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4 stars The question will surely rage for a long time to come, where Deep Purple prog? I'm not going to get involved in that argument now, instead I'm going to give my four stars for what is surely one of the classic albums to come from the early 70s. The classic Mk II line up plays a blinder here.

It kicks off with the staple Highway Star, loud fast and a display of some top level playing from messrs Blackmore and Lord. A classic opener. Then comes the probable weakest number, Maybe I'm a Leo, I always found this a bit oddly paced and dull. Nonetheless still a good track but lacking anything too memorable. Pictures of Home follows, returning to the mood set by Highway Star with a rapid drum intro and awhat follows blistering solos by the entire band. (I always loved the rising bass provided by Roger Glover on this song!) Never Before provides little too exciting. It is folowed of course by Smoke on The Water, the curse of guitar shops the world over, mind you in Purple's hands it is a deserved classic. It was never my favourite on the album, it actually precludes what I feel is the albums strongest track, Lazy starting with the ultra distorted organ of Jon Lord before leading into a first class, high paced bluesy extended intro. Blackmore again here gets full marks. The album ends with Space Truckin', a great riff and raw energy make this a fine ending note, and indeed the band goes out with a bang.

This is a brilliant album, surely Purp's finest, it displays constant reminders of Blackmore and Lord's brilliance and has classic songs which surely put Deep Purple as one of the leading bands in the prog/hard rock genre.

Report this review (#47098)
Posted Sunday, September 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars First of all I agree with the Reviewer Stephen Lang on saying the album is more Rock Orientated, yes this time they do steer more to that direction but Prog-ness is still in the mist of the album, mainly due to Lord keeping it going a bit, and what wrng with that, most early Metal bands had a keyboard player,bar from SABBATH, and ZEPPELIN.

The album: I have only heard the vinyl version of this album so I don't have a clue about the extra bonus stuff etc.

I will focus on the LP version in this review, Highway Star is the album opener and is a excellent rock n roll track for driving fast!!!, (don't do anything mad on the road), Maybe I'm A Leo, Pictures Of Home are also fantastic tracks, Never Before is short and catchy, Smoke On The Water has probably one of the best guitar playinga and that popular riff and a fantastic rock n roll track, Lazy another good track,but Space Truckin' is one of my favourites and this track just rocks big time, lus it has wailing vocals by IAN GILLAN and I love everything about this track.

This album is more of a ROCK album, but it does ROCK!!

Report this review (#47380)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of the best hard rock albums ever, but it's not essential or masterpiece in the progressive rock. All the songs are ever-green classics, especially "Highway Star", "Smoke On The Water", "Pictures Of Home" and "Lazy". In the progressive aspect, five stars would be so much. If I give them five stars, it really would be unfair for progressive bands.
Report this review (#47474)
Posted Tuesday, September 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Deep Purple finally in the archives, and so is Machine Head, albeit a bit later... this is more hard-rocking than the previous ones, and has the "blueprint" of heavy metal, i.e. Smoke on the Water, but let's not get overwhelmed by that....

The album features three of the greatest Heavy Prog songs you might hear: Highyway Star, Pictures of Home and Space Truckin'. And even one jazzy track, probably the highest achievement of Deep Purple progwise: Lazy. What a blast! I simply love all versions of that song I've ever heard, and studio version is the tidiest of those. Keyboard- guitar interplay is simply amazing. I don't know why proghead guys tend to underrate, at least overlook this track while considering Deep Purple (mainly as prog or not).

I suggest those who despise DP to listen to just this track one more time, with attention!

The rest of the tracks are at least decent rock songs, though most people (and admittedly I) will declare their boredom of Smoke on the Water! I wouldn't recommend the bluesy B'side When a Blind Man Cries, though, but since it wasn't in the original album, and included as the last track on re-releases, it doesn't diminish the value of the album as a masterpiece. Good decision to leave out in the first place, hah?!?!? (actually I have to admit I like Blind Man even better than their next hit Soldier of Fortune -which is even more popular than DP itself in Turkey, in non-prog and non-rock cicrles-, I even believe this was the prototype of SoF...)

Lastly, I will declare once again that I ceased to be a Purple fan long ago (though this album is one of the few original CD's I have, along with two other DP CD's. The rest of my prog collection is mainly on mp3 dicsc!), and I really don't know why on earth I chose this one to review first from DP, I think it's because it's historic importance, being one of the first Heavy Prog albums - though most people still won't admit the existence of the sub-genre!- after the first signs which were revealed in Fireball and In Rock...

A must have, even if you're not into the music represented by Deep Purple!

Report this review (#47629)
Posted Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars If Fireball was a little weaker album , its follower is really more than making up for the slavk. Of course now , we are miles away from the proto-prog developped in the first three albums and definitely in the hard-rock realm (I am not keen to call Purple a Heavy Metal group , but clearly they were an influence on some Progmetal bands of the late 80's and 90's) although they are still hints of prog influences most notably in Lazy.

Highway Star is an answer to Speed King , and Leo and Pictures are excellent concise hard rock track but one proghead would wish for longer solo breaks and better interplay between the members. Never Before was the fourth single taken from the album and is yet another classic Purple track.

Side 2 starts with the most famous riff ever - and all Progheads are happy that a mention to Zappa's Mothers is made but it does not make the track proggier for it. It also mentions Funky Claude (Nobs) the Montreux Jazz Festival organizer. Lazy with its superb Hammond intro and great interplay is unfortunately real prog touch on the album - but the track was a lift off It's A Beautiful Day's Don & Dewey track. Space trucking rounds up the album and was yet another succesful single.

Of all the bonus (bogus?) tracks available on the different CD versions of this album , only When A Blind Man Cries is of interest to fans , the rest being remixes. Yes , a classic Purple album , but a low prog content.

Report this review (#47738)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I think this album is very overrated. There are not anymore any artistic elements in their music which the band had in their early works, and only dull hard rock elements are left. The best track here is in my opinnion is "Pictures of Home". There are some better versions of the album's hit-songs in the "Live in Japan" double vinyl, and I would recommend you to check that out preferably than this.
Report this review (#48396)
Posted Sunday, September 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is how I like my 'heavy rock'(metal?), i.e. I'm not an AC/DC fan or their ilk. Not into a bunch of anthemic sreaming done very very loud, with little in the way of a melody. This album has great tunes, lots of energy. Highway star has to be one of the best songs of this genre. This album was very popular in the USA back in the mid 70's. A landmark album, their best, although 'Fireball' is also around this calibre.
Report this review (#53829)
Posted Saturday, October 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Their more commercial album ever, and their best album ever, this state of time , they were really in the music, they were feeling it... a real masterpiece. Pieces like "Highway Star" and "Lazy" are great songs to jam and it's progressive...
Report this review (#56100)
Posted Saturday, November 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Deep Purple hit their commercial peak with this album.

This may be the most accessible Deep Purple album. I am sure that almost anyone who likes hard rock enjoys this album. Blackmore plays excellent hard rock/blues riffs and solos, The drummer and bass player builds exciting and fast rhythms, Gillan proves himself to be one of the best metal vocalists, and Jon Lord gives the symphonic touch like in all albums with his hammond.

Smoke on The Water is probably the most famous hard rock song of all times with its simple riff, and catchy vocals. Highway Star and Space Trucking are excellent hard rock songs. Lazy is the real highlight of the album: A jazz-rock song with a brilliant organ-guitar unison riff.

My Grade : B-

Essential album for classic rock fans. Since this is not prog at all, it is not that important to have it in a progressive rock collection.

Report this review (#57482)
Posted Tuesday, November 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's been a long, long time since I want to review this CLASSIC album. When I realised that Deep Purple is in Prog Archives, I was very happy because IS a hard/prog rock band. It's true it has become more rock throug the years, but in the begginig was as hard/prog band. Just listen the old live albums like "Made in Japan", has improvisations extended soloing, THAT'S PROG!!

Well, this is one of my all-time favourite CD, a TOTAL CLASSIC of music. It has everything: MEMORABLE RIFFS, SONGS, SOLOS...

"Highway Star" in my opinion is one of the best songs ever, maybe after Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to heaven". Memorable song. Maybe the liryc is a bit stupid, but, who cares? Listen to the music. Excellent classical piano solo by master Lord, and god guitarist Blackmore does maybe the BEST GUITAR SOLO EVER on this song. No more words...

"Maybe I'm a Leo": well another MEMORABLE RIFF. It's a bit bluesy, again featuring excellent solos.

"Pictures of Home": Again another Blackmore's MEMORABLE RIFF. It has sometimes a sullen climax, that goes very well with the song. Again excellent solos...

"Never Before" maybe is the most conventional song of the album, including the next song, but it's a good song too, with nice piano solo.

"SMOKE ON THE WATER":Is any person on the earth who doesn't know this riff, the best one ever??? TOTAL CLASSIC, no more words...

"Lazy": another CLASSIC. EXCELLENT song. I never get tired of listening to this song, maybe one of the best ever....

The record closes with "Space truckin", well, it just blew up my head: "Come on, come on, come on, let's go Space Trucking!!!" Yeah......

I reccomend this masterpiece to ANY MUSIC LOVER, not just prog fans. I'm sure you won't be disappointed.

Rating: 5/5

PD: My english is poor, sorry.

Report this review (#69178)
Posted Sunday, February 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The only mistake I made was listening to the Machine Head tracks first on MADE IN JAPAN before I even bought Machine Head - and one gets the impression that the studio wasn't a suitable environment for the real nature of hard and loud rocking tracks DP had in their arsenal in 1972. For me, Machine Head can be rather viewed as a collection of studio-processed blueprints, from which the real powers would be unleashed in their mammoth live versions documented on MADE IN JAPAN. Without any doubts, the ultimate versions of Machine Head are on the latter.
Report this review (#77259)
Posted Friday, May 5, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars There were several albums that came out in the late 60s/early 70s that finally got it right for those of us who wanted our rock and roll to throw us up against the wall. "Are You Experienced," "The Yes Album" and "Led Zeppelin II" come to mind. For we Deep Purple fans this was the one that we had been waiting for since getting hints of their potential balls to the walls power on "In Rock" and "Fireball." This one, to paraphrase the immortal "Spinal Tap," turned the volume up to 11. From the screaming hellride that is "Highway Star" to the gleeful speed demon on acid song "Space Trucking" this album satisfied our greedy yearning for tunes that we could sink our teeth into and blow a few speakers with. "Smoke on the Water" is one of those songs that only comes along every decade or so that taps into some primal subconscious yen of a young person and makes them involuntarily bang their head to the beat. It defies explanation to the uninitiated. It may have become somewhat of a joke from being overplayed for so long but, at the time, it was no joke at all. It was an anthem. And "Lazy" is just Richie showing the world that he belonged in the same paragraph with Clapton and Page at the time. Deep Purple had long since shed any pretentions to being prog-minded and had jumped into the hard rock fray with both feet. Now they were leading the way. While I still think they were to reach their apex with the stunning "Burn" album a few years later, this was without a doubt the peak of creativity for this particular band lineup. "Machine Head." It even sounds cool.
Report this review (#78357)
Posted Tuesday, May 16, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars There's hard rock, and then there's Deep Purple - at the head of the hard rock machine. A legendarry album from a legendary band, and essential listening for anyone who appreciates the 1970s sound.

What was side 2 of the vinyl (Smoke on the Water onwards) is the most progressive part of the album. Although this would make an excellent addition to any rock collection, never mind Prog Rock, I can't bring myself to call it essential for Prog-heads. Besides, you've probably already got it.

Only here would I award it 3 stars - anywhere else it would be 4.5. Not quite a masterpiece as a whole, but with tracks that are mini-masterpieces in themselves.

From the opening chugging riff that has to be familar to just about everyone and their cat, "Highway Star" begins an intense rollercoaster ride through the seeds of heavy metal - but with keyboards, as was de-rigeur for the time. The amazing engine sound kicks off a rock keyboard solo par-excellence from Lord - every carefully planned transistion providing drive and momentum down the fast lane. This might not be speed metal, but the energy is tremendous. Blackmore's second twin-barrelled solo is perfectly and carefully worked out with impossible layers (thanks to studio trickery) and immaculate execution sometimes turning around cycles of fifths, but mainly sticking around pedal-driven grooves giving a space-rock feel reminiscent of Hawkwind.

