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


Deep Purple



2.86 | 373 ratings

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3 stars At first, this album seems like the same crap as before, only even more generic and with worse singing. I mean, what the freak is the difference between something like the opening "Bad Attitude" and something from Poison or Def Leppard or whatever band like them? Well, maybe the synths are more prevalent here than there, but that's hardly a positive in Deep Purple's favor. Then there's "The Unwritten Law," which goes from slight coolness in the guitar to an incredibly mediocre pop-metal piece driven by a mediocre synth-riff (well, ok, the riff could be ok, but the synth tone is thoroughly blargh) augmented by handclaps. "Call of the Wild" starts off seeming like it'll be better, but then when it hits that chorus, I just can't do anything but roll my eyes.

Just as I've accepted that I'm about to sit through one of the worst albums of my life, though, on comes the opening riffage of "Mad Dog," and I'm nearly knocked out of my chair. Holy crap, what a great, gruff riff that piece has - the rest of the song is mostly built of the usual 80's pop-metal ingredients (terrible synths, electronic drums, etc), but if this song had been made 15 years earlier, it would've been absolutely killer.

Thus begins a pattern that largely dominates the rest of the album. EVERY song from that point onward has some aspect that sounds extremely good to me, even if that aspect usually ends up getting covered by everything else. "Black and White" has a cool harmonica/guitar duel in the middle! "Hard Lovin' Woman" has a terrific pair of riffs (one of which is unfortunately doubled on synth horns at times), and some solid (albeit kinda 80's) soloing from Ritchie in the middle! "The Spanish Archer" has Ritchie's guitar truly dominating the sound for the first time in forever! "Strangeways" has a synth riff so goofy that it's actually entertaining, and almost makes me forget that it's over seven minutes long! "Mitzi Dupree" is a goofily slow, almost jazzy rocker, with some actual Hammond in the background! "Dead or Alive" has great messy riffage, just like old times!

Of course, all of these songs have other things that bug me. Ian G. sounds terrible, Jon's obsession with bad synth tones is both frightening and omnipresent, Ian P.'s drums have the same electronic robotic sound as before, the band is writing melodies that can easily serve as a textbook of bad 80's metal tendencies, etc. But you see, the difference between this and Perfect Strangers is that PS had all these same problems, but didn't have the glimmers of hope that exist in so many of these tracks.

Hence this album gets a better grade than its predecessor. I don't really like it, of course, but I definitely don't hate it either. Many fans do hate it, though, and apparently so does the band, so it's pretty likely that you can find this at a cheap price somewhere.

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |


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