Review Summary: An inferior repetition exercise, but one not too shabby.4 of 4 thought this review was well writtenDeep Purple: A Retrospective
Episode X: Stormbringer
came soon after the fantastic Burn
; even in the same year, 1974. Though it features essentially the same approach as its predecessor, being hard rock infused with blues and funk elements, it is often seen as a disappointment among most. Even Ritchie Blackmore, long-time member and probably the most important one at that, lost faith in his main musical experience and quit after the album, leaving a still young Mark III in shambles. He would go on to form the initially great new hard rock outfit Rainbow
, which featured Ronnie James Dio at its heyday.
Deep Purple Mk. III was:
- David Coverdale ~ Lead Vocals
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Hughes ~ Bass Guitar, Vocals
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums
Still, the second and last output this line-up brought forth isn’t half-bad at all, and there are quite some catchy rockers to be encountered. The greatest issue is however inevitably clear from the beginning: Stormbringer doesn’t quite hold the punch that Burn
did. Funk becomes even more dominant here, along with a slight touch of soul here and there, and Purple is actually moving gradually away from their classic hard rock sound.
was intense, as fiery as its title suggested, so powerful that not many albums from its time couldn’t hold a candle up to it. Stormbringer
, on the other hand, has problems starting up. Surely, the title track is an excellent opener, but there is no sense of fierceness, and Coverdale takes the vocal march all by himself, while him and Hughes’ harmonies proved to be so effective before. The point where things get up to the assault level of Burn
, You Fool No One
or What’s Going on Here
only arrives at the fifth track Lady Double Dealer
, which almost seems fit to belong on Burn
. Highball Shooter
follows this pattern.
That doesn’t mean that we should have gotten a complete repetition exercise, of course. A greater amount of funk and soul is potentially interesting, but Deep Purple get the amount of ingredients wrong this time, rather than the ingredients themselves. Love Don’t Mean a Thing
and Holy Man
both start off as relaxing songs, but you’ll grow bored with them just a tad too quick. The Gypsy
, however, which runs in the same vein, finds the right amount of power to hold its momentum.
and You Can’t Do It Right (With The One You Love)
are clearly the most soul-influenced, which is most notable in the vocal department. Hearing a band such as Deep Purple attempt a fusion with soul is interesting, and the result shouldn’t be called poor, but neither is it that good, and you can’t help but feel we’d rather leave that genre in the hands of others.
The most interesting, and certainly most unique moment is the closer and fan favourite Soldier of Fortune
, a semi-acoustic, soft ballad similar to When A Blind Man Cries
(an excellent and unfortunate outtake from the Machine Head
sessions). While not managing to recapture the other’s older glory, it remains the most touching take on the album.
is a disappointment after Burn
. Of course it is. That said, perhaps its inferiority is the main reason it did not become such a success. Mark III’s latest output can be, from time to time and in a relaxed state of mood, very greatly enjoyed. It is one of Purple’s calmest albums so far, and while not all we could hope for, certainly infinitely better than some of the post-Perfect Strangers
records we got saddled up with. The verdict remains simple: like everything these Brits put out in the golden 70’s, it is no doubt worth looking into.
Soldier of Fortune
Lady Double Dealer