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Deep Purple - In Rock CD (album) cover

IN ROCK

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

4.30 | 856 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Marc Baum
Prog Reviewer
5 stars What can be said about this fantastic album?

Well, first you have a four octave vocal assult, given by no other than the legendary Ian Gillan, also known as Jesus Christ (Superstar, of course.) His amazing banshee wails have been known to Disturb the Priest, every now and then. I can't emphasize how great Ian Gillan is, you have to hear this album to truly understand. Combine Ian Gillan's mastery at hard rock vocals with Ritchie Blackmore, and you have a winning team. Ritchie Blackmore is a truly great guitar player. He gives us fantastic riff after riff, and his solos are even more amazing. He is deeply rooted in classical music, and it gives a fresh perspective compared to the blues style many bands played at the time. (and hey, I love Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, but variety is good). Add Tony Iommi into the mix with these four greats, and you have my five favourite guitarists outside of prog. We cannot forget Jon Lord, the organ player. "Organ player!?" some might exclaim. But believe me, he is fantastic. He really knows what he is doing. Without him, Ritchie's guitar riffs wouldn't sound half the same. What a lot of people don't realize is that when Jon Lord is riffing with his Hammond Organ, it sounds similar to a guitar. This in turn creates a huge massive sound, which would become a trademark of the band (well, sometimes Jon played piano and stuff, but that wasn't particularly often). I could compare Jon Lord to some other organ players, maybe Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, but his style is far different from these geniuses. He himself is also one!

We cannot forget the rhythm section, however. They are very impressive themselves. The two of them are Ian Paice (drums) and Roger Glover (bass). I'll start with Little Ian first (Gillan was called Big Ian, and Paice wasn't really small or anything, but Gillan was pretty big). Ian Paice, in short, just has the groove. His drum beats are great. He can play speedy beats with ease, bashing his drum set, but at the same time keeping his "groove." He plays amazingly throughout the album, and is often underrated when people talk about drummers. Granted, I prefer John Bonham (Led Zeppelin) over him, but he beats out his other competitors at the time such as Bill Ward (Black Sabbath). Then again there is Keith Moon, who is fantastic, but I would still put Ian Paice on the same level as him. I just mentioned these drummers because they were all in Hard Rock bands that had overflowing influence on the genres of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.

Now on to Roger Glover, who is very important in the history of Deep Purple, despite getting the job in Deep Purple by coming along with Ian Gillan when he was about to join Purple. Roger Glover is a great bassist, and was the co-writer of the lyrics along with Ian Gillan. You can hear his thundering bass amidst all the guitar and organ action from Ritchie and Jon. Admittedly, his bass was not as loud as Geezer Butler, but it is still loud and great. He works great alongside of Ian Paice, which is very important for the rhythm section. Someone has to keep the rhythm while Jon and Ritchie are trading off solos! (which happens frequently) We cannot forget the fact that he does the remixing and a lot of the work on the Anniversary Editions of the Mark II(which is this line-up) albums. Before I go on, I should also mention that I will be reviewing the 25th Anniversary Edition of "In Rock". The normal version is great too, but the extra songs you get are a superb addition, and the intro to Speed King isn't cut off.. Plus, the 25th version is remastered, which is very noticeable. I have both versions, and the sound quality is vastly improved on the remastered version. "Into the Fire" is barely listenable on the non remastered version! The remastered version is an import though, but it is only about five dollars more if you order it. In Germany you can get it in any well- ordered cd shop for the price around 8 dollars/euros.

Anyway, on to the songs themselves, which is what the album is about. I will review each song in detail and give this time stand out performances as an addition, which will show the particular qualities of the single band members on here.

01 - Speed King "Just a few roots, replanted."

