Deep Purple
Purpendicular


3.5
great

Review

by Nagrarok USER (219 Reviews)
October 26th, 2009 | 26 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A daring effort that none would have ever thought possible at the band's age...

Deep Purple: A Retrospective

Episode XVII: Purpendicular

After the rock abomination that was The Battle Rages On and Ritchie Blackmore’s permanent departure from Deep Purple, everyone though it really was going to be the ultimate end for Deep Purple. After all, Blackmore had always been creative leader (or at least since the band’s breakthrough In Rock), as well as the most talented member. Replacing him with someone as worthy was trying to achieve the impossible.

Luckily, this is not what Deep Purple tried to do. It is true they tried players of a similar technical level, but never were they wannabe Blackmores, rooted in the traditional blues-based approach as much as he was. The boys first ended up with Joe Satriani, forming Mark VI, but failed to actually release anything in their less-than-a-year existence. In 1994, they found Steve Morse, known from his work with Dixie Dregs, which he co-founded, and his stint in Kansas. Morse was nothing like Blackmore, being rooted in jazz fusion, and perhaps that is exactly what Deep Purple needed: a fresh approach, after all those post-Perfect Strangers generic hard rock albums. The newly formed and once again confident Mark VII released their first album (and the band’s fifteenth already) in 1996.

Deep Purple Mk. VII was:

- Ian Gillan ~ Vocals, Harmonica
- Steven J. Morse ~ Lead Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards, Organ
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums

Purpendicular came as a tremendous surprise, especially to fans of the band’s traditional work, as it was, for the first time in Purple’s career, a truly experimental record. Undoubtedly, this is a direct result of Morse’s arrival, whose work spans a wide variety of genres, styles and moods. And though Purpendicular (unsurprisingly) doesn’t come close to Mark II heyday, the album (and Morse) is exactly what the band needed. You’ve got to respect them for it: oldies from the 70’s still daring to try something new. It’s something that can be said of very, very few bands from Deep Purple’s time.

The material on Purpendicular is also softer than that on most Purple albums before it, and includes many ballads. Some of these, like A Touch Away and Loosen My Strings, add nothing in particular to the band’s oeuvre but still remain effective, especially the latter, which has heartfelt vocals and beautiful guitar work, filled with an emotional value that Blackmore would never have been able to create in a similar way. Others, however, prove to be quite inventive. The best example by far is Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, a true epic, highlighted by a stunning, emotional solo at the end, which leaves no doubt about whether Morse is an adequate addition to the crew. Gillan, after all these years, still claims his rightful place as one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time, as he makes the most out of his logically deteriorated but still incredibly appealing voice.

The most experimental tracks are not always the best, but actually often turn out great. Soon Forgotten is an interesting oddity, driven by an almost eerie, disturbing instrumental section and talk-sing vocals. Rosa’s Cantina employs similar vocal work, and seems mostly Gillan’s baby, who also drives it with his harmonica, an instrument he hadn’t used in a long time. Morse shows his diversity on The Aviator, which has an medieval-esque arrangement. Closer The Purpendicular Waltz most thoroughly incorporates jazz influences, and A Castle Full of Rascals has a spacey feel that works out pretty great.

In the meantime, Deep Purple hasn’t forget where they are coming from. The real rockers on Purpendicular are the excellent opener Ted the Mechanic, with a slowly bumping rhythm section and standout jazzy guitar work by Morse, the relatively simple Cascades: I’m Not Your Lover which gives us some trademark Jon Lord organ chops, the bass-driven Hey Cisco and the catchy Somebody Stole My Guitar, arguably the best of the lot.

It was surely a relief to see so much creativity on a Deep Purple album. After descending themselves into hard rock-genericness in the 80’s and early 90’s, the band luckily got revived by a creative guitarist who could not have been a better replacement for the by-then tired out Blackmore. Purpendicular is by far Purple’s most experimental record, and it must be said: these aged rockers pulled it off as well as they possibly could have. Props for that.

Recommended tracks:

Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
Somebody Stole My Guitar
Ted The Mechanic
A Castle Full of Rascals



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user ratings (204)
Chart.
3.5
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
October 26th 2009


8565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

...and so the Retrospective Saga continues with its 17th episode.

LepreCon
October 26th 2009


5450 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow you really have some endurance to plough ahead with this massive discography. But props for the great review as always, pos'd

Nagrarok
October 26th 2009


8565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you for so loyally keeping up with them Purple reviews Conor. It's not many anymore now, I believe 4 albums still. Abandon will be there tomorrow if all goes well.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
October 26th 2009


8570 Comments


*insert generic great review and pos comment here*

also, i must point out how utterly hideous the cover is

Nagrarok
October 26th 2009


8565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Deep Purple have always been horrendous in terms of covers. There are some exceptions, but it's mostly garbage. In Rock is probably their best. And thank you to you as well.

Metalstyles
Emeritus
October 26th 2009


8570 Comments


yeah, just to make this thread a bit more gross, then in all honesty, the cover looks like a sprained dick on a purple background. Yeah i know, the way my mind works...

Nagrarok
October 26th 2009


8565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Riiiight. Well, better to have great music behind bad covers than bad music behind great covers.

MassiveAttack
October 26th 2009


2754 Comments


Still at the Deep Purple reviews? Nice!

Metalstyles
Emeritus
October 26th 2009


8570 Comments


that's the truth Nag

Nagrarok
October 26th 2009


8565 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gonna do all of them studio albums, mate.

vanderb0b
August 14th 2010


3473 Comments


Only heard Ted The Mechanic off this. Song slays.

13themount
February 23rd 2011


173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The last good Purple album and their most adventurous since Fireball. Blackmore not missed.

Parallels
August 11th 2011


8858 Comments


i remember my first shock listening to purpendicular. not a bad album at all.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 18th 2012


11071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Listening to this album makes me feel good about the rest of the guys. It's like a burden had been lifted of their shoulders when Blackmore left the band and they're having a good time again. They deserve that.



My personal favorites are Loosen My Strings and The Aviator.

Digging: Battleroar - Codex Epicus

dannyboy89
March 26th 2013


13339 Comments


Badass stuff, but anyone who gives this more than a 4 has serious problems.
Morse does fill Blackmore's shoes quite well though, I was impressed. But it's obvious that DP = Blackmore + Paice + Lord. Anything else isn't true DP.

IMO Gillan wasn't as indispensable to the band as those three, since he arrived on their 5th LP, and the same could be said for Glover.

dannyboy89
March 26th 2013


13339 Comments


^Having said this, Sabbath was in far worse shape by this time. As was Judas Priest.

OmairSh
August 31st 2013


14427 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Steve Morse is a great guitarist but his Deep Purple work is probably his weakest material.

deslad
March 20th 2014


614 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A great improