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."
AllMusic Review by Donald A. Guarisco