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Deep Purple - Stormbringer CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



3.09 | 650 ratings

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3 stars Though I find "Stormbringer" to be quite a pleasant listen, it is far from being the masterpiece "Burn" was. The band was already disintegrating during the recording of this album, with Blackmore leaving to form Rainbow soon after its release. Great title, great cover... What about the music? Certainly not bad (we're talking of Deep Purple, after all), but nothing earth-shaking either.

As it is quite well-known, the main reason for Blackmore's departure were the overt funk influences brought to the band by new members David Coverdale and (especially) Glenn Hughes. Personally, I don't mind funky rythms at all, and bassist Hughes know what he's about. His singing is much more in evidence on this album than on "Burn", where he shared vocal duties with Coverdale and had no opportunity to showcase his vocal talents on his own (as his partner did on "Mistreated"). Here, the two vocalists have a solo spot each, Coverdale with the acoustic, wistful "Soldier of Fortune" and Hughes with the soul-tinged "Holy Man", where his magnificent pipes get a chance to shine in all their glory. Coverdale's voice is almost a polar opposite, dark, emotional and much less polished - they are in many ways an ideal pairing. Shame about the egos taking over and wrecking the band.

The trouble with "Stormbringer" is that the songs, while eminently listenable, have little personality of their own - with the notable exception of the sweeping title-track, the aforementioned "Soldier of Fortune" and "Holy Man", and the keyboard-driven, mid- tempo "The Gypsy". There are a couple of straightforward hard rock numbers and another of more funky- and soul-influenced ones (which are, in my opinion, better than the former), but everything sounds a bit contrived and the strains tearing the band apart are quite evident. Jon Lord's mighty Hammond finds very little space, and Blackmore's incendiary guitar sounds remarkably lifeless.

I gave this album three stars because I quite like it, though I recognise its shortcomings. Unlike its brilliant predecessor, it has very few prog elements, but it is not poppy or overtly commercial like other albums by other equally celebrated bands. Fans of Deep Purple will already own (and possibly appreciate) it, but I would hesitate to recommend it to hardcore proggers.

Raff | 3/5 |


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