It begins with a gradual crescendo on Hammond organ that beautifully evokes the breaking of day. Some typically melodramatic choral effects burst forth along with Gary Thain's swaggering melodic bass line, which intermittently acts as the lead instrument. The main song features sharp contrasts in dynamics from subdued, pensive verses to rousing, fervent choruses. What a wonderful song and it's no surprise the band used it to open the Live '73 set.
Spider Woman is one of the band's unremarkable rockers, so enough said about that. The next track, Blind Eye, has a memorable tune and features agitated acoustic guitar and an urgent twin electric riff. It's quite different to the band's usual sound mainly due to the timbre of the guitars, and I always think of Wishbone Ash when I listen to this song!
Manfred Mann's guest appearance playing Moog on the Look At Yourself album obviously made an impression on Hensley, as he himself uses the instrument extensively on this album.
Echoes has some nice atmospheres and David Byron's vocals are fraught with emotion. Side One closes with Rain, a quietly reflective song with piano, vibes and organ providing the sole accompaniment. Sweet Lorraine cracks open Side Two with a willowy Moog intro, followed by a superb wucka-chucka wah wah lick from Mick Box. The instrumental section midway through the song features a wispy, thread-like Moog and meandering bass duet. This song is undoubtedly one of Uriah Heep's finest rockers.
The penultimate track, Tales, is a haunting ballad featuring gurgling Moog and a guest appearance by session musician B. Cole on pedal steel guitar. The minute title track then closes the album in grandiose style. The closing section includes a verbal exchange between the magician and his adversary, and features Byron's vocals in unison with Hensley's Moog.
Nice effect guys, so why the sudden fade? I always think of The Magician's Birthday as the companion album to Demons And Wizards; if you own one, you'll probably want both. I wouldn't describe it as essential but it has more than its share of highlights and is certainly worthy of a 4-star rating.
To the band's credit, it wasn't really their fault that their fifth album, 'The Magician's Birthday' was something of a mess when compared to their previous albums. The deadline of this album had been set just 6 months after the release of 'Demons and Wizards', and with constant touring and a high reputation to maintain. The band were very overworked by this point - and it shows.
The album had originally been planned as a concept album, to follow up the fantasy-tinged 'Demons and Wizards'. However, with such a tight schedule, the concept couldn't be developed into an album-length story, and the band had to settle with what they had: the title track The Magician's Birthday. At 10 minutes in length, this is actually a great song, worthy of 'Demons and Wizards'.
Essentially, it is two 3 minute songs joined together by a bitchin' instrumental. This instrumental is a breakneck jam between Mick Box on guitar and Lee Kerslake on drums, with some bizarre effects heard on top. The song also shows the fun side of Heep: the chorus in the first part of the song is a rendition of Happy Birthday To You with Kerslake on kazoo.
If it is worth buying the album, then it is definitely for this song alone. The other seven songs are all relatively forgettable. For a taster, the opening track Sunrise seems to have a good riff, but the song goes nowhere. The second track, Spider Woman has some of the worst lyrics ever if you hadn't guessed from the name already! The good moments are few and far between.
After listening to this album, you will likely have forgotten these pieces. It's ironic, really, how Hensley talks about the 'tightness, togetherness if you like' of the album in the sleeve notes. Years after recording this album, the band would agree that this was a rushed project.
Even the elaborate Roger Dean artwork seems rushed, with sections of the art that still need be filled in! If the concept album had had the same quality throughout as the title track, we could have had something really special, possibly a magnum opus. Instead, this is a bit of a disaster. Perhaps one of the proggiest Uriah Heep releases "The Magicians Birthday" is a fantastic collection of songs that often find their way onto compilations of the group.
There are no dull moments and most of these tracks tell a story that is compelling and surreal. Hensley's Hammond is an impactful force on each track giving a decidedly eerie effect. It turns into a song full of very powerful riffs and atmospheres. It became a popular entry in live performances as did 'Sweet Lorraine'. The album really gets into prog territory with the incredible 'Tales', but the piece de resistence is undoubtedly the 10 minute 'The Magician's Birthday'.
