This year has already been a great year for fans of bluesy hard rock / classic rock, but it still manages to keep on getting better, and the new album from Glasgow's KING KING "Reaching For The Light" definitely raises the bar for rivals to match.
"Reaching For The Light" is their 3rd album and my first approach to the guys, but after the first listen I assure you they are ready for big things.
King King did extremely well at the British Blues Awards 2014, winning awards for Album of the Year, Band of the Year, Male vocal, Bass player and and Drummer of the year (!), and as you listen to this new album you have to think they’ll be picking up a load more awards before long.
Fronted by Alan Nimmo (also guitarist), his voice is full of passion and a with remarkable amount of subtlety for a big man while his lead guitar is rocking, full of riffery and when he play the solos hits you between the eyes.
Wayne Proctor's drumming shows just why he win the prize, and Lindsay Coulson's groovy bass is perfect for this band, fluid but with a heartbeat that underpins the music with real granite. To that add Bob Fridzema's Hammond and keyboards and the band gets a fully three dimensional sound that pins you in your seat but brings you along with the melodies and the rhythm too.
The album features 8 original songs plus one cover – Paul Carrack’s 'Just a Little Lie'.
But all starts with the anthemic blues rocker 'Hurricane' plenty of big riffs and soaring keys, followed by the melodic 'You Stopped The Rain' showing Nimmo's softer vocal side.
Then the awesome 'Rush Hour', deep in Bad Company territory with softly picked guitar and whispering keys leading into a huge riff, a massive chorus and a solo that will have air-guitarists everywhere reaching for their space.
'Lay With Me' is a lovely ballad, gospel tinged and pleading with wonderful Hammond from Fridzema and 'Take A Look' is a groovy slow tune in the classic rock sense. Surely this will be a live favorite for years.
There's another stadium-ready cut in 'Crazy', later the aforementioned 'Just A Little Lie' shows that King King can funk it up too, lighter and less of a slab, but closer 'Stranger To Love' is THE one bringing all their power, huge choruses, melodies and riffs into a package you don't want to end.
"Reaching For The Light" really is a stunningly good album – beautiful guitar playing, the rich tones of the Hammond organ and a strong contribution from the drums & bass combine to make some fantastic classic rock music, and then Alan Nimmo’s vocals are just the icing on the cake.
After the first single teaser one month ago I expected to like the album, but man, this has surprised me in more than a positive way.
King King plays proper bluesy classic rock with tons of consistency and sheer balls, superbly executed, and with so much heart and gusto that many 'big names' in the genre pales in its shadow.
1 - Hurricane
2 - You Stopped The Rain
3 - Waking Up
4 - Rush Hour
5 - Crazy
6 - Lay With Me
7 - Just A Little Lie
8 - Take A Look
9 - Stranger To Love
Alan Nimmo - vocals, guitars
Bob Fridzema - keyboards, Hammond
Lindsay Coulson - bass
Wayne Proctor - drums
BUY IT !
Thursday, May 28, 2015
One of my youth's favorite bands, German wonders HELLOWEEN, are back with their 15th album "My God-Given Right". Helloween are celebrating 30 years together in June... it seems it was just yesterday that we were blasting The Keeper of Seven Keys on cassette. It was the beginning of power/speed metal, some kind of Scorpions on steroids and it was new and fresh. I still listen to Walls of Jericho and the two Keeper of Seven Keys albums fairly often, and they sound just as good today as they did back then.
In many ways, "My God-Given Right" is a return to the roots for Helloween; the songs are instantly likeable, with distinctive choruses and '80s hooklines.
In fact, the songwriting on "My God-Given Right" is pretty easygoing: there's simple and effective arrangements and as usual with Halloween, lots of humor.
And for me, it works; not everyone wants serious and challenging music all of the time. There are times when I want a blast of classic melodic metal that offers the kind of music when I can throw back my head and sing along with manly gusto.
"My God-Given Right" provides just this kind of tonic and, for the most part it is fantastic.
