Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

August 6, 2010

Deep Purple - Abandon

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Style: blues-rock, power metal, hard rock, British
Label: CMC International
Year: 1998
Home: Britain

Members: Ian Gillan ~ vocals
Roger Glover ~ bass
Jon Lord ~ keyboards
Steve Morse ~ guitar
Ian Paice ~ drums

Those who haven't listened to Deep Purple since "Smoke To The Water" or at least since David Coverdale left to form Whitesnake might be quite surprised with this release, as I was, as this is not what you'd expect a largely forgotten prog-metal band to be playing. What I expected was the same music they always played but with the signs of age and a lost style of music. That might be what you hear on a current Big Brother & The Holding Company album but that's not what Deep Purple delivered here. This is not a rehash of a long dead style of music nor a band that's on it's last legs. This is a vibrant release with element of past days, most prominently via the dated sounding organ swirls, but the metal riffing goes right up there alongside any other band of the current scene. Savatage is one that immediately comes to mind as there's a slight hint of grandiose here. The album opens with some funkier ("Any Fule Kno That") metal with the expected Deep Purple keyboards & fury of guitars, but it's not predictable of the rest of the album which is very heavy, even for Deep Purple who have put aside their prog roots to become a solid rock band, with lots of neo-prog power metal and some gutsy blues thrown in for good measure. The blues songs sound like they come out of another band, one that plays strictly blues, except here the slow groove is occassionally enlightened by fast and flying guitar solos courtesy of Steve Morse of the Satriani/Vai/Malmsteen style. I usually find power metal often lacking in emotion but the blues foundation gives it a new lift. Morse does a great job of reminding us of the lost art of the guitar solo with all the subtle tricks and twists of the notes that was largely lost when hair metal went out of style. Or, at least, he recalls how much fun a whammy-bar makes the guitar. Alt rock just doesn't touch this stuff no matter how hard it tries. But, the real secret is original singer Ian Gillan on vocals, who has an incredibly husky middle aged man distinctive tone that could give him a great career as a twangy country singer if he chose to go that direction. He's no longer the same guy that sang "Smoke On The Water" but its a tonal change for the better that works perfectly with the music. Some may know the name of Gillan from one forgotten album with Black Sabbath. This is a pretty cool album but is anyone but hardcore Deep Purple fans still paying attention to a band that everyone probably thought split decades ago?

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