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Deep Purple: Reviews From A Hater


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Posted on Nov 25, 2012 1:24:44 PM PST
@AlexMontrose: I haven't heard the '99 version of "Concerto" so I don't know if Lord made any changes to it...one can only hope he did. The original album was a live recording and most live recordings from the period weren't very well-recorded so yes, it probably had poor sound. Not the fault of the band or the orchestra, just limitations of live recording technology of the day. I have not actually had a chance to hear the actual album, though--the only thing on youtube is the video of the concert, so I'm actually getting the sound straight from the video which is probably even worse. But poor sound is the least of that piece's problems...

Posted on Nov 25, 2012 5:01:33 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2012 5:59:16 PM PST
REVIEW: CONCERTO FOR GROUP AND ORCHESTRA

Link to the concert video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5F0hYO389EA (although I made a joke about the video quality in my earlier post, it's actually grade-A sound and picture)

I find it fascinating that after deciding they wanted to go in a tough new rock direction and specifically firing two members and hiring two new ones in order to accomplish this, that the first thing Deep Purple recorded with the new lineup was their most classically, progressively-oriented piece yet. This album feels to me like something Jon Lord pushed through while they were still acclimating the new members and was probably never meant to be anything other than a holding pattern--if it worked and was successful, great, and if it didn't, no big loss. Consequently, the resulting album was not too successful, which freed the group to pursue their new direction.

The whole rock-with-orchestra thing was an interesting idea that I feel was worth a shot, but it has just never been done very well. The first attempt--The Moody Blues' "Days Of Future Passed"--remains probably the best. This could possibly be because The Moodies were a mellower band and thus more suited to an orchestral format--and also could be because they integrated the orchestra with the band a bit more than later attempts did. A year later, at the same time as "Taliesyn", The Nice were able to pull off "Brandenburger", a successful and full collaboration with orchestra that also managed to rock. Encouraged by this success, Emerson decided to do a full-blown suite with orchestra at the same time as Lord composed "Concerto". The resulting Nice album "Five Bridges Suite" makes an interesting comparison to DP's attempt, as the two albums suffer from the exact same faults--most basically, very little integration with band and orchestra, resulting in a messy oil-and-water effect.
Later in 1970 Pink Floyd's "Atom Heart Mother" had more integration, but still with very mixed results.

"Concerto" is divided into three movements, with the second movement split into two parts for the purposes of the original vinyl release. The album still clocks in at around 50 minutes, and is largely instrumental as Gillan only gets a very brief vocal part for about three minutes in the second movement. The opening four minutes or so of the first movement is purely orchestral, and I have to say off the bat that orchestral music isn't really my thing--I don't hate it, but the classical music I like the most tends to be the more intimate chamber pieces for three-five instruments. As I don't listen to a lot of it, therefore, I'm not the best judge of it. I just know what I like and what I don't--and in this case, the opening orchestral portion fails to grab me.

This is followed by the band rocking out in a Blackmore-led instrumental jam. And this is pretty much how the entire piece goes--the orchestra plays, then band, then orchestra, etc., and what the orchestra plays has very little to do thematically with what the band is doing. Hence the oil-water effect. That being said, this first group section of the album is the best--Blackmore solos for a good four or five minutes and has now fully developed a pretty blistering style. He's always interesting to listen to, although I have to say that while this is the best moment of the entire piece for me, Blackmore's solo fails to generate any real soul or feeling. It's very flashy, virtuosic playing, but it kind of doesn't say much. The band also jams behind him in a kind of generic hard-rock style, sounding exciting but nondescript; there are no melodic motifs and nothing to connect it to the orchestral portion.

The orchestra returns, then the band returns again. For about a minute the orchestra actually joins the band and things start to look promising, but this frustratingly passes and the band drops out as the orchestra closes a very schizophrenic first movement.

The second movement "Andante" is divided into two parts, and succeeds in completely slowing the album to a deathly crawl. For its first six minutes the orchestra plays a snooze-fest of unbelievably dull proportions. There are slow, quiet orchestral sections that can sound quite beautiful (ie. Stravinsky's "Firebird Suite", or even "April")--this isn't one of them. The band then takes over with a ballad of its own, the only vocal portion of the album. It's similarly dull, but a surprising (for me) highlight here comes from their new singer, Ian Gillan. This was his debut on record for them, and he sings this ballad portion in his normal register, sounding quite strong--and oddly, a bit like Evans on some of the ballads from the third album. The orchestra then returns for more quiet noodling, then the band briefly returns, then the orchestra continues on and on really testing my patience until the piece mercifully closes. The one redeeming feature of the second movement--and this is probably the only time you're going to hear me say this about a DP song--are Gillan's strong, sure, melodic vocals.

The third movement is meant to be the exciting conclusion and is the home of the best orchestral part, kind of sounding here like the soundtrack to a good thriller. The group section is OK, though once again nondescript--there's no real "song" here. Blackmore solos a bit more although not quite as impressively as at the beginning, and Lord gets in his only organ solo (!) of the piece. The momentum is interrupted by a Paice drum solo--drum solos were becoming gratuitous for all live rock performances at this time (The Who being the one merciful exception), and the practice appears terribly dated and indulgent now, no matter how good the player is (and Paice is of course a very good drummer). After the solo finishes, the band and orchestra return together for the only truly integrated portion of the entire concert--the last four minutes of a fifty-minute piece. It sounds good, though, and only leads one to imagine how the Concerto would have sounded with much more of this integration.

Overall, "Concerto" is the group's weakest album to date, a curious anomaly in which they tried for the prog-rock brass ring and almost completely failed to deliver the goods. Even the few good moments--Blackmore's opening guitar solo, Gillan's brief vocal spot, the last few climactic minutes--sound disconnected from the piece as a whole, and it isn't really worth wading through the whole thing just to get to those few bright portions. I don't think this opinion of mine will be much disputed, either, since "Concerto" seems to be fairly unpopular with DP fans and was trashed by the critics (who were even at this early date fast losing patience with the whole idea of fusing rock and classical music--their loss, however, as prog-rock would move beyond these awkward first steps and blossom into a truly wonderful genre in the next five years). Here's the track-by-track rundown:

First Movement: Moderato/Allegro 3
Second Movement: Andante 2.5
Third Movement: Vivace/Presto 2.5

Overall: 2.5 out of 5, or a "C" grade.

Note: Apparently the full concert featured the live premiere of "Child In Time"--but more on that when I get to the next album...everyone, tomatoes at the ready...

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 12:58:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 1:03:23 AM PST
REVIEW: DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK

Here we go, the one you've all been patiently waiting to cream me for:

With the relative failure of both "Deep Purple" and "Concerto For Group And Orchestra" came pretty much the end of DP's ambitions toward prog-rock. The sound Lord and Blackmore now had in their heads was something much more straightforward: loud, simple, brutal rock, played with a vengeance. And let's make no mistake--while I've heard some people on here question at times whether Deep Purple is a heavy metal band, "In Rock" is most certainly a candidate for one of the early heavy metal albums. With its emphasis on speed, power and volume, repetitive metallic riffs, high-pitched wailing vocals, and flashy shredding guitar solos, how could it not be?

