Uriah Heep Demons and Wizards – Which CD Version is the best?

Video Review (6 Mins)(Video Review 6 mins)

The Review includes

  • The Vinyl Remaster
  • CD Remaster: 1996
  • CD Expanded Edition: 2004
  • CD 2CD Deluxe Edition: 2017
  • CD Book Edition: 2018

There was a question on the Now Spinning Facebook Group recently about which versions of various Uriah Heep albums should you get, and one of them was Demons and Wizards, which is seen as one of the high points of their career and quite rightly so.

So I thought I’d put together a very short video looking at all the different versions that you can buy, including a vinyl edition and tell you which one I would recommend if you’re starting from scratch.

So let’s look at Uriah Heep’s Demon and Wizards. And it wouldn’t seem right without showing you the vinyl version. This isn’t an original from 1972. I did have one of those, but during the great vinyl cull of the early nineties, it went, as I upgraded to CD!  This is a vinyl reissue from 2015 and I’m very pleased with this. I think it cost me about £15.00.

It’s on the Sanctuary label although they have done a reprint of the Bronze label. It has the lyric sheet and is a Gatefold sleeve. It’s 180-gram vinyl and it’s a great pressing and it sounds wonderful.

I’m just going to say that if you get a chance of buying this reissue on vinyl, get it, don’t worry too much about getting something from 1972, is going to cost you a lot of money and potentially crackle on every track. I know you might find someone who’s never played an original, but my advice is if you’re looking for a really good copy on vinyl, the reissue is fine.

The 1996 CD was the first one I bought. There might be an earlier one than that, but this is the first one that I bought. It says it’s the definitive version (perhaps it was then!). The great thing about the Uriah Heep CDs is that Mick Box and Ken Hensley were involved and invited to talk about the albums.

Robert Corich was involved in the remastering, there is some memorabilia included, the gatefold sleeve is replicated and then the lyrics. And on this particular version there were only three bonus tracks, and two of those are different versions of the track “Why.”

Next up was the CD Expanded Deluxe Edition in  2000. This had “Why” again, but it was a very much expanded version and is a PROG masterpiece. You also get “Rainbow Demon”, previously unreleased “Proud Words on a Dusty Shelf”, which eventually ended up on the Ken Hensley solo album.” “Home Again to You” and “Green Eye.” This version again had an extensive booklet where they managed to get a hold of Ken Hensley and Mick Box and say what you think of the album again. I think this version has a much better essay and information. You still get the lyrics.

But what I like about this particular reissue series was the Compilers Notes section. Here there is an explanation about what and where the demo tracks came from,  very useful.

So I thought that was it, and then this came out in 2017, which is the 2CD even more deluxe version! Now this includes the whole of the original album remastered and an alternative version of the album with 14 tracks. So that’s 14 extra tracks, all of them completely unreleased.

Again there’s a booklet and they’ve asked Ken and Mick yet again what they think. The essay is different because obviously they don’t want to keep repeating themselves.

There is more track by track analysis. The gatefold replicated again and there is some information at the back about how and where this alternative version of the album came from and the work that went into it to get it done.

So if you’re asking me which one to buy and you’re into Uriah Heep, the 2CD version is the one to go for.

Now don’t be confused by something else you’ll see that looks like this, which is what I did. I thought this was yet another version and it’s got a new cover by original artist Roger Dean. The Logo is also new.

It is basically just a pure vanilla version of the 2017 album. It’s got a different booklet. The lyrics are in there, but the whole thing gets completely redesigned. It is a smart hardback book. So the pictures from the gatefold are spread throughout the pages. There is an interview with Roger Dean, on how he came to do the artwork.

The thing you need to remember with this edition (and I didn’t realize this), is that this CD is just the first CD from the 2CD version! So if you’ve already got that you do not really need this at all.

So my recommendation for the best version of Demons and Wizards, is the two-CD one from 2017.

Thank you.

Phil

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