Overview - That intro is astounding. What a strange way to start a song, but it all works. Ritchie really shows his skill here. Anyway, the song contains a pretty heavy riff for the time, and is relatively fast. It would be strange to have a slow song called Speed King, wouldn't it? There is a neat little instrumental in the middle, but Ian Gillan comes back with a furious scream-laugh, and proceeds to finish the song along with the rest of the band. It is a great song, with a great chorus. However, the normal American version of this song has that great intro cut off, which turns this almost-six- minute song into a mind-numb 4 minute rocker. Without that great intro, the song loses a lot of its power and unique-ness. I rate the full version, which is definitely a classic in general and deserves the full score!

Stand Out Performances - Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore Track rating: 10/10 points

02 - Bloodsucker "A particularly nasty sort of fellow, there are lots of us."

Overview - "Aaah, No, No, No!!" From the first few seconds, you can tell this is gonna be a great hard rock song. Ian Gillan's performance in this song is outstanding! He dominates the song, easily. He gets three vocal parts right in a row, and shines in all of them. Then we hear some classic Organ-Guitar solo trade offs, which are great. The last part of the song is perhaps the most interesting. Olympic Sharpshooter explained the effect already, so I will not go more into it, except to say that it is great. All throughout the song, Roger Glover plays a crunching bassline, and Ian Paice's performance is great. The song includes some brilliant guitar breaks, which have an prog-atmosphere, at least you could imagine it, but it's quite obvious. However, despite the great instrumental prowess in this song, Ian Gillan clearly outshines the others with his great performance.

Stand Out Performances - Ian Gillan Track rating: 9/10 points

03 - Child In Time "The story of a loser - it could be you."

Overview - The most fantastic song on the album, and is truly awesome. After the first time I heard this amazing epic, I was in awe. If Deep Purple could only be remembered by one song, this would be it. Forget your Smoke on the Waters and Woman from Tokyos, this song absolutely destroys those songs, and to be quite honest, the rest of the Deep Purple catalog. This song is emotional, calm, wild, intrigueing, amazing, and many more things.

The song is essentially about victims of war, and is lyrically very short. It begins with a calm and beautiful organ intro, which is borrowed from It's A Beautiful Day's Bombay Calling. Roger and Ian Paice give us a great rhythm, which fits the song perfectly. Then there is Ian Gillan who starts singing. He does an excellent, no...more than excellent, job singing. He sings the verses passionately and powerfully. Then we enter the trademark "Aaaaaah"s, which you really have to hear to understand them. They start out soft, and progressively get louder and more aggressive. Aggressive really isn't the word to use, but I cannot find a better way to describe this amazing work of vocal art. After Ian Gillan finishes his amazing stunt, it is time for Ritchie to enter the scene. Oh, and enter he shall. He gives us a guitar solo like no other. It starts off slow, and then gets more fast paced as time goes on. It is played and written amazingly. Ritchie has done many amazing solos, but in my opinion, he has never topped this one. Maybe it is just because of the song the solo is in, but either way, the solo is amazing. The rhythm section is great as always throughout the guitar assault. Jon comes in near the end of Ritchie's solo and gives a great solo. It gets faster and faster, until suddenly it stops, and we get that calm organ again, except now Jon is playing an amazing clam organ solo. Ian Gillan sings passionately again, and enters his "Aaaaah"s again. It starts out calmly like the first time, but when he changes this time, it is much more drastic. As he goes on, he gives an even better performance than before, and leaves you wondering how he can possibly do it. The song ends with chaos, featuring Ian Gillan screaming over the top of speedy instruments, but I would have the song end no other way. The song is over ten minutes, but every second is amazing. This is the best song on the album, the best song Deep Purple ever did, and in my book, the best song ever recorded, alongside with Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven".

Stand Out Performances - Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, Ian Paice Track rating: 10/10 points

04 - Flight of the Rat "Just to remind you there are other ways of turning on."

