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Deep Purple - Stormbringer CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



3.09 | 658 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
2 stars When I started writing album reviews in 1999, I did it largely because I looked forward to the chance to organize my thoughts and impressions on albums that I liked. Yet I always knew there was a downside to my endeavour, no matter how hard I tried to ignore it; inevitably, my passion would force me to review legions of mediocre, unremarkable albums whose existence added virtually nothing of worth to my life. Stormbringer is one of these albums, with one major highlight and then a half hour of mediocre bleh. The title track is a classic, thank goodness; the keyboard sounds often suck like mad, but they're only a slight distraction from an intense, driving metallic blast (a little slower than previous DP metallic blasts, but fine nonetheless) that makes David sound gruff and cool, and that seems to keep Ritchie interested in what's going on.

I wish I could say that about the rest of the album. The thing that just drives me nuts is how ordinary the band sounds on this album; Ritchie doesn't sound like he's enjoying himself at all, Jon doesn't add the least bit of spark to the sound, and Ian never gets the chance to go beyond regular r&b and mid-tempo boogie rock. As for the songs themselves, the bulk of the album is basically a bunch of tenth-rate Stevie Wonder funk imitations, with David and Glenn making total asses of themselves. Good golly, I cannot believe I forced myself to repeatedly sit through an album that has a song with David Coverdale singing the line, "I'm gonna take you home and give you all I can, baby, I'll prove to you woman that, really, I'm a man." There's a couple of "purer" rockers that seem a little better to my ears, though "Gypsy" really isn't much more than somewhat interesting (somebody wake Ritchie up!), and the riffage of "Lady Double Dealer" is nowhere as thick and satisfying as Ritchie and Co. had shown they could make similar sounding parts in the past.

Oh, and there's a couple of ballads, one of which is alright and one of which is basically atrocious. "Holy Man" (with just Glenn on vocals) is a bit pompous lyrically, but it's at least pretty in the verses, largely thanks to some uncharacteristic slide guitar (we last had that on "Anyone's Daughter," right?). The closing "Soldier of Fortune," however, is every bit as bad as one can imagine a power ballad sung by David Coverdale could be. PULL OUT YER LIGHTERS, EVERYONE!!! And dig one of the tackiest uses of mellotron ever conjured up by mortal man!

I wrote more about this album than it deserves. Ritchie left in disgust as soon as touring for this album was over, and it's hard to blame him; in just a couple of years, DP had gone from one of the most interesting and unique heavy rock bands in the world to ordinary in every sense of the word. If you're REALLY in the mood for an inferior, more funkified version of Burn, go for it, otherwise just keep walking.

tarkus1980 | 2/5 |


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