"Maybe I'm a Leo" is deeply Spooky Tooth inspired - the major difference is in Gillan's surprisingly uninspired vocals. The band get into a smooth groove for Blackmore's solo, a pure blues number. Lord tries to save it with a Ray Manzarek styled solo, and Paice puts in some nifty upside-down licks - but, it the truth be told, this is just a workman-like piece of filler.

"Pictures of Home" features riffing that should be familiar to Iron Maiden fans - that kind of dum-digga-da-dum thing, reminiscent of the Dr Who theme tune that pervades Maiden's work. Blackmore puts in some real air guitar-worthy soloing, and Lord follows up with some magnificently scrunchy keyboard work featuring a hammer horror run in 3rds that's not to be missed! Glover even manages a bass solo in here - really you've got the lot!

"Never Before" begins with one of those "chicken-clucking" riffs that I'm really not keen on. Luckily this soon passes, and Blackmore delivers a trademark riff par excellence, which is followed by some cool piano-driven boogie. The bridge vocal passage is fascinating for its complete change of mood into a somewhat blue Beatles-esque world. Blackmore shows that there are several strings to his bow with the ensuing solo that wanders off into Chuck Berry territory.

There can't be a nomadic hermit's camel in outer Mongolia that isn't familiar with the dan- dan-dan song (as Ian Gillian once referred to it during an interview). While it is undoubtedly the most commercial song on the album, on the surface, with its catchy melody and hooks, the arrangement is quite stunning, and a departure from the more standard rock of the earlier tracks. Every member of the band has their own role in the great scheme of things, and wanders off to fit their own piece in the jigsaw before bringing everything back home for the choruses. I hope to outrage more than a few by categorically stating that this is the most progressive song on the entire album :o)

From here on, we get even more progressive - Lord's wonderful free-form intro to "Lazy" is magnificent, Rock and Roll, and perfectly crafted too, which is more than can be said for Blackmore's noodling up and down the pentatonic scale. His riffing is way more interesting than his soloing on this track - which really belongs to Lord, who gives both Wakeman and Emerson a few lessons in how to play Rock keyboards. The song itself is a kind of blues standard, with a progressive arrangement - quite amazing given that the instruments are mainly traditional, right down to the harmonica. Blackmore's second solo sounds like something Angus Young would later make a living out of.

"Space Trucking" has always been my favourite Purple track, and that driving back beat is part of the reason why. Paice's immaculately timed (if not immaculately executed) rolls add the perfect detail, and when the chorus kicks in, it's evident that there was simply nothing else around in this kind of vein - and probably never will be again. The groove is like a tsunami - powerful and inevitable, sweeping aside all in its path and smacking you in the face like a brick wall. Gillan is given a much freer rein and gives a commanding performance during which you can prefectly imagine him tilting the mike stand while throwing back his long locks. From here it just gets better and better until the massive change that marks the end of the bridge. Here more than almost anywhere, it's abundantly clear that the band had a terrific time producing this material.

To summarise, an essential rock great, but without enough experimentation - especially in textures and form - to be considered Prog Rock. Nevertheless, it has a good and progressive vibe about it, thanks to Lord's dense keyboard sound and the individual member's freedom to go off and do their own thing every now and again.

"In Rock" comes more highly recommended to proggers - but really, with the four famous tracks laid down here, you can't really go wrong.

If you aren't familiar with "Space Shanty" by Khan or "Spooky Two" by Spooky Tooth, I'd recommend listening to both after or instead of this album.

Report this review (#79051)
Posted Tuesday, May 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars In the history of Rock music there are a lot of albums which, IMO, have a special place, being very representative of the development of this musical style. This album is one of them.

This line-up in this band was also their best: Ian Gillan`s powerful vocals; Ian Paice`s very good drums playing (maybe one of the best and maybe one of the underrated); Ritchie Blackmore`s very own Fender Stratocaster electric guitar playing style; Jon Lord`s distorted keyboards; and Roger Glover, a very good bassist.

This album was released in April 1972, and at that time I was 7 years old. Maybe the first time that I listened to this album was later in that year, or maybe until 1973. At that time, my brothers were listening to very good music, and this album was one of them.

The songs:

"Highway Star": a very good way to start this album, with an energetic song. Maybe this is the best song from this album.

"Maybe I`m a Leo":with lyrics which are like a joke, really.

"Pictures of Home": a song which demonstrates how good was this band improvising, because, IMO, I think that there was a basic structure of a song to which the members of the band added new things improvising.

"Never Before": another energetic song, which I think that it was also released as a single.

"Smoke on the Water": maybe the most famous song from this band. How many amateur or semi-professional bands play this song in their "garage rehearsals" and in their first gigs? I think that this song also was released as a single.

"Lazy": another song with funny lyics.

"Space Truckin`": another energetic song to close the album on a high point.

I could be wrong, but this album gives me the impression of being composed and recorded at the same time, as the songs sound to me like they were saying to each other duing the recording sessions: "Hey, I have this riff, I think that it could be good for a song. Let`s us play it to see how it develops from there...", and after some improvisation, ideas were chosen, and songs were structured from there. The lyrics are simple, like Gillan simply was improvising them while the band was playing the music. If my impression is right, the final product is of a very good album, and it shows how good was this band playing togehter and composing songs together. I agree with previous reviewers: this album is a "clasic " of Rock music recorded in only 15 days.

Report this review (#79616)
Posted Sunday, May 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Whether or not Deep Purple is prog, they are a fine hard rock, as solidified when they released their 1972 album Machine Head. Perhaps I'm a bit biased because it was the very first album I ever purchased (back when I was in seventh grade), but Machine Head is arguably Deep Purple's finest (studio) album and one of the greatest 70s hard rock albums ever.

The album opens with the blistering "Highway Star" which is full of excellent solos and high- tempo playing. With the subject matter on cars (at least), it makes for a dangerous song to drive to. The pretty average but nonetheless rockers ("Maybe I'm A Leo" and "Pictures Of Home") follow, displaying the band's powerful rock abilities. From this point, the album gets more progressive with tracks "Lazy" and "Space Truckin," the former with wonderful guitar and organ play in the beginning.

It would be a travesty not to mention the most classic song on Machine Head- "Smoke On The Water." With great band performances and probably the most instantly recognizable rock riff ever, it's a classic for a reason. Something that's pretty interesting is the song's contrasting verse-chorus form, making an awesome song a bit more interesting.

Overall, Machine Head is an essential album for any fan remotely interested in rock music and even for prog fans who like a little progressiveness in their average rock music.

Report this review (#81875)
Posted Saturday, June 24, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars An almost perfect masterpiece to me.

5 out of 7 songs of this album deserves a 5/5 rating. I bought this specific album because I wanted a Deep Purple album and this is the one which have the best rating on this web site and it was absolutely not a waste of money. Once, I saw a review saying that this album is not for prog fans but I disagree, It is not hard to really get into this one, and after the first listen, I already jumped to the conclusion that this is a progressive masterpiece. After listening to it again several times, I still think this one is a masterpiece.

If you don't have it, go buy it, NOW.

Report this review (#83808)
Posted Saturday, July 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Proto-prog...hhmmm....hard to clasify this as ANY kind of prog. Sure, Jon Lord is the king of the Hammond organ, and on the version of the album I own, the Roger Glover side two re-mix of the album gives you a bit of a different take on the track "Lazy" in regards with Lord's keyboard solo, but by this time Deep Purple was definately more a hard rocking boogie band, (I can see where Kansas got a bit of their boogie). Yet, it's hard for me to give this any less then 4 given the strong songs on it. "Highway Star", "Smoke On The Water" and "Space Truckin" are flat out classics of hard rock with "Smoke..." a bit more proggish then the rest. The only song that makes me want to press the forward button is "Never Before", and that song they thought was going to be the big hit! All the guys are on full throttle and at the top of their game. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt whether this is prog or not. I love Jon Lord's Hammond sound and because of that it gets the four stars. But come on, it's boogie blues rock 'n roll and that's all it is. But hot d*mn, its good!
Report this review (#84645)
Posted Sunday, July 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars How do you review the best-ever album by one of your favourite bands of all time? By saying perhaps that the album deserves six stars instead of five, gushing extravagant praise and ending with a wholehearted recommendation? Or rather, by trying to be as objective as you can, even going to the lengths of trying to find flaws which are not there? Difficult indeed, when you are confronted by about 40 minutes of absolute musical bliss - soaring vocals, fiery, crystal-clear guitar, rumbling Hammond organ, and one of the tightest rythm sections you can imagine... Not to mention songs that other bands can only dream of writing, each and every one a classic.

"Machine Head" is one of those records that cannot be ignored. Even more so than "In Rock", it is the album that launched a thousand bands, the blueprint every fledgling hard rocker had to take into account, the monumental landmark dwarfing everything else around. The sheer chemistry made evident by its predecessors - notably the incendiary live "Made in Japan", released just a few months earlier - comes to full fruition here, showing a band who, though on the verge of being pulled apart by tensions and freewheeling egos, have reached the absolute peak of their musical condition. The songs are crafted with skill and feeling, so that they never give the impression of being mere showcases of technical ability, but rather the result of an ongoing process involving the contribution of every member of the band.

Those who consider "Machine Head" to be a great hard rock album, though with very little progressive content, should give it a more than usually careful listen and think twice before saying anything to that effect. As a matter of fact, the structure of the songs is much more intricate than it seems, the interplay between the instruments flawless and at the same time so spontaneous as to seem almost casual - you never get that contrived feeling that is so common in the output of many contemporary prog-metal bands. The main feature, as in the case of "In Rock", but here at an even more advanced level, are the duels between Jon Lord's powerful, brooding Hammond and Ritchie Blackmore's dazzling, diamond-sharp guitar. "Machine Head" is actually one of THE great guitar albums of all time - not only because it contains the mother of all riffs in the immortal "Smoke on the Water". Blackmore's performance is textbook-perfect throughout, the notes cascading with effortless elegance from his Stratocaster - so deceptively simple, so difficult to imitate. Ian Gillan's supercharged vocals are the perfect foil for those two masters of their instruments, almost hysterical on classic concert opener "Highway Star" (the archetypal speed metal song) and in closer "Space Truckin'" (definitely the proggiest track of the album), more restrained and almost wistful in "Maybe I'm a Leo" and "Pictures of Home", with an experimental feel in the jazzy "Lazy" - another song which deviates quite sharply from traditional hard rock/blues standards.

I can't help concluding this review with what my Roman ancestors would define "in cauda venenum" - the sting in the tail. When Deep Purple were inducted into PA, many people were scandalised, objecting that they were not prog. Now, I wonder whether DP are really much less so than those bands who have been included on the sole grounds of using keyboards - when the structure of their compositions is much less progressive than many of the things DP have done in the space of their 38-year-long career.

A masterpiece? Without any doubt. A masterpiece of progressive music? Though no one would maintain that "Machine Head" is similar to prog cornerstones such as "Close to the Edge" or "Thick as a Brick", it is quite far from being the mere bludgeon-fest it is commonly held to be. Listen without prejudice, and enjoy to the fullest - this is rock music at its very best. Legendary is the only word that can do it justice.

Report this review (#86158)
Posted Tuesday, August 8, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars It's really not all that proggy, but the organ and spacey jamming, especially evident on "Lazy" and "Highway Star" (great synth!) make this album a simple masterpiece of rock, and of all Music. out of 7 songs of this album deserves a 5/5 rating. I bought this specific album because I wanted a Deep Purple album and this is the one which have the best rating on this web site and it was absolutely not a waste of money. Once, I saw a review saying that this album is not for prog fans but I disagree, It is not hard to really get into this one, and after the first listen, I already jumped to the conclusion that this is a progressive masterpiece. After listening to it again several times, I still think this one is a masterpiece.
Report this review (#89888)
Posted Sunday, September 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars Despite being abused by radio stations, this album is fantastic. Between the massive radio hits are more artistic, complex, and extremely jazzy pieces. Both styles are executed perfectly: catchy and memorable, but some songs lack a certain artistic sense, an exploratory nature, an adventurous disposition. The album also has (in my opinion) one of the worst album covers of all time. It's just ridiculous. Regardless, you will enjoy it, I guarantee, no matter who you are, but I can't promise you'll love it. You won't walk away with a pocketful of new thoughts, nor will it move or touch you, neither will it inspire you greatly, but it's fun and classic.
Report this review (#89967)
Posted Monday, September 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Deep Purple is one of those bands that cross boundries. Not to much of their music you listen to and say that they are definately prog. But the level of incredible musicianship doesn't allow you to just say that they are your average rock band. This is a solid effort, one of the first albums I thoroughly enjoyed as a kid. Definately will better any collection, but probably not on the top of you list of CDs to get.
Report this review (#91486)
Posted Saturday, September 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Many have considered this album as true masterpiece of rock. I agree, in a way. Despite famous tracks like "Smoke On The Water" and "Highway Star", my favorite track is "Pictures of Home". Actually, it's not just favorite, I think that this is the best song that DP has ever written. The reason of liking "Pictures of Home" is basically simple: it has great composition and varied in style. Yes, there are parts with similar style but overall this song offers multi-style capitalizing virtuosity of band members. I like especially the segment where Roger Glover gives his bass solo. Other track that has become my all time favorite is "Space Truckin''' which has excellent melody and balanced harmony.

