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DEEP PURPLE

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.61 | 625 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Deep Purple' - Deep Purple (7/10)

The year 1969 could be said to be when the band Deep Purple finally hit their stride. Cutting down on their covers of other artists material and developing their sound into the bluesy behemoth that would pioneer heavy metal, Deep Purple's self-titled third album shows the band somewhat moving out of their cage and doing some pretty adventurous things. Not to mention that they had a symphony and concerto in the works by this point, Deep Purple was meeting their artistic mark, and this record does tend to indicate this. However, as is evident from the numerous throwback tracks here, Deep Purple had not completely moved out into the open yet.

'Deep Purple' is essentially a mix between straightforward bluesy tracks, and more left-of- center art rock. Naturally, the artistic side of Deep Purple shines a little more brightly than does the blues, but overall, the band has a fairly tight grasp on both sides of their side. 'Chasing Shadows' has some very nice psychedelic undertones to it over a blanket of hard rock, and 'Shadows' gives a baroque classical vibe. Keyboardist Jon Lord's contributions really shine here, including an incredible orchestral arrangement in the middle of the largely instrumental final track 'April'. Apart from that, he really douses the songs with some great classical charm, made quite evident by his use of arpeggios and rich organs.

While pieces like the indomitable 'April' really show the band breaking free of rock convention (with parts that sound like they are paying homage to composer Ennio Morricone), there are still moments on this album where the rock is kept straightforward and energetic. While Deep Purple is still as rocking here as they are with their more complex moments, the musicianship doesn't feel quite as good and organic as it was on earlier albums. However, taken into consideration that the self-titled shows Deep Purple trying out new things, this can be excused. Ron Evan's voice is here instead of Ian Gillian who would join shortly after, but while this may not be the Purple's vocalist that we consider to be part of the canonical lineup, he does a good job here, hitting his mark and achieving a warm tone to his voice during the more mellowed moments.

Deep Purple's self-titled is a very good album, and a step forward for rock music at the time, although I would say that the band gets even better with their subsequent 'classic' records. A great piece of proto-metal and art rock.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |

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