Metal Essentials I: Grandfathers of Metal (1970 - 1975) - Demons and Wizards vs Aqualung

Discussion in 'Forum Games' started by Mosh, Jan 26, 2019.


vote for your FAVORITE song in each pair

  1. The Wizard

  2. Aqualung

  3. ---------------------------

    0 vote(s)
  4. Traveller In Time

  5. Cross Eyed Mary

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  7. Easy Livin'

  8. Mother Goose

    0 vote(s)
  9. ---------------------------

    0 vote(s)
  10. Poet's Justice

  11. My God

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    0 vote(s)
  13. Circle of Hands

  14. Hymn 43

  15. ---------------------------

    0 vote(s)
  16. Rainbow Demon

  17. Locomotive Breath

  18. ---------------------------

    0 vote(s)
  19. Paradise/The Spell

  20. Wind Up

Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Wogmidget

    Wogmidget I rather like the restless nights

    LooseCannon likes this.
  2. Zare

    Zare sorry Zed

    The 3 Dio albums, the debut and Master of Reality are my top 5. (in no order)
  3. Zare

    Zare sorry Zed

    Speaking of the debut, in 4 days we'll be entering the 50th year of heavy metal. Glory to us all.
    Forostar likes this.
  4. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    And the first round winner goes to Paranoid which trounced Machine Head 4 to 2. There was one tie, but the outcome wouldn't impact the final result.

    Next up:

    Round 2: Revenge of the Prog Nerds
    There is an interesting relationship between progressive rock and heavy metal, especially in the 70s. Both had infrequent brushes with mainstream success while maintaining an image of “outsider music,” both styles embraced experimentation, and both attracted dedicated fans who were interested in music for intensive listening as opposed to something that was to be played in the background. Consequently, there’s a lot of crossover between the two fanbases. Many years later, new generations of Metal bands had no problem mentioning Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep, and Deep Purple all in the same sentence. It was all Rock music. And sometimes it could get pretty heavy.

    There were stylistic crossovers too. Bands like Sabbath and Priest all had moments that could be considered quite proggy. On the prog rock side, many bands tended to have more of a psychedelic, jazz, or even classical influence that sometimes appeared in Metal music but not quite on the same level. Sometimes the music would sound pompous or meandering. For many bands, the solution was to introduce a bit of heaviness. The two bands featured in this round influence and are influenced by Heavy Metal in pretty unique ways.

    Jethro Tull is probably the last band that comes to mind when one thinks of Heavy Metal music. Yet somehow they went on to be a major influence on many Metal bands to follow, namely Iron Maiden. However, Jethro Tull, specifically the Aqualung, is not without its heavy moments. A lot of it once again comes down to the guitars. There are some really riff heavy tracks on here and some ripping solos. Tull also shows a wide range of influences here. The diversity of the music is something that many of the best Metal bands excelled in. Aqualung isn’t a Metal album, but it is definitely necessary to understanding Heavy Metal music.

    Uriah Heep is a bit more straightforward. Once again, they are another band that had a well documented influence on Maiden. However, they are much closer to the heavy metal sound. Much more riff driven music and a pretty heavy rhythm section. This album exists in a time where Metal was still in its infancy and hard to define. Maybe there’s some alternate universe where Uriah Heep is the most influential Heavy Metal band and shaped all Metal bands to come, kinda like Black Sabbath. The medieval/fantasy elements of the album are certainly apt for the genre.

    Both these albums had songs omitted from the game in order to keep things even. For Aqualung, this was pretty simple as I mostly eliminated the acoustic “interlude” type tracks. Demons and Wizards was trickier, I ended up going with All My Life. Hopefully this wasn’t anybody’s favorite track. The idea was to make sure that all the best tracks would be representing the respective albums.
  5. LooseCannon

    LooseCannon Yorktown-class aircraft carrier Staff Member

    Will take me a bit of time to listen.
  6. phantomoftheicarus

    phantomoftheicarus Nobody can ever hear him call

    Going through the albums now. Uriah Heep appears to be taking preference
  7. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Hey guys sorry for the confusion but I accidentally included an incorrect song front Aqualung. I just fixed the error and reset the poll. Only one person voted, so @frus please vote again. Hymn 43 has replaced Up To Me and My God is now going up against Poets Justice.
  8. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 As you scream into the web of silence...

