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Deep Purple - Machine Head CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



4.29 | 968 ratings

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4 stars Recorded under chaotic circumstances - as recounted in Smoke On the Water, surely the most overplayed filler number in rock history - Deep Purple's third album of their full-on proto-metal stage (as inaugurated by In Rock) is probably my favourite of theirs. Smoke On the Water, as well as being somewhat overexposed, is also just not that good a song (the opening riff tries to be plodding and foreboding but just sounds like a fumbling beginner trying and failing to do a Tony Iommi riff), and Lazy is a knock-off blues-rock number that's about as simplistic and uninteresting as its title suggest, but elsewhere the album excels.

The highlight of the album is probably Highway Star. Whilst in terms of subject matter it's arguably just a reworking of Speed King from In Rock, the sheer furious speed and fury the band bring to bear during this song (and the exceptional, driving guitar solo) is surely a foundational document of speed metal. Space Truckin' might have goofy lyrics but there's no denying that it's got a hell of a riff. And on balance, the album's finer qualities more than outshine the rushed circumstances of its recording. Deep Purple aren't my favourite early- 1970s proto-metal band by any measure, but this album showcases why they're considered a big influence on metal better than any other of their studio works.

Warthur | 4/5 |


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