I'll even make one tangential concession regarding the whole Lord fracas--while he certainly wasn't the first one to utilize the organ in a hard rock setting, Deep Purple *were* one of the few heavy metal acts of the early 70s to feature keyboards in equal standing with the guitar. Sabbath, Budgie, Cactus, Cooper, UFO...no. Zeppelin had John Paul Jones on occassional keys, but not on their harder more metal-sounding stuff. Uriah Heep had keys, and that's about all I can think of at the moment. The preponderance of organ is probably what leads some to question whether DP were, in fact, a heavy metal act, but it's clear to me that if one *was* to have keyboards in a heavy metal band, it would pretty much sound like MK II-era Purple: loud, fast, flashy organ runs that mirror what the guitarist is doing.

And so the group's entire sound was streamlined and simplified, with a brand-new singer to add real metal oomph on top. The results brought them massive success in their homeland for the first time, and the album is still considered a classic of the genre. Fans who like this album don't just love it; they think it's a kind of Second Coming for rock music. And if the fans are going to be as fanatical about it as all *that*, it is by that standard that I must judge the album.

And...after two more re-listens for this thread, in which I tried at every corner to open my ears and find as much good as I could about the record, I have to say my opinion just hasn't changed very much. Are there things I think are good about "In Rock"? Yes, and there always has been. Do these good moments outweigh the bad? Not even close, and in order to explain myself I'm going to have to go into plenty of detail why.

First, I will freely admit that one basic thing which ruins all MK II-era Purple for me are Ian Gillan's vocals. I am fully aware that he is considered by fans to be one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time. Well, so is Roger Daltrey and that doesn't seem to prevent Stephen McNary from ragging on *him* at every turn, no? I see a lot of Plant-bashers on these threads, too. Daltrey, Plant and Gillan all have very big, distinctive voices, and it's their individual idiosyncracies--their phrasing, their extemporizations, their timbre--that can make the difference between love and hate in every case. With Gillan, it's even more perplexing for me since I actually like his "normal" register singing voice (ie. the one he uses on the second movement of the "Concerto", or at the beginning of "Child In Time").

Unfortunately for me, what we get 80% of the time in MK II Purple is this puke-inducing screech/wail that's supposed to sound big and powerful in the same way Plant's high-pitched vocal style is, but which falls far, far short of the mark for me (and yes, I well know that what is puke-inducing for me is Godlike to you, so you can all unclench your fists now. I KNOW.). Gillan is able to sound as loud and powerful as Plant, but I find his actual vocal timbre during the high-pitch stuff cringe-inducing. I mean, a cross between cartoonishly laughable and nails-on-chalkboard irritating--with one very important exception on the album, which I'll get to in the track reviews.

But that's just the beginning. I realize that Robert Plant is sometimes criticized on this forum by his detractors for the way he would always be injecting some kind of improvised "ooh baby" or wordless wail during the group's jams. I love it when Plant does those things, largely because I think his voice is mind-bogglingly great enough to pull it off. Gillan does something similar with Deep Purple, something which I lovingly call the "WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!" factor. I refer of course to the high-pitched wail that he annoyingly injects into virtually every other verse of a Deep Purple song (case in point, "Speed King": "Tutti Frutti WAAAAHHH!!!! So rooty!", "C'Mon baby, DRIIIWAAAAHH!! me crazy", "I'm a speed king see me flaaAAAAHHH!!!", "C'mon, c'mon, "WAAAAAAHHHH!!!"--and that's just in the first half of the first song!). Congratulations, Ian: you pioneered the cheezy metal wail that pretty much poisoned hard rock music for the next twenty years. IMHO.

And cheezy is the word, here: not only is this wail overused to the point of ridiculousness, on practically every song, but there's no real feel or soul to it at all. When Roger Daltrey screams at the climax of "Won't Get Fooled Again", it sounds like his life depends on it: blood, sweat, tears, rage, joy, and revolution in one go. When Robert Plant sings the last verse of "Stairway" in his high-pitch range, he sounds like The Devil Incarnate come to collect his due.

When Ian Gillan goes "WAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!" every other word on a DP song, he sounds to me like a cheezy metal singer trying to pick up the girls in the front row (of course, that's exactly what Daltrey and Plant were actually doing as well, the trick is, they didn't actually *sound* that way!). It's flash and bombast for flash and bombast's sake, which even then I might like were it not for the actual timbre of Gillan's higher pitch which I just find *so* hard to take.

Gillan alone detracts so much from the proceedings that every single track (bar that one exception, which I'll get to) gets automatically deducted one full star for me. With DP MK II I find myself basically waiting for him to shut up and let the instrumental break begin. Now believe me, I really tried hard this time to like the vocals. I tried to forget all the thousands of metal singers who followed in his wake; I tried to like it on its own terms; I tried to feel the "power" of it, the sheer rock energy. All I can say is, on a technical level I do realize that Gillan's voice carries a lot of range, volume and fullness. But with only one exception I keep mentioning, which I'll get to, I just couldn't make the transition. Maybe others here can help me see what I'm missing, by addressing the problems I have with him and perhaps giving me a new perspective with which to listen. That was partly the point of this thread, after all--so Alex or Ogre or whoever, after you've finished lobbying your tomatoes, you are free to try and change my mind.

But Gillan isn't the only problem with MK II Purple. The whole "bombast for bombast's sake" idea is extended into the music, which now rocks hard (a good thing), but little else. Lyrics (with the one exception) are completely incidental and clearly tossed off. The music all sounds the same from song to song (with one exception), overkill on everything--volume, solos, vocal WAAAHHHS--is the order of the day, subtlety is unheard of, and real emotion and nuance is replaced by the singular obsession to impress with power, volume and flashy soloing technique. The band has now focused their music with a laser-like precision, which is ordinarily good, but they have become completely one-dimensional in the process. Even the way they rock now is so bludgeoning--completely ditching the supple danceability and swinging 60s rhythms they utilized on a few earlier rockers--that the results, especially on side two, are somewhat mind-numbing.

Of course, this kind of sledgehammer style is the entire *point* of a lot of metal...and it's exactly why I don't like much of the genre (or, for that matter, some of the earliest UK punk rock--I could write almost the same thing about "Nevermind The Bullocks", minus the part about flashy soloing technique). I don't mind an album being comprised of all hard rock tunes, but there's something about this one that I find dulls the senses overall.

OK this is getting pretty long so I'll divide this into two parts--and then tell you what I actually enjoy about the album. Although I realize it's already too late...I'm red as a tomato now...

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 2:20:55 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 2:41:40 AM PST
REVIEW: DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK, PT II

OK, so I promised to say some nice things about the album at the end of Pt I, which I will mostly do in my track-by-track review. But overall, while I make heavy note of the fact that the group has become completely one-dimensional, I'll admit they do that one dimension very well. The group's chemistry, energy and solos *do* impress--at least, when I can hear it over Gillan's constant din--and even if there isn't much of actual depth or meaning to the music, flash for flash's sake can be cool in and of itself, and carry it's own kind of weight. The group were now a *sound* experience, not a song experience; they knew they weren't Lennon-McCartney so they didn't even try, focusing instead on what they thought they were best at.

