than we all knew that love will find love will find love..." The Magician's Birthday is unrepeatable jewel that reveals the true meaning of our lives.