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Deep Purple - Concerto for Group and Orchestra CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



3.21 | 297 ratings

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2 stars Enter lead vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover ... who are basically wasted on this album. Though this technically is the debut album of Mk. 2, it feels more like the worst possible culmination of Mk. 1. The thing is, I actually really like well-done classical music; I'm not as familiar with its nooks and crannies as I am with some genres of rock, but I've accumulated a good amount from a number of composers (favorites are Beethoven, Bartok and Stravinsky), and there are several classical pieces I absolutely love. But I don't think of this as classical; it's just prog rock with a heavier dose than normal of "pure" orchestration. Kinda like "April," but stretched out and made as crappy as possible.

The Concerto itself, which makes up the last two thirds of the album, is ridiculous. The "classical" portions are mediocre movie soundtrack quality at best; I guess the same thing could be said about the orchestrations on Days of Future Passed, an album I love, but those orchestrations existed to augment the moods of the actual songs and provide segues. The orchestrations here are meant to be treated as crucial portions of large-scale composition, and they're just not interesting enough to work that way. Parts go loud, parts go soft, and above all parts go nowhere. And the portions where the band joins in, gah ... There's an ok song buried inside the second movement (though the thought of Ian Gillan being forced to sing pretentious, meaningless prog lyrics is one I find bothersome; aren't lyrics like this anathema to Ian's purpose of existence?), but the rest is a bunch of alarmingly uninteresting group jamming interspersed with what sounds like Blackmore playing warmups. No thanks.

Oh, and did I mention that the central feature of the third movement is a drum solo? Did I also mention that the "encore" involves the band and orchestra going through the section with the drum solo a second time? Sheesh ...

The thing that redeems this album, at least slightly, is that the expanded version includes the band's opening set, sans orchestra, which is actually pretty decent. The opening performance of "Hush" is flat out great, with Gillan putting more gusto into his vocals than Evans did, and the band is super tight. "Wring that Neck" and "Child in Time" aren't done at their very best, as the band doesn't yet have the telepathic chemistry that would make the band so amazing within a couple of years, but they're decent enough, at least if your wank- tolerance is at a reasonable level.

Still, that's not a ringing endorsement, is it. That ** is awfully close a *, and should be regarded accordingly. At least the band didn't make this sort of thing its primary focus in the future ...

tarkus1980 | 2/5 |


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