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Deep Purple: Rapture of the Deep

Despite being together 37 years, and despite numerous line-up changes over the years, Deep Purple continue to thrive and create classy, memorable hard rock. 2005 sees the arrival of Rapture of the Deep,the second release of the Mk8 line-up of Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Ian Paice, Steve Morse, and Don Airey. While Bananas, the bands last album, was fairly solid, Rapture of the Deep is an amazing return to the bands hard rock roots, easily on par with 1996's Perpendicular, and as focused and rocking as classics like Machine Head, In Rock, Fireball, and Burn. That might sound like a profound statement, but if you place Deep Purple where they are now in 2005, consider the age of the members (three are hovering around 60 years old), then listen to the album, you quickly realize just how remarkable Rapture of the Deep really is. There's plenty of fire left in this beast; Ian Gillan sings with more power than he has in years, and even throws in some of his trademark screams, Steve Morse rips on guitar like only he can (Ritchie who?), Don Airey has settled into his role nicely with plenty of blazing Hammond and synth work, and the rhythm duo of Glover and Paice are as solid as ever.

The opener "Money Talks" is a blistering rocker that contains all the Deep Purple elements-raging Hammond, crunchy yet bluesy guitar work, and Gillan's pipes. "Girls Like That" is a melodic piece with a catchy chorus, while "Wrong Man" is vintage Purple, complete with a brontosaurus stomp of a guitar/keyboard riff, Gillan's high pitched wails, and Morse's screaming speed solos. The band goes completely prog rock on the wicked title track, a song with some mysterious lyrics that Gillan portrays pefectly, along with Morse's Egyptian-tinged guitar licks. It's a tune that could have easily come off Perfect Strangers back in the early 80's. The clever interplay between Morse and Airey on this one is a real treat, and will please fans who grew up listening to Blackmore and Lord go head to head back in the 70's.

"Clearly Quite Absurd" is the moody ballad of the CD, yet it's a good one, with a heart wrenching vocal from Gillan and some melodic bass lines from Glover. The gritty blues rock of "Don't Let Go" grooves from start to finish, and "Back to Back", while a decent hard rocker, might be the one generic piece on the album. Ian Paice leads the band on the busy "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye", a crisp and upbeat hard rock number with plenty of chugging riffs from Morse and Airey's hot Hammond organ runs. When I saw that the band included a song called "MTV" I was a tad leery, but the song is a fun piece that has some hilarious lyrics that really tell the sad state of American radio and MTV. The band really cooks on this one, with Morse and Airey letting loose for some wicked solos, and Gillan's vocals are plenty playful and sarcastic. On "Junkyard Blues", the boys turn up the volume for some heavy rock 'n' boogie, with Morse's distorted riffs, Paice's intricate drum fills, and Gillan's powerful vocals all blending together for a sound that sounds like a band half their age. Steve Morse turns in an extended guitar solo on this one that just builds and builds, starting off bluesy, then exploding with a cascade of notes, before Airey joins him with some honky tonk piano which then segues to the two trading off for some mindblowing exhanges. Another return to the realm of atmospheric progressive rock can be heard on the majestic closer "Before Time Began". Morse lays down some psychedelic guitar textures, Paice gently sprinkles his percussive mastery, and Gillan emotionally sings of the historical problems of religion and the battles of man past and present. This one percolates and bubbles along nicely, with some fast and heavy parts mixed in with the spacier passages.

Rapture of the Deep is what Deep Purple fans have been waiting for, for a very long time. While the other albums of the Steve Morse era have been strong, this one really hits the mark. Perhaps now the hardcore Purple fans can finally close the book on the Blackmore era, and embrace the band as it is now, which is a rip snortin' fire breathing dragon. This is the real deal folks-one of the best hard rock/classic rock albums released in some time. I knew they still had it in them.

