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Deep Purple - Machine Head CD (album) cover

MACHINE HEAD

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

4.27 | 833 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The liner notes say that "2 out of 3 agree that heavy metal was born" with the release of this album. Put me in the third that cries "nay!"-- it takes more than a heavy backbeat the occasional up-tempo guitar lick to make even the '70's heavy metal sound, and Machine Head only just barely musters up the energy to do that. As someone with no emotional attachment to this band, let me say that this album is a fun listen, sometimes good, sometimes energetic, but mostly ho-hum and very overated; it hasn't aged well.

The celebrated "Highway Star" opens with a fine hard-rock groove, displays fine soloing by Lord's keyboard and Blackmore's guitar. It ends without accomplishing much, but is miles better than the sing-songey blues repetition of "Maybe I am Leo", which follows. "Pictures of Home" picks things up again, with a nice momentum and bluesy improv, including a surprise bass solo by Glover. The lead playing is generally solid and interesting, and when the group kicks it into gear they're quite effective-- the instrumental jam session "Lazy" comes to mind; however, the album is marred by the bland rhythm section (Paice's drumming is a snooze- fest), Gillan's surprisingly uninspired vocals, and genearlly unambitious songwriting... just listen to "Smoke on the Water", the very essence of riff-based laziness. I'll take Hendrix any day of the week.

My introduction to this band was with the excellent In Rock, which practically rocked my socks off, but this almost feels like a different band, their playing considerably more precise but also more gutless. Fine hard rock, but not exciting enough to stick with me or artistic enough to engage me.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 2 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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