So, the album opens with the flashiest, most dazzling, most mind-bendingly virtuosic little guitar intro one can think of. Alex tells me that until the remaster this only appeared on the German vinyl; I can't imagine why they would have originally left this opening off, as it is a perfect majestic way to start the proceedings. A short quiet organ bit follows and then "Speed King" erupts in a fierce metal update of 50s rock; it certainly moves and grooves pretty good (better than a lot of the album, IMO--in fact, I tend to like the opening tracks of all three MK II studio albums), but as I mentioned earlier, Gillan's vocal just ruins everything for me here. I literally have to try and ignore him (which is of course very hard to do) and concentrate on the band's playing, which again rocks nice and hard, though I can't really say much else about it.

"Bloodsucker" follows and again, I think the underlying riff is pretty good, though not on the level of the most classic of rock riffs. This is a pretty brutal track, and the guitar/organ tradeoff in the solo is easily the highlight for me. The way Gillan entirely screams the last verse is daring, and I'd probably like the effect more if it wasn't actually him on vocals. A number that I might like more if it weren't for the main faults I see about the album in general--Gillan's vocals and a tendency to repetitive bombast overkill.

But now we get to the "one exception" I kept mentioning earlier, and that is "Child In Time". I take it this is kind of like DP's "Stairway To Heaven", in that it is a lengthy epic which displays their full range. It is also easily my favorite on the entire album, not just because Gillan graces us by singing in his softer normal register for most of it, but also for its shifting dynamics, interesting anti-war lyric and the genuine emotion clearly on display. In fact, this is the only lyric which grabs me on the whole record, and Blackmore's solo is the only of his here which is not only flashy, but soulful as well. The slower portion is an admitted cop from It's A Beautiful Day's "Bombay Sapphire", but like Zep with Spirit's "Taurus" for the intro to "Stairway", I can overlook this seeing as how the group clearly expanded that bit into something that was their own.

After the first two songs I can't tell you how much of a relief it is to hear Gillan actually *singing*, and singing well, to boot (I told you I like his lower range). However, what's interesting here is that when he goes into his gradually ascending "WAAAAAHHHS" before the break, I'm actually quite impressed here in a way almost equal to my revulsion when he does it on the rest of the record. What's the difference? Genuine emotion. Here, his wailing sounds tortured and eerie; it's not a gratuitous cheezy insert into every other verse, but a carefully crafted, suspenseful ascending progression leading to the release of the instrumental break. In fact, "Child In Time" sounds more to me like the DP of 1969 than the DP of 1970--so it was no surprise to me that this meaningful, dynamic, carefully crafted opus was actually worked up in the summer of '69 just after Gillan joined. That being said, I can't give it a full five-star rating, as I still find it slightly weaker than the "magnum opuses" of other bands of the period--now I know this may be my bias against the band showing, but at present I'll give it a 4.5.

"Child In Time" virtually saves "In Rock" for me from its mind-numbing lack of dynamics, but there's no such savior for side two. Opener "Flight Of The Rat" follows the formula of every other song here, except this time it's only the instrumental breaks that I like; the rhythm is kind of pat, the melody unmemorable, and it kind of sounds like something that Grand Funk Railroad would have done. But, during the first instrumental break, the band ups the groove a notch and cooks underneath the flashy solos.

"Into The Fire" is slightly slower and sludgier than the rest, with one of those stomping Frankenstein-style riffs popular in a lot of hard rock in the early 70s. Not my thing, really, and the album is really starting to sound monotonous at this point. Gillan, of course, is insufferable--but it wins points for its shorter length. This is then followed by "Living Wreck", another simplistic, repetitive rocker which sounds like the soundtrack to a sleazy porn. One thing I like about the song are Lord's *screaming* organ glissandos--this is a nice, rare production touch which does much to prop up a tiresome, monotonous number better suited for a pole dance, or a trucker's night out with the classic rawk station on full blast.

The album closes with the only thing I can really take on side two, "Hard Lovin' Man"--and this is entirely down to the exciting groove the group lays down. Again, major points deducted for Gillan's constant WAAAAAHHHH!!!!, and if it's getting annoying seeing me type WAAAAAHHHH!!! every ten seconds, imagine how I feel when listening to it that way. Anyways, there's a good Lord solo during the break, followed by a face-melting Blackmore one. The instrumental sections are everything good and exciting about DP during this period, but also still highlighting the general idea of flash over soul. I could never see Ritchie Blackmore creating a solo as wondrous or emotive as Steve Hackett on "Firth Of Fifth" or Jerry Garcia on "Laughing", as spiritually charged as Pete Townshend on "Sparks", as psychotically edgy as Robert Fripp on "Baby's On Fire", or as politically urgent as The Edge on "Sunday Bloody Sunday". He has all the technical skill in the world and loads of creativity, but there's just a hint of the Alvin Lee/Ted Nugent style of wankery about him. Again, I'm not saying the solo on "Hard Lovin' Man" isn't great--it's fantastic. But as I said in Pt.1 of this review, if DP fans are going to hold "In Rock" as the very highest, highest standard in hard rock music, then I am judging the group on that level. And even at the best moments here, they fall short of what I consider to be the true magicians of music. IMO. IMO. IMO.

Overall, when this album is finished I tend to let out a big breath of air, which is not a good sign. I feel like I've been taken hostage by Ian Gillan for 43 minutes, and can now relax in peace (I cannot stress enough that had it been any other singer, this album would probably get a full star more from me). The overall relentless overkill of the album in general is also numbing, and there's not too many songs other than "Child In Time" that I can hum afterwards. The lack of songwriting skills, real emotion and interesting lyrics hurts on every song but that one, turning "In Rock" into a kind of monotonous dirge in my mind, even though when I listen to the songs individually I feel excitement in some of the grooves and solos. Track-by-track rundown:

Speed King 3.5
Bloodsucker 3
Child In Time 4.5
Flight Of The Rat 3
Into The Fire 2.5
Living Wreck 2.5
Hard Lovin' Man 3.5

Overall: 3 out of 5, or a "C+" grade.

Note: the hit single "Black Night" released at the same time is more of the same, just shortened a bit for the singles market. An OK riff, but these kind of early 70s stompy hard rock riffs missed all the electric excitement of ones from the mid-late 60s like "Day Tripper", "Pleasant Valley Sunday" or "Jumpin' Jack Flash". IMO.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 7:58:34 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 11:29:49 AM PST
AlexMontrose says:
Well.....................:-) How 'bout that review? I've read PT.1 so far and that's all I'm responding to right now :

If you know Michael Topper then you know he pretty much dislikes most so called metal music. Some with a passion. Unless it's in a setting or genre surrounded by other music he enjoys, first to come to mind of course would be prog. But as far as your "traditional" metal type bands go, I've seen him completely dismiss many out of hand almost because they conform to a musical standard he believes is a waste of time. Guess what ? I feel the same way about certain types of music, including many "metal" bands.

But...and this is one of the huge problems littering the first portion of his review. Topper has all but coined In Rock metal music. And that's fine...if that's the way he interprets it. There's no point in getting into some hairball discussion about what some perceive as a "thin line" between so called metal and music that should or could be called hard rock. I could argue that all one needs to decide whether a band is hard rock or metal is.......ask the band themselves. I'm sure Topper knows what's coming. So let's get right to it.

