Review Summary: If you liked the last three Deep Purple albums, you'll love Now What?!. Rather harmless, but hardly memorable, this release is still loads of fun to listen to.
The new studio album by the legendary rock band Deep Purple is their first in over seven years. Their lineup has not changed since the 2005 album Rapture of the Deep, even though they have been known to exchange band members every other year in the past. But with every new face, there also came a new sound. This makes it rather easy to differentiate between each era, especially considering the singers.
Still, all of Deep Purple's newer records somewhat failed to impress me, lacking the untamed energy and brutish, youthful power that made them famous. I had no high hopes for this album, Now What?!. But maybe I will be wrong.
Sound & Production
I'll make it short: there are hardly any new elements added into the melting pot here. Of course, the writing is fine, the playing is masterful, the sound is adequate. But my problem is, that there is hardly anything fresh about this, that has not been there before in the band. It is just another average album. It is definitely fun to listen to, it is a proper modern Deep Purple record after all.
At least this band does not try to forcefully recreate their past. The Rolling Stones, The Who and, most painfully, AC/DC are among those who (try to) please their fans by pretending to still be in their 20s. I swear, if AC/DC tries to remake Back in Black another time, I'll rip my ears off. But for the record, Deep Purple really know how to use their 'new' musicians without making them seem like secondhand replacements. Don Airey doesn't try to emulate the late Jon Lord, Steve Morse maintains his signature guitar style. This among other things established the modern sound of Deep Purple.
In spite of the really dull title and artwork of this record, the sound is coherent. The extensive, but tasteful use of reverb and delay may make it seem like a relic from the 80s, but rather creates a certain, but somewhat uncharacteristic timelessness. Whether you like it or not, it suites and flatters the music without taking too much risk, rendering it rather predictable. So again: nothing ventured, nothing gained.
The Final Judgment
If you liked the last three Deep Purple albums, you'll love Now What?!. Rather harmless, but hardly memorable, this release is still loads of fun to listen to.
Sound and Production: 6/10
Final Score: 6/10
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