The album opens strongly with a trio of tracks that are simply brilliant. 'Heroes' offers a nicely-crafted melodic and almost soothing verse with a punchy chorus, 'Battle’s Won' is a fast-paced double-pedal driven power metal anthem with an overblown, hook-laden chorus and the title track is, if anything, even better.
The verse of 'My God-Given Right' has an understated feel to it that is reminiscent of Master Of The Rings era material but it’s the chorus that transcends the song into Godly anthemic realms. Deris belts it out as powerfully as I’ve ever heard him and, coupled with a gorgeously memorable melody and more double-pedal drumming, it is devastatingly infectious. There’s even a moment in the middle where everything quietens down before building inexorably to another rendition of the chorus. Magnificent.
The good news is that even after such a great opening, there are plenty of high points remaining within the album.
'Stay Crazy' features some utterly ridiculous lyrics but thanks to a classic '80s metal-meets-melodic hard rock sheen and another breezy carefree chorus, the silliness is easily overlooked. To be honest, silly lyrics are part of the charm of Helloween and would be missed if absent.
To underline this point and the humorous element of the band, look no further than the preposterous ‘If God Loves Rock ‘n’ Roll’ and the spoken word segment that suggests that ‘even in heaven you need a bass guitar, a guitar and a second guitar’. The track is not meant to be taken seriously and is saved by another chorus that’s relatively strong and worthy of attention.
'Lost In America' is another fun (glammy?) hard rocker, and also 'Like Everybody Else' is very '80s sounding, a ballad of sorts with a really good main melody.
But as evidenced within the ominous overtone of ‘A Swing Of A Fallen World’ and closer ‘You, Still Of War’, however, Helloween demonstrate that they have not entirely abandoned their more symphonic and epic attributes. That said, these moments are definitely the exception rather than the rule on this record.
"My God-Given Right" is, in my opinion, the most enjoyable album that Helloween have released for quite some time. Perhaps it's too long and there's a couple of fillers, but the good far outweighs the not so good and when all is said and done, when Helloween get it right on this album, they get it very, very right indeed.
You want melody, fun and a care-free classic metal listening experience? Then I suggest you unpack your air guitar, warm up the vocal chords and get your ears around "My God-Given Right".
This Japanese SHM-CD Limited Edition is truly luxurious; includes three bonus tracks, one of which is exclusively included for this edition, a special bandana, an application card, and the digipak comes with an amazing textured 3D cover.
JVC / Victor Entertainment 初回限定盤, デラックスエディション
【SHM-CD】 ~ VIZP-136
01 - Heroes
02 - Battle's Won
03 - My God-Given Right
04 - Stay Crazy
05 - Lost In America
06 - Russian Roulé
07 - The Swing Of A Fallen World
08 - Like Everybody Else
09 - Creatures In Heaven
10 - If God Loves Rock 'N' Roll
11 - Living On The Edge
12 - Claws
13 - You, Still Of War
14 - I Wish I Were There (bonus track)
15 - Wicked Game (bonus track)
16 - Free World (bonus track)
Andi Deris (ex-Pink Cream 69, ex-Kymera) - Vocals
Michael Weikath (ex-Powerfool) - Guitars
Sascha Gerstner (ex-Freedom Call) - Guitars
Markus Grosskopf (ex-Avantasia) - Bass
Dani Löble (Krokus) - Drums
BUY IT !
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
CHERIE CURRIE burst onto the public stage as the lead singer of The Runaways. Since the 2010 biography feature film The Runaways reminded everyone that Joan Jett and Lita Ford were once part of a pioneering all-girl band, Currie has made a concerted effort to regain a foothold in the music world.
It hasn't been easy, as she spent countless hours in the studio with various vested parties and entities that ultimately cut her recording efforts short before they even gained traction. That put a real damper on things.
More recently, however, the support of her musician son Jake Hays, along with renewed associations with the late Runaways mastermind Kim Fowley and former bandmate Lita Ford, helped her realize the dream of "Reverie", her first album in 35 years.
