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Deep Purple - Now What!?

Deep Purple
Now What!?
by Eldad "Blacknasa" Stainbook / Vasilis Odontidis / Angela "The Hunter" at 02 May 2013, 1:53 PM


What do you fell when you hear the name DEEP PURPLE? Do you get the tingling sensation all over your body? Do you immediately start to sing the immortal riff of "Smoke On The Water"? Do you remember in reverence Ian Gillian screams on "Child In Time"? I can go on and on for the numerous feelings that the DEEP PURPLE name gives me, however I should say that it depends on which DEEP PURPLE lineup. Is it the first line up with Rod Evans, remembered for "Lalena" or the cover of “Hush” or the line up with Ian Gillan and many amazing songs? I will say that I’m a sucker for 1970 – 1976 period, along with Gillan and after that with David Coverdale. Ok, enough with the history lesson, in the end we are with a new DEEP PURPLE release after 8 years. You won't find the complete lineup for any era however we do got Ian Gillan, Ian Paice and Roger Glover, sure enough you can’t make any mistake with those three.

I don’t think that song by song review will do justice for this the album, because we are talking about a band that is a piece of history, therefore everybody should judge it by themselves. Nonetheless, I will still summarize my thoughts. As a big DEEP PURPLE fan at least has I wrote about for the70 – 76 years, I can say that this album is a masterpiece, no doubt that Gillan's performance is amazing, don’t be wrong about it, he can’t scream like in the 70s however he does amazing job anyhow.
Don Airey, on the keys, is a God and a great replacement for the late God, Jon Lord, I don’t remember when was the last time when I listened to such great influential keyboards on a Hard Rock album, yet, I do remember it was DEEP PURPLE in the 70s.

Steve Morse on guitar is playing with DEEP PURPLE and he has the hardest task of all, because all DEEP PURPLE guitar players were amazing, no need to remind Ritchie Blackmore. Again, I think that it’s a masterpiece in any era however for it to be a masterpiece for a band like DEEP PURPLE is should be inventive and it lacks some inventive here however still amazing album no doubt that fits the DEEP PURPLE legacy.

Cause I will not say any honorable mention I will try and predict the songs that will be added to the DEEP PURPLE very best in the years to come, “A Simple Song”, “Uncommon Man” such a great song with amazing keyboard a song that you start to hum in seconds.

Thank You DEEP PURPLE for all your albums and Now What?


Since 1968, when their first two albums came into surface, DEEP PURPLE have come a long long way. By 2013 they come to declare that they are still here with their nineteenth album “Now What ?!”. The band keeps going on while their founding member keyboardist Jon Lord passed away last year after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. And while Steve Morse felt to me that could easily fit in Ritchie’s shoes from the beginning (playing-wise), the gap that was left because of the departure of Jon Lord in 2002 was irreplaceable. It is not that Don Airey is a second class player; on the contrary! But Lord to me was an even bigger unit in the band and his style and sound will be deeply missed.

“Now What ?!” consists of eleven songs and is the successor of critically acclaimed “Rapture of the Deep” and goes on for almost an hour. Its cover is a simple white background with deep purple colored letters and there is the trickery of writing the band’s name as “Deep ?urp!e”. The album goes on mid paced rocking tunes and leaves space for some mellow parts here and there. “A Simple Song” opens the record with calm, slowly building soundscape of clean guitar lead in the classic Steve Morse style and then bursts into a classic rock song where guitar and distorted Hammond are competing. A most appropriate song to open the record. “Body Line” has a more funky - uplifting mood and is another of the highlights of the record. In “Above and Beyond” and “Blood from a Stone” the band slows things down letting a Jazzy (and a bit funky again) flow of music. “All the Time in the World” is one of the most beautiful songs of the record that is sure to become one of the favorites of the latest era of the band. The rest of the songs keep on the basic rock structure and of them all “Uncommon Man” is probably the less interesting song of the record. No matter how many times I listened to it I found it was floating in the air incoherently especially at its chorus.

DEEP PURPLE are back giving joy and happiness to their fans who waited for almost a decade for new material. The band is doing a decent job though obviously the time has taken its toll on them. On one hand the band has limited capabilities compared to what they could do some years ago (especially Ian Gillan) and on the other hand it is hard (yet not impossible) to redefine themselves and deliver one of the masterpieces they used to treat us with. However it is a very decent record, not as good as “Raptures of the Deep” but still with potential and the fire burning in the eyes of the rock veterans. In “Now What ?!” the keyboards are pushed forward having equal share with the guitar (or sometimes leading) while the bass is as usual below in the production. However the work of Bob Ezrin as producer is remarkable giving the record the right dynamics and levels (except for Glover’s bass).

As we are facing those times where bands with decades of existence continue to produce records, the big question floating above our heads is “Is it still any good for those legendary bands to record songs and not retire ?”,  DEEP PURPLE seem to have something more to say. However after almost half a century of life and passing the nineteen album mark there is a crucial question that is rising; “Now What ?!”.


DEEP PURPLE. The impact that every single past and present member has had on the world of music will be felt for decades to come. While it feels a bit odd to be reviewing their latest album sans Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore, the show must go on, and indeed it has. "Now What?!" is the band’s 19th release, and though band members have come and gone, the core sound that makes DEEP PURPLE so recognizable, has remained the same; we truly thank them for that.

Even after all these years, Ian’s vocals are just as smooth as ever. Bluesy and low key, they navigate each song with ease. Don’s organ solos are unmistakable, and really shine on "A Simple Song" and "Apres Vous". Steve’s guitar work on "Blood From A Stone" and "All The Time In The World" is very groovy and melodic, with moving solos. Roger’s bass work is right in line with Ian’s drums, keeping the songs rolling along without getting lost in the mix. Well done. All in all, the album is great and extremely enjoyable to listen to. Old and new fans alike will find this album fun and diverse; I wouldn’t have expected anything less.

"Now What!?" has been a fun trip down memory road for yours truly. While the material may be new, the bluesy rock riffs and heavy organ solos evoke some very cool memories of summer concerts spent sweltering in the heat while the band played on. I would say a 7 out of 10. As always, stay well, and live free my friends! Cheers!!

4 Star Rating

1. A Simple Song
2. Weirdistan
3. Out of Hand
4. Hell to Pay
5. Body Line
6. Above and Beyond
7. Blood from a Stone
8. Uncommon Man
9. Après Vous
10. All the Time in the World
11. Vincent Price
12. It'll Be Me
Ian Gillan - Vocals
Roger Glover - Bass
Steve Morse - Guitar
Ian Paice - Drums
Don Airey - Keyboards
Record Label: earMUSIC


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