    Aqualung feels like in some alternate universe it's the anti-religious philosophy of the thinkers of the world, but in this universe it's merely one of the most important albums in classic rock and prog rock history. Ian Anderson injects the material here with a lot of bitterness that feels like it built up until he released it here. Whether it's a concept album or not is trivial, but you can definitely notice the recurring theme of religion that pervades this album. The lyrics seem like rambles from a broken mind at times instead of concentrated poetic endeavors, and it makes for a really interesting release. Also interesting to note that we're playing a "Metal Essentials" game that features an album with flute as one of the primary instruments. Who'd have thought?

    The album opens up with a definite highlight in the form of its title track. Back when I was younger, I loved "Aqualung" for that really cool riff it has, but didn't care so much for the bulk of the song, since it leaves that deep heaviness behind in favor of quieter melodies. Perhaps with age comes understanding because it's those quieter bits that I think are the best parts of the song and half the reason why I still love it. Another really big highlight here is the iconic second-to-last track, "Locomotive Breath", which is a staple of classic rock radio. I love the way it starts out slowly with piano before building up to a chugging proto-metal banger. It's a classic for a reason. "Mother Goose" is another highlight, really beautiful song, and "Hymn 43" and "Cross-Eyed Mary" are also good songs. The latter is kinda weird after hearing the Maiden version for so long, but it still works pretty well.

    The middle of the album kinda hits a snag with "Up To Me" and "My God". They aren't terrible but don't feel that... inspired, I guess. The album's closer, meanwhile, is fantastic. "Wind-Up" feels like the culmination of the religious imagery throughout this album, a definitive shut-down of the shallow minded people that shoved down the weak and enslaved them in their fantasy land. It's a perfect summation of what the album's all about.

    Aqualung - 10/10
    Cross-Eyed Mary - 8/10
    Cheap Day Return - 7/10
    Mother Goose - 9/10
    Wond'ring Aloud - 7/10
    Up To Me - 6/10
    My God - 6/10
    Hymn 43 - 8/10
    Slipstream - 7/10
    Locomotive Breath - 10/10
    Wind-Up - 10/10

    That equals a strong 80%. Aqualung isn't a perfect album per se, but damn, it's pretty good.

    * * *​

    Where Jethro Tull want people to think, Uriah Heep want people to feel... and feel good at that. If you aren't smiling at some point during Demons and Wizards, there's something wrong with you. Their gleeful singing about wizards and travelers is just too fun not to enjoy, and overall I think it makes the album a bit better of an experience than its rival. The musicianship here is great, and the songwriting is a big step forward from the shakiness of the debut. "If this group makes it, I'll have to commit suicide," no longer applies to Uriah Heep. These boys have grown up a little, but they've retained their youthful passion for fantasy and that's what sets them apart.

    The first four songs are just one great track after the other, with "Easy Livin'" being the highlight of highlights. That song is just simply awesome. Less than three minutes long and yet it does more in its time than many songs that span over twenty minutes. It's classic rock excellence with great vocals, fantastic guitar and keyboards holding it together, and some really optimistic lyrics. The rest of the album is really solid as well. "All My Life" is definitely the weakest of the bunch, but Byron does some awesome high notes there that makes listening to it more than worthwhile. His finest moment on the album, though, is "The Spell", where the lyrics and vocal delivery almost seem to foreshadow his early death at age 38, and in some ways makes it a little bit more bearable. King Diamond has called him the best vocalist of all time, and personally speaking... man, he's up there.