Back in the in the mid-seventies, Joan Jett and eccentric producer/songwriter Kim Fowley walked into an all ages club in Hollywood looking for a singer. She had to sing a little bit yeah, but if she was hot they could probably work around those smaller details.
They happened upon a 15-year old blonde bombshell named Cherie Currie. Kim and Joan, and Cherie herself for that matter, didn't really know if she could sing. Having no prior experience or formal training, she auditioned for the job with the sly and sultry classic, "Fever".
Kim and Joan were looking for a more balls-to-the-wall rock song, so they wrote a raw fist-pumping anthem that toyed with the name of their young candidate. They wrote "Cherry Bomb" on the spot, Cherie sunk her teeth deep into the song, and the rest - as they say - is history.
The Runaways were born. Cherie Currie was the prettiest face that hard rock had ever seen, and all kinds of doors fell opened for female rockers.
Fast forward 2015 and we still have a stunning blonde rock star - now 55 instead of 15 - and most of her audience has not heard her sing in over 35 years. I think the older fan wants more than a pretty face at this point, so the big question is can she bring some vocal prowess to a new set of songs?
This is a question that gets answered in the very first song from "Reverie". It's the title track, and it sent a shiver down your spine.
Written with her son Jake Hays, "Reverie" is a soaring, vocally driven rocking song. My first thought was, this is the best vocal performance that she's ever recorded. She was an angst-ridden dynamo in her teen years with The Runaways, but her voice has matured into one with immense depth and shockingly great tone.
The ten songs on this record may not be what you expect. Currie fronted a band that was all about being aggressive, naughty, and in-your-face. This record reminisces in that spirit a little bit, but much of what's here is finely crafted Rock art more than teen angst.
"Reverie" is also the final work of Kim Fowley. Two Fowley-penned Runaways songs are covered here in the form of "Is It Day Or Night" and "American Nights" (with fellow Runaways bandmate Lita Ford lending her voice to both tracks).
He is also featured as a co-writer on the songs "Dark World" (another track featuring Lita Ford), "Inner You," "I'm Happy," and "Queen Of The Asphalt Jungle". With the exception of the latter, these songs are emotionally moody and lyrically deep with an intriguing, mature sound.
"Queen Of The Asphalt Jungle" is more of what you might expect; an instant hard rock song that has Currie taking on more of the rocker chick persona that she's famous for. And, although it's great to hear Currie return with solid rockers like "Queen Of The Asphalt Jungle," the majesty of this record lies in its maturity.
Jake Hays is a huge part of this record, offering his talents as songwriter on seven of the ten tracks. He also plays just about every instrument here, along with being producer or co-producer on the entire record.
Jake is Currie's son with actor Robert Hays, and it seems the talented bloodline has continued on in good fashion.
One of my favorite tracks, "Shades Of Me," puts Hays' singing talents on display, in an effective duet with Cherie with tons of texture. "Inner You," a song written by Hays and Currie with Kim Fowley, is another solid cut that lives with you after a few listens.
But, it's a song called "Believe" that really shows the growth of Cherie Currie and her instrument. "Believe" is a beautifully arranged mid-tempo ballad with a beautifully lush orchestral arrangement and a tremendous vocal part from Currie.
I must also mention the standout quality of the overall sound of the record. Hays does a fine job producing, and Brant Biles should be applauded for his mix and engineering of the material. Biles has worked with everyone from Stevie Wonder and Bonnie Raitt to Lisa Loeb and Gwar, and he lays down a mix here that has every element shining as brightly as possible.
The wait to hear this return of Cherie Currie was a brutal form of torture for Runaways fans. We've had great Joan Jett songs, and Lita Ford has done her share of excellent solo work over the years, but there has always been an emptiness to it all for the purest of Runaways fans.
Cherie Currie was our Cherry Bomb, our blonde bombshell, and we wanted to hear from her. With her autobiography, Neon Angel: The Memoir Of A Runaway, inspiring the Runaways biopic, we were able to ride along with Currie on a life adventure that saw her go through Hell and back many times over.
