6 of 6 thought this review was well written
The Mark I Deep Purple albums tend to be overlooked, but I'm guessing that that is due to the derivative nature of the début, not the extremely diverse and interesting self titled effort. 'Shield' off of 'The Book Of Taliesyn' was brilliantly original, but 'Deep Purple' takes that, and makes nearly an entire album of that standard. Basically, if your planning to listen to this album, you're in for a treat.
The album opens by hitting you with the percussive blast that is 'Chasing Shadows', a song that is sure to get your jaw dropped by how much the band have matured and acquired a unique sound that still hasn't been recreated to this very day. The rest of the album shows just as much creativity, with songs like 'Blind' with its beautiful baroque motifs and the album highlight 'April' with it's 9 minute orchestral build up to a more traditional (but no less exciting) rocking closing section. The song-writing has took a turn for the masterful, as if they had been in the business for years upon years.
The quality of the song-writing is of course mirrored by the phenomenal performance that is delivered; Ritchie Blackmore shows a godly amount of soloing talent at the end of 'April', which has the earliest use of guitar sweeping I've heard (about 11:30), but he also shows a great quantity of skill in 'The Painter', with its great bluesy introduction. Rod Evans shows some impressive low singing at the 1:20 mark on 'Bird Has Flown' and displays some sublime singing on the lone cover on the album, 'Lalena' (which sounds a lot like a later Deep Purple song, 'When A Blind Man Cries'). Ian Paice exhibits some serious stamina on 'Chasing Shadows' and does some smooth fills throughout the album. Nick Simper doesn't have that many stand-out moments, but the bass-line on 'Fault Line' fills the low end very nicely. Jon Lord composed 'April', which is Mark I's 'Child In Time'; a magnificent epic that keeps you captivated throughout.
The production is very typical of the time; organic, ambient and quite fuzzy. The sound is not exceptional, but Deep Purple make the most out of what they've got.
In conclusion, this is Deep Purple's Mark I masterpiece, being the product of a matured and inspired band. Beware though, this is a completely different kind of album than 'In Rock' was, as this album may not offer you much in terms of head-banging material. As a result, this is recommended to fans of progressive rock, not classic heavy metal/hard rock.