There are classic rock band that are used to record the same album again and again, desperately trying to recapture some of the magic of their long gone glory days and to not disappoint their aged fans, but Deep Purple are not cut from the same cloth! Since they left the ghost of Blackmore behind and made the courageous move to get Steve Morse covering guitar duties, they probably knew there was no turning back, but, being such an original musician, Morse changed their profile for good, taking from the band’s tradition to create a new way to express something inherently classic. The experiment proved that, after some tired works with Blackmore at the elm, the chemistry could be recreated and the magic of the band was still there, pure and intact, to the point that, seventeen years since ‘Purpendicular’, they are still on their path to creativity freedom.
Several years has passed since the last, good album ‘Rapture Of The Deep’, and even the band was not sure if there was going to ever be another Purple record, but here we are, ‘Now What ?!’ is reality and it sounds like musical euphoria. Listen to opener ‘A Simple Song’, and it’s easy to realize that a lot has changed: it’s not the classic Purple starter a la ‘Speed King’ or ‘Highway Star’, it’ not even ‘Knocking At Your Backdoor’, but, as the title suggests, it’s a simply structured song, with an ethereal chord progression, courtesy of Roger Glover, and every member of the band that enters the picture gracefully, adding few colour tones to the overall result. What really strikes right after a few listening, it’s the amazing orchestration work arranged by Don Airey and the explosive musical performance of the band. You won’t find many catchy choruses or potential hit singles, in that sense the record is very progressive, very dense of ideas, much more pointed towards amazing instrumental parts than vocal melodies, but when Ian Gillan comes to the fore, his vocals are just marvellous, rich and mellow, full of passionate personality, I mean, he’s just one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll singer of all times. Another element very much present in the mix, it’s the harmonious eastern influence a la ‘Perfect Strangers’ or ‘Rapture Of The Deep’, that, in a western culture musical environment, makes a lot of passages even more fresh and interesting. Deep Purple is an institution, sure they could have stopped a million years ago and enjoy a pristine legendary status like Zeppelin, but they chose to challenge themselves through the decades, constantly changing personnel and getting their hands in the dirt of the unpredictable, and in the end they won the bet; they are still relevant today, and still a force to reckon with.
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