Report this review (#93944)
Posted Tuesday, October 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Great band from a great era. Ian Gillan, Blackmore and co had a near perfect fit and combination of sounds which IMO came to full force on Machine Head. The legendary 'Smoke On The Water' and the equally fulfilling ' Highway Star' are just two great songs that contribute to the album's hard rock sound. There are comparisons to Bad Company but with more edge, steel, grit and less laid back American Rock. True brit hard rock for sure.' Space Truckin' is another great track and we had another few great albums to go before Gillan's voice began to falter. Machine Head warrants a solid 4 stars.
Report this review (#99457)
Posted Saturday, November 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is a solid Okay. For someone who loves the beauty of prog, this, unfortunately, cannot stand in comparison. Their music is too simplistic to be considered great. Compared to most of the music of its time of release it should be more than a 3, but after the 70's it's no 4. They have some cathy riffs but nothing too memorable.
Report this review (#101356)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars Da da da, da da da-da!

"Machine head" contains two of Deep Purple's best known songs, "Smoke on the water" and "Highway star". I wonder however how many people other than true fans of the band, could name a third track from the album? As someone who loves a lot Deep Purple's work, with albums such as "Fireball" and "Perfect strangers" being particular favourites, I have never looked upon "Machine head" with the type of reverence afforded by so many fans of the band.

That said, "Machine head" is undoubtedly a very good album, the aforementioned songs being the highlights. "Highway star" opens the album in pulsating fashion, driven by Jon Lord's frantic keyboards. Always overshadowed by its illustrious neighbour, the song is in fact the more satisfying overall.

"Smoke on the water" is of course legendary for its riff, to the extent that many guitar shops ban its rendition in their practice rooms! (OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but it's not far from the truth.) The album version here sounds a touch subdued, undoubtedly because we have become so used to the power of the live renditions where the song has become the band's anthem. The songs lyrics are of course almost as well known as the riff. What they do not however fully reflect though, is the disruption and chaos the fire at the casino in Montreaux brought about in terms of the plans for the recording of "Machine head". This is covered in detail in the booklet accompanying the 25th anniversary re-master of the album.

Apart from those two tracks, there are other highlights. "Never before" is actually rather well constructed, belying its apparent simplicity. At first glance this is just another Deep Purple slice of guitar rock, but the mood changes and other structural embellishments are there for those who wish seek them out. The song was released as a single, the band being convinced it was a guaranteed hit. Strangely, given the band's previous successes in that field, it sank without trace.

"Lazy" is a funky, almost jazzy instrumental interlude. It is quite out of context both for the album and for the band but it works, with both Lord and Blackmore contributing fine passages before Gillan finally introduces an upbeat blues vocal. The closing "Space trucking" may seem brief and harmless when compared to the "Made in Japan" version, but Lord's Hammond organ still drives the song forward at a frantic, compulsive pace.

It is "Maybe I'm a Leo" and "Pictures of home" though which for me render this album a bit disappointing. These two tracks are prosaic by the numbers Deep Purple, which bear many of the hallmarks of the songs which define the band, but offer little to distinguish themselves.

The 1997 25th anniversary CD re-release is a wonderfully packaged 2 CD collection. The original album in re-mastered format occupies one disc. There are no unreleased songs from the recording sessions for the album, so the bonus tracks consist of a couple of quad remixes.

Also included is the single B side of "Never before" titled "When a blind man cries", which finds Ian Gillan sounding more than ever like Uriah Heep's David Byron, indeed this could easily be a Uriah Heep outtake. Blackmore's guitar on the song is more Rainbow than Deep Purple, the song being a fine reflective ballad.

The other disc contains the entire album remixed by Roger Glover from the original master tapes, plus "When a blind man cries" again. Apart from the odd alternative solo and brief studio talk, the recordings are identical, and the differences subtle. Glover however asserts that this remixed version is how the album should have sounded.

"Machine head" is undoubtedly a fine album, recorded at a time when the band's classic line up were at their most confident and competent. That atmosphere would quickly evaporate before the next album was recorded. Whether or not "Machine head" is Deep Purple's best album is entirely down to personal opinion.

Report this review (#101472)
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Machine Head-Deep Purple's masterpeice!!! This album made Deep Purple big, and has one of the most well known songs in history on there; Smoke on the Water... Some may say this is overrated, but I beg to differ. Deep Purple is a great band, and well deserving of the "rock gods" status... This is the first Deep Purple album I bought and wasn't disapointed with it, listening to it always...Recomended to anyone.
Report this review (#101492)
Posted Sunday, December 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Machine Head. Seventy two. I was lying in my bed for about ten months that year due to a leg injury. I had nothing to do but listen to music which I did about ten (10) hours a day, almost everyday (since I was laying in the living room, I had to make a break on week-ends to allow my father to watch television). I was thirteen. I was already addicted to Led Zep, Santana, and Purple. In May of the same year, I received "Slade Alive !" so, I was ready to rock even if I couldn't move for an inch ! This album reached my home in May 1972 and I can tell you that I spinned it an awful lots of time (and still do till now - January 1st 2007). This is the third album of the fabulous trilogy (In Rock, Fireball, Machine Head).

One of their best song ever opens the album. "Highway Star" : from the very first seconds you know that something great is going to happen. The introduction of this song is absolutely FANTASTIC. I have not heard anything like it since then. I'm listening to it again while correcting/finalizing this review and as always I get the shivers. I already have mentioned that the inspiration for this intro was noticeable in their live album "Scandinavian Nights" during their extended version of "Mandrake Root" (around minute twenty to be precise). It is a fabulous piece of hard rock music : each member at his peak. The format is quite traditional for Purple since "In Rock" : great intro, an organ solo, then a guitar one (or reverse). Typical for Mark II but this song has definitely a kick that will never be achieved further on ("Burn" coming close though). The vocal part was also pretty much inspired by "Hard Lovin' Man" from "In Rock". I don't know if it's my preferred song of the Purple (it is so close to "Child") but it is one of the greatest rock song I know. When they play it live (more as a closing number nowadays) I turn virtually almost mad. I am really looking forward to see them again (for the fifth time) in May 2007 even if the energy has lowered a bit. "Maybe I'm A Leo" is a conservative Purple track : slow but heavy tempo (similar to "Bloodsucker" on "In Rock"). In comparison with the other tracks, this one is just average (but of course the struggle is very hard on this album). "Pictures Of Home" is just another fabulous song : almost ignored in their live sets and compilations it is great Purple song. Same structure as "Highway Star"but shorter, very melodious and very efficient. Incredible keyboard and drumming playing. It should really deserve more recognition amongst Purple / music lovers. "Never Before" closes side one of the original LP. Another great moment of the Purple history. It rocks alright and Gillan is so passionate here than he reflects this feeling to the whole band. Superb combination of melodious vocals and hard rocking tune. Great guitar break in the middle section and strong keys at the end.

B-Side opens with "Smoke On The Water". At the time of release, I considered it just an OK tune. Great riff of course, lyrics describing their problem to record the album etc. I could never have imagined at that time that it would become one of their live anthem for the decades to come. "Lazy" is a marvelous moment of prog/ hard / jazzy / bluesy rock. Jon and Ritchie are once more at their best : their complicity is on par with the one of Ritchie and Ian on the live version of "Strange Kind Of Woman". It has always been one of my "Machine Head" fave. Outrageaous keys and definitely Lord's most influenced track. Another highlight for their live performances but I'll discuss this further on with my "Made In Japan" review. "Space Truckin'" is 100% pure hard rock song which has nothing to do with any "space" stuff. Good closing number for this fantastic hard rock album.

The 25th Anniversary version of the album contains a second CD with alternate takes of each song. Most are pretty close to the final ones. They are just a bit longer though. IMO, the alternate take for "Smoke" is better than the version we all know. "When The Blind Man Cries" released as B-side of their single "Never Before" and "Lazy" (edited version) is a great rock ballad. Actually, it is quite reminiscent of the Mark I era. Very good. There are also two "quad" mix fro "Maybe I'm A Leo" and "Lazy". Since I do not have the appropriate audio equipment I can not really judge them. For me they are just the same as the classic versions. "Machine Head" is one of the holy hard rock masterpiece ("In Rock" being the first one). It will reach Nr. 1 in the UK and Nr. 7 in the US. In my heart it is ranked pretty high. Five stars of course.

Report this review (#105201)
Posted Monday, January 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars Which one is better ? "In Rock" or "Machine Head" ? For me this is a difficult choice. It is a cool story though about them travelling to Montreux, Switzerland to record this album and then witnessing the gambling house that they were going to record in burn to the ground during a Frank Zappa And The Mothers show. They ended up writing and recording "Machine Head" in a cold hotel with the help of the ROLLING STONES mobile unit. I think it was all worth it in the end as they got a pretty good song and album out of it. Haha. Understatement of the year right there.

"Highway Star" is a great driving song. The drums and organ start things off before Ian comes in singing. Lord and Blackmore each pull off some terrific solos and the drumming to close is killer. "Maybe I'm A Leo" has a great beat to it. I love Paice's drumming. "Pictures Of Home" has an excellent drum intro as the guitar comes in. Some blazing guitar solos from Blackmore later and Lord responds in kind. Check out the bass solo from Glover before 4 minutes ! "Never Before" is ok but the drumming is again outstanding.

"Smoke On The Water" has one the most famous riffs in rock. It was cool to see Steve Morse playing this riff with DEEP PURPLE during the "Live 8 " concert in Toronto. "Lazy" is where Jon Lord really shines, from the powerful organ intro to the melodies throughout the song. Harmonica solo 5 minutes in. "Space Truckin' " is an awesome song ! Check out the drumming 3 minutes in ! Great vocals and guitar as well.

This is 4.5 stars for me. And as you might have guessed, I think that the star of this album is Ian Paice. Although they are all amazing.

Report this review (#119524)
Posted Monday, April 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eclectic & C/JRF Prog Team
4 stars So classic its lame, so lame its classic

How do you not give a high rating to the album that is responsible for teaching 85-90% of rock guitarists, both pro and amateur, their very first guitar riff. You can dislike it, but you can't deny it. Is it prog? probably not. But when you get right down to the nuts and bolts of the songs, it is really difficult to identify any of the songs as being bad. As a matter of fact, I can't identify one as not being good. The band is a bit less adventurous as in previous albums, slipping into more of their bluesy roots. But the song structures are very strong and withstand the test of time.

In addition, the newly released remaster with remixes and quad mixes is a real pleasure to have.