Deep Purple is as annoyed, frustrated and angry by the term metal, that some like to foist on them, as many of their hardcore fans are.
All you would have to do is google whether DP is metal or not, read some DP biography's, articles, etc. etc. and you would find countless interviews and quotes from the *members* of the band who will tell you, we are *not* metal and find that term, description of our music lazy, disparaging, inaccurate and lacking any insight as to the nuances we bring to the music. In fact the first quote, story that comes to mind is when an interviewer, one of so many at the time, compared DP with Sabbath. It was Blackmore who was being interviewed in this one and he was incensed enough by all the simple, generic, softball type type comparisons of their music and (I'm paraphrasing) said to the interviewer : "We are nothing like Black Sabbath. If one can not see the subtleties and nuances we bring to our music and the differences between us and a Black Sabbath for example then I have no patience for people like that"

I certainly can understand Blackmore's frustration at that point, having been asked the same question over and over by an endless parade of rock journalists who love to label bands under one big moniker. If it's fast and loud with amped up guitars, most will throw around the term metal with very little understanding that certain bands, *like Deep Purple*, have taken great pains to write classically inspired motifs, extremely creative instrumental passages and intricate hard rock song structures. It's beyond frustrating for the band themselves because let's face it, the term "metal" brings all kinds of negative connotations with it. It denotes that the band is simple and loud and lacking any of what one might call "thinking mans" music. *Real* music. Metal is for headbangers who just want a wall of noise and aren't sophisticated enough to differentiate between what is traditionally considered great, iconic (rock) music that "should" be respected by all. Metal is the dysfunctional child in the family of Rock, one that has been written off by the vast majority of rock journalists.

Whether Gillan, Glover, Blackmore or Lord, they will all tell you that our music is not heavy metal. Heavy yes, metal no. So herein lies one of the huge problems with Toppers review so far. He approaches it from this standpoint, that Purple and/or In Rock *is* metal and that colors all his thoughts pertaining to the music. Knowing Topper as well as I do from these boards, lumping In Rock in with a bunch of metalish type music and/or bands, then we can certainly say that In Rock is at a big disadvantage with him right from the get go. Because as soon as he hears Gillan wail, Blackmore turn up the volume, solo like crazy, Lord follow Blackmores lead and also solo like crazy and Glover and Paice thump away to mind melting, fast, pummeling rhythms he has decided the whole affair is "Heavy Metal".

I think he fairly or unfairly, depending on your perspective finds Gillans voice to be something that "ruins" almost every song. I have no problem with this other than to say we couldn't disagree more as to what we consider good "timbre" when it comes to rock vocalists. Everything he describes that's "wrong" with Gillans voice is extremely subjective, depending on the listener of course. Of the examples he used, Plant and Daltrey, I find a problem with their timbre. For me, it's no contest who has the better voice. Plant is excruciating to me, much more in a live setting than on record (where I think he's a good singer but with "timbre" that sounds like Axl Rose). But live (and occasionally on record) with his whining and talking through songs, sounding like a poor, suffering soul begging for people to take Zeppelin's "profound" lyrics as some sort of life lesson. Just shut up and sing the song without pleading with people, the crowd to view you as some sort of misunderstood martyr/messiah ("Does anybody remember laughter?". Talk about "insufferable" puke !!!!). With Daltrey it's all about timbre. I've always felt he had an okay voice, nothing special. Gillan has a tremendous voice, timbre, phrasing, tone, everything. Naturally the way a singer emotes, the way he interprets a song will also play a part in your overall opinion of him. But for the most part, in general, people hear a singer and instantly know if their vocals appeal to them or not. And to get back to my point, I can understand if you don't like a singers voice it can be very hard to get past that. I'm not a Dio fan, never liked his voice so any Sabbath once Osbourne left is something I've barely listened to. It *can* over ride the music to the point where you just don't like what you're hearing...period.

So we have two "problems" now that put In Rock at a big disadvantage with Topper. One fairly, the vocals (his taste) and one not so much IMO, (Metal). But be that as it may I will comment on PT II, (which I haven't read yet...breakfast ;) later on.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 8:14:33 AM PST
why stop at the burn album??? i think you should continue on thru stormbringer and taste the band!

i personally love those two and burn the most....i know, i know....i'm an odd deep purple fan...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 1:12:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 1:58:22 PM PST
@AlexMontrose: I was going to wait until you posted your reaction to Pt II but oh, what the hey. Anyways, I've made it no secret that I dislike a lot of heavy metal, true. But I think you have it backwards: I didn't think "oh, 'In Rock' is just heavy metal", which then made me pre-disposed to not liking it or something. Or that I heard loud, fast rock songs with flashy solos, quickly made up my mind and then turned a blind eye to all the "subtlety" and "nuance" of their sound. Let's not forget that I give "Child In Time" all of the props in the world for its dynamism, nuance and emotive power (oh wait, you hadn't read Pt II yet--spoiler alert!). If it's there, I will hear it, especially if I'm *specifically* listening to look for subtleties and complexities I may have missed the first time around, as I did on these re-listens.

You are absolutely right that the term "metal" became a dirty word, and that it was something DP tried to distance themselves from. But just because they get incensed and say they're not heavy metal, doesn't mean that they aren't. It just means that they realize the negative connotations of the word and didn't want to be associated with a term with that kind of connotation. Led Zeppelin did the same thing--they also loathed the comparisons to Sabbath, pointed out the nuances and complexity in their work, etc. etc. But at least LZ could back up their claim, by pointing to nearly a third of their material being acoustic folk-influenced stuff. They could point to reggae and Middle Eastern and funk elements, etc. But *even then*, LZ would be disingenuous to claim that they weren't heavy metal at all. Their first album was a *huge* influence on the genre and things like "Immigrant Song", "Black Dog", "Out On The Tiles", "Communication Breakdown", "Whole Lotta Love" etc. are practically dictionary definitions of the early 70s brand of metal.

In the case of "In Rock"--with the one exception of "Child In Time" which I happily point out--what, exactly, is *not* heavy metal about the record? And does heavy metal necessarily have to be free of subtlety and nuance, anyway? Just because the term has an overall negative connotation, does not mean it can't be more nuanced, and primarily metal music that is a bit more nuanced or complex doesn't automatically take it out of the metal category. If I had a dime for every metal band that tried to tell everyone they weren't really that dirty word "metal" just because they had an acoustic song or a jazzy solo somewhere, there would be about three heavy metal bands left in existence! The point is, there are several main characteristics that unite all of these bands: extreme volume, high-pitched vocals, flashy solos, aggressive riffs, a kind of headbanging rhythm, etc. And you can't deny that "In Rock" has all of that, on almost every track, no matter what else it might possess.

Besides LZ's metal-oriented material, I also really like Budgie, some of the classic Sabbath, and some Uriah Heep. So there *is* some heavy metal I like, especially if it's first-wave stuff from the early 70s. Indeed, I like some of the MK II Purple like "Hard Lovin' Man" and "Fireball", at least when Gillan's not putting a damper on it. So just because it's categorized as "heavy metal" does not mean I automatically hate or dismiss it on principle. I can even like it *for* its raw loudness, power and headbanging simplicity, at certain doses.

