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Deep Purple - Made in Japan CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



4.51 | 688 ratings

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5 stars I'm going to start this review with a very politically uncorrect (for this site) remark: forget about Dream Theater and their ilk - THIS is the blueprint for all prog metal! An unadulterated masterpiece, loud, proud and technically amazing, "Made in Japan" - after over 30 years - is still the mother of all live albums. When it was recorded, Deep Purple were at their height of their musical form, stunning audiences into submission at every live performance. However, in their case it was no mere, dumb bludgeoning in the style of many later heavy metal bands, which thought sheer volume was the only answer. Each of the members of DP was a master of his instrument (even the underrated, but always reliable bassist Roger Glover), and Ian Gillan was the voice that launched a thousand screamers (and still one hell of a vocalist at the age of 60). Last but not least... they had the songwriting skills to back up their musical proficiency - something in which many modern-day bands are sadly lacking.

The seven tracks included on "Made in Japan" are now part of rock's classic heritage. However, they are no simple renditions of the studio tracks, but rather an excuse for the band to flex their collective muscles and showcase their individual talents. Ritchie Blackmore plays like a demon, wringing all kind of weird noises and sublime sounds from his Fender Stratocaster. Jon Lord, the Hammond god, is his perfect foil, sometimes providing a solid background for Blackmore's improvisations, sometimes pulling out all the stops and showing that he was more than a match for the Emersons and Wakemans of this world. Ian Paice's drumming is metronomical in its precision, and his spot on "The Mule" is a good example of a drum solo that avoids being boring. Glover pounds his bass stoically in the background: no Chris Squire- style "lead bassist", but a perfect partner for the impeccable Paice. Then we have Ian Gillan, handsome and wild, competing with Blackmore's guitar for the highest note on "Strange Kind of Woman", screaming his heart out on the legendary, dramatic "Child in Time".

All of the tracks are extended, dilated, chock-full of improvisation and creativity. The closing "Space Truckin'" clocks in at almost 20 minutes, a lengthy jam session including pieces of other tracks, underpinned by Jon Lord's trademark buzzsaw Hammond. It may not be prog in the strictest sense, but the influences are clearly there. Without any possible doubt, an essential listen for any lover of great rock music.

Raff | 5/5 |


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