3.9 stars

Report this review (#141865)
Posted Wednesday, October 3, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Machine Head" is another classic by DEEP PURPLE, but this time the album is much stronger and better produced than the largely overrated "In Rock" (I did not listen the whole "Fireball"). The melodic element is more present, while my favorite "Lazy" has an excellent blues/jazzy feel in its infectious boogie rhythm. Of course, "Highway Star" and "Smoke on the Water" are true heavy classics and no matter how many times you listen to them, it still provides evidence of the musical genius. I can still remember when I heard for the first time that famous guitar riff from the latter song, during my elementary school 8th grade graduation party in 1979! Even when listening nowadays, this album sounds very good and fresh. Even if your interest in early 70s hard rock is marginal, you should own this record.
Report this review (#149259)
Posted Tuesday, November 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the sequel to DP In Rock. You can realize that with the first few bars of Highway Star. Mr Blackmore's bad mood has gone and he's willing to co-operate with the rest of the band again. And here we go: Highway Star, Pictures of Home, Smoke..., Lazy, Space Truckin'. Bam-Bam-Bam. Only Maybe I'm a Leo and the horrible Never Before fall flat. I think it's impossible to say whether In Rock or Machine head is better - both have their merits, both have exciting music. In Rock is uncompromising, MH more versatile. Lazy would have been well-nigh impossible on In Rock. It would have made a fine impression on Fireball, though. If In Rock is the father then Fireball is the mother of the new born baby. Get the re-issue if you can. It's amazing to hear them guys simply stop playing when they accomplished the parts that will later be used as fade-outs. Cool. 5 stars
Report this review (#162995)
Posted Saturday, March 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars I said in my Fireball review that Machine Head is a 'masterpiece'. Well, for a lot of people, it is, but for me, it's just a good album with some ups and some downs (and in the downers, I speak especially for Space Truckin' and Never Before, the two side-closers). Yes, there is Smoke On The Water, Maybe I'm A Leo, Highway Star and the pretty though long Lazy. But in its entirety, it's not as powerful as In Rock. Recorded in the Grand Hotel (Montreux, Switzerland) corridors after an incident related in Smoke On The Water (Montreux Casino's burning, during a Zappa/Mothers concert), this is a rock classic, for sure, but not the best Purple album at all. Too overrated, though more than correct. Very good one indeed.
Report this review (#164134)
Posted Monday, March 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Few months after the astonishing live performances in Japan , and with the original line - up ( Lord , Gillan , Paice , Blackmore & Glover ) another impact was created in 1972 by Machine Head their second releases in 1972 . I've got the 45 single version of When a Blind Man Cries two months before the album . A real Excellent work by DP . All tracks deserves same ratings & same credits in this remarkable piece of art . What an opening with Highway Star ( 5 Stars ) maybe i'm a Leo & Pictures of home ( 4 Stars ) Never before & Space Trackin' ( 3.5 Stars ) Lazy & Smoke on the Water ( 4.5 Stars ) If you really want to discover the phase 2 of DP , this album is more than essential . IMO , all releases between 1970 - 1974 deserves the same ratings as a whole works , which is 4 Stars , with no more or less , and one extra STAR for the DP line - ups before & after this work , for there contribution during 40 years , as far as live concerts , studio albums in making the blues / hard rock fusion in best shape & enjoyable .............................. Tracks Toni .
Report this review (#168730)
Posted Saturday, April 26, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's really hard to say anything bad about this album.....It contains the most famous Deep Purple song ever (Smoke on the Water).....and 3 other absolute classic radio staples....... including Lazy....which ranks as my second favourite Purple song.....behind Child in Time..... There are no real weak points at all.....Deep Purple was definitely following a successful formula by this point.....but gosh darn....this album Rocks ! now the tough part comes.....this is a masterpiece of Rock music......but it's not that does that mean a 5 star rating on this site???......guess is not a masterpiece of progreesive music.....but I would call it an excellent addition to any prog music collection....
Report this review (#169758)
Posted Saturday, May 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars No question the zenith of Deep Purple Mark 2. The band triumphed against adversity when the original recording venue was burned down and they had to come up with alternative at short notice. The story is wonderfully captured on the superb Smoke on the Water, of course the song also contains one of the most famous riffs ever.

However the other 6 tracks are just as vital, with the driving Highway Star, the majestic Pictures of Home and jazz-tinged Lazy defining their career. It's a testament to how good this material is because the current band play most of these songs in shows today and they sound just as good now as they did then. Unfortunately the only way to go after this was down.......

If there is a negative, it's that the album is too short. They had intended that When a Blind Man Cries was to be included but Blackmore disliked the track so it was omitted. I won't knock off half a star for that though.

Try and get a hold of the DVD of the Classic Albums analysis of this album to find out there is a lot more to the music than just hard rock riffing. No question it qualifies as a masterpiece of progressive rock.

Report this review (#170771)
Posted Monday, May 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars One of the classic albums everybody should own, if you´re into classic 70´s rock. Machine head was the peak of the band´s creative period (specially the mk II line up). This CD is an important link between hard rock music and prog rock. It was a landmark record, for the musicians´s astonishing musicanship was obvious, and they put it all to write songs that were not only powerful, but also quite unique and novel. It was their most succesful studio LP, and although its recording conditions were more than a little unusual (the lyrics on Smoke On The Water tells this story), their most influential.

Of course this is not symphonic in any way, but that was maybe a case of choice since Deep Purple could deliver any kind of muisc. The musicians were skillful, creative and inovative (and, in the case of Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore, bordering the genius status) enough to change the course of heavy music forever. More than anyone else (and I´m including Led Zeppelin among them as well) they contributed to forge the mix between heavy and prog.

Highlights are the classics Highway Star, Smoke On The Water and Space Truckin. But the album as a whole is very good and has no fillers. Production may sound not as good for today´s standards, but it was adequate for the time.

If you´re into prog metal, or simply is an open minded prog head, or just like good rock music, this is an essential addition. A masterpiece, no less.

Report this review (#177599)
Posted Monday, July 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars This seems to me more like a proto-metal album than a proto-prog album due to the massive amount of riff-oriented songs and the massive sound wall created largely by Jon Lord's organ. Nevertheless, I feel that ''Lazy'' and ''Pictures of Home'' have elements that prog fans might just get a kick out of. For me, ''Space Truckin'' and ''Never Before'' are a bit on the lame side while ''Highway Star'' is my favourite cut from MACHINE HEAD. The compositions are tight, lean on the heavy side, but have enough staying power so I can remember the album long after hearing it.

Summation: Anybody who is a fan of hard rock ought to have had this album by now, but it really isn't that essential for a prog fan as there aren't enough elements to satisfy truists. For me personally, this is a healthy album for me as it is a break from the other prog-bombastic CD's that I own. Even though there are plenty of great songs to go around, three stars seems like a just rating since there's not THAT much prog (plus, I don't listen to it as regularly as I used to...).

Report this review (#182360)
Posted Saturday, September 13, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars In the early days of heavy metal...

...Deep Purple were gods and masters of their craft. Mk II Deep Purple's albums are considered classic works in just about every circle of music from classic rock to hard rock and metal, even in progressive realms. While the music may not be a symphonic epic-fest it certainly is progressive in its own rights, given how many musicians it has inspired over the years, and how much it helped change hard rock in general. This is often considered the band's pinnacle album, although many would dispute that In Rock claims this title. Regardless of you you are though, you can't deny the influence of this album, nor the reasons why it is so influential. With Machine Head, Deep Purple creates a mix of tunes so perfect and so varied that they compliment each other at different edges of the heavy metal universal spectrum. They all gel together so perfectly that it could be called a match made in heaven. From the heavy riffs provided by master axeman Ritchie Blackmore, to Lord's token organ sound to Glover's mean bass playing and solos to Paice's manic skins topped all off with the demonic lungs of Ian Gillian, this is the hard rock album of the ages.

Each and every song on this collection is simply amazing, and purely classic. Immortalized these days by the video game industry and multiple commercials for games like Rock Band we start out with the shrill shriek of Gillian as we get right into Highway Star, likely one of the best adrenaline builders an album has ever started out with. heavy riffs and a mean organ create a brilliant atmosphere, not to mention that the soloing on this track is simply stunning. Hold tight indeed. Another rocker seemingly made out of pure energy is the blistering Pictures Of Home, which opens with a short drum spasm from Paice before blasting into riffing and soloing from Blackmore. A catchy chorus and some great hooks make this likely the most memorable shorter song on the album. Lord and Gillian combine to make for a very malevolent feeling surrounding the song which is heightened by the frantic guitar. Space Truckin' is another well known song from the album which gets a lot of airplay. A nice little heavy trip from the band which is rather lighthearted, but no less effective. Never Before and Maybe I'm A Leo are reminiscent of the band's Fireball days in their more paced and bluesy approach. Never Before features some excellent vocal work and a very impressive organ solo from Lord while Maybe I'm A Leo sticks to it's slow pace and still makes for a rocking track.

And of course we have to get to that oh so obligatory track. Smoke On The Water is one of those songs that everyone has heard way too many times. Frequent FM airplay, as well as anyone who ever in their lifetime picked up a guitar anywhere in a 50 mile radius of you means that this song is probably one of the best known songs in the world. Not everyone knows who played it (''Smoke on the Water... that's Black Sabbath, right!?''), but everyone knows that chugging riff. Of course the song is still impressive when you want to just sit down and listen to the damn thing, and it's not playing on some car commercial or something. Glover's bass really picks up the song right from the start after the main riff kicks in and Lord's subtle organ is actually the main driving force of the song. An excellent song, even if you fancy yourself sick to tears of it.

The other tune worth mentioning in its own paragraph is the album's opus. Lazy is really anything but. At 7 and a half minutes this is also the one that proggers are going to be eyeing like a kid passing a toy store on the street. Lord's organs create a killer overture that eventually turns into some kind of blues/prog/metal fusion monster that, while it's no Child In Time, could probably satisfy most discerning proggers. Bliss from start to finish.

This is an essential, classic rock album - no doubt about that. It would be a big stretch to call this a progressive rock masterpiece, but it certainly can contend. Still, this one is going to get a big 4.5 out of 5. It's hard to know if people will like this one more than Fireball or In Rock, but if one thing is certain - you need to hear this album sometime in your life, and it's pretty much inevitable that you will.

Report this review (#189648)
Posted Monday, November 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Machine Head is very good album made by Deep Purple with the classic Mk II lineup and of course the most successful album by Deep Purple ever. Here are three of the most well known Deep Purple's songs - Highway Star, Smoke on the Water and When a Blind Man Cries. I would like to talk about the fact that, in spite of being Deep Purple classic this album is not pure hard rock piece, but contains some blues rock elements of the previous release - Fireball! I'm not agree that Machine Head doesn't contains any progressive elements on it. It contains less than In Rock, but they are still here. They are just lost in all these other elements. All of the musicians are at the height of their musical abilities and when we combine that with these immortal songs we get a true ground-breaking album of music as whole!!! 4 stars.
Report this review (#196066)
Posted Monday, December 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Deep Purple at their peak no doubt about it. If for some of you the previous work Fireball was not a totaly accepted as very good album, this one is right in your face kind album. Little more straight hard rock then early works who were proto prog, this albu mnamed Machine head from 1972 is a real winner. I'm not a big DP fan, but I know all their albums and some of them appeal more than others. This one is the best DP ever done, musicaly speaking, lyricaly I find Fireball more intristing and even funny in places. Machine head is full of outstanding musical ideas, that stands in time very well even after 40 years, is a real treasure of music in general, great influence for many bands and musicians. This is the most well known and the most popular DP album ever, even more popular than In rock, who by the way is another milestone in music history not only in their career. Every musician here simply shine, from the unmatched voice of Gillan to the outstanding organ passages of Lord, makes from this album a real plesure to listen and any fan or any listner of good music must own it. Ian Paice did a great job here , delivering some of the most intristing chops of the early '70 from music, with inteligent beats and real great breaks. The virtuoso behind the guitar Blackmore needs no introduction, a crafted musician and an outstanding performer and composer. Last but not least Roger Glover, the machine behind his bands who with Paice made and still make a real solid rhytm machine. So absolute every piece is a winner, not a weak one, better than predecesors, and even better than the next to come, Machine Head is a classic album. Who don't know Highway star or Smoke On The Water (among the most well known pieces ever by a rock band). My fav from here is Highway star and Lazy, who shows the real talent of this band in their peak of their career. Not much to add, this album is already known by everybody and reviewd by many, recommended for sure. Machine head is equal in importance in music history like is Selling for Genesis, Thick as brick for Jethro Tull, Dark side for Pink Floyd or Close to the ege for Yes. I have the Anniversary edition 1997 - 25 years from Machine Head with 2 CD, one with Remixes and one with Remastered pieces. I will gibve to Machine head simply and easy 5 stars among the best albums ever.
Report this review (#201113)
Posted Friday, January 30, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Yeah, they could play, but could they write?

In rock proved that Deep Purple could play, and very well. But, In Rock lacked cohesive and skilled writing/composition. Does Their landmark album succeed?