I listen to the music. I hear what's there. On "In Rock", with that one exception "Child In Time", I do not hear "classically inspired motifs and intricate hard rock song structures." There were classically inspired motifs on the earlier albums, for sure, but on "In Rock" I hear very little of it, just tiny bits here and there. Please point out to me where a song--any song--on the album is based on a classically-inspired motif (and let's not forget that just because it might have a 'classically inspired motif' does not necessarily make it "good"). "Speed King"? "Living Wreck"?! And I hear simple hard rock song structures, not intricate (again, with the exception of "Child In Time") . Even the riffs are pretty basic, although I'll give the riff in "Bloodsucker" some credit for a bit of intricacy (still, hardly beyond what any other heavy metal band of the era could do). I mean, even Black Sabbath dabbled in (relatively) complex song structures and classically inspired bits for "Vol.IV", "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Sabotage". Heck, Rick Wakeman even plays on "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath". It's heavy metal with an arty tinge, just like DP, so Ritchie Blackmore getting his whiskers all in a tizzy over being compared to Sabbath strikes me as overblown and defensive.

I *do* hear "creative instrumental passages", however. Ogre was right to point out the jazzy guitar/organ tradeoffs that became DP's instrumental trademark during that era, sort of a hard rock equivalent to what was starting to happen in jazz-fusion at that time. It's one of the best parts of the album, and MK II in general. And Lord and Blackmore are of course gifted soloists who take from classical, jazz and blues in their playing. There's intricacy in the solos, I'll grant, yes. But again, that does not mean it's suddenly not heavy metal just because the solos are intricate. In fact, one of the *key hallmarks* of heavy metal was its pride in highly virtuosic, flashy soloing even when everything else going on was pared to simple basics. DP were a tad jazzier than most metal, but not to the point of being some Canterbury prog band. It was all still couched within the context of loud, fast, simple, brutal rock, and that's what took priority there.

Again, you get it backwards. I do not think DP are "heavy metal" *first*, and then that's why I'm prejudiced against them. I listen to the music and then hear elements that are clearly allied with heavy metal. Some elements of which I like, and some of which I think are symptomatic of what I feel--IMO, of course--are weaknesses of the genre (and some elements which act as a double-edged sword). When you can point out to me what's so incredibly complex and nuanced about a song like "Speed King" or "Into The Fire", I'll listen--because I do want to be challenged on this. But I need you to point out specifics. You know, like you say you can do in person when the song is playing--it's not *that* hard to do that kind of thing in writing.

Anyways, it's not necessarily the lack of dynamism in any one song that is my main complaint, here--if I just hear "Speed King" by itself, I can enjoy its raw brutal simplicity. It's an entire album of this which creates listener fatigue in me early on--if it weren't for "Child In Time" breaking the sledgehammer monotony, I'd probably give the album two stars.

As it stands I'd probably give the album *four* stars were it not for Gillan, and it really is a totally personal case of not liking his vocal timbre or style. In the same way that you talk about being turned off by Plant or Daltrey's timbre, I feel about Gillan, so at least we understand each other here. It's just a matter of someone rubbing one the wrong way. Although in the case of Gillan it's not just timbre but also his phrasings (the "WAAAAAHHH!!" factor, etc.) that I cannot stand. I must take exception, however, to your comparing Plant to Axl Rose. Funny enough, I was almost going to mention Rose in my initital review, because I think that when Rose goes "WAAAAAHHHH!" in a Guns'n'Roses song, his cheezy feel and timbre reminds me *much* more of the way Gillan did it than the way Plant used his high-pitched range. Again, this is just a personal observation and clearly we're hearing it two different ways. But in general, Gillan's vocal style (outside of his normal range, which I ironically like) is something that it's probably going to be very hard at this point to get me to change my mind about, probably as difficult as me trying to change your mind about Plant.

Thank you for not including any personal insults in your response--I really was expecting the words "pompous" and "elitist" to appear somewhere in your reply. I'm sure you thought of them, but I thank you for not using them for the millionth time, and just sticking with the discussion at hand. For the record, I do not dislike "In Rock" for the "pompous" reason that I think it's mindless or overly-simple. I like The Trogg's "Wild Thing", Dr.Feelgood's "All Through The City" and many other songs which are about as mindlessly simple as it gets, simpler than what's on "In Rock". And I do recognize and hear the virtuosity of the players and the intricacies in their soloing (although again, actual song structures, melodies and lyrics on the album are hardly what I would call complex). There's just a certain approach to the music on "In Rock" which I think is soulless, with cheezy vocals, overly-bludgeoning riffs, and a bit numbing over the course of the album. I don't know, maybe there *is* some pomposity in my reasoning here, because I do prefer the artier and more eclectic material on the third album. But there's also some exciting grooves there, and I do like the flashy intricate solos for the most part. On a certain level the music is acceptable and even enjoyable to me for what it is--but as I said, I'm holding the album to the *highest* possible rock standards, because that's how fans like yourself speak of it.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 1:15:09 PM PST
you two are wasting two much time hating on each other...and your long comments back and forth to each other are getting to the point that i get too bored to read the whole thing, lol....give it up you two....go sit in a time out!! haha

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 1:24:07 PM PST
This is a 15 round slug fest. They are just getting started!

For the record, I love quite a few genres of heavy metal. I can't do the screamers (hardcore or metalcore), and I don't care for industrial metal. Everything else is pretty much in play. I have never thought of metal as a bad word. To each his own...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 1:29:12 PM PST
I'm with you, Dew. What is so bad about being called metal? An album still sounds the same despite what you want to call it anyway. Is "In Rock" metal or hard rock? Does it matter, really? It doesn't change the songs.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 1:33:39 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 1:34:11 PM PST
Topper,

Nice breakdown. As I've said much of what DP has done hasn't aged well for me and you stated the exact reason why:

"And I hear simple hard rock song structures, not intricate (again, with the exception of "Child In Time") . Even the riffs are pretty basic"

There are certain nuances that I feel are missing in DP's music, as opposed to even Sabbath. I love Ritchie Blackmore's playing and think he is a phenomenal guitarist but I don't think rock and roll riffing was really his forte. Granted, he did write some powerful riffs, but I don't think he was ever truly comfortable in a rock setting.

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 1:44:24 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 2:01:37 PM PST
@Daniel E. White: heavy metal *isn't* a bad word, it's just a category description. You can still have plenty of variety within that category, and bands that stick out more than others (and metal, of all genres, probably has the most subgenres of all). Even when there are categories that I normally find little to enjoy about, like country or hip-hop, I always attempt to judge each artist beyond the label and see if there's something unique about them which appeals to me. As Earhole says, it doesn't matter what the label is, the primary thing to ask is: is this good or is it not good?

