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Deep Purple Machine Head album cover
4.33 | 1329 ratings | 74 reviews | 59% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1972

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Highway Star (6:05)
2. Maybe I'm a Leo (4:51)
3. Pictures of Home (5:03)
4. Never Before (3:56)
5. Smoke on the Water (5:40)
6. Lazy (7:19)
7. Space Truckin' (4:31)

Total Time 37:25

- Anniversary double-disc Special Edition (1997) -

CD 1 - 1997 Remix (43:42)
1. Highway Star (6:39)
2. Maybe I'm a Leo (w/ new guitar solo) (5:26)
3. Pictures of Home (with original drum intro) (5:22)
4. Never Before (3:59)
5. Smoke on the Water (w/ new guitar solo and vocals part) (6:18)
6. Lazy (w/ new vocals part) (7:33)
7. Space Truckin' (4:52)
8. When a Blind Man Cries (3:33) *

CD 2 - Original Album Remastered (53:12)
1. Highway Star (6:08)
2. Maybe I'm a Leo (4:52)
3. Pictures of Home (5:07)
4. Never Before (4:00)
5. Smoke on the Water (5:42)
6. Lazy (7:23)
7. Space Truckin' (4:34)
8. When a Blind Man Cries (3:32) *
9. Maybe I'm a Leo (quadrophonic mix) (4:59) *
10. Lazy (quadrophonic mix) (6:55) *

* Bonus tracks, not on original release

Line-up / Musicians

- Ian Gillan / lead vocals, harmonica
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitars
- Jon Lord / keyboards
- Roger Glover / bass
- Ian Paice / drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: John Coletta & Roger Glover with Shepard Sherbell (photo)

LP Purple Records ‎- TPSA 7504 (1972, UK)
LP Warner Bros. Records ‎- BS 2607 (1972, US)

CD EMI ‎- CDP 7 46242 2 (1986, UK)
2CD EMI ‎- CDDEEPP 3 (1997, Europe) Remixed by Peter Denenberg & Remastered by Greg Calbi, with bonus CD including original album remastered by Peter Mew plus 2 extra tracks

Thanks to The Miracle for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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DEEP PURPLE Machine Head ratings distribution

(1329 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(59%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(32%)
Good, but non-essential (8%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

DEEP PURPLE Machine Head reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
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.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by Zitro
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.

Review by Chicapah
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.
Review by Certif1ed
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Guillermo
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.

Review by NJprogfan
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!
Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by ZowieZiggy
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.

Review by 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.

Review by Tapfret
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
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

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.
Review by 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.

Review by Sinusoid
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...).

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR 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.

Review by poslednijat_colobar
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.
Review by b_olariu
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.
Review by crimson87
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.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
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

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 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.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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)

Review by tarkus1980
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.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
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.

Review by 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

Review by Isa
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.

Review by Warthur
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.

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
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.

Review by FragileKings
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!

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5 stars One of the most influential rock albums ever made, my one and only experience at a Deep Purple concert was buying really expensive tickets five rows from the front and being warned to wear ear plugs, then not being able to see the stage when the concert started because there was a surge of peopl ... (read more)

Report this review (#2446136) | Posted by iluvmarillion | Thursday, September 10, 2020 | Review Permanlink

3 stars 1972 will mark the musical life with a title that will make smoke to many groups, to many fans!!! 1 Highway Star or the start of a future great live, Le live... en attendant DP was beginning to show traces of a major group; as proof, this thunderous organ solo which squats Ritchie's place; good a ... (read more)

Report this review (#2312119) | Posted by alainPP | Sunday, February 2, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Review # 100. One of the albums that considered as a major influence for the birth of Heavy Metal music is this one. (Together with Black Sabbath's and Led Zeppelın's first albums). Machine Head was released on March 1972. It was the 6th studio album of Deep Purpl, and their most succes ... (read more)

Report this review (#2115583) | Posted by The Jester | Sunday, January 6, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1378710) | Posted by BigDaddyAEL1964 | Friday, March 6, 2015 | Review Permanlink

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 se ... (read more)

Report this review (#875701) | Posted by voliveira | Friday, December 14, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 momen ... (read more)

Report this review (#717873) | Posted by bb1319 | Sunday, April 8, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 Dee ... (read more)

Report this review (#711466) | Posted by the philosopher | Friday, April 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

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 sol ... (read more)

Report this review (#556446) | Posted by bassgeezer | Monday, October 24, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 w ... (read more)

Report this review (#519278) | Posted by OT Räihälä | Saturday, September 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 Smo ... (read more)

Report this review (#500263) | Posted by thesleeper72 | Monday, August 8, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#435714) | Posted by HarryTon | Tuesday, April 19, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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, a ... (read more)

Report this review (#386157) | Posted by Time Signature | Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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 a ... (read more)

Report this review (#325982) | Posted by migue091 | Friday, November 19, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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! Togeth ... (read more)

Report this review (#316503) | Posted by Frankie Flowers | Saturday, November 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#294432) | Posted by besotoxico | Friday, August 13, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 define ... (read more)

Report this review (#273751) | Posted by akajazzman | Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 slow ... (read more)

Report this review (#267803) | Posted by lozc636 | Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 guita ... (read more)

Report this review (#259902) | Posted by Malve87 | Friday, January 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

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 min ... (read more)

Report this review (#254723) | Posted by Keetian | Monday, December 7, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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 ki ... (read more)

Report this review (#246269) | Posted by paragraph7 | Sunday, October 25, 2009 | Review Permanlink

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