DEEP PURPLE — InFinite (review)

DEEP PURPLE — InFinite album cover Album · 2017 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
An unbelievable half century, yes that’s correct, 50 years(!!!) since the seeds of the group were sown in their first incarnation called Roundabout, the band that became DEEP PURPLE just a year later has defied the odds of surviving far into the following century. Almost as if giving a sign of their intent to stay around forever, they release their 20th studio album INFINITE (which cleverly depicts the initials DP forming the infinity sign that has been broken into ocean ice floes by the icebreaker USCGC Healy of the US Coast Guard) in 2017 although the first single “Time For Bedlam” was released as a teaser in Dec 2016 and caught my attention as it signaled that the band were aiming for their classic early 70s sound when they were hitting high notes with “In Rock” and “Machine Head.” Despite the classic Mark II sound, this is the same DEEP PURPLE lineup that has been consistent since 2003’s “Bananas” album with longtime members Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice alongside newbies Steve Morse filling the shoes of the classic Ritchie Blackmore and Don Airey taking over the keyboard duties of legendary Jon Lord. Despite the newer lineup, everyone successfully channeled their inner early 70s zeitgeists and create one of the most retro albums of their career with INFINITE.

After an unusual monk like chant accompanying a droning synthesizer the band jumps right into their classic business on the opener “Time For Bedlam” which contains all of the elements that made the classic period so damned good as they check off each and every one of them. All those classic guitar riffs and melodic solos? Check. Magical organ runs that provide ample amounts of atmosphere and exquisitely designed classical workouts? Check. Catchy hooky melodies that make memorable sing-alongs? Check. Percussive drive with all the rhythmic breaks and appropriate pauses? Ditto. Even Ian Gillan sounds the same although it’s somewhat obvious at times that he has passed his prime but at the age of 71 his voice has held up quite well. The only time i feel he’s woefully substandard is on the Doors cover track “Roadhouse Blues,” but then again who could possibly fill Jim Morrison’s shoes?!!!

INFINITE delivers exactly what you would expect from a retro sounding album that somewhat makes the listener wonder if the album was actually created in the early 70s and the band have just finally gotten around to it as every aspect including lyrical content brings one back to a more care-free era of energetic hard rock and free love at its creative peak. While DEEP PURPLE released a fair number albums of this type in the 70s, the songwriting has always been a bit hit and miss on some of their lesser knowns but on INFINITE they manage to conjure up a whole album’s worth of catchy hard hitting tracks that for the listening time suspend all belief that the most members are well into their 70s and the youngest band member, Steve Morse is 62! Perhaps my favorite aspect of this album is the letting-it-loose keyboard skills of Don Airey who unleashes his playing prowess in myriad forms. Not only does he emulate Jon Lords rhythmic key riffing of the past but dishes out some seriously quickened and individualized solos and really fills Lord’s shoes in every possible way while adding his own touches that fit in with the intended retro sound so well.

If a totally retro DEEP PURPLE album appeals to you then you are in for a treat. The album is particularly strong in the songwriting department and will truly tinkle your ivories with riff and after riff reminding you of the good old days however this album is not without its flaws. My main gripe is with the horribly compressed production which sounds too flat and tinny for its own good. Perhaps they were trying too hard to sound authentically retro but ultimately this is the biggest impediment for enjoying the album despite the great tracks. Ultimately this is a decent comeback album that follows the direction initiated by 2013’s “Now What?!” with a return to bluesy hard rock with that classic keyboard sound but for an album that is released in 2017 i would expect a more robust engineering job in the studio even if the final desired product was to be as 1972 as possible, i mean even albums FROM 1972 sound better than this. As for the music itself, i personally think this is the best DEEP PURPLE album since 1984’s “Perfect Strangers” as i’ve always found the three decades of material that came after to be fairly stagnant and well,,,, boring! INFINITE finds DEEP PURPLE realizing they needed to move away from their less than exciting experiments they’ve engaged in and revert back to what they have always been the best at, namely crank out the classic keyboard driven hard rock gusto that made them a household name in the first place and with INFINITE they more than prove that they don’t need Blackmore or Lord to revisit those glory days.
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more than 2 years ago
Yeah, I listened again today for the third time. I'm enjoying the album more. But Morse doesn't do as much as he did on Now What?! or other albums. I still find him to be less active than usual. But the Deep Purple sound (not production) and songs are good. Very easy to get into.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I dunno. Morse has his moments. I think it's the mix that's the problem :)
more than 2 years ago
I just listened to this on my way to work today. I've been reading reviews and interviews to get a feel for what's being said by whom. I have my preliminary thoughts but I'm going to listen a couple times more before I get around to my review. Yours does a great job of describing the album. I felt Gillan, Airey and Paice stand out really well but Morse's guitar seems lost in the mix.

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