Sort of. This is some tight playing, as always, and it is most certainly a metal prototype, but I can't help but feel the songs aren't as fleshed out as they could have been, some delegated for only showing the band's prowess (Highway Star, Lazy), or not deftly written or composed (Maybe I'm a Leo) or as lyrically as strong as they could be (the entire album) True, Deep Purple couldn't write a good lyric if their lives depended on it. This is nothing more than fast cars, fun women, flying times, and regular rocking lyrics. But, these guys sparked it, so kudos to them.

Highway Star is a fast and furious track. That scream form Gillian at the fore is shattering. Not to mention that soloing is splendid. It is the flashy rock they are known for, with a solid feel. Then we get the funky organ jam, Maybe I'm A Leo. I like it. It is fun, but it isn't spectacular. Everything feels so weak, and not well, Rocking! Where is the fire, the fury? No, I won't be detracting for being diverse, when the seeming diversity is at least enjoyable. But, this song is a laid back jam. Pictures of Home restores the rocking, and it is a strong song. The guitar is flying, and that opening line is great. Blackmore sure could play, and he sure could play classically. But, his solos never feel very distinctive. This one is a small exception, though. The flailing he produces is excellent. Great song.

Never Before brings back the funk, and I wish it hadn't. It isn't anything breathtaking, and slows down an album built on its furious rockers. This song lets me down, but the melody is nice. Just doesn't have that punch. This is remedied by the most well known song on here, Smoke on the Water. The riff is pumping, the lyrics are actually decent, and the whole song is an absolute highlight. Lazy follows. And seems to be a free form jam. That just so happens to kick a fair bit of ass. The bluesy solo that kicks and kicks hard. Although, this feels like Blackmore's way to show off his chops, it turns into the most ass kicking song, here. The jamming doesn't get old, and the soloing is inspired. Space Truckin' ends the album with a gallop rock. The distortion is turned up, and this song punches more than anything else, here. The drumming is great, and it is a solid tune, in fact, it rocks harder than anythign else on this album, except for the opening song. Great closer.

In all, the album suffers from what every Deep Purple album suffers from. They can't write lyrics for a damn, and they try too hard to show off, when what they are showing off is not new. This is a very solid release, though. The songs are fiery, the moments are memorable, and the playing is superb. Deep Purple's studio peak.


Best Song - Smoke on the Water/Space Truckin'/Highway Star (They all kick approximately equal ass) Worst Song - Never Before

Pros - Skilled playing, Rocks hard, Interesting compositions Cons - Too flashy when the flash is old, banal lyrics, the funk.

**** weak Stars.

Report this review (#212641)
Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is my first Deep Purple review , and I chose quite a milestone to analyze! I have this feeling that this kind of classic albums sometimes do not get the respect they deserve by the progressive rock community because they are so well know... and popular music does not go with our style. This is a blueprint of the 70's just like Led Zep IV , DSOTM and Frampton Comes Alive! We 've heard them so much times that there is nothing that can surprise our minds anymore.

The question is: Why do we still hear them? Because they sound as fresh as when they were released. Machine Head is one of those records. The album itself , while not progressive , manages to give the listener a good time while rocking really hard in the process. Although we all know Smoke in the Water , my favourite number among the seven tracks is the opener. Highway star is a straightforward hard rock song where we can appreciate those trademark screams by Ian Gillian as well as a couple of guitar and keyboard duels that were usual in the Blakmore era. The lyrics... yes quite banal but this is a Deep Purple album! If you fancy thought provoking lyrics you may check Peter Hammill's works but you wont find poetry with this band.

Maybe I am a Leo is not a strong as the opener and probably is the track that prevents me from giving the record the full 5 stars mark. Still , the tune ain't bad at all the rhythm section is adequate and Jon Lord does some funky solos. My main problem with it are the vocals. They don't have the energy you would expect from Ian Gillian at it's peak. Of course , the situation changes radically with the third track. When I getting into classic rock at the age of 16 one schoolmate told me that he had heard an "unknown" Deep Purple track on the radio and its name was "Cuadro de Casa"* he said that it was incredible and worth the listen. Since MP3 wasn't fully developed by the time and I didn't had it in my DP compilation I had to wait some time until I heard it when a relative brought the record to a birthday. When I heard it , I understood what all the fuss was about: Ian Paice shines here , and the riff is really addictive ( much more than Smoke on the water by the way) Moreover , the vocal melody is memorable. It's still to this day and age one of my favourite songs by the band , I couldn't believe my eyes when DP performed it in Argentina!

The next tune is much more laid back than "Pictures" but it has a funky vibe that I really like and will anticipate the direction the band was going to take in the future. Next , we have "THAT" song and "THAT" riff... I won't talk much about it. I was never a big fan of this tune and to be honest the only thing that discourages me from hitting the fast forward button is the little guy behind the drums , his performance is as solid as an AC/DC riff.

The record ends very well with two favourite numbers that will be performed on every tour since their release. Of course , both tracks are exellent on this record but to be appreciated in full regalia , you must get a hold of "THAT" live album. Lazy is a really interesting mixture of blues jazz and funk , much like the Allman Brothers Band... which can only be a good thing. This track keeps on growing on me after every listen. To close the record , we have another favourite "Space rocking" I mean , trucking. Lyrics are so senselless yet the song rocks so hard. You have to love this kind of stuff at least for a brief period of your life.

And there it goes , "like a wild hurricane" , my first Deep Purple review. Although I am more of a MK1 fan I can't say no to "Machine Head" , being an obligatory introduction to the classic rock realm and therefore: "An exellent addition to any (prog) rock music collection"

* Cuadro de casa=Pictures of Home.

Report this review (#216237)
Posted Saturday, May 16, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars No matter what I think about this album and whatever I write here; this album is a true classic rock album and a must-have. So this review is a waste of time.

I have lately returned to my childhood heroes Deep Purple and really dived down into their catalogue. I have found a lot of good stuff. This album has never been on the forefront of my Deep Purple catalogue. Which is a pity........ Machine Head is really an excellent hard rock album. Agressive, abrasive, loud, brash and strangely enough; progressive. The excellent Lazy is actually as close as Deep Purple can ever come to........ Jazz !! This album has surprisingly many good ideas and covers a lot of ground. So does my grin too. My grin covers more and more of my face after diving deeper into this album.

I am a big fan of the high energy version of Highway Star from Made In Japan. The studio version is almost as good. It is an absolute brilliant track with a lot of prog rock elements. Maybe I'm A Leo and Pictures Of Home also have some good elements, although they are not more than album fillers. The same can be said about Never Before. Smoke On The Water is an iconic track and the Mecca of all rock guitarists. It is also a very good song, although not the best on this album. Lazy comes across as a mix of jazz, prog rock and some hard rock. The second best song on this album after Highway Star. Space Truckin' is an excellent track with alot of psycodelia vibes.

The end result is a very good hard rock progressive rock album. I hate to admit it, but those who think this is an iconic album, is absolute right. Personally; I prefer Deep Purple In Rock, but this album runs it close.

4 stars

Report this review (#225915)
Posted Saturday, July 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Never before

Machine Head is often considered to be the best of Deep Purple's many albums and while I prefer Fireball, I agree to some extent. Compared to the raw Deep Purple In Rock, Machine Head is a bit more sophisticated and elaborated. The guitar and keyboard solos are better structured and do not come across as improvisations as was often the case on In Rock. The solos on Highway Star in particular are almost Neo-Classical in nature and the interplay between Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore is inspiring.

With this album, the band ventured further away from their Blues and Rock 'N' Roll roots towards Heavy Metal. But this is still very far away from what Black Sabbath was doing at the time.

Highway Star, Lazy, Space Trukin' and Smoke On The Water are all eternal classics of the genre, but all the songs are often played live by the band to this very day. My personal favourites are Highway Star and Pictures Of Home.

Like In Rock, Machine Head is also an all out Rock album with hardly one subtle moment. I suppose that Deep Purple were always better live than in the studio. The production of this album is pretty rough and contemporary listeners will probably find the sound of this album dated.

Essential as historical document

Report this review (#246249)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's a killing machine, it's got everything.

Well almost atleast. This album rocks hard. It opens with one of my all time favourites, and is for me the greatest track on the album. Gillans voice is on occasion soft but on times so hard and rocky that it needs to be. The part "Ooh shes/it's a killing machine, shes/its got everything" is very soft and nice, but then comes the scream "I love her, i need her" which is the opposite. These blends in Gillans voice really make a nice contrast trough the album. Other great tracks here are "Pictures of Home", "Never Before", "Lazy". I think "Smoke of the water" is actually the weakest track on the album with "Maybe im a leo". Their not bad, but not just the quality of those mentioned before. Considering the fact how much Smokes gotten radio time over the years, makes me wonder what people saw in this tune. Sure it's catchy but the vocals and the riff get old and dull very fast. Blackmores solo is the only thing keeping it alive for me.

The inconsistency of the album kills of the fifth star. It's a fantastic album though. If Purple had replaced Smoke with an epic like Child In Time who knows what would have happened, but they decided to take the safe route, which is fine. 4 stars.

Report this review (#246269)
Posted Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars I was in Okinawa when "Machine Head" came out. I bought a cassette copy of the album based on the fact that I liked enough of their "Fireball" album to take a chance on the new music. I was really getting into groups that played epic length songs and I stayed away from the top 40 scene. My mind set was if a band was content to do 2 to 4 minute tunes, they were after the big bucks only. I saw that the times on these songs were shorter than their previous works and I was hesitant about getting it without first listening to it. I am now glad that I did get "Machine Head." After listening to it, I noticed that all the songs had lively solos in them. The most important thing I liked was that instead of bragging about his sexual prowess as in previous efforts, Ian Gillan gives us a glimpse at his heart on songs like "Maybe I'm a Leo" and "Never Before." The lyrics are sharp and thought provoking. In fact, this is probably one of the best efforts in rock history. "Highway Star" is very well played with Mr. Paice setting the pace for the flight of Purple Mayhem, along with Mr. Gillan screaming his way to the beginning of the lyrics. These guys just sounded hungry on the whole album. Jon Lord does some great soloing here with the usual scale runs the Purple is known for. Richie Blackmore is at the top of his game. The solo is excellent! "Maybe I'm a Leo" is a little more funky and the lyrics are a standout here. Ritchie's solo work is expressive and majestic. "Pictures of Home" kicks you right in the teeth from the very start. It is easily one of the best tunes on the album. Everyone gets a piece of the action here. On the Roger Glover remix, we get treated to some more of Mr. Blackmore's fine soloing technique. I like that version better. "Never Before" starts off totally out of character from what we are used to the Purple doing and it is excellent. Here again the music and the lyrics just shine out! "Smoke on the water' is of course the primer for every budding guitar hero. I was slightly disappointed that they didn't have more going on at the end of the song, but Glover's version gives me what I wanted, so I'm happy! "Lazy" is the best song on the album. Everything from start to finish just falls right into place here. Next to "Child in Time" this will probably be the best they will ever record. "Space Truckin" is sneaky. It comes up from behind and clobbers you. My favorite part is where Ian Gillan screams "They've got music in their solar system." The way the music and he mesh is simply genius! I absolutely loved it! As far as this reviewer is concerned, "Machine Head" is essential to the rock scene. It gets five stars from me, and if I could give it more, I would!
Report this review (#254723)
Posted Monday, December 7, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Machine Head manages to combine the focus of In Rock with the improved sound of Fireball. As a bonus it adds another set of classic Deep Purple songs to your collection.

Highway Star is a perfect opener, swift and catchy, aggressive yet melodic, tightly rocking but still leaving enough room for short and snappy soloing. Maybe I'm A Leo is maybe a bit formulaic and lacks a bit of punch. Pictures of Home is another outstanding song and one of my favourites here. By contrast Never Before is very average. The remainder of the album is all classic material and appears in extended form on Made In Japan.

This brings me to motivating my rating. It is a good album of course; at times it's even excellent, but apart from Pictures of Home, every track I love here appears in a much better rendition on Made In Japan. Next, I think In Rock was decidedly more relevant and more consistent. Anyway, it's 3 solid stars.

Report this review (#254832)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every band in rock and roll has its own masterpiece and this is Deep Purple's highest peak, for sure.

"Machine Head" is simply a legendary release. since it cointains a groundbreaking track as "Highway Star" an INCREDIBLE track, that show us the band in perfect shape, featuring an impressive guitar solo and a furious hammond solo both of them very heavily influenced by classical music, a prerogative of the band sound; in other words the only way to describe how it must have been this track own impact on the early 70's audiences around the world is: FROM ANOTHER WORLD.