Now it's time to ride with her on the next journey. A journey that starts with a great record called "Reverie".
01 - Reverie
02 - Inner You
03 - Is It Day or Night?
04 - Shades of Me
05 - Queen of the Asphalt Jungle
06 - American Nights
07 - Dark World
08 - Believe
09 - I'm Happy
10 - Another Dream
Cherie Currie: Lead & Background Vocals
Jake Hays: Guitar, Drums, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Lita Ford: Lead & Background Vocals (duet on 3, 6)
Nick Maybury: Guitars
Grant Fitzapatrick: Bass
Cliff Retallick: Piano, Keyboards, Background Vocals
Mike Wolf, Jonathan Barrick Griffiths: Strings
Mitch Perry: Slide Guitar
Mickey Miller: Guitars, Percussion, Background Vocals
Elizabeth Aston, Patrick Golenberg, Nick Bral: Background Vocals
BUY IT !
Jim Peterik, Grammy Award-winning songwriter and the man behind Survivor success, without a doubt has an ear for great vocalists. He 'discovered' Marc Scherer, a master jeweler by profession, when he was recording vocals for his group in Peterik's studio three years ago.
Since then, Peterik has wanted to craft songs and an album to showcase Scherer's superb vocals, and the result is "Risk Everything", a CD released under the names of both artists PETERIK / SCHERER by Frontiers Records, and in Japan by Marquee / Avalon with excellent 2 bonus tracks.
And indeed, Scherer owns a powerful and melodic voice, a full five octave range. He can belt it out or bring it down to a whisper. And his voice is in the proper context.
Of course, Peterik has crafted classy AOR / Melodic Rock songs: lots of melody, harmony and groove with catchy refrains and vibrant guitar solos. Considering his nearly inexhaustible experience, sounds from Survivor to Toto to Journey, among others, come to mind.
Properly, not only do his commanding presence, the production keeps Scherer in front of the music; it's there to support and carry him along. And it sounds pretty fandamntastic too.
From the first crystal clean guitar tones in opener title track “Risk Everything” to the autobiographical undertones of brilliant storytelling and ultra-melodic grandeur of “Independence Day”, this album is everything fans of the genre could have asked for.
The music fittingly illustrates the stories told in Marc Scherer’s clean-cut voice, all embroidered with flawless vocal harmonies. But what perhaps what strikes here the most is the fact Jim Peterik still hasn’t run out of ideas for composing tunes that are catchy but tasteful, and simply captivating.
Plenty of tracks on the album are kept at a mid-tempo groove, ‘80s infused keyboard sound upfront and juxtaposed with rich lead guitar work like in “Chance Of A Lifetime”, “The Dying Of The Light”, “Cold Blooded” or the rocking “Brand New Heart”.
You have a few songs that blur the line between anthem and ballad as on “Desperate In Love”, its first part ballad-esque only to morph smoothly into an AOR Melodic mid-tempo further on. Also “The Crescendo” has this feeling, bringing to mind '80s Styx.
There’s also a true ballad, the charming, heart-tugging “How Long Is A Moment” with all that classic melodies we love.
Then, albeit somewhat tempered by tinkly keyboards, the distinct, thumping rhythm of “Milestones” reminds you classic Survivor with a 'fresh' vocalist.
One brilliant song after another, there’s hardly a highlight to be picked among the eleven songs on 'Risk Everything' – each of them equally great.
This Japanese Edition exclusively features 2 extra gems to enjoy.
The first is the anthemic AOR midtempo "The Man I Am". Peterik carves deep into his '86 Survivor-like arsenal of superb melodies for this one, while Scherer provides his most emotional performance on the record. A winner!
Then "Moments To Memories" go for a sweet, warm melodic line in a song that wouldn't had been out of place on any late Eighties movie soundtrack, or in Pride Of Lions' first album.
Both bonuses are pure gold and worth the extra pennies for this Japan CD.