Track Listings
1. Money Talks
2. Girls Like That
3. Wrong Man
4. Rapture Of The Deep
5. Clearly Quite Absurd
6. Don't Let Go
7. Back To Back
8. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
9. MTV
10. Junkyard Blues
11. Before Time Began

Added: June 27th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Deep Purple Website
Hits: 3519
Language: english

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Deep Purple: Rapture of the Deep
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-06-27 08:08:53
My Score:

So much positive praise has been written about Deep Purple's Rapture Of The Deep that it almost was expected of the band to release a double CD special edition not long after the initial release. The reaction by the general public to the newest album by these elder Statesmen of Rock was both incredible but yet very richly deserved. It's 2006 and Ian Gillan now leads the charge with two original members gone off to other pursuits or well-deserved relaxation. Today we find Ritchie Blackmore playing "Renaissance Fair Rock" with his partner Candice Night while Jon Lord chose to retire from touring and recording. In their place we find Steve Morse, an incredible technician on the guitar and Don Airey on keyboards who brings to the table experience gained touring with "insert artist here". I note it like that for Don's contributions to Rock music would very easily fill this entire page. Bass and drums are still adeptly handled by Roger Glover and Ian Paice. Gillan can still deliver when you take stock of the whole album and it's what made me save him for last. His pipes a little softer at times, but when necessary he can belt it out just like he used to. When you listen to the recording you would hardly think that this was a band that was formed some 37 years ago. Tracks like "Money Talks" that are loaded with the signature keyboards expected in a Purple song and "Junkyard Blues" remind you that this band has not yet lost its luster but instead chosen to shine up the model just a little more for the diehard supporters they have kept throughout the years.

The Special Edition takes the impact of the initial release and targets you as the listener especially if you somehow missed out on the album when it was first released. They are sure to snare you for not only does it include a different version of "Clearly Quite Amusing" but they also deliver five live tracks to enjoy. The tracks were recorded in The Hard Rock Café in London back in October 2005. The band knocks out a couple of songs from this recording but also slam through three of their most cherished classics. The performance alone is one that makes you want to have the band on tour in your town soon as you easily see that not only do they rock on record but they truly kick ass on the stage. Not bad for a bunch of old timers huh. The bands of today would do well to refer to the masters from time to time and be reminded how it is done.

Original CD: Money Talks, Girls Like That, Wrong Man, Rapture Of The Deep, Clearly Quite Absurd, Don't Let Go, Back To Back, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, MTV, Junkyard Blues, Before Time Again.

Track Listing CD2:
1. Clearly Quite Absurd - new
2. Things I Never Said
3. The Well-Dressed Guitar - studio
4. Rapture Of The Deep - live
5. Wrong Man - live
6. Highway Star - live
7. Smoke On The Water - live
8. Perfect Strangers – live

Deep Purple: Rapture of the Deep
Posted by Steve Pettengill, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-11-13 07:40:11
My Score:

Although it seems fewer and fewer people care about a new Deep Purple album, as Rapture of the Deep only sold 2,500 copies in the US its first week of release, the band are back with some of their finest material in nearly a decade. It doesn't eclipse the magical Purpendicular, which in my opinion is one of the best Purple albums ever, but Rapture of the Deep finds the band sounding more inspired than they have in a very long time. Once again, Michael Bradford sits in the producer's chair and after the bright, modernized overly processed cut and paste job he achieved on Bananas, his production touches are thankfully far more subtle this time out.

In many ways, Rapture of the Deep isn't too dissimilar from Bananas in that the songs are often light and bubbly such as the funky "Don't Let Go" and the playful "Back to Back". But the guys get down to business on the outstanding title track, which is very much in the same style as "Perfect Strangers" or the underrated "Anya". The haunting "Before Time Began" could almost fit on the Fireball album and "Clearly Quite Absurd" is surely one of the band's greatest ballads. "MTV" is a hilarious bit of pop culture observation that takes classic rock radio and the once iconic music channel to task; the instrumental break is classic Deep Purple with guitarist Steve Morse and organist Don Airey dabbling in a little bit of call and response. These songs prove that the band can still cook when they're firing on all cylinders.

The Achilles heel of the Morse era lineup continues to be the songwriting, which is once again a little inconsistent. There are three or four truly great songs while the rest are merely good to very good. "Girls Like That" is a cute poppy song, but it's a bit of a throwaway. "Money Talks" features some clever lyrics from Gillan but sounds like a rewrite of "Any Fule Know That" from Abandon. Call me old fashioned, but I miss the dead serious European Gothic heavy rock of old that went out with Ritchie Blackmore's departure. The lighthearted numbers are enjoyable enough in their own right but if the band included a couple more moody hard rockers to balance Gillan's occasionally overdone "comedic" speak-singing, we'd really be on to something. As it is, Rapture of the Deep is a solid reunion era album, which is to say that comparisons to the band's seventies material are fairly moot. It's too bad that nobody but hardcore fans will ever hear it.

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