Deep Purple - Deep Purple in Rock (1970)Release ID: 42971

Deep Purple - Deep Purple in Rock (1970) Cover
Emma Emma / November 07, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

I don't find anything metal in this album. 

Maybe it's the remnants of Jon Lord doing 'concerto', or maybe just the Hammond, but there's no metal guitaring or drumming. This album makes me think of Pink Floyd, David Bowie and the Beatles, with a little 'Smoke on the Water' vibes. 

Saxy S Saxy S / October 16, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

Rock music was at a turning point during the 1970s thanks in large part to the massive contributions to the genre by a quartet of blokes from Liverpool. Most people remember the Beatles in one of two ways; either as the pop rock group selling out arenas around the world to a swathe of young people, or as the psychedelic band responsible for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a record consider by music historians/critics as one of the most important albums of all time. For the purpose of this review, we are going to focus on that psychedelic side of The Beatles, specifically, the song "Helter Skelter" from the 1968 self-titled album (or the White Album). It is a marvel to hear the band responsible for such radio friendly pop rock songs as "A Hard Day's Night" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" would make a tune as ruckus as this and have it be received as well as it did. 

It is sometimes considered one of the first examples of a hard rock song, alongside the Kinks "You Really Got Me". Beyond 1968, their came into prominence a lot of artists looking to replicate the more aggressive side of The Beatles late work instead of the more radio friendly soft rock. And one of those bands was Deep Purple. In Rock is the bands third studio record and a real proto-metal album. The heavily distorted guitars and driving percussion are nearly unmistakable from the heavy metal formula that developed with Black Sabbath around the same time as this album. However, unlike Black Sabbath, Deep Purple have an obvious affection to the jam band style with lots of extended guitar and organ solos while not being super dark or oppressive; it is much closer to that of Led Zeppelin's sound that would come later. You could even make the claim that Deep Purple were digging deeper into the wormhole of psychedelic music than even the Beatles themselves.

And the results are phenomenal. I have always enjoyed the mixing and the execution on In Rock and listening to it again was no exception. The use of complimentary song styles and song lengths works wonders for this record as "Speed King" and "Into the Fire" are gigantic soundscapes with great choruses and hooks, while the longer tracks, especially "Child in Time", are calm and wind the listener back up into a frenzy; the joint guitar/organ solo halfway through "Child in Time" is so well implemented, before the band drops the tempo and dynamics right back down to where they were at the beginning of the track and then do it all over again! It's a literal clinic in long song structure and it's gone over the heads of way too many later progressive rock/metal bands who would much rather follow the Dream Theater approach of being quirky for its own sake and that's never worked for me.

Actually, parroting off of the point, it's amazing how much more recent metal music does take influence from Deep Purple In Rock. For starters (and likely the most direct influence) is the drum fill that concludes "Flight of the Rat", which is just the exact same outro solo on Judas Priest's "Painkiller". Or the slower, almost doom metal riff on "Into the Fire" that you might have misinterpreted if it wasn't for Ian Gillian's higher vocal timbre and wails. Deep Purple In Rock is an experimental album that keeps itself grounded and proves to be a remarkably influential album as well. It understands the rules of 1960s hard rock and then mutates them in ways beyond comprehension at the time. And that mutation would lead the band further on down the road to Machine Head, which is one of my favourite albums of all time. I wish more bands understood this today.

Best Songs: Speed King, Child in Time, Flight of the Rat, Into the Fire, Hard Lovin' Man

Shadowdoom9 (Andi) Shadowdoom9 (Andi) / October 09, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

Most metalheads who start exploring heavy metal from the very first year begin with the first two Black Sabbath albums, but me? I'm starting with Deep Purple in Rock! Sure this album came out in the middle of the period between those two Black Sabbath albums' release, but you gotta acknowledge the fact that Deep Purple came before Black Sabbath, releasing 3 psychedelic/prog-rock albums in the late 60s. But once their lineup changed, so did everything else...

When vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover stepped in, the band dumped their psychedelic roots in exchange for something heavier. Deep Purple in Rock is a true start to metal alongside those Black Sabbath albums (SIT DOWN, Led Zeppelin). Deep Purple's raw heavy formula is something that is hard to replicate in subsequent albums.

Classic opener "Speed King" starts off the album in a bang with fast distorted shredding before fading into soft ambient organ. Then the hard rock/heavy metal rolls in, and you might not agree with me here, but this is practically proto-speed metal! Maybe close to speed rock? Still the organ shines in some sections. An upbeat way to begin this early example of a heavy metal album! "Bloodsucker" is more firm in catchy hard rock/heavy metal. The rhythm is worth praising, and so is the sweet soloing.

One track that takes a break from the formula is "Child in Time". I didn't say ALL the progressive/psychedelic roots were taken out! As much as some speed is still around in some sections, it mostly just slowly builds up without reaching a specific destination, though I do like the vocals here. While one of their more famous tracks, it's never really the best for me while still great. "Flight of the Rat" marks a solid comeback to the proto-speed metal, or speed rock, I don't know. "Into The Fire" has a more Sabbath-like direction, slower marching hard rock/heavy metal, coming close to proto-doom metal.

"Living Wreck" takes on a great hard rock groove. However, it seems like they keep following that same groove without much proper focus on a chorus, instead just trying to compromise with the same lyrical passage at the end of a verse. That song's still great though. Finally, "Hard Lovin' Man" is more of a Scorpions-like track, crossing through their earlier hard rock/heavy metal era. The riffing/soloing momentum drifts through the technical structure at ease.

Deep Purple in Rock offers a lot of tight heaviness and variety, and is the one Deep Purple album that truly does that. With that, it is an essential hard rock/heavy metal album and one of the true first of the latter genre. Practically any music lover should give this historical offering a listen!

Favorites: "Speed King", "Flight of the Rat", "Into the Fire", "Hard Lovin' Man"

Morpheus Kitami Morpheus Kitami / September 02, 2023 / Comments 0 / 0

Now we get to Deep Purple with Ian Gillian, the vocalist that's all anyone knows. Where Deep Purple is usually considered to be a metal band. I don't know about other albums, but this ones strikes me as something metal enough to get a metal/hard rock label so many lesser bands end up with. A lot of bands wish they had the energy these guys have. This isn't like a lot of their radio hits where it feels like a lot of the band is phoning it in. I don't think this would be nearly as controversial if it weren't for the band's status as more of a classic rock band.
The weirdest thing about this album to me is how good Ian Gillian sounds to me. I've hear a lot of stuff on the radio and despite what you might think, I kind of loathe hearing Deep Purple. There's a very phoned in quality to his voice. Like some exaggerated method of how a "rocker" should sound; barely following along and barely singing in tune.
Which makes it feel strange that the whole album has more of a rawer quality than I'd expect. And there's this weird contrast between epic organ intros and solos with the raw regular stuff. Practically like two different albums at some points. I suspect a lot of people were influenced by the harsh jump between the intro and the first time Gillian opens his mouth on Speed King. This all implies it doesn't work, but it does. Certainly, the songs which maintain a more consistent tone like Flight of the Rat or radio favorite Child in Time are better, the more varied ones still feel connected despite their deep contrast.
I liked this one. We'll see how the band does in the future because a lot of those albums are kind of meh and not really metal.