Loosely based on a story by Ken Hensley, The Magician's Birthday continues Uriah Heep's adventurous immersion into fantasy worlds at a time when similarly sci-fi pop-culture releases such as Star Wars and Dungeons and Dragons were still years away. Influential in concept, appearance, and sound, the 1972 record remains a thematic bookend to Demons and Wizards, released the same year and, akin to this set, recognized as the group's high-water mark. Both records resonate with a newfound vitality in a 21st century engrossed in a resurgence in comic-book superheroes and gothic tales.
Pursuing a more streamlined, cleaner sound that scales back harder arrangements and accentuates prog-rock and blues elements, the British band accentuates texture and hooks throughout. Uriah Heep attains a dynamic balance between brief, punchy fare (''Spider Woman'') and spooky, cosmic piano balladry (''Echoes in the Dark''), with guitarist Mick Box supplying versatile leads and underlying narratives with exceptional tonal shadings. Space-rock synthesizers and subtle xylophones help in further setting the moods. The Magician's Birthday skirts the parody that befell many albums that copied its formula by way of fine-tuned songwriting, David Byron's passionate singing, and cohesive playing. Groups ranging from Iron Maiden to Emerson Lake and Palmer drew from its example.
Boasting arguably the strongest production of Uriah Heep's career, the record exudes early 70s warmth and organic sonics. As soon as your turntable's needle hits the grooves, an era renowned for wood-encased receivers, tube amplifiers, and vintage instruments will emerge in front of your eyes. Whether it's the whirring organ and eerie frequency effects on the crunchy FM radio favorite ''Sweet Lorraine'' or the ringing bells on the epic multi-part title track, The Magician's Birthday pulls you into its spell with ethereal power and supernatural charm.
Complete with a faithful replication of the original gatefold sleeve, and replete with dead-quiet surfaces, this Wax Cathedral reissue is pressed at RTI. Better still, it's on colored vinyl, to boot! Order your collector's copy today!