"Risk Everything" is yet another jewel in Jim Peterik’s crown – an musician and songwriter that doesn’t need more recognition or acclaim, but the one who still can surprise a listener with quite a few melodic aces up his sleeve.
And simultaneously, an album that put the relatively little known Marc Scherer in the same league as the mentioned singers Peterik’s previously collaborated with – Toby Hitchcock, Dave Bickler and the late, great Jimi Jamison.
Apart from perfectly crafted melodies, it’s Scherer’s range and clear vocal tone one of the biggest assets to the record. Peterik is there to add harmony vocals and his share of strong guitar work / sparkling keyboard lines ... and his terrific songcraft, of course.
Yes, the combo PETERIK / SCHERER works like a charm, and let’s only hope – on behalf of all Melodic Rock aficionados out there – that "Risk Everything" it’s only the first of many albums released under their collaborative moniker.
Marquee / Avalon Japan
01 - Risk Everything
02 - Chance Of A Lifetime
03 - Cold Blooded
04 - Desperate In Love
05 - Thee Crescendo
06 - The Dying Of The Light
07 - How Long Is A Moment
08 - Brand New Heart
09 - Broken Home
10 - Milestones
11 - Independence Day
12 - The Man I Am (bonus track for Japan)
13 - Moments To Memories (bonus track for Japan)
Marc Scherer – lead vocals
Jim Peterik – guitars, keyboards, vocals
Ed Breckenfeld (Pride of Lions, Jimi Jamison) – drums
Nick Rich – drums
Klem Hayes (Pride of Lions) – bass
Bob Lizik (Dennis DeYoung, Pride of Lions) – bass
Bill Syniar (Survivor, Kelly Keagy) – bass
Mike Aquino (Mecca, Pride of Lions) – add. guitars
BUY IT !
"Transformation", is the bold new release - the first in 10 years - from Canadian cult proggressive veterans FM.
This is indeed a very apt title for FM's new record, for not only has their music transformed numerous times over the years, so has their line-up.
Joining bassist / keyboard player Cameron Hawkins this time round is drummer Paul DeLong (Roger Hodgson / Kim Mitchell), violinist / mandolin player Edward Bernard, who has performed with Druckfarben and violinist (yes, there are two violinists here) Aaron Solomon.
The recording group being completed by legendary Rush, Dream Theater, Fates Warning producer / engineer Terry Brown, who does an excellent job.
So you'll gather then that the first proper FM album since 1987's Tonight still follows in its predecessors footsteps of placing violin front and centre. Yet while that may sound risky in today's often sanitised Prog world, "Transformation" sounds remarkably contemporary and, at the same time, true to this band's roots.
More beautiful than punchy, in places the songs on this album feel like Yes with copious amounts of violin strung over it, the air being light, melodic and captivating.
DeLong is stunning throughout, his rare ability to be ridiculously busy and intricate, underpinned by a solidity which fixes everything in place. Nary a second goes by where the percussionist isn't whispering a ghost beat, paradiddling the toms to within an inch of their lives, or alternating between snare, hi-hat and cymbals at break neck speed.
Amazingly, he never interrupts the beautiful flow of the vocals provided by Hawkins, Solomon and Bernard; the trio causing another reason for celebration in the process.
However no album was built on drums and voice alone, so the stunning, varied violin, viola and mandolin work which weaves and dances across Hawkins deep resonant bass and darting, lilting, pointed synth contributions, are as impressive as they are vital to the unbridled success of this album.
There's a real depth of sound and arrangement across the nine tracks on show, the likes of "Tour Of Duty" a journey from fragile art through fractured beauty, into controlled frenzy.
"The Love Bomb (Universal Love)" and "Brave New Worlds" contrast this approach excellently, a sparse framework thriving on roaming bass, while gentle string stabs allow the vocals to express the emotions of melancholic introspection, but overriding hope and belief displayed in every one of the songs on this album.
And it's that uplifting feeling which really infuses "Transformation" with the power to captivate and control your attention from start to finish, whether through the harsher attack of the bristling "Re-Boot, Reawaken", unsettling pulse of "Children Of Eve", the almost jauntily optimistic "Safe And Sound" or idyllic "Heaven On Earth".
