Deep Purple

Now What?!

Written by: BV on 14/06/2013 17:56:13

Now, the new Deep Purple album called ”Now What?!” hasn’t exactly been on the top of my ‘must check out’ list as of late, despite the fact that I am a die-hard Deep Purple fan. Or, well, die-hard fan might be pushing it a bit, since I haven’t really loved any of their material produced in the slipstream of the seventies. That’s not to say I haven’t dug some of it, on the contrary actually, but I do think Deep Purple as of 2013 lacks a certain punch of the past that might never be regained. On “Now What?!” they give it a good shot and the outcome is, if nothing else, commendable. Let’s explore why that is.

Album opener “A Simple Song” bears the mark of symphonic, progressive influences and doesn’t really sound like Deep Purple at first listen. That is until the rest of the band decides to enter the soundscape. Jon Lord may have passed away, but Don Airey is still a commendable keyboard player that serves as an acceptable part of this rock n roll legacy, now that it has become impossible for the great Lord to, once again be, an integral part of this sound.

And yes, the progressive influences seem to go on throughout the album as Steve Morse once again seems to blend in with the blast from past that is Deep Purple, melding their funky 70’s rock with the progressive soundscapes created by his über-technical, fine-polished guitar-sounds – as can be heard on “Out of Hand”. Indeed, Morse is a fine guitar player but still tends to lack that inexplicable rock n roll edge that Ritchie Blackmore will forever be tied together with. Nonetheless, both Morse and Airey seem to have become an extension of the band itself, melding neatly together with ‘older’ members Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice.

With “Above and Beyond” Deep Purple seem to cement that, even if this will be the last we will ever hear from them, they at least didn’t go out without fight. “Above and Beyond” is a commendable attempt at making a groovy riff laden track that melds the essence of the seventies with the more progressive and synth-laden soundscapes that seem to have become a mainstay in Deep Purple of the new millennia. Had this been an album by a new band, someone unknown, without a massive legacy to consider, “What Now?!” might have been a superb release as the sounds of it are indeed quite good. But given that it has been produced under the Deep Purple name, a band of a near-godlike reputation to retro-fanatics such as myself this will inevitably fall prey to prejudice that might even lessen the experience for some.

In spite of the fact that this album will never become a true staple in the Deep Purple catalogue, able to match up with marvelous classics like “Machine Head” and “In Rock” it is still a solid album - even though it constantly borders on the fine line between insignificant and vaguely interesting. It is perhaps the best one yet of the Steve Morse era, but in my opinion that doesn't really say much about the album. Though, if this is in fact the last we will hear from them, I’m glad to say that it’s solid and not necessarily near the total disgrace to the legacy, I initially feared it would be.

Download: A Simple Song, Above and Beyond, Hell to Pay
For The Fans Of: Steve Morse era-Deep Purple, Flying Colors

Release Date 26.04.2013

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