The album, moreover, is also very well balanced it features convincing heavy rock numbers, like "Maybe I'm A Leo" and "Pictures Of Home", both very good tracks. When the listener come at track number five he finds out a tune that needs no introduction ; "Smoke On The Water", maybe nowadays, an overplayed song, but undoubtately a landmark in Rock histrory.

"Machine Head" carries on with a more informal track like "Lazy" ; a bluesy fast rock and roll, with superb unison counterpoints by Lord and Blackmore and finishes with a superbe Heavy, Heavy number called "Space Truckin" another stunning Deep Purple classic.

4.5 stars for an album with no true weak moments.

Report this review (#259902)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is one of my favourite albums of all time. Every song plays a part, there are no fill-ins here.

Highway Star is a fast and vibrant start to this legendary CD. The work of Blackmore on the guitar is a personal highlight. Jon Lord on the keyboard is also sensational.

Maybe I'm A Leo slows the tempo but brings in the jazz style to Purple's sound. Some excellent fill's from drummer Paice and still hypnotised by solos from Blackmore and Lord.

Pictures of Home starts with a superb drum roll followed by one of my favourite riffs of all time. An underrated song on this album, the musicians really show off there skills with solo time for all artists. A personal highlight is the bass solo nearer the end by Glover, not many bands give the bass this sort of role, but it shows it can work when used at the right time.

Never Before similar style to Maybe I'm A Leo. The work of Jon Lord has the be highlighted in the one. His slick work on the keys is what inspires so many to play this magnificent instrument. To see it live is a must.

Smoke on the Water, what more can I say. Everyone knows it, and there is a reason for that. Up there with one of the best riffs of all time, its the first song every young man plays when he picks up an electric guitar. Stunning and powerful, this and Highway Star are the rock songs of the album and highly enjoyable to listen to.

Lazy, my personal favourite. One of the best intro's I think I will ever hear. Again, Lord on the keys is a absolute legend. But don't take anything away from Gillan, his powerful vocals completes this underestimated tune, a must listen for any new classic/prog rock lovers.

Last but not least, Space Truckin'. More of a jazz style and an interesting end to the album. Another good intro, a running trend in this album, more powerful lyrics from Gillan encapturing the listener until the end.

This is an album that must be listened to by all classic rock/prog rock lovers everywhere.

Report this review (#267803)
Posted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I must have been 13 or 14 when I heard this album in its entirety. I thought I must be listening to their greatest hits or something, I couldn't believe how strong every track was. This album defined for me early on that great albums can have brilliant songs for every track. Its also defined for me what "heavy metal" should sound like. I've always held Machine Head as some sort of standard bearer throughout my life. And it still sounds great today.

This album I believe joins Led Zeppelin's fourth album, Black Sabbath's Paranoid, and a triumphvirate of early hard rock and heavy metal. Establishing the cornerstones for the rest of 70s metal and also well into the 80s. Forget the fact that "Smoke on the Water" was the first riff WE ALL learned, I think every other song is just as terrific, driving and kick ass.

Back in 1977 or so when some kids at school were talking about the Sex Pistols and how aggressive they were. I actually though, "hmm, I wonder if they're as hard as Deep Purple?" Having never heard anything like punk before. So I bought the Never Mind the Bullocks, expecting something like Sabbath or Purple. Suffice it to say I was woefully disappointed. (of course over time I learned to respect a lot of punk, but Machine Head is still a better album than Bullocks)

Report this review (#273751)
Posted Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars "Oooh It's A Killer Machine, It's Got Everything, Like A Driving Power, Big Fat Tires And Everything"

This is the followup to Deep Purple's 'Fireball' that never reached the heights of the masterpiece 'In Rock, however this was a great return to form with the band performing at their peak. The album boasts the all time most famous riff in guitar history, 'Smoke On the Water' and naturally has acclaimed a legendary status as a result. However there is more to offer here than mere killer riffs. The lineup is the infamous DP band featuring on vocals the air raid sirens of high octave legend Ian Gillan, the pounding drums of Ian Paice, the guitar wizard Ritchie Blackmore, the keyboard magician Jon Lord and the wonderful Roger Glover, bass guitarist extraordinaire. With this musicianship it would be impossible to fault, right? Well, almost.

The album hits the mark with a rocking start with the hard driving 'Highway Star', the kid sister of 'Speed King'. The dynamic interplay of guitar and organ is wonderful and draws the listener in as it builds into the first verse. "Nobody Gonna Take My Car, I'm Gonna Race It To The Ground, Nobody Gonna Beat My Car, It's Gonna Break The Speed Of Sound" I think the lyrics embody the essence of the revhead. But its all about the riffs for this band and they deliver everytime. The true metal progenitors like no others.

'Maybe I`m a Leo' is a song about.... "Acting like a fool I had to make her cry, Maybe I'm a Leo but I ain't a lion" Ok it speaks for itself. The song is a throwaway which is unusual for DP at this point in their careers.

'Pictures of Home' is a great track with a great deal of improvisation in the instrumental sections. Gillan is fabulous on this track with an awesome chorus with an infectious hook, "I'm alone here, With emptiness eagles and snow, Unfriendliness chilling my body, And whispering pictures of home." Glorious and definitive DP.

'Never Before' is another song full of power riffs and power vocals and became a hit single of sorts in some countries. '

All together now... dum dum daaaaagh, dum dum dadaaaaaaaaagh! 'Smoke on the Water' is the most recognizable DP track for that riff; even non fans have heard this somewhere. The actual thematic content is fascinating about how a "stupid with a flare gun" burned down the recording studio of Zappa and the Mothers in Montreux. Now the event is immortalised forever in song. It is great to watch DP perform this in Montreux. This will perhaps remain the all time greatest DP single though I prefer 'Child In Time' or 'Black Night'. I would hate to think of how many musos have played this riff on 'Smoke' but it is mind boggling the impact this 7 note chord riff has made on the rock world. And it is dead easy to play too. The live version is even better with a great intro. A must have track.

'Lazy' is a terrific lengthy jamming track about a dude so lazy he just stays in bed, and I sing this to myself occasionally. The best version is found on live albums but Lord is awe inspiring on this no matter what version you hear.

'Space Truckin' ' is another of the quintessential DP tracks and I have heard many versions including a brutal metal thrash version by prog metal Christian band Believer, but of course this is the best version. The power riffs and grinding organ absolutely slam you to the wall on this one.

So there you have it, some awesome indispensable tracks among a host of standard rockers. A very good album, though no masterpiece, this is perhaps Deep Purple's second best. I do not have the version with bonus disc but that would be the best version of course. A solid legendary album beyond doubt.

Report this review (#278673)
Posted Tuesday, April 20, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
5 stars After so many twists and turns the band finally struck gold with Machine Head, an album that is much better than the quality of its biggest hit might imply. I might just as well admit that I'm very biased about my opinion towards this release, but how can I not be when this is one of my childhood favorites.

By this time in their career, Deep Purple had already lost all the prog related tendencies and indulged themselves completely in the early hard rock scene. Starting with the magnificent album opener that is as fast as its title might suggest Highway Star sweeps the listeners off the feet at the first sounds of the heavy hitting riff. For everyone who is still unconvinced of the brilliance of this almost self-explanatory classic only have to wait a few minutes for the uncompromising solo section that combines all the best moments from the two previous MKII album openers and pushes them even further by comprising it all in one complete package.

The remaining six compositions begin the bumpy journey where every even-numbered track is excellent while every odd is a complete masterpiece. Among these I consider Pictures Of Home to be the best while the album's first single titled Never Before is still somewhat a mystery to me. Pictures Of Home has such an epic feel to it with excellent lead vocals, great organ buildup and magnificent solo spots from Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore and even Roger Glover! It's true that I've never been a huge fan of the slightly overrated classic called Smoke On The Water but even this won't stop me for giving it my highest regards for the simplicity of the composition. The closing performance on Space Truckin' shows all the band members having great fun at the same time as they deliver another one of those magnificent performances. The lyrics are laughable at best, but still it all works so well in the context of this release.

Machine Head is simply a must-have album from Deep Purple. The album might not have a single trace of progressive rock on it but there is really no doubt that it's a masterpiece of rock music that will go on making generation after generation of rock fans jump in excitement.

***** star songs: Highway Star (6:05) Pictures Of Home (5:03) Smoke On The Water (5:40) Space Truckin' (4:31)

**** star songs: Maybe I'm A Leo (4:51) Never Before (3:56) Lazy (7:19)

Report this review (#280519)
Posted Tuesday, May 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Deep Purple's follow-up to Fireball. Though it lacks the rawness of In Rock it surely captures the fire. All of it's songs can be categorized as awesome. This album has it surely a great rocker. It has it all. Fast riffs, power driven vocals, solid performance and even brings a little of the funk.

The albums opener Highway Star sets the pace off right. Fast and furious with appropriate lyrics to match. You won't find "intellectualized" lyrics here nor will you with any of their songs, but that isn't why we love Deep Purple. The give and take between the Guitar and Organ leave nothing desired.

Pictures of Home brings the pain with hard rocking drums and and excellent guitar solo by Blackmore. The chorus is catchy and this song remains a favorite.

Smoke on the Water has the most recognizable and overplayed guitar riff in human history. However it is a great track nonetheless with a true story in the lyrics.

Maybe I'm a Leo and Never Before are the only tracks I feel are a bit out of place and are the only reason why this isn't a five star album. The songs are good in themselves, however like I said they're out of place with the energy of the album.

Lazy is a blues inspired rock song with a great organ intro and good blues solos to accompany. The lyrics are funny yet so true for many people as well. "You're lazy just stay in bed/You're lazy just stay in bed/You don't want no money no you don't want no bread."

Space Truckin is a good album ending with the same solidity and energy as the beginning of the album.

Overall Rating : Four Stars

Report this review (#294432)
Posted Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars If I could offer only one piece of advice regarding this album, it would be this: DO NOT LISTEN TO THIS AFTER MADE IN JAPAN. While I certainly knew of "Smoke on the Water" well before I bought any Deep Purple, my first exposures to "Highway Star," "Lazy" and "Space Truckin'" came courtesy of that glorious live album, where the performances knocked me into next month. Unfortunately, when I bought the studio album from whence they came, i.e. this, they seemed, dare I say it, sluggish to my ears. Hence, as much as I liked Purple, I didn't really like this album anywhere near as much as one would think I should, given its popularity.

Fortunately, several listens eventually brought me to my senses. I still think it's a little overrated (in other words, it doesn't make it to In Rock level for me), but only a little. The biggest problem for me, as on the last album, is the production; it's an improvement over Fireball, for sure, as there's way more crunch and grit here, but nothing blasts out of the speakers the way the opening of "Speed King" did, and Ian's voice is still mixed annoyingly low for my tastes. Otherwise, though, except for the slight monotony of the sound (they returned to the "basics" on this album, which on the one hand means the band does what it does best, but on the other means I get worn down the way I eventually do even on In Rock), and a couple of slightly less inspired numbers, this is friggin' glorious.

The megahit, of course, was "Smoke on the Water," which even I knew plenty well before getting into Purple, which says something considering that, as a rule, I avoid classic rock radio like the plague. I suppose there's no real use in describing the song, as the great simplistic riff and the story-telling lyrics are as essential to 70's rock as the parting of the Red Sea is to the Old Testament, but I will point out something that was brought to my attention by the great online reviewer (no longer active, alas) CapnMarvel (ie Ryan Atkinson): Paice, Glover and Lord basically set the standard here on how to turn a midtempo rocker into an immortal classic. And, oh man, was Ryan ever right to go nuts over the ending fadeout, where those three start playing an entirely different groove from the rest of the track, which may rock even harder than what they'd been doing previously. Simply glorious.

That said, while "Smoke" is midtempo Purple bliss, I tend to lean more to the faster Purple numbers, which is why "Highway Star" shares the best song title with "Smoke." The Made in Japan version of this may be where I get most of my jollies, but let's not give short-shrift to the studio version of this, one of the most glorious speedy, heavy rock songs I've ever come across in my life. Lessee, we have brilliant singing, starting with an incredible scream. We have lyrics as unpretentious as can be ("Nobody gonna beat my car, gonna race it to the ground"). We have the instruments chugging along at a pace suitable to In Rock. We have insanely interesting solos (Lord's organ solo may be his peak moment with the band) from both key members, with Ritchie taking full advantage of the wonderful invention known as the whammy bar. We have heaven.