It's kind of shame that metal got branded with a particular slant early on. Some of the description was based on truth about the main hallmarks of its style, but that then prevents some people from hearing the music with a completely open mind. It's easy to see why some heavy metal bands hate the term, and distance themselves from it. The same thing happened to progressive rock--I've heard so many of the absolute definitive artists of the genre claim (haplessly) that they weren't progressive, from Robert Fripp to Steven Wilson. The real motivation is, they don't want to be pigeonholed. I wouldn't either. But let's face it, just as there are certain characteristics that mark a heavy metal act that you can't escape, there's certain characteristics which bind all prog, no matter how diverse the acts: music that takes rock out of the pop song format by incorporating non-rock genres (jazz, classical, world, etc.) to do so. Just as Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple got annoyed at being constantly compared to Black Sabbath, I can understand why Genesis didn't want to be lumped in with ELP (and said so), or Jethro Tull didn't want to be lumped in with Yes (and said so). There's a lot of variety within a genre and you can still have bands that sound quite different from each other, almost polar opposites, and that's what those bands are getting at when they protest. But these acts are still bound by certain fundamental stylistic characteristics which put them within a certain genre. King Crimson is a progressive rock band, no matter how much Fripp protests--they practically *invented* the genre, for chrissake. And Deep Purple is a heavy metal band, no matter how much they might protest--they, too, were pioneers of that style and acknowledged as such by virtually every metal band that came afterwards. "Prog-rock" and "heavy metal" are *not* dirty words, however, and should not be treated as such--even if I don't care for most metal, I understand that not every band is a clone of each other and that I should still listen with an open a mind as I can.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 1:51:49 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 1:52:21 PM PST
@Good To Your Earhole: I love your screen name!! Fantastic song, that--and talk about face-melting guitar solos...

Ritchie Blackmore is just such a problematic guitarist for me, and I outlined why in my review. He has incredible technical ability, and a lot of creativity, too, which can really dazzle--but he's not always (sometimes, but not often) really in touch with true soul, spirituality or emotion IMO, and he over-indulges on the solos like almost every guitarist of that period (punk-rock arrived for a reason). I'm sure there are *many* here who would disagree with me on that, but that's the way I see it. Then there are the riffs, and again I have mixed feelings--I like some of the riffs on DP songs, while others ("Smoke On The Water" being a big one for me) are plodding and boorish (but more on "Smoke" when we get to it).

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 2:08:14 PM PST
Eddie Hazel is about as underrated as one can get!......

~formerly known as "Exile"

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 2:20:33 PM PST
@Earhole: oh wow, didn't recognize ya! I knew I liked the man behind that comment. :)

Posted on Nov 26, 2012 2:50:31 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Nov 26, 2012 2:50:48 PM PST]

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 5:57:07 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
Topper,

RE: I don't think too many of the songs on the third album display the Vanilla Fudge influence

To be honest, I'm not that well versed in Vanilla Fudge, but a lot of this album doesn't sound *that* much different to me than the first two, which they admit to being VF influenced

RE: "Why Didn't Rosemary?" doesn't sound to me like a MK II cut, it's too traditional bluesy for that

I compared it to "Lazy" from Machine Head. And if the second half of that song ain't traditional bluesy, I don't know what is

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 6:20:17 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 26, 2012 6:21:58 PM PST
@Ogre: "but a lot of this album doesn't sound *that* much different to me than the first two, which they admit to being VF influenced..."

I think the third album sounds fairly different from the first two, although of course there are still similarities. But the absence of the Fudge influence is one of the main differences between them--that influence was most prominent in the slow, sludgy/heavy covers of songs like "Help!" and "We Can Work It Out". On the third album there's only one cover, "Lalena", which is certainly slow, but so was the original.

"I compared it to "Lazy" from Machine Head."

I suppose you could also compare it to "Demon Eye", which was one of two songs on "Fireball" I hadn't heard until today. That review will come later tonight or tomorrow. So I guess there is a small link there!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 26, 2012 10:55:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 7:28:47 AM PST
AlexMontrose says:
Topper,

There aren't two people on this forum who would have the same definition of "Metal"/"Heavy Metal". Everyone's would be different. That's why it's such a arbitrary, vague term. So I have nothing backwards. I didn't say you had some pre-disposed negativity toward In Rock. Even though you did, if we're being honest. You're human, you heard it before and didn't like it. So let's not pretend you went into this with innocent, virginal ears. Nobody can wipe it from their memory and pretend the listening never happened.

But let me say this.....I give you any benefit of the doubt as far as being open minded to hearing it now. And trying as hard as humanely possible to eliminate any former prejudices you had against it. I believe you had an open mind...and gave it every chance. It wouldn't surprise me if down deep you really *wanted* to like it, although I wouldn't expect you to "admit" or acknowledge that. Just my feeling ;) So no, I didn't feel you listened and said ehhhh this is just heavy metal.

But trying to explain why you feel it is metal, I'm afraid were back to the some of the same old thing. It's your take, nothing more. And I will say that even though I don't think you have a prejudice against the album per se, I do believe you try to knock down DP a few pegs by labeling them a certain way. What you hear and what the next guy hears in these grooves is hard heavy music. If you want to throw *metal* into your description that's nothing more than what metal conjures up...for you. To me it's 100% hard rock. And it's also what everyone in the band calls it. I'll let them have the final say.

You ask about classical motifs. And what you'll do is take a song off In Rock and call it simple, without any nuance and say most of the album, with the exception of Child in time has a "sledgehammer monotony". Then you'll go up and down and sideways with a bunch of qualifying statements, such as yes I know Blackmore and Lord were classically trained but......I hear it a little bit but......I know Lord and Blackmore are gifted soloists who take from classical.....but.

Think about it. *ALL* the music written by Blackmore or Lord have classical genes. It's in their DNA. It's who they are. Look at any music web site you respect and read up on what it is at the root of Deep Purples music. Read up on any guitarist influenced by Blackmore and the first thing usually mentioned is their playing was inspired by Blackmore's neo-classical style. I can't sit here and tell you that three seconds of Speed king has a classical note or chord that Jon Lord remembered and incorporated into the song. Any more than you could tell me about another band who had classically trained musicians...and three seconds of song X had a note derived from a classical piece. But again if you read up on them, you'll find writers more versed, more able to cite examples of DP being very strongly influenced by classical and how it is present in much of their music. Again this is who they are and someone who diminishes that.....mmmmmm...why?

There are documented Bach and Haydn influences that I've read about, arpeggio runs are all over Blackmore's playing, use of Vivaldi harmonics, to name a few that I know. It's not my area of expertise or yours to start explaining, in musician speak, how DP's music had specific classical passages. But how could there not be? Those are the sensibilities they bring to the table. Again it's who they are, they're upbringing as musicians. That's the stamp, the brand they put on Deep Purple songs. It would be like me saying you don't any Library training or English teacher training in your writings. Of course you do, that's part of your foundation, it's in your blood. And it's part of Blackmore and Lords as well. You can't deny them or their music that sensibility, even if it doesn't stick out in some obvious, well known classical piece you can pick out. It's ingrained in the grooves, it can't be helped.

When you say the structure of some of these songs are not intricate to your ears it doesn't mean that the melody or solos weren't inspired by some latent classical memory present in either Blackmore or Lord. It might be a tangible well they can draw from whenever they want or it might be when they put together this album/songs some of pieces fit together with basic classical notes and chords that they conjured up from their vast musical training and are not obvious to me or you. Maybe some of the the riffs and chords sound simple in your opinion but some of the music/songs might have started with some classical inspiration. You know or maybe you don't that this is how they jam in the studio when putting together an album. I have some of that rehearsal stuff and they will invariably play some classical music while jamming, forming ideas and it's fascinating to hear them blend a beautiful classical passage into some blistering hard rock. They've been doing that live for their whole career and it's one of the highlights for me when I've seen them live. Just hair on the back of your neck.