Often when a band reappears from the past, as if by magic to reclaim their past glories, the results are safe and deflating.
Canadian's FM "Transformation" however falls far from that trap, instead announcing itself with a triumphant confidence which never fades once as its beauties unfold, and vitally it just gets better with each and every luscious visit to the land of hope and understanding it creates.
Kudos to Esoteric Antenna / Cherry Red Records for releasing & distributing this exquisite piece of art all over Europe.
01 - Brave New Worlds
02 - Cosmic Blue
03 - Re-Boot, Reawaken
04 - Children of Eve
05 - Safe and Sound
06 - Tour of Duty
07 - The Love Bomb (Universal Love)
08 - Soldiers of Life
09 - Heaven on Earth
Cameron Hawkins - vocals, bass, keyboards
Paul DeLong - drums percussion,
Edward Bernard - strings, mandolin, vocals
Aaron Solomon - violin, viola, vocals
BUY IT !
"The Red Album" is the full-length debut from REDLIZZARD, a Portuguese band that gained attention after winning the 'Best Alternative / Pop Band' and 'Best International Band' prizes of the Upper State Independent Awards - USA, and opening for Bon Jovi in Europe.
RedLizzard plays easy-listening melodic tunes with an uncompromising sound that oscillates between moments of Hard Rock (the muscular riffs of "It's Not Easy") and poppy melodious rock ("Reason to Live").
Their style is pretty Americanized with lots of Bon Jovi references - ballad "Don't Worry" - the quite catchy "Lover Girl" and "Hangin' On the Hotline".
There's a more '80s Californian glammy rocker in "Find Me Somethin' Special", but as on all the tracks on the album, with an updated production.
RedLizzard is a really interesting band with an international projection, as the songs in "The Red Album" are radio-friendly but with a melodic Eighties/Nineties feel.
It's well arranged, performed & produced, and although musically there's nothing new, it's a quite enjoyable material from a band with lots of potential.
01 - Hangin' On the Hotline
02 - The Answer
03 - Reason to Live
04 - It's Not Easy
05 - Lover Girl
06 - Push It Babe
07 - Don't Worry
08 - Find Me Somethin' Special
09 - Happy Ending
Mauro - Vocals
Elvis - Guitar
Patrick - Guitar
David - Bass
Rick - Drums
BUY IT !
Parlophone Records (BMG/INgrooves Music Group for the USA) have released nineteen IRON MAIDEN catalog albums which have been Remastered for iTunes, encoded from 24-bit / 96 khz high resolution masters. All these albums have been remastered with iTunes in mind, delivering the music to listeners exactly the way the artist and recording engineer intended.
These are brand new 2015 remasters from their original analog sources, exclusively produced for iTunes.
Just let's take a listen to one of Iron Maiden's essential classics: their self-titled debut "Iron Maiden".
Iron Maiden's founder member Steve Harris comments about this superior mastering technique: "The Remastering for iTunes procedure allows the listener to experience the music as close as possible to the way the artist intended it to be heard. So, of course, I was very keen for the Iron Maiden albums to be mastered in this way.
The records have been available digitally before, when this medium first became a platform for music distribution, but were mastered with CDs in mind. The iTunes process involves a different approach and it's great to finally deliver the music to our fans in as close to a pure and accurate sound as we could possibly achieve."
"For example, as most people know, I was never really happy with the sound on the first Maiden album, but listening to it now, the guitars are louder, the drums more substantial and the overall tone is so very much improved, in my opinion.
Tony Newton and Ade Emsley, who worked closely with me on the project, did a terrific job recapturing everything from the original masters, and together we've re- mastered them all digitally and I'm really happy with the results."
Tony Newton adds: "The process started with locating all of the original album mix tapes (or whichever format they were mixed to). Then the choice of analogue to digital convertor was chosen for the most accurate capture to make it as close as possible to the sound of the mix as it was intended by the band.