    The Wizard - 10/10
    Traveller In Time - 10/10
    Easy Livin' - 10/10
    Poet's Justice - 10/10
    Circle of Hands - 9/10
    Rainbow Demon - 9/10
    All My Life - 8/10
    Paradise - 9/10
    The Spell - 9/10

    That's a great 93%. I really don't have a lot to say about this album. It's just really good.

    The Wizard vs Aqualung
    Traveller In Time
    vs Cross-Eyed Mary
    Easy Livin' vs Mother Goose
    Poet's Justice vs My God
    Circle of Hands vs Hymn 43
    Rainbow Demon vs Locomotive Breath
    Paradise / The Spell vs Wind-Up
  9. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Puissant

    Hmm, I call shenanigans. "Up To Me" -- the version on the Steven Wilson remix/remaster -- is perhaps the single best-sounding recording I've heard. Either way, this is a landslide for me. Aqualung is one of my favorite albums ever, and Martin Barre's guitar tone on this record is fantastic. In contrast, I have always been underwhelmed by Uriah Heep. I know this album is supposed to be a classic but I've always thought it was mediocre, a poor man's Deep Purple. This shouldn't even be close. Only Easy Livin' should win its matchup (but it does so easily, great track). Rainbow Demon is really good too, but Locomotive Breath is a monster.
    mckindog and Confeos like this.
  10. Diesel 11

    Diesel 11 As you scream into the web of silence...

    Funny, because that's the opposite of what I think. Both bands are similar, but I think that UH does the style better than DP (though they'll never be remembered in the same light).
  11. Niall Kielt

    Niall Kielt Pulled Her At The Bottle Top

    I get ye, Demons & Wizards has a few duds and in general I prefer Tull but Why by Uriah Heep is easily the best song from the two albums, for me. Further listening is required for me. Rainbow Demon beats Locomotive Breath, though.
    Agree RE Barre, hes tidy and has some great moments. The bit in Wind Up when it kicks in is class, brilliant tone. I dunno, I get lost in Aqualung, I rarely want to listen start to finish. Give me Songs From The Wood any day.
  12. Confeos

    Confeos Game time started.

    The Wizard vs Aqualung
    Traveller In Time vs Cross-Eyed Mary
    Easy Livin' vs Mother Goose
    Poet's Justice vs My God
    Circle of Hands vs Hymn 43
    Rainbow Demon vs Locomotive Breath
    Paradise / The Spell vs Wind Up

    Aqualung takes the win with a score of 5-2.

    Demons and Wizards is a decent album by a decent band, but it's NOWHERE near as engaging, interesting and cohesive as Aqualung. It's obvious that "Easy Livin'" is a classic, and it's damn enjoyable, but outside of that, only "The Spell" can hold a candle to what Jethro Tull did. Hell, I'd even take most of the omitted interludes from Aqualung over some of the proper songs from Demons…! And it doesn't exactly help "The Spell" that it's paired with the snoozefest that is "Paradise" here, but I still think it's good enough to beat "Wind Up", though it was a close one.

    It may seem like I'm bashing Uriah Heep a lot, so just to clarify, I do think most of their stuff is very good - The Magician's Birthday is an incredible album. Here, however, they're very much outclassed and outplayed.
  13. Spambot

    Spambot Educated Fool

    Remind them they would get extra points if they mention they're still undecisive about who should be No. 1 guitarist of all time: Jimmy Page or Slash.


    Because you forgot how awesome "Neon Knights" sound as opener.

    I want to know more about this. I've don't remember any Maiden member mentioning them, let alone somebody compare their styles. And yes, I do agree that today all these bands get in the same sentence, while back then it would be unthinkable. It only shows how widely rock/metal music has branched.
    @Cornfed Hick While I agree that "Up to Me" is one of the better track on Aqualung, I must say that comment about UH being "poor man's Purple" is one of the stupidest UH comments, if I ever heard one.