A couple of famous examples of songs that had motifs are Highway Star and Burn. The solo in HS was inspired by a Beethoven melody that Blackmore used in writing the famous solo. And the middle sections of Burn has some of the same cascading melodies/arpeggio runs that Blackmore is famous for (and you will hear more of later on) and has said many, many times came from his classical training. Not to mention what he and Lord draw from when they're playing live. That's all free form and naturally they are deriving at least part of that soloing from hours and hours of training.....

I'm not sure if Emerson was classically trained but it wouldn't surprise me if he was. So the same would apply to him when he's improvising on stage. Maybe a Wakeman too. Or a Moraz. There aren't *that* many classically trained rock musicians that I'm aware of. And the way these musicians play it's not hard to spot that classical training.

So look, don't bother writing a long reply with a bunch of yeah buts. You saying metal and me saying they're not and/or pointing out the classical connection with DP has now been addressed. The only reason I wrote this, instead of writing about the music from In Rock is because you wrote your post insisting they had no right to get all huffy because some people say they're metal. And also saying this was, for the most part, simple head bludgeoning music without an intricacies. We totally disagree about that and I'm not gonna get into it on this post...but if and when I break down the songs from In Rock. Which to me are majestic in their creativity, excitement and great hard rock songwriting.

But I give you props for pointing out that you enjoyed a lot of the virtuoso playing, instrumentation, the excitement in the music. And you would have given it one more star if you liked the singer. That's some pretty high praise in my book, no matter how you much you Roller coaster up and down with the yeah buts. Actually that would called grey area, so that's good ;) But one more star means you would have given it a 4. Obviously I give it a rock solid 5 but a 4 from you (musically) was higher than I thought you would give. But no surprise either to be honest....it's too good not to like if you *really* listen.

You're very much like me when it comes to listening to music. I want no distractions, I want to be completely invested in it from beginning to end. I want to be moved in some emotional way by the music. As far as I'm concerned that's the only way to listen to music. In fact I get pretty Po'd when I want to turn on a friend to something I feel pretty intense about and they start talking in the middle of a song. I really don't need to hear anything, unless it's just an owwww, that was good or a nod and a smile....just listen. And one of the reasons for that is *BECAUSE* I want them to hear *why* I'm playing *this* song. And why they should see/hear the specialness in it. I don't just throw on an album and let it run through, with a few songs I don't even like. Have little or no patience for that. I want every song to be something special and if it's someone I enjoy doing this with I will pick out 5, 10, 15 songs (crazy out there stuff, none of it you would probably expect from me. In fact there might not be one rock song in the bunch, just depends on what atmosphere I'm going for) or more and want them to be completely exhilarated when we're done. And yeah part of that will be me pointing out things they might not realize is as good as it is. A subtle chord shift, a minor note/key, a haunting underlying melody, something that gives the song more than they might realize, even if they're listening intently. I've been doing that longer than you've been alive so trust me, I'm not bragging, I'm enjoying that it's music that has something extra, goosebumps, excitement, haunting beauty, whatever....and I like sharing those moments with people when they hear it too.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 1:15:30 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 1:55:11 AM PST
@AlexMontrose: "So look, don't bother writing a long reply with a bunch of yeah buts."

Too late. ;)

"You're human, you heard it before and didn't like it. So let's not pretend you went into this with innocent, virginal ears."

I'm not. When I mentioned the hypothetical where I may have been predisposed to not like "In Rock" because it was "metal", I was referring to what I *thought* you were referring to, which was the first-ever time I heard the album (back in 1992/3 or so), not these recent re-listens. If you read my OP over again, I freely admit that twenty years of dislike for the band will make it virtually impossible for me to listen with completely open, "virgin" ears, although I said I would try my best to be as open as I could.

"It wouldn't surprise me if down deep you really *wanted* to like it, although I wouldn't expect you to "admit" or acknowledge that."

You are absolutely correct on the first part of that sentence, but of course wrong in the second half since I've admitted in the past here--and I'm admitting now--that I *do* want to like DP. Everyone here on the threads seems to like them. The MK II albums are considered rock classics. Of course I want to like them. And I do like some things about them, it's just that when I weigh everything overall I really don't feel like I want to listen to them very much. Gillan is a huge part of this.

"I do believe you try to knock down DP a few pegs by labeling them a certain way."

Actually, I thought I was paying them a compliment when I noted that "In Rock" was one of the early heavy metal albums. Anybody who helps to pioneer a new musical genre, that's a compliment from me even if I don't care all that much for what followed (and, as I said, I do like some of the early heavy metal acts). The key point here, though, is that it actually makes no difference to me what you call "In Rock". You can call it "hard rock" or you can call it "early heavy metal", my criticisms of the album stay exactly the same. I only brought up the "metal" argument in the beginning because I've seen it debated here on the threads before and I thought I'd weigh in on my take. I'd still like you to tell me what *doesn't* make it an early metal album. Maybe you try to do so, with statements like these:

"*ALL* the music written by Blackmore or Lord have classical genes. It's in their DNA."

Blackmore and Lord also have early rock'n'roll, blues and jazz in their DNA, too. They were versed in all those forms of music. But just because you're trained in something does not put that influence *automatically* in everything you write. It might always be there in a subconscious sense, but that means nothing to what one actually hears on the record. You mentioned me and writing--if my English degree involved reading books of all genres and I then went and wrote a sci-fi short story, I would not also call it a domestic drama just because I read a lot of domestic drama in college and it's "in my DNA". Sure, there might be some influence creeping in, but if I write a sci-fi story it will be sci-fi *first and foremost*. If you can't point out an obvious classical influence on the actual compositional structure or melody of "Speed King", and neither can I, and neither can most others here, then even if it's there, it's too obscure to matter; that influence doesn't matter as much as its a very obviously heard take on the old 50s rock'n'roll. The ironic thing here, is, "Speed King" doesn't need to have any classical influence or "nuance" in it for me to like it--it's fine as a simple brutal rocker, save for Gillan who kind of ruins it for me. (Classical training or influence is *no* guarantee of quality--I mean, Lord's classical influence is all over "Concerto" and look how well THAT turned out.)

However, you also go on for a bit about the classical influences in the soloing styles of Blackmore and Lord, which I never refuted and in fact affirmed. But I also said this doesn't make them "not metal", and I explained that, too. Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai are classically trained metal guitarists, that sort of thing is all over metal because classical training gives one the ability to play really flashy and virtuosic solos which are prized in metal. If anything, DP pioneered *that* aspect of metal, too! Usually (as in Amazon, AllMusic, Wikipedia, etc), DP are described as an early heavy metal band with some prog touches, and I would agree with that assessment (and I don't always agree with their labeling on bands). I don't know if you saw my reply to Daniel E.White above, but I addressed further this argument about bands trying to shy away from genre labels (using prog-rock as a main example similar to what happened with metal), but of only being able to go so far because there are certain characteristics which bind them together under those genres, no matter how individual and idiosyncratic each group may be.

