söndag 4 januari 2015

Uriah Heep - Salisbury (2nd Album of UK Progressive Rock/Hardrock 1971)


290:- (24-Bit Limited Remaster Editiuon. Gruppens 2:a album från 1971. Sju bonusspår, utgången utgåva sedan 2006.)

Salisbury is the second album released by British rock band Uriah Heep.

Although the majority of tracks are clean heavy metal and hard rock, more so than on the previous ...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble, the album features forays into both jazz-fusion on "The Park", and square progressive rock on the band's first foray into large-scale composition, the 16-minute title track featuring a 24-piece orchestra. 

It also includes the largely acoustic ballad "Lady In Black." The hard rock sound, quite prominent here, would be transferred over to their next release, which was to be dominated by this genre.

Unlike their first album, songwriting credits for fully half of the record are attributed to Ken Hensley alone, as opposed to the collaborative partnership credits of Box/Byron on the debut.

The album was originally released on the Vertigo label, as had been the band's debut ...Very 'Eavy ...Very 'Umble, but both were soon re-released when the band signed to the new Bronze Records for their third LP.

The connection of the artwork to the title is readily explained. Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England, is an Army training-area. On the front of the album sleeve is a British Chieftain tank. The original LP release was a gatefold-sleeve. Inside is a b/w picture of a British tank of the First World War, over which were printed Hensley's comments on each track. Later reissues would be in a single sleeve.

The band's second album Salisbury was more squarely in the progressive rock genre, with its 16-minute title track featuring a 24-piece orchestra. One of the album's tracks, "Lady in Black", described as "a stylishly arranged tune that builds from a folk-styled acoustic tune into a throbbing rocker full of ghostly harmonies and crunching guitar riffs", became a hit in Germany upon its re-release in 1977 (earning the band the Radio Luxemburg Lion award). 

Produced by Gerry Bron, the second album went a long way to  perfect Uriah Heep's "blend of heavy metal power and prog rock complexity" and was also significant for Ken Hensley's instant rise to a position of the main author. Soon after the release Keith Baker left the band to be replaced by Ian Clarke (from another Vertigo band Cressida). With him the band made their first US tour, supporting Three Dog Night and Steppenwolf.

On their second album, Uriah Heep jettisons the experiments that weighed down Very 'Eavy Very 'Umble and works toward perfecting their blend of heavy metal power and prog rock complexity. Salisbury tips the band's style in the prog direction, containing one side of songs and one side dominated by a lengthy and ornate epic-length composition. Highlights on the song-oriented side include "Bird of Prey," a soaring rocker that blends furious, power chord-fuelled verses with spacy, keyboard-drenched instrumental breaks, and "Lady in Black," a stylishly arranged tune that builds from a folk-styled acoustic tune into a throbbing rocker full of ghostly harmonies and crunching guitar riffs. 

The big surprise on this side is "The Park," a ballad-style song built on a light blend of acoustic guitars and ethereal keyboards. It has a gentle, appealingly psychedelic feel that is topped off by David Byron's falsetto vocal and some soaring harmonies from Byron and Ken Hensley. However, Salisbury is undone by its title track, the 16-minute track that dominates the album's entire second side: it feels more like a lengthy jam session instead of a prog epic with distinctive and carefully crafted sections. 

Another problem is that the overly busy brass and woodwind arrangements that have been grafted onto it intrude on the group's sound instead of fleshing it out. All in all, Salisbury is too unfocused for the casual listener but offers enough solid songs for the Uriah Heep completist. Collector's note: The American version of this album had different cover art (the tank on the British edition was replaced by a gruesome image of man tearing out of his own skin) and replaced "Bird of Prey" with a bluesy B-side entitled "Simon the Bullet Freak."

Personnel:
♫♪ David Byron – lead vocals (Except "Lady in Black" & "High Priestess" - Ken Hensley Lead Vocals)
♫♪ Ken Hensley – Slide & Acoustic Guitars, Organ, Piano, Harpsichord, Vibraphone, Vocals
♫♪ Mick Box – Lead & Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
♫♪ Paul Newton – Bass Guitar, Vocals

♫♪ Keith Baker – Drums

01. "Bird of Prey" (Box/Byron/Newton) – 4:13
02. "The Park" (Hensley) – 5:41
03. "Time to Live" (Box/Byron/Hensley) – 4:01
04. "Lady in Black" (Hensley) – 4:44
05. "High Priestess" (Hensley) – 3:42
06. "Salisbury" (Byron/Hensley/Box) – 16:20

Bonus Tracks
07. "Simon the Bullet Freak" (Hensley) – 3:27
08. "Here Am I" (Previously Unreleased Version) – 7:50
09. "Lady In Black" (Previously Unreleased Version) – 3:33
10. "High Priestess" (Single Edit) – 3:38
11. "Salisbury" (Previously Unreleased Single Edit) – 4:21
12. "The Park" (Previously Unreleased Mix) – 5:18
13. "Time To Live" (Previously Unreleased Mix) – 4:14