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Deep Purple - Now What?! CD (album) cover

NOW WHAT?!

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.94 | 208 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

benbell
4 stars A lot of people have said that this album is a return to classic form for Deep Purple, but I actually disagree. I think this is a great album, but one of the reasons is that I think they sound like a band that is no trapped into trying to recapture their glory days. It's not an attempt to sound like they did when they were in their 20's (and indeed, a different line-up). It's and album that concentrates on who and what they are now now, and it's all the better for it. It's also their most progressive sounding album in a long time, with long instrumentals and sections which at time sound like ELP, the Doors or (to a lesser extent) Floyd, while still being very clearly Deep Purple at heart.

Jon Lord (to whom this album is prominently dedicated) was one of the great Hammond players of all time and though Don Airey is very good -- and technically perhaps even more proficient -- in previous outings I always felt the boots were just that bit too big. Well I'm prepared to admit with this album he's really made the keyboard stool his own. There is some really top notch keyboard work here in a mix of styles. Steve Morse has perhaps had higher points, but his work here is still very good. Ian Paice and Roger Glover continue to provide a really solid foundation underneath the madness while still grabbing attention here and their. And lastly, Ian Gillan. The voice that wailed out the high notes in Child In Time is no longer the same instrument it was, but for the first time since the late 90's I hear a singer who is working with what he has now and reaping the rewards in the form of fresh ideas and tricks. There are more harmonies and varied registers and the lyrics are perhaps given a bit more prominence.

The album was produced by Bob Ezrin. It's fair to say that his influence on this album is very noticeable and that the equal writing credit he gets is not merely a contractual obligation. He appears both to have brought out the best in the band and also to have injected some new ideas of his own.

As for the individual tracks: I don't think there's a bad track on here though I ignore the bonus track which, although just a bit of fun, rather spoils the mood for me. "Body Line" is probably my least favourite, being rather straightforward rock, though I've heard lots of people saying they love it. Hell To Pay is an otherwise OK track which is rescued by a storming pair of solos from hammond and guitar. The opening to "Out Of Hand" is remiscent of the Knocking At Your Back Door from Perfect Strangers, and is the first real sign of the album being a little different from recent, straigfhter, offerings.Tracks 6, 7 and 8 really set the second half of the album up and, in its place towards the end of the album, the single "All The Time In The World" which I felt at first was rather bland and unrepresentative actually stands up really well.

All in all, this has been my favourite album of the year so far and while I wouldn't describe it as full-on prog, it's definitely shot through with prog influences and is sufficiently interesting to keep my attention through repeated listenings.

benbell | 4/5 |

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