Almost rising to the same level is the album closer, "Space Truckin'." Holy cow, I don't know what I love most: the "main" riff that opens and drives the song (which I especially adore when Ritchie starts shaking the rhythm of it), the riff that pops when Ian's singing the chorus, or the great screams that Ian pulls out. Man, I know that most "classic" DP songs end up getting broken down into great Ian singing and great, tight riffage, which might make my DP reviews seem repetitive, but I can't help it - even when I know they're doing basically the same style every time, I'm just so floored at how well they do it that I can't help but mention it for the n'th time. So sue me - I'm too busy trying to figure out how the hell Ian hits those notes near the end of this song.

Beyond these three classics, the rest of the album kinda pales in comparison, but not terribly. I'm not that thrilled by "Lazy," which is just a bit too heavy on the "decent guitar jam" for my tastes (not to mention the keyboard introduction, where it sounds like Jon is channelling his Mk. 1 self), or by "Never Before," which is an ok slightly up-tempo rocker, but I don't hate them either. The former, after all, does have some good soloing, and the latter has decent enough rhythm work to make it worth not hitting the >> button to get to "Smoke on the Water." Besides, quite a few fans like these, so what do I know? I do, however, freely enjoy the crunchy mid-tempo riff of "Maybe I'm a Leo," as well as the vibe of desperation that comes out of the riffage and solos of "Pictures of Home." So yeah, they're fine contributions.

And there, once again, is a great slab of rock'n'roll done as heavy metal. If you are a headbanger that doesn't own this, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you're not, this can still turn you into one for about 40 minutes and not make you regret it in the meantime.

Report this review (#300575)
Posted Sunday, September 26, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Deep Purple's Machine Head is considered one of the greatest releases in classic rock history and is often cited as being influential in the development of the heavy metal music genre. In addition, it contains what is considered on of the greatest guitar riffs in history on its classic hit Smoke on the Water, a simple, yet extremely catchy riff often taught to beginning rock guitar students. Also included on the album are the radio hits Highway Star and Space Truckin', still played much on the radio today, almost 40 years later. Other great songs on this album include Maybe I'm a Leo and Lazy, both more progressive than the usual Deep Purple song.

This album is clearly one of my favorites, has some killer Hammond organ courtesy of the one-and-only Jon Lord, great Blackmore riffs, and probably the tightest and best rhythm sections of any Deep Purple album. This album would be considered a masterpiece on any classic rock web site, but as a progressive rock album, it isn't quite in the same league as other prog rock groups of this period, so four stars seems like a reasonable rating to me.

Report this review (#304245)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
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

Report this review (#305934)
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is a phenomenal album released at a phenomenal time for music. Arguably the greatest, most creative period in musical history. There were so many great bands around in the early 70's. In my opinion Deep Purple were at their peak in 1972. What an unbeatable combination of great musicians! Together they came up with a very special sound and there's also nothing quite like Ian Gillan era DP!

Since "In Rock" the band really delivered a crunch and became heavier, louder and a lot more distinguishable. "Machine Head" was a commercial breakthrough. After this album's release the public put them into the same league as bands like Led Zeppelin. True fans of course already knew how great they were.

"Highway Star" kicks things off to a fantastic start. It's a gritty, speedy, ballsy rocker. There are also a lot of bluesy moments such as "Maybe I'm A Leo", while "Pictures of Home" has a slightly folky feel. The album's greatness doesn't stop or slow down, it's steam and power just keeps going. For me, the best moment has to be "Lazy". It's absolutely fantastic! Of course the most well known song is "Smoke On the Water" especially for it's guitar riff. "Space Truckin'" is also great. It's a hard hitting, fast, energetic ending to the original release. A perfect copy of "Machine Head" should include "When A Blind Man Cries" at the end. What a beautiful, melancholy, bluesy track. This is classic hard rock at it's best and has been extremely influential. Just listen to Richie Blackmore's unique guitar style, John Lord's unmistakable classically influenced keyboards (often very bluesy too) not to mention Ian Gillan's vocal range! Amazing stuff.

This would be an essential part of your progressive collection.

Report this review (#316503)
Posted Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is clearly a landmark in rock history and such an influence for hard rockers and metal heads of all kind. Deep Purple came to their top with Machine Head, never to repeat it again in the future, flirting with psychedelic and progressive sounds but still based on his classic hard rock approach of previous albums In Rock and Fireball. These guys, specially Blackmore, Lord and Paice are a group of musicians really unique, and with the help of Glover and Gillan built the best and more passional live act of the moment. That sound led them to complete stardom and showed the world they were able of everything. If you don't not believe this, just listen a few minutes of Made In Japan to become a firm believer.

In more than thirty minutes I find:

- The bomb of Highway Star with its gorgeous guitar and keyboard solo so many times emulated by other bands.

- The classic blues and riff oriented Maybe I'm A Leo, which is performed with such clarividence, style and perfection.

- Pictures Of Home breaks in a fast hard rocking fashion delivering solo spots for Blackmore, Lord and even Glover, that really make this one a real highlight.

- Never Before was chosen as single and maybe is the weakest song in the album, still really enjoyable.

- The most famous hymn in rock history in Smoke On The Water.

- The fantastic bluesy and progressive Lazy, one of the best tracks in their catalogue with a fantastic guitar and hammond work. Very clever sonngwriting.

- The bombastic and overwhelming Space Truckin', what an incredible an fun performance. Deep Purple at their peak (in studio!) without a doubt.

Report this review (#325982)
Posted Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a legendary hard rock and heavy metal monilithic behemoth for one single reason: it contains "Smoke on the Water", whose opening riff has become the very representative of the entire genre of rock music.

"Smoke on the Water" is not the only noteworthy track on this album though, and it's not the only track of interest to metalheads. "Highway Star" and "Space Trucking" are both uptempo hard rockers. The former is probably of more relevance to heavy metal than the latter, which does, however, contain a cool interesting drum solo, and some metallish guitar riffs. "Never Before" is also a hard rocker, while "Maybe I'm a Leo" is more of a sneaky blues-funk track. And of course, there is a lot of guitar work which includes elements that would later become defining elements of neo-classical metal.

Really, "Machine Head" can't be sufficiently described in word, so I encourage you to go and give it a listen yourself.

Whether or not "Machine Head" is progressive enough for your stereotypical proghead, I don't know, but it cannot be denied that it's one of the most influential rock albums of all time.

Report this review (#386157)
Posted Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Third Deep Purple MK II album, and their second and last masterpiece. Very well crafted songs, some of that fantastic like Highway Star, Pictures Of Home and Lazy. All others are just a little bit not so good, mainly the hymn Smoke On The Water.

The speedy rhythm of Highway Star makes it one of most memorable songs in hard rock reign; it opens a perfect field for solo efforts of masters Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord. Pictures Of Home brings us an excellent solo passage of Roger Glover, and this passage is exactly what gives a fantastic mood for the song. Everyone who loves music may feel a great desire of being a bass player in a so energetic track.

Lazy is an interesting experiment. Jon Lord shines on it, and he is one of those guys that really rocks ! It took for me a certain time to notice the jazzy mood this song contains, but it is perfectly inserted in a hard rock album like this.

What else to say ? Smoke On The Water shines more to me in its guitar solo then on its guitar riff. Maybe I´m a Leo and Never Before does not makes album to be weaker due to its presence I do like them a lot. Last to comment to a certain kind of personal rejection to Space Truckin; but it does not prevent this album from being rated five stars.

Report this review (#435714)
Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars |B+| The near masterpiece of crunching bluesy hard-rock.

Indeed one of those albums on here that are "progressive" in a literal sense, this album is known for having broken barriers leading into the creation of heavy metal, along with the first few works of Black Sabbath. Considering it's still only 1972 upon its release, we're talking about some pretty cutting-edge music here. Oh, did I mention these are some really fun, rockin' tunes?

Generally what can be found in this album is a good blend of blues and hard-rock, some tracks more of the former, like Lazy, and some more of the latter, like Space Truckin'. There is of course the heavy-metal standard Smoke on the Water, which is ironically the least interesting song on the whole album. Good riffs but not exactly... well, cerebral, to put it lightly. I guess one should especially give this album a go if they think Smoke on the Water is the best the band put out, since it's the most well-known.

This is the first Deep Purple album for me to hear. My Dad bought it a couple years ago, and I figured they were another one of those oaky "classic" bluesy albums like Eric Clapton for which I've never had any taste. I figured I'd give it a spin just once for the sake of open- mindedness, a virtue for which I was rewarded, since the songs were such quality hard- rock that even my fear of bluesy music couldn't keep me from denying its awesomeness. Every riff is amazing, every vocal line, every keyboard lick (this guy really new how to use the Hammond organ!), every drum fill, every solo, all of it really was great. Pictures of Home and Lazy get a bit on the proggy side, always a delight from such a renowned group.

However, the album is far from perfect: Space Truckin' had a tinge of half-hearted-ness to it, however head-banging it might be. Whats more some of the keyboard and guitar runs weren't exactly super clean. And Smoke on the Water is on the dull side. Minor things that, as a classical musician, bothered me enough to dock it to B+, which coming from me is still a high rating to say the least.

What's more the influence they had on other bands cannot be understated, and for that reason alone, this is one highly recommended work by yours truly.

Report this review (#466052)
Posted Tuesday, June 21, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#490137)
Posted Monday, July 25, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars I often have a bias against a group's most popular album. This is because it is usually overrated or they tend to focus on one (or maybe two) songs. Something special about this album is that it really does deserve the title of Best Deep Purple album.

Now of course, everybody has heard of Smoke on the Water, the song you hear amateur guitarists play until your ears bleed (other than Smells Like Teen Spirit). While I will not say it is the album's best track, it does deserve much of the praise it gets. The other most-well known track is Highway Star. It is well-known, but not as much as Smoke. It is simply an all out rocker.

The songs Maybe I'm a Leo and Never Before are both great songs and have many blues characteristics that define Ritchie Blackmore's guitar style. The closer Space Truckin' is filled with power-chords and sounds very 70's metal.

The album's two crowning jewels are the blues-influenced Pictures of Home and the 7-minute long Lazy. The former features exquisite performances by all of the members (including a bass solo!) and the later is a mostly instrumental performance that twists and turns throughout the song and features great guitar solos courtesy of Ritchie.

This album is everything great about 70's rock (and pretty much all rock in general) rolled up into one album. Despite my bias' against band's most popular albums, this one truly deserves its popularity.

Report this review (#500263)
Posted Monday, August 8, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can't understand why this album is listed on Progarchives. I understand that some of Deep Purple's early albums can easily be slotted into the proto-prog box, but Machine Head belongs to early heavy rock, and as such has nothing to do with prog, especially as it was made in 1972, when prog was something completely different than this.

Forgetting that, Machine Head is a masterpiece of its genre, and was among the most important albums for me personally in my youth. All four tracks of side A are good, and tracks 2- 4 are fantastic. As a youngster, I loved and admired Highway Star's solos and drive the most, but in the end it is quite one-dimensional, and the other three tracks have grown on me whereas HS has become the dullest piece of the side.

Side B is more problematic, because Smoke On The Water and Space Trucking don't belong to Deep Purple's better tracks, but Lazy is simply fantastic, and on par with any of the band's best works. The constant change of moods and styles throughout the piece is simply outstanding, and maybe, well just maybe, warrants this album's place on Progarchives after all.

Report this review (#519278)
Posted Saturday, September 10, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is not, in my opinion, Deep Purple's best album, but it is nonetheless a masterpiece. The album begins and ends with tracks that prove that simplicity is the art of design. Maybe I'm a Leo experiments with a more funky riff. Pictures of Home is a Deep Purple classic with a lovely bass solo that maybe one day I'll be able to play. Never Before returns to a more funk-rock feel. Smoke on the Water is of course a classic and must have the most well known riff on the planet. It's the song that sells the album. Lazy, though, is my favourite track on the album - a track that slowly builds.
Report this review (#556446)
Posted Monday, October 24, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Machine Head is a record of Deep Purple which has some great moments and some down moments. I felt troubled by rating this record, because it contains some great hits like "Highway Star", "Pictures of Home" and "Lazy", but my overall feeling of this record is not so great.