In any case, you just spent paragraphs attempting to defend DP's right not to be called "heavy metal" and I'm saying that *whatever* you want to call it (and with all that classical influence supposedly informing every note of their composing and playing, why would *you* limit to calling them "hard rock", then?), it doesn't change anything at all about the music at hand. The whole term "heavy metal" may be contested and nebulous for you but all I know is that I do not like Ian Gillan's cheezy high-pitched "WAAAAHHHH!!", whether you want to call it a basic trademark of heavy metal, or classical music because Gillan is 'classically trained', or not label it at all. It won't stop "Living Wreck" from sounding to me like the soundtrack to a sleazy porn film. It doesn't stop the listener fatigue and numbness I feel after being pounded in bombastic fashion for 43 minutes. This does not sound like "subtlety and nuance" to me (sans "Child In Time"), and I've been listening to music for quite a while, myself, enough to know what kind of subtlety and nuance I like in my music (more on this in a sec).

Side note on the "classically trained" thing: I've noticed that Yoko Ono is one of the most all-time hated artists on these forums. People seem to have a particular loathing for her music, *especially* when she screams and wails into the mike (ie. her performance after "Yer Blues" in the Stones' "Rock'n'Roll Circus" film). Most people don't realize that what sounds like random nails-on-chalkboard screaming to them is actually the result of years of training in Japanese Kabuki vocal style. Yes, Yoko Ono is a *traditionally* (not just avant-garde), classically-trained musician, in both Eastern *and* Western styles. She most definitely has classical training all over her "DNA" in everything she composes. But does that make you want to see her performance in "Rock'n'Roll Circus" all over again?

"I'm not sure if Emerson was classically trained but it wouldn't surprise me if he was."

Of course he was--although it was private lessons. Wakeman was actually trained at the Royal Academy. Moraz is trained, too, as you surmised.

"The only reason I wrote this, instead of writing about the music from In Rock is because you wrote your post insisting they had no right to get all huffy because some people say they're metal."

Again, see my reply to Daniel White above. I *understand* why artists of any genre would do this--they don't want to be pigeonholed--but that still doesn't remove them from the genre, in my estimation. But really, you're making a bigger deal out of whether DP are heavy metal or not than I am; it was the primary focus of your reply to Pt I of my review, as if my thinking DP being heavy metal had some huge bearing on my opinion of the album, when the label doesn't matter so much to me. It is true I don't care for a lot of heavy metal, but there is some of it (esp from the early 70s) I like so it's all a moot point. Ritchie Blackmore can call them a polka outfit for all I care.

"And also saying this was, for the most part, simple head bludgeoning music without any intricacies."

Kind of, but not *quite*. I acknowledge the group's viruosity and their training. I also acknowledge that I actually enjoy the simplicity and headbanging aspect of it at times (but over the course of the entire album--no). When I mentioned lack of subtlety and nuance, however, I wasn't primarily referring to musical influences like classical or jazz, etc. (which I acknowledged I could hear in the solos, anyways). I was actually mostly speaking of the *soul* and *feel* of the music. Too much of it appears soulless, cheezy and bomast-for-bombast's sake, for it to really affect me on a truly deep, intimate level. The solos have the classical and jazz bits but are mostly flash, no substance. Granted, the flash is great fun to listen to, and the grooves on certain songs are exciting--as you point out, the album would actually get four stars from me if it weren't for Gillan (but never five, not if it doesn't speak directly to my soul, and this music doesn't).

Gillan is the biggest "Yeah, but!!" I have here, though: a long time ago when you (or someone here) initially asked me what I didn't like about DP, I remember my answer was "well, it's mainly the singer". He is the biggest part of why I cannot stand this band. I'm sure you can empathize here whenever you hear a Smashing Pumpkins tune--I'll bet there's some music there you like, but can you really ignore Billy Corgan's vocals completely in order to get to that music, no matter how much you may like what's going on underneath?

BTW I just read that Ozzy Osbourne considers "Machine Head" one of his top ten all-time favorite albums, so the hate directed his band's way by members of DP does not apparently flow both ways!

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 8:44:30 AM PST
Classical music was actually the 'heavy metal' music of it's day and as far a stretch as it may seem to some people, heavy metals roots can be traced all the way back to classicial music, the virtuosity and speed in which they played.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 9:21:58 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 9:28:36 AM PST
AlexMontrose says:
Re : Classical music was actually the 'heavy metal' music of it's day..

Yep, I've always said that. How can you listen to something like the Ring of Nibelungs and not hear the heavy metal in it? I mean you gotta listen first, instead of being "repulsed" because it's an opera ;)...but if you do, it's incredible stuff. And it only took Richard Wagner 26 years !!! to compose it. But many classical compositions are of course very long and the build up/tension and structure in ones I've heard have many of the same musical traits as extended prog/progressive rock pieces, metal...the main difference being...it's just different instruments, an orchestra instead of a band, a violin, cello, instead of a guitar, keyboards etc. But it's still a composition, longer, with plenty of space to go off in different directions but eventually they bring it all back to the melody, in structure not unlike many heavy progressive rock compositions.

Posted on Nov 27, 2012 9:24:31 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 12:25:38 PM PST
Topper,

If you have a copy of the DP remasters, give them a listen. I bring this up because last night, I listened to the remastered version of In Rock in it's entirety. The additional tracks lend insight on how the band put songs together and also show Blackmore and Lord in different shades than what you hear in the finished product. I love Ian Gillan and I understand why you do not. If a singer is irratating to my ears then I really could care less what the rest of the band is doing. I am not going to do a song by song rebuttable. Just let me say that, In Rock kiks my a**, just as good now as it ever has. I had not listened to it for awhile and it blew me away. I have always liked Blackmore as a writer and guitarist but Jon Lord on that Hammond just kicks that music into a gear that takes me for a most enjoyable ride. I do not have the ability to describe music with all of the technical skill that you and Alex posess, but I know what I like and this is a very special album and band to me... Peace...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 4:17:13 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 6:43:42 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
Topper,

I just found the time to read your review of In Rock, and must say that I'm impressed at how open minded you *tried* to be

Other than your aversion to Gillan's screaming vocals, your individual song descripritions were not too far off from what mine would be.
Funny thing is, a lot of the things you don't like about this album are things I would point out as what I *do* like about it

So it really seems to come down to a difference in taste. I like to just bang my head and rock out once in a while; lyrics, depth of meaning, etc., be damned!
You say, "tiresome, monotonous number better suited for a pole dance, or a trucker's night out with the classic rawk station on full blast", and I say, "Sounds like a fun night! Let me grab a wad of ones and a six pack, and I'll be right there"

You were spot on about Child In Time, one of their few songs that display genuine emotion.

And I've now got a pretty good idea of which songs you'll like best from the next few albums

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2012 4:28:58 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 27, 2012 4:30:28 PM PST
Captain Ogre says:
GTYE,

RE: "as far a stretch as it may seem to some people, heavy metals roots can be traced all the way back to classicial music"

I've been a fan of prog all my life, but only recently got into metal (and I don't mean DP). I used to think I hated the genre across the board

But, what I've found is that the best of metal is much closer to prog than any other genre of rock. In fact, it was Porcupine Tree's metal phase, and Wilson's involvement with Opeth, that opened my ears
And, conversely, a few of my metal head friends, who used to hate prog, have now gotten into it in a big way, after I turned them onto Opeth, and then PT. And not just newer prog-metal, they've been exploring, and loving, old Genesis, Crimson, etc.
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Discussion in:  Classic Rock forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  497
Initial post:  Nov 24, 2012
Latest post:  Oct 6, 2013

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