DEEP PURPLE — Deep Purple In Rock (review)

DEEP PURPLE — Deep Purple In Rock album cover Album · 1970 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Deep Purple have two classic albums that I will always be proud to say I own: "Machine Head" and "In Rock". "Machine Head" is one of those albums that I enjoy listening to from time to time but I don't need to hear it often. It's a classic and I can leave it until I am ready to enjoy all over again. "In Rock", however, is one of my all-time favourite albums, and certainly one of my desert island picks.

I first bought this on cassette in the 80's and then on CD in the 90's. Then the remastered version came out with the full length version of "Speed King", which definitely adds dimension to not only the song but the whole album. It literally explodes in the same tympanic membrane-ripping style that it closes with on "Hard Loving Man". I think that the chords to "Speed King" fit right into early metal classic riffs along with Black Sabbath's theme song and Led Zeppelin's "Black Dog".

Jon Lord (RIP) is an amazing musician, doing to his organ what few can manage even on guitar. His solos are crazy, wild, off-key even, and yet come across with style, talent, and energy. The man was the first person who could make me appreciate the sound of the Hammond organ.

Ritchie Blackmore chooses the raunchiest guitar sound to come out of any DP album until Steve Morse turned up the distortion on Abandon. Somehow, however, that early raw sound is just so much wilder. It has the right crunch! If the band's purpose was to drive the recording levels off the charts then they certainly did it here.

Gillan is amazing and I don't think he has ever sounded better since. His vocals are wilder and crazier than on any subsequent album, and he holds nothing back. If you've heard him with Episode Six then you have to wonder what happened between "Mr. Universe" and "Bloodsucker". Who let the rabid cougar out? (If you've heard him on the Episode Six demos from the last year of their existence, you can hear what attracted Blackmore to Gillan's pipes, particularly his backing vocals to the haunting number, "Something's Got a Hold of My Heart").

The remastered release is a gem with not only a cleaner sound but with the b-sides, studio outtakes and studio goof-ups it becomes an even greater joy to listen to. In between bonus tracks you can here improvised musical comedy as members goof up or goof around in the studio. It's too bad the rest of the remastered albums didn't have all this, but as I understand they weren't laughing so much by the time they did "Who Do We Think We Are?"

If you're still not convinced after all these great reviews then give the samples a listen and then get your copy. This album is a milestone in hardrock/metal with some inventive twists on classical and jazz in some parts. This album truly contributed to the development of the heavy rock genre.
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