    This being said, I voted all Heep. There are couple of tracks on Aqualung that had potential to me, but I'm very fond of first 5 Uriah Heep albums.

    PS. I still think Aqualung is gonna win this round.
  14. Cornfed Hick

    Cornfed Hick Puissant

    Oh yeah, well, nanny nanny boo boo, stick your head in doo doo. :smartarse:
  15. MrKnickerbocker

    MrKnickerbocker clap hands

    This is a strange matchup. I am not familiar with either of these bands or these records, so this was all new to me. Oddly enough, I feel like the things I enjoy about one band in a certain song match-up are the same things I dislike in the next match-up (i.e. too straightforward and rocky or too weird and jazzy).

    1. Aqualung has far more going on - plus a cool riff and solo.
    2. Traveller in Time has a cool riff and vibe. I don’t particularly love Cross Eyed Mary here or Maiden’s version.
    3. Easy Livin’ is a lot of fun, even if the lyrics are meh. Mother Goose sounds like a Cat Stevens or, somehow, a Tenacious D song.
    4. My God is so much more interesting than the rather straightforward Poet’s Justice, so I’m going for that.
    5. Neither Circle nor Hymn is very memorable for me, but the latter is once again more interesting and dynamic.
    6. Rainbow Demon has some seriously cool early Rainbow or even Sabbath vibes to it and a nice, big chorus. Locomotive Breath is is fine and has a cool groove, but Rainbow Demon wins this one easily.
    7. Paradise/The Spell vs. Wind Up is a little unfair due to its length, but it's also a far better choice IMO.

    Overall, Uriah Heep comes out on top with a score of 4-3 over Jethro Tull.
  16. mckindog

    mckindog Living for Sanctuary from the law Staff Member

    This was really interesting to me, with only a cursory knowledge of each album.
    I gave each a listen from start to finish first, probably for the first time ever.

    On first impression, the Uriah Heep was surprisingly accessible, but lacking in testicular fortitude — not in the sense of having a metallic sound, but in the sense of not having any gravitas or emotional heft. Pleasant, if dated, and forgettable.

    Tull on the other hand was metal in everything but the sound. The rhythm changes and song structures, the way the vocal melodies formed around patterns of riffing and the absolute conviction in the music.

    I'll do a head-to-head later and post my takes on the songs.
    MrKnickerbocker and Mosh like this.
  17. phantomoftheicarus

    phantomoftheicarus Nobody can ever hear him call

    Finally finished listening through the two, and it's an overwhelming 6-1 victory to Demons and Wizards, the one point lost being to Aqualung. Neither albums are really my thing so it was difficult to get into both, but D&W was far more pleasant to me. It felt heavier, had more catchy and memorable tracks and riffs and did not sound as blurred and similar as the tracks on Aqualung did to each other.

    Aqualung felt like I was just listening to The Wicker Man soundtrack over and over again. Sure it's a great soundtrack but here it just didn't sit well with me. The dominance of the acoustic over electric just got boring very quickly and although it's what prog rock is all about I just didn't feel the 'wacky' factor of this album worked very well. The piano parts on Locomotive Breath were beautiful and I was tempted to vote for it, but I had to go for Rainbow Demon in the end. Hymn 43 was also a good song, and had Wond'Ring Aloud been in the quiz I definitely would have voted for it, but ultimately this album has been boring and unmemorable
  18. Forostar

    Forostar Ancient Mariner

    Unfortunately the poll has suddenly been closed, several days (5 or 6?) before it was expected. No votes from mckindog or anyone else.
  19. Mosh

    Mosh The years just pass like trains Staff Member

    Are you sure? I voted very late yesterday afternoon no problem. The poll was always set to close late Friday. I will have to reopen anyway for the tie, but let me know if anyone had problems voting before the official close time.
  20. phantomoftheicarus

    phantomoftheicarus Nobody can ever hear him call

    I voted fine last night

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