When a lot of these tapes were last captured it was in the 1980s, early days of digital and only 44.1khz/16bit files were possible. On top of this, the new A/D convertors are far superior now, and, of course, it is possible to produce files of far higher resolution.
The result of this is that the songs now sound more defined with added depth and warmth.
Steve Harris ends; "I was very excited to be asked to be part of this project. I honestly feel that there is a massive improvement in the quality of these classic albums.”
And you can tell it: this remaster sounds AWESOME.
A Must Have.
1 - Prowler
2 - Remember Tomorrow
3 - Running Free
4 - Phantom Of The Opera
5 - Transylvania
6 - Strange World
7 - Charlotte The Harlot
8 - Iron Maiden
Paul Di'Anno – lead vocals
Steve Harris – bass guitar, backing vocals
Dennis Stratton – guitar, backing vocals
Dave Murray – guitar
Clive Burr – drums
BUY IT !
HighResAudio is a music download service for audiophiles offering albums and songs in 24-bit at sampling rates from 44.1kHz up to the highest in 192kHz. It's a company similar to American HDtracks, but established in Hamburg, Berlin.
Warner Music Group International has commissioned to HighResAudio for their 2015 remasters of the first three DEEP PURPLE albums. These early recordings needed a re-vamped sonic treatment, and the results are pretty awesome.
Let's start with the self-titled (but third) "Deep Purple" album.
"Deep Purple" is a record that even those who aren't Deep Purple fans can listen to two or three times in one sitting - but then, this wasn't much like any other album that the group ever issued.
Actually, Deep Purple was highly prized for many years by fans of progressive rock, and for good reason.
Referred to as Deep Purple III here, the group was going through a transition - original lead singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper would be voted out of the lineup soon after the album was finished (although they weren't told about it until three months later), organist Jon Lord and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore having perceived limitations in their work in terms of where each wanted to take the band.
And between Lord's ever-greater ambitions toward fusing classical and rock and Blackmore's ever-bolder guitar attack, both of which began to coalesce with the session for Deep Purple in early 1969, the group managed to create an LP that combined heavy metal's early, raw excitement, intensity, and boldness with progressive rock's complexity and intellectual scope, and virtuosity on both levels.
On "The Painter," "Why Didn't Rosemary?," and, especially, "Bird Has Flown," they strike a spellbinding balance between all of those elements, and Evans' work on the latter is one of the landmark vocal performances in progressive rock.
"April," a three-part suite with orchestral accompaniment, is overall a match for such similar efforts by the Nice as the "Five Bridges Suite," and gets extra points for crediting its audience with the patience for a relatively long, moody developmental section and for including a serious orchestral interlude that does more than feature a pretty tune, exploiting the timbre of various instruments as well as the characteristics of the full ensemble.
Additionally, the band turns in a very successful stripped-down, hard rock version of Donovan's "Lalena," with an organ break that shows Lord's debt to modern jazz-rock as well as classical training.
In all, amid all of those elements -- the orchestral accompaniment, harpsichord embellishments, and backward organ and drum tracks -- Deep Purple holds together astonishingly well as a great body of music.
This is one of the most bracing progressive rock albums ever, and a successful vision of a musical path that the group might have taken but didn't. Ironically, the group's American label, Tetragrammaton Records, which was rapidly approaching bankruptcy, released this album a lot sooner than EMI did in England, but ran into trouble over the use of the Hieronymus Bosch painting 'The Garden of Earthly Delights' on the cover.
Although it has been on display at the Vatican, the work was wrongly perceived as containing profane images and never stocked as widely in stores as it might've been.
A piece of history restored in great form.
1 - Chasing Shadows
2 - Blind
3 - Lalena
4 - Fault Line
5 - The Painter
6 - Why Didn't Rosemary?
7 - Bird Has Flown
8 - April
Rod Evans – lead vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – guitars
Jon Lord – organ, keyboard, backing vocals
Nick Simper – bass, backing vocals
Ian Paice – drums
BUY IT !