This veritable icing on the cake features lengthy solos, tons of Hammond and guitar fills, along with isolated drums and even a kazoo for good measure. The quirky birthday tunes embedded are fun and of course the band were never taking them seriously Overall this album comes recommended for heavy prog fans and it is undoubtedly one of Uriah Heep's finest achievements. Although the band do seem to be trying to evolve their sound here, as they have for their previous albums, this is the first time that to my ears that evolution results in a dead end rather than a fruitful avenue for further exploration.
The attempt to dial back and present a quieter and more sedate Uriah Heep on several of the tracks is particularly bizarre, given how successful the heavier portions of Demons and Wizards were. Worth it if you were bowled over by Demons and Wizards and don't mind that the artwork manages to be closer to the spirit of that album than the music a lot of the time, but The Magician's Birthday marks the waning of Heep's classic period in my view.
This was the follow-up to their breakthrough album "Demons and Wizards. I always thought Uriah Heep could have been one of the great prog rock bands. According to many things I have read about them, their management steered them towards more accessible hard rock and let Ken Hensley dominate the songwriting. Much of their early stuff hinted at great prog rock such as "W I've had this on vinyl for as long as I can remember. I've never been able to bond with it so, after reading these reviews, I took it for another spin.
The problem with this album is that it sounds "dated". I know what year it was made but plenty of music from that era has aged very well. This record was a very important one to me a long time ago.
I appreciated Uriah Heep's semi-heavy approach a lot more than for example Black Sabbath, who I felt were pretentious. Heep, and especially Ken Hensley could pen a melodic rock ditty with amazing ease, and Magician's Birthday is anoth I just finished reviewing 2 poor Uriah Heep albums from the 80's so now I deserve to reward myself with a review of a classic Heep album.
What to say about album that never really had a chance. Although it doesn't start in that way opening song Sunrise is so strong and powerful that I had feeling that this album will be powerful at lest as Another one of Uriah Heep's awesome proggy adventures, featuring Roger Dean on artwork, again. The mix of heavy metal, progressive rock, and hard rock is still present, but this album is much more on the prog side of everything because of the lyrics being a lot more thoughtful and much more w This is the album that truly got me into Prog music.
A person who only knows "Yes" and buys it on a lark, then falls in love with the "Prog" genre If that doesn't earn this album a 5 star review, nothing will! I'd been weaned, literally on diapers, with it and 60s folk in the background. Uriah Heep at their best, fantastic heavy prog album.
One of the greatest album is this genre. Stars with one of the greatest Heep songs ''Sunrise'' fantastic riff fantastic vocals. After that nice rock and roll song ''Spider woman'' witch just makes you move, then brilliant two prog oriented son Roger Dean beautifully disguises the ganance of record companies with such a cover Sweet Lorraine Remastered. Tales Remastered. The Magician's Birthday Remastered. Sunrise single edit. Happy Birthday The Magician's Birthday edit.
Blind Eye. Echoes In the Dark. The Magician's Birthday. Crystal Ball out-take. Proud Words alternative version. Echoes in the Dark edit version. Rain edit version. Sweet Lorraine. Spider Woman Lyrics. Sunrise Lyrics. Credits adapted from album liner notes .
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Uriah Heep. Hard rock progressive rock heavy metal. Bronze and Island Mercury North America.
Mercury Records. Retrieved 15 November GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 19 November Recording Industry Association of America. All Media Network. Retrieved 18 November Uriah Heep. Spider Woman. Blind Eye. Echoes in the Dark. Sweet Lorraine. The Magician's Birthday. Sunrise Ken Hensley. Happy Birthday The Magician's Birthday edit. Proud Words alternative version. Rain Remastered. Rain edit version. Spider Woman. Spider Woman Remastered. Sunrise Remastered. Sunrise single edit.
Sweet Lorraine. Sweet Lorraine Remastered. Tales Remastered. The Magician's Birthday. The Magician's Birthday Remastered. More Albums.Shop The Magician's Birthday [LP] VINYL at Best Buy. Find low everyday prices and buy online for delivery or in-store pick-up. Price Match Guarantee.