DEEP PURPLE — The House Of Blue Light — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of

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3.00 | 49 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 1987

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Bad Attitude (4:46)
2. The Unwritten Law (4:37)
3. Call Of The Wild (4:53)
4. Mad Dog (4:34)
5. Black And White (3:43)
6. Hard Lovin' Woman (3:25)
7. The Spanish Archer (5:00)
8. Strangeways (5:58)
9. Mitzi Dupree (5:05)
10. Dead Or Alive (4:43)

Total Time 46:44


- Ian Gillan / vocals, congas, harmonica
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar
- Roger Glover / bass, synthesizer
- Jon Lord / organ, keyboards
- Ian Paice / drums

About this release

Release date: January 12, 1987
Label: Mercury Records

Cd Edition has the following tracklist:

1. Bad Attitude (5:04)
2. The Unwritten Law (4:55)
3. Call Of The Wild (4:48)
4. Mad Dog (4:36)
5. Black & White (4:39)
6. Hard Lovin' Woman (3:25)
7. The Spanish Archer (5:32)
8. Strange Ways (7:36)
9. Mitzi Dupree (5:06)
10. Dead Or Alive (5:00)

Total Time 50:21

Reissued in 1999 with remasters of the original edition.

Thanks to Pekka, Time Signature, Lynx33, 666sharon666, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Deep Purple are one of the classic bands from the 70's. Although starting out in the late 60's, the 70's were the decade when the band rose to fame and fortune, releasing a series of classic albums before the band disbanded in the middle of the decade. The House of Blue Light is the second album released by the band after their 1984 reunion.

Musically they continue doing what they are best at here. Classic hard rock is the name of the game, with a regular verse and chorus structure, usually with some soloing in the middle of it all. The band has upgraded their sound quite a bit though.

On this release several members of the band have discovered new toys - synths. There were synths available back in the 70's as well, but in the mid 80's they were better, gave more and better options, and these options are used quite a lot here. Which results in a very slick and smooth sound; smooth to the extent of almost eliminating the hard in hard rock on this album.

The production further enhances this; the guitars of Blackmore are pushed back in the mix, and have a less dominant role in the overall soundscape than what they did last time around.

The songs are still mostly on the good side though. There's a couple of fillers here, but the rest of the songs here are highly enjoyable. No classic tracks, but quite a few good ones.

Members reviews

They broke the unwritten law

After the reunion album that was Perfect Strangers it took Deep Purple three years to release a follow-up in The House Of Blue Light. It is often agreed by all hands that this album was a disappointment after the very good Perfect Strangers, and while I certainly agree with that sentiment I wouldn’t say that The House Of Blue Light is a downright awful album. Rather, I would say that it stands up rather well alongside some earlier (and later) not-so-good albums like Who Do We Think We Are and the albums from the David Coverdale-era. My biggest problem with this album is that the songs are a bit simpler and not much room is left for soloing; attempts are made to be “catchier” and you might suppose they were trying to have a hit single at this point? But the again, many other bands did much worse such attempts!

The production here is almost a bit slick too which contrasts radically with the often raw and under-produced albums of the early 70’s. I think they got it exactly right on Perfect Strangers, but here they might have went a little bit too far in terms of high production values and the result might be just a little bit too "glossy" for Deep Purple.

The best songs come toward the end of the album with Spanish Archer and particularly Strangeways being worthy of special mention. Here Blackmore and Lord are finally allowed to stretch out on their instruments a bit. Lord uses more synthesisers than usual in addition to piano and his classic organ sound on this album; they are mostly in the background adding texture and they do not sound cheesy like so many other synthesisers in the 80's.

In many ways House Of Blue Light is actually your typical and average Deep Purple album. It is hardly among their best, but not their very worst either. The riffs and melodies are all decent, but I miss something truly memorable here, something that stands out. This is just Deep Purple-by-the-numbers.

A rather weak Deep Purple album overall with only a few worthwhile moments
It is rather hard to believe that, a mere three years after the blockbusting reunion album "Perfect Strangers", Deep Purple would release a stinker of such proportions as "The House of Blue Light" (named after a line in the immortal "Speed King"). Unfortunately, it was not the first time the mighty five had subjected their loyal fans to such a burning disappointment... Something very similar had happened in 1973, when the band had released the very poor "Who Do We Think We Are" as a follow-up to the glorious "Machine Head". However, this album is so bad that it makes its less-than-illustrious predecessor sound almost half-decent - and this is no mean feat.

One of the many problems that afflict "The House of Blue Light" is related to having been released in the Eighties, therefore displaying the polished yet ultimately hollow sound of that era. The main victims are Jon Lord's trademark, rumbling Hammond sound (all too often replaced by the decade's favourite toys, synthesizers), as well as Blackmore's distinctive guitar tones, which sound eerily muffled in the mix - especially in comparison with the dazzling power of their Seventies recordings. Ian Paice's drumming has also been flattened, and sounds mechanical and soulless like a drum machine - gone are the glory days of "The Mule". The only bright note is Gillan's singing, as good as ever - with the years, he has become more of a singer and less of a screamer, and his lyrics writing skills have also immeasurably improved. However, the songs are all so samey and unmemorable that even one of the best vocalists in the history of rock can hardly rescue them.

The songs are actually the biggest cause for concern on "The House of Blue Light". When good, DP's songwriting can be stellar, but it can also plumb unnamed depths when lack of inspiration strikes. Even though the band had three years to produce this album, the songwriting gives off the impression of a rush job, or worse, of an extremely bad case of writer's block. On repeated listens, there are no songs that really stick in my mind, with the sole exception of the bluesy, earthy "Mitzi Dupree", which stands out because it is so different from the rest of the album's hard-rock-by-numbers. Some mention "The Spanish Archer" as THoBL's standout track, but to these ears it is just another piece of a shapeless musical mess.

The release of this album was just the beginning of a very dark period in the history of the band. Personnel changes and severe inspirational drought marred DP's output in the late Eighties and early Nineties, until something drastic happened - Ritchie Blackmore left the band, never to return. Paradoxically, it was probably the only thing that could have saved them - the injection of fresh blood, in the shape of guitarist extraordinaire Steve Morse. Blackmore's departure probably saved the band from a long, protracted, painful decline. At any rate, "The House of Blue Light" is one of the lowest points of DP's career, and it will be of interest only to loyal fans of the band or keen collectors.

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