In Machine Head Deep Purple is going further with setting forth the formula of straight hard rock. In Fireball there were some more styls heard then on this record, like the country influenced "Anyone's Daughter" and the psychedelic space related "The Mule" and "Fools". The only exception on Machine Head is "Lazy", which contains some nice blues parts with great soul in the vocals. The guitar melodie of lazy is also great as is also the case of "Pictures of Home". The reason "Highway Star" is one of the better tracks is because of the metal like riffs and great solo's.

The tracks "Maybe I'm a Leon", "Never Before", "Smoke on the Water" and "Space trucking" fail in entertaining me, because they are too predictable and miss soul, exciting solo's and/or inspiration.

In total this is a good record, although the better tracks can also be heard on the "Made in Japan" record except "Pictures from Home". So, this record is not so essential.

Report this review (#711466)
Posted Friday, April 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars 3.8 stars.

Not really a prog album, but nonetheless very strong. Deep Purple is just such a classic band. I mean, way before I was into prog I loved the song Highway Star (I suggest the 5.1 surround edition of this song, it's amazing). It has such a beat and such a sense of perpetual momentum. This album doesn't have any breathtaking tracks (except Highway Star), but it also don't have any remotely weak one either. The entire album has great organ solos (and probably one of the best organ sounds out there) and great guitar solos. Drums are strong, and bass is also strong. The only reason I rate this a 3.8 star album is merely because, in the end, the album is very good, but not anything to rave about. You will most likely enjoy it, but you won't say, "My God, that was amazing!" It just won't happen. However, you will thoroughly enjoy what you hear. Highly recommended, in the end.

Report this review (#717873)
Posted Sunday, April 8, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars 9/10

Yes, I'll have to agree with most of the world and say that this is the best album by Deep Purple.

Why not? From the first album they released an album that does not contain at least a song for which I had no mixed feelings (sorry, but I'm no fan of Speed ​​King), but the seven songs from Machine Head do to deserve their status as "classic." If there is a defect here I would say that is the body of Lord is more moderate, but this is more than compensated for the introduction of Lazy. Aside from that, nothing much I guess.

Speaking of this album without mentioning the most famous guitar riff in history becomes a crime. But it is good to see that Machine goes beyond Smoke on The Water (which still remains a great song, even being mentioned, touched and rewritten thousands of times). The opening is a show: how not to love Highway Star? For some reason the Ian Gillian's acute at the beginning reminds me of the Queen's song My Fairy King , from their debut album released a year later (Roger Taylor is a man with vocal ability to the height of Gillian) and there is a part in the first instrumental section where the organ and the guitar is so accelerated that reminds me of Symphony X (this is not a joke). The rest of the side is no less impressive: Maybe I'm a Leo, Pictures of Home and Never Before are songs that captivate me completely. On the b-side there is not much talk beyond what I already have explained briefly, but the last song, Space Truckin', is perhaps my "callus" here, but it's still very good compared to the others.

Solid 5 stars. The world of metal and hard rock thanks!

Report this review (#875701)
Posted Friday, December 14, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Boom shakalaka! Deep Puple slam-dunked their glorious musical stamp in our faces with this titanic album.

Let's see how they did it, track-by-track:

Highway Star: "This song was born on a tour bus going to Portsmouth in 1971 when a reporter asked the band how they wrote songs. To demonstrate, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore grabbed an acoustic guitar and began playing a riff consisting of a single "G" repeated over and over, while vocalist Ian Gillan improvised lyrics over the top. The song was refined and was performed that same night." For the love of God, how can human beings (?) write a GIGANTIC song like this for freakin' demonstration?! Unreal capability, unreal song!

Maybe I'm A Leo: What a nice groovy riff! Not a monumental song, but a very fun one indeed.

Pictures Of Home: For whatever reason the oh-so-strange Blackmore refused to play this fantastic song live, denying it a huge reputation boost that was partially restored in the Steve Morse era. In a poll for the Top 200 Rock & Metal songs of all time in the Greek Metal Hammer magazine it climbed at #51, higher than any other Deep Purple song. A true hard rock anthem.

Never Before: Somewhat sad lyrics in an uptempo song, that is a really good rocker with tasty solos. Very well!

Smoke On The Water: The first Machine Head copy I ever bought was the 25th Anniversary edition, with the "1997 Remixes" by Roger Glover himself. As soon as I gave a listen to the 1997 Remix of Smoke On The Water, I was blown away: What a solo... WHAT-A-SOLO!!! Why the heck they chose the original instead of this one?! I'm telling you, the alternative solo is one of the best Blackmore ever played. Period.

Lazy: Outstanding RnB - Blues rocker, one of the best Deep Purple songs and one of the best riffs ever by... anyone. Jon Lord's performance is mind-blowing. Extraordinary quality once more!

Space Truckin': Extremely catchy song, simplistic but instantly timeless. It can be played by anyone, sang by most, but composed by very few. THAT'S the difference my friends!

RATING: Absolutely cream of the crop. 5 out of 7 songs are world-wide famous classics. 5 stars, no questions asked.

Report this review (#1378710)
Posted Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Aside from the weak track of "Smoke On the Water", this really is one of Deep Purple Mk II's finest moments, the other being "In Rock". I may be a bit biased in my review as this was the first rock album I'd ever heard, way back at the age of 8, but I'm confident that it really is a masterpiece. While I loved it the instant I heard the first power chord of "Highway Star", the album has grown on me over the years, and not just in a nostalgic way, either.

"Machine Head" isn't a very progressive album; "Pictures of Home" and "Lazy" (the two strongest tracks) are the only songs that really have a smattering of prog in them. This doesn't mean that it isn't a great album, though, because it really is. "Highway Star" is one of the most perfect driving songs ever written, up there with "Radar Love" and "Free Bird". And Ritchie Blackmore's solo is one of the most intensely delivered in music; I sweat almost every time I hear it. "Maybe I'm A Leo" features great blues soloing and "Pictures of Home" is a special blend of primordial progressive hard rock like "Run With The Wolf" off of Rainbow's "Rising" that I just can't get enough of.

"Never Before" and "Smoke On The Water" are both more straightforward hard rock but the latter is iconic enough that it has its place. "Lazy" is the album's best song with moody, emotive, virtuosic blues soloing from Blackmore and Lord. The spacey organ intro on this one gives me chills every time. And "Space Truckin'" is a lively, percussive finish with sci-fi lyrics that finishes off the album on a fun note.

"Machine Head" is one of those great rock albums where every song offers something different that lets it stand on its own while still working coherently as part of a greater whole. A masterpiece of rock music and an album that I'd highly recommend to anyone. 4 stars for the purposes of this site, though; this is progarchives, not rockarchives, after all.

Report this review (#1477044)
Posted Sunday, October 18, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars I don't like to review classic albums very much because anything that can be said about them has already been said and everybody already has an opinion anyway. Obscure bands or lesser known albums are more fun to dig up and inform the world of their existence. But today I listened to this album all the way through for the first time in maybe 8 years or so, and I found I heard it in a whole new way.

I became a fan of Deep Purple back in '84, only a couple of months before the reunion album "Perfect Strangers" was released. I loved it! But DP albums were not easy to find on cassette back then. I was lucky to find "Burn" and "Fireball" but "Stormbringer" and "Come Taste the Band" were not available. After "House of Blue Light" I lost interest for many years. Ian Gillan was gone then back. Then Ritchie Blackmore was gone. But in 2006 I was curious about "Rapture of the Deep" and I liked it enough to go and buy all DP's studio albums on CD. All of them!

Then for the last nine years or so, I haven't listened to any album from start to finish except for maybe "In Rock", which is still my favourite. But last night I was suddenly struck with the desire to hear "Machinehead" again and this morning in went on play.

From the start, "Highway Star" seemed to be lacking something. There was a lack of bass depth. My ear buds? The music is fast but basically very simple-sounding. The lyrics are like something a bored person would write when half drunk and just taking the piss on lyric writing. The only place I felt the song really shines and shows what the band is truly capable of is in the guitar and organ solos. Here we get a glimpse of the musical prowess of the band. But "Highway Star" is a rock classic, and for speed and Gillan's soaring screams at the start, the proto-metal element is sufficiently there.

"Maybe I'm a Leo" is strangely my favourite track. It has this funky drop down groove and the music is full, rich in bass, and sounds wonderful. The guitar solo comes in with style and smoothness. The 30th anniversary reissue includes a disc of remixes with alternate guitar solos and the solos for this song and "Smoke on the Water" just don't have the same articulation and style. They are just lead guitar solos. On the originally released version, Blackmore goes for style and feel rather than technincal skill or speed and it just works! Jon Lord's organ sound on his lead part is not really a favourite of mine but he makes it work for a simple but appropriate bluesy solo. Ian Paice still has his chops, putting in fills and doing great stuff on the drums. This would slowly disappear from his drumming with Deep Purple and be almost absent for many years.

"Pictures of Home" is one of three songs the band wrote about their experience recording in a closed down hotel (closed for the season) at Lake Geneva. It opens with a drum intro and features solos by Blackmore, Lord, and Roger Glover (bass) as well!

The original side one closes with "Never Before". It has another funky groove to the intro. It's here where I began to really notice how the band was playing their music. Everybody has a part and each part seems independent in that each musician has his own riff or rhythm bit to do. But they of course put all their parts together to make the songs. This is what I was missing on "Highway Star". Now the band are like different components of a machine all moving in their own functional space but all responsible for making the machine work smoothly. It's not rhythm guitar, organ, and bass all playing the same thing to a 4/4 beat. This is prog style composition. And the remarkable thing is that Deep Purple, on "Machine Head" for sure, are playing heavy rock with blues and funk and classically-influenced solos, composed with prog thinking and coming all together in songs that became radio hits and fan favourites. I've been listening to an awful lot of proto-metal and prog from the 1969-1974 period (I don't mean the music is awful) and I think I can finally appreciate just what a feat Deep Purple accomplished with this album. When David Coverdale joined the band, he said in an interview that he had played with great musicians before but this was a whole knew level. I'm starting to appreciate that.

"Smoke on the Water", everyone knows the riff, everyone knows the story in the lyrics. But what about the riff during the verses and chorus? Again, each musician has got his own thing going on. It's not as simple as one might first think. The guitar solo is really so well laid out, especially how it wraps up as the lead riff returns. The organ solo is left until the end and Paice puts in some tasty drum work as the song slowly fades out. The band never intended for this to be a single. They had high hopes for "Never Before". But the audience told them that this song was the ticket! On YouTube I saw a video of songs Deep Purple allegedly ripped off and the "Smoke" riff apparently already existed in some jazz piece, but in another interview, Blackmore said he got the idea by reversing Beethoven's Fifth Symphony intro notes. Whatever the case, the "Smoke" riff along with "Satisfaction" by the Stones have been recognized as the two most well-known riffs in rock history. Elementary school students in Japan who haven't the first clue about anything other than The Beatles (and only if their parents like them) know the "Smoke" riff. Like Beethoven, Blackmore's riff may just live on for centuries.

"Lazy" is a clever piece with a classical organ intro that slides into a grumbling blues. The whole instrumental first half of the song has the band putting out so many moves shifting between straight ahead blues and blues-based rock. The song itself is alright and Gillan brings back his scream vocals. It wraps up like a blues club act.

The album closer "Space Truckin'" is where the band probably reach their most metal point. There's this awesome groove where the drum beat and the guitar/organ notes alternate and it gives the song a terrific charged feeling. Gillan goes full force at the end and the blues-based heavy riff is really a peak point on the album.

The 30th anniversary edition includes "When a Blind Man Cries" and is the third song about the Swiss experience. Though it wouldn't have really had an appropriate spot on the album, it makes a great bonus track. Gillan is so smooth and Blackmore's guitar solo is full of emotion.

I was originally disappointed with this album, way back in 1984 when I first got it, because it didn't rock out with that same wrecking ball assault attack that "In Rock" did. This album is smoother, cooler, groovier, and more mature. It's very cleverly composed songs and music. It's not heavy as in metal very much and it's not prog like their first three albums were more like. It is a classic album for a very good reason, though. It's some damn fine music!

Report this review (#1564085)
Posted Saturday, May 14, 2016 | Review Permalink

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