Deep Purple
In Rock


4.5
superb

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
August 10th, 2009 | 385 replies | 30,660 views


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Mark II starts with a bang of fantastic hard rock energy.

Deep Purple: A Retrospective

Episode IV: Deep Purple In Rock

Formed in 1968, Deep Purple’s success had already bloomed slightly with their Mark I line-up, consisting of Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Jon Lord on keyboards, Ian Pace on drums, Rod Evans on vocals and Nick Simper on bass. Purple’s first three albums, Shades of Deep Purple, The Book of Taliesyn (both 1968), and a self-titled album in 1969 still borrowed heavily from the psychedelic rock scene of the late 60’s. The band weren’t absolutely sure of their own sound then, covering many famous artists such as The Beatles. Jon Lord was mainly the man in charge, and as such, his classical influences played a major part in Purple’s first era.

Blackmore was about to change all that.

He and Lord were and have always been the greatest virtuosos in the band. Blackmore had enough of Lord taking lead, and wanted to steer more towards a heavier sound. Lord agreed to try something new and they would see how it turned out. As a result, they saw it fit to fire Evans and Simper, who were no material for hard rock. New vocalist and bassist Ian Gillan and Roger Glover were brought in, and the Mark II line-up was formed. What the band didn’t know then, was that it was going to be their best by far. The first studio effort they made together, Deep Purple in Rock, was a great success and is still seen as a hard rock landmark today.

Deep Purple Mk. II was:
- Ian Gillan ~ Vocals
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards/Organ
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums

The talent of these 5 musicians put together is massive. Blackmore is considered one of the greatest guitarists of the 70’s, and with good reason. Jon Lord’s classical influences made him an unique and masterful keyboard player. Many have tried to imitate his style, and all failed. Ian Pace proves he is worth his salt as a drummer, having driving, speedy drum work with excellent fills. Glover is a solid bass player, but the most interesting of the two additions is the immensely talented Gillan. While his trademark rusty vocals are in a bit of a lower register, his incredible falsetto could, at the time, reach tremendous heights, making up for a vocal range nothing short of astounding.

Blackmore taking over the wheel and steering it to hard rock was about the best move he could have made for the band, as every member could now fully utilize their strengths. Lord was still a driving force behind the band’s sound, but In Rock is far and far more riff-driven than anything before it. Even more importantly, each member gets sufficient time to shine. Opener Speed King is a speaking example. While opening with a short amount of distorted guitar, what follows is a far mellower piece by Lord. Before you know it, however, Gillan’s vocals kick in with unmatched intensity and power, backed by guitar that is just as powerful. The rest of the band joins in and the song keeps it momentum going strongly until the end, making for one of the highlights on the album.

Especially the first three songs emphasize Gillan’s qualities in the higher register. Bloodsucker smartly combines a laid-back blues riff, played just a bit faster and heavier, with the sheer power of Gillan’s voice. He and Blackmore have evidently formed a new core, and despite great contribution by everyone, both guitar and vocals remain In Rock’s most outstanding and appealing features.

What makes the album so fantastic as a whole is that it is hard rock greatness all the way through, with enough features that set songs apart. Into the Fire is the shortest and also most straightforward song on here. Flight of the Rat is intense and relaxed at the same time, created by a contrast between the combination of the faster, heavier guitar and drums and the calmer vocals. The aforementioned Speed King has that unique intro, making for just a few examples of the excellent variety.

What tops the rest of the songs on one of Purple’s greatest studio records, of course, is their masterpiece: Child in Time. The album would not quite have been what it is without it. The subtle keys intro, complemented by soft ticks by Pace, sets a unique atmosphere in already the very first seconds of the 10-minute song. The piece is best known for Gillan’s vocals, building up from almost crooning in the first few verses to that incredible falsetto nobody has ever managed to rival. It may be the best performance of his career, and that also goes for Blackmore. His trademark blues-influenced solo is more than 2 minutes long, and worth every second of it. Child in Time is perfected by its wonderful climax. It is as close as you can get to perfect, and is truly one of the most unique songs ever created.

Deep Purple in Rock is a hard rock landmark created by one of the most talented bands of the 70’s, and should be owned by anybody into any sort of rock music. It remains one of Deep Purple’s finest records up to this day, topped only by the marvellous Made in Japan and equalled only by Machine Head. Do yourself a favour and get this if you haven’t already.

Recommended tracks:

Child in Time
Speed King
Flight of the Rat
Into the Fire



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I know virtually no Sputnikers will be interested in this, and I do not care.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


nice review man, very informative and such as always, but you are right, I am not interested in this hahaha. And although I will pos this one here, here's some friendly editing:

Ian Pace had proves he is worth his salt as a drummer,
should be proved
Flight of the Rat is intense and relaxed at the same time, created by a contrast between the guitar and drums and the vocals.
awkward sentence, I would definitely change that
I will say no more of why the album is fantastic, although I could
uhh, bad sentence through and through, just delete that in general.

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I didn't notice that first one, thanks. Was already thinking about the other two. I only included the first sentence of the conclusion because I though it would looked rushed, but hell, away with it. Should be all fixed up now.

You're not going to tell me you don't know Child in Time, are you?

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


*goes to youtube*

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is great blasphemy. Child in Time is an essential song.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


actually I have some Deep Purple cd's in my cd-case so I might look into them in the evening, maybe if I have this too, I'll give it a spin. Oh and Child IN Time is awesome, but yes I did not know of that song before.

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Change that might into shall and I will be satisfied.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


I cannot say I shall do it today since I have plans that don't include being home, but I can promise you I'll look inot it when I have the time. I can probaly look into it tomorrow.

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Haha, I wasn't even being that serious. You should look into them though.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


yaah if I am in the mood tomorrow then why not

ConorMichaelJoseph
August 10th 2009


1870 Comments


Sputnik's obsession with mega-technical wankery music has caused it to overlook some true classics. Great review, possibly my second-favourite Deep Purple album, maybe third.

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Sputnik's obsession with mega-technical underground music has caused it to overlook some true classics.

Exactly what one of my biggest concerns about this site is. There is no attention for some fantastic artists like DP here.

ConorMichaelJoseph
August 10th 2009


1870 Comments


Ian Gillian is possibly the greatest hard rock vocalist ever. If not then he comes damn close

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


Sputnik's obsession with mega-technical underground music..
... is fucking stupid becuase music is not about being technical

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It's too bad Blackmore and him didn't get along. Mark III was still pretty cool though.

EDIT: @Conor

And metalstyles is right. Sputnik is not obsessed with technical wankery and such per se, but the classic oldies don't get a lot of attention (with some exceptions like Zeppelin)

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


no man Nagrarok, I was agreeing with Conor, Sputnik really is obsessed with underground tech- and experimental bands and a lot of good rock/ less-heavier metal bands (aka stuff that isn't death, prog or black) get overlooked here.

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I misread your comment, sorry about that. And I think saying that anything that isn't death/prog/black is overlooked is a bit black-and-white, though Sputnik reaaallllly needs to find a better balance.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


well yes I guess I worded my last comment a bit awkwardly. Of course not every other metal genre that is not prog, death or black isn't overlooked but my point was that a big bunch of great bands from less-heavier metal-styles and rock music are overlooked

Nagrarok
August 10th 2009


8245 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yup, I agree. Unfortunately, you can't change the situation just like that.

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
August 10th 2009


8357 Comments


imo the situation is near-impossible to change. Let's face it, sputnik is (has become) just too elite.



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