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Deep Purple - The House of Blue Light CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



2.92 | 438 ratings

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3 stars In 1984, Deep Purple released their comeback album "Perfect Stranger" to a lot of happy fans. The classic Mark II line- up had reformed and that resulted in a welcome reception for the band. The album was pretty good though it was definitely more hard rock oriented with some swashes of progressive sound, and they seemed to move away from what was the typical sound of hair bands in favor of finding a place where their older sound could still feel up to date, and they succeeded in this. Even with the popularity of that album, though, it was still 3 years before the band released their next album "The House of Blue Light" with the line-up remaining intact from the previous album.

Apparently, however, there was a lot of contention among the members. The band, looking back in retrospect to the making of this album, admit that it was a very difficult album to make, not because of the material, but because of their problems of working together. Blackmore was the most regretful about his performance on the album saying he wishes he had taken things more seriously. It would seem both the critics and fans agreed that the finished project was a step in the wrong direction especially after the success of their previous album.

Most people would agree that this album was a failure as far as material is concerned. However, I don't think it is a total loss. There are some good tracks here, but they are the first two tracks "Bad Attitude" and "The Unwritten Law", and the last two tracks "Mitzi Dupree" and "Dead or Alive". The first two tracks are much along the same line as the tracks from the "Perfect Stranger" album, a lot of great riffs generated from Jon Lord's symphonic sounding synths and Blackmore's heavy guitar, and even though there doesn't seem to be a lot of progression from the previous album, they are still off to a good start. Also, the last two tracks harken back more to the band's classic sound with "Mitzi's Dupree" with the deep and heavy rocking blues sound with a touch of psychedelic flavor, exactly what you want to hear from the band, and "Dead or Alive" which is one of their faster moving and rocking out tracks, both of these featuring excellent riffs and memorable solos from both Blackmore and Lord.

The other 6 tracks that make up the middle of the album is where it all falls apart. These are the ones where you can tell that the band just didn't have their heart in the album. "Call of the Wild" is a poor attempt to make the band sound current, but people didn't want Deep Purple to sound like that. It is much too poppy and sounds contrived. It barely made a dent on the single chart, so no one seemed impressed by this awful attempt at all. This continues with "Mad Dog" and "Black & White", which almost works, but then it just doesn't. "Hard Lovin' Woman" could have been okay, but it needs a jam inserted in there somewhere, but no one showed up for that. "The Spanish Archer" is a cool title, but that's all it has going for it. The biggest letdown is "Strangeways", the longest track that hints that it could have been a great track, but the long instrumental break where Lord plays a repeating riff as if there is going to be some great soloing going on, and then that never happens. It's like the track is not finished. When Blackmore finally sounds like he is going to take it somewhere, it fades away. In the end, it's almost 8 minutes of a repeating riff and not much else.

10 songs, 4 pretty good ones and 6 terrible ones. It's not a complete wash out, but it's not what people were expecting or wanting from the band. The middle of the album sags so bad, that the listener loses all hope that the band may never be able to pull it off again. Most of the fault seems to lie with the band, and they have accepted the blame in retrospect. If only their hearts and souls were in this album, it would have easily been as good a their previous album, but with only 4 great songs that neverless don't really expand on their previous sound, this album can only be considered non-essential.

TCat | 3/5 |


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