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DEEP PURPLE

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.61 | 590 ratings

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Rune2000
Special Collaborator
Prog Metal Team
3 stars They say that strong personalities create magnificent artistry and Deep Purple is definitely a prime example of this phenomenon. Unfortunately there is also a dark side to this saying and right now I honestly can't think of another band that fluctuated as much on both sides of this extreme scale. This basically meant that Deep Purple could deliver magnificent performances which then could be followed up by equally horrendous flops.

Jon Lord and Ian Paice co-founded Deep Purple in 1968 and were also the only constant band members during the golden period from 1968 to 1976. The original lineup (a.k.a. MkI) consisted of Lord, Paice, Nick Simper, Ritchie Blackmore and singer Rod Evans. By the time of their band-titled release the band had already achieved a hit with Hush and Jon Lord continued to dominance Deep Purple's sound and direction. This was the time when Lord's trademark sound emerged and thanks to his frequent experimentation with the Hammond organ he became one of the great innovators of the early prog scene right next to Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman. Unlike those symphonic wizards Lord's style was heavily rooted in the blues sound which he embraced fully on the recordings. To me this basically explains why Jon Lord was a doomed progressive rock artist from the start so there isn't really a need to speculate on how his career would have turned out if he was instead a member of a high profile prog rock band. Incidentally, this is also why most of the early bands like the Moody Blues and Procol Harum could never really cross the barrier into Symphonic Prog territory.

Between 1968 and 1969 Jon Lord had a short lived experimental phase where he tried to fuse classical music with rock. A prominent example of this is the song April which is easily this album's stand out composition. The rest of the material consists mainly of groovy blues rock music without the upbeat compositions that MkII lineup would make Deep Purple famous for in the next couple of years. Blackmore's speed and virtuosity on lead guitar hasn't yet achieved anything noteworthy although there are a few interesting occasions, like The Painter, Bird Has Flown and the first minutes of April, that can be of interest for his fans. Lord's organ sound is often more prominent than Blackmore's guitar which can be considered somewhat of a rarity for a band that features both guitar and keyboard in the lineup. It's almost like Blackmore is playing rhythmic guitar with only few instances where he takes the spotlight.

The band-titled third album might not be as significant to the fans of Deep Purple as some of their '70s output but this is easily the most consistent release from MkI-lineup which is a great place to start for anyone who is interested in that formation of the band. To everyone else this is still a good, but non-essential release.

***** star songs: April (12:10)

**** star songs: Chasing Shadows (5:35) Blind (5:26) Lalena (5:06) Fault Line (1:46)

*** star songs: The Painter (3:52) Why Didn't Rosemary? (5:04) Bird Has Flown (5:36)

Rune2000 | 3/5 |

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