Overview - After the full out assault of awesomeness that is Child In Time, Deep Purple had to give us something damn good afterwards, and they do not let us down. After I gave this song a few listens, it instantly became one of my favorites. The song just rocks, there is no other way of putting it. Ian Gillan gives a good performance, but refrains from screaming. Roger Glover gives us some great bass, and Jon Lord throws those solos at us like no other. The real stars of this song are Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice, though. Ritchie's guitar riff for this song is excellent, and his solos are miles beyond his riff. The man can really play guitar, and does not get the respect he deserves. Ian Paice gives us a great performance himself. His drums are rockin' throughout the song, and his drum solo at the end of the song is great. The song is really all over the place after the first three or so minutes, but that is what makes this song so great.

Stand Out Performances - Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Paice Track rating: 9.5/10 points

05 - Into the Fire "Out of the frying pan..."

Overview - This song is pretty heavy for its time, and is pretty aggressive. However, the song isn't amazing like the others, but just a very good song. Ian Gillan gives us some furious vocals, which are probably the highlight of the song. Other than that, the song really doesn't stick out too much, other than being heavy. Jon and Ritchie do not dissapoint with their solos and riffing, and Roger and Ian Paice are great as always.

Stand Out Performances - Ian Gillan Track rating: 8.5/10 points

06 - Living Wreck "It takes all sorts - support your local groupie."

Overview - Another great song. It is definitely a step up from Into the Fire. The song isn't really super heavy or in your face, it is just a great song. Jon Lord plays great during the song, his "swoosh" organ sound giving the song a lot of character. Ian Gillan also doesn't scream during the song, which is the only other time other than Flight of the Rat where he doesn't. It does not make the song any less great; in fact, his vocals are great on this one. The lyrics are a bit strange, though. You know that "groove" thing I was saying Ian Paice had? He displays it in full glory in this song. Great performance by the Little Ian. Roger gives us some great bass on this song, another of the song's highlights. Ritchie plays well, but he has better moments on the album.

Stand Out Performances - Jon Lord, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Ian Gillan Track rating: 9/10 points

07 - Hard Lovin' Man "For Martin Birch - catalyst."

Overview - Wow, another amazing song. This album really cranks them out. Listen to the guitar riff, it is great. The intro is also killer, as well. The whole band really shines on this track, they play very well. Jon's solos at first were a bit strange to me, but after a few listens I started enjoying them a lot. Ian Gillan gives us a wild performance. He certainly makes sure we know what kind of man he is! Ritchie solos like a madman on this one, and along with Gillan is the highlight of this song. However, every band member gives a great performance on this one, as I have said before, but I cannot understate their achievements. This ends the original album with a bang, but if you take my advice and get the remastered import, you will have other goodies waiting for you.

Stand Out Performances - Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, Ian Paice Track rating: 10/10 points

So, on the remastered import we have some more tracks. There are two Black Nights, one is the original single version, and the other is the "Unedited Roger Glover Remix". The single version stops midway through Ritchie Blackmore's final guitar solo, and we miss out on some great stuff. But the full version is there for us. It sounds a lot better as well. We also have remixes of Speed King and Flight of the Rat, which are pretty useless if you ask me. There is a piano version of Speed King, which is a pretty good listen. There is a great instrumental called Jam Stew, and a great unreleased (at least during the Mark II days) song called Cry Free. There are also various "Studio Chats" which are pretty useless again, but some are interesting. I won't review these tracks, but I will tell you that Cry Free is great and is worthy to listen through. The Unedited Black Night is also a fantastic song, and is worthy to play over and over again.

So, there you have it. If you took the time to read this review, you either already have this amazing work of art or highly interested in the album, and therefore should go purchase it.

Cheers!

Point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Record rating: 10 + 9 + 10 + 9.5 + 8.5 + 9 + 10 = 66/7 tracks = 9.428571429 = 9.5 points

Deep Purple - "In Rock": 9.5/10 points = 94 % on MPV scale = 5/5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of progressive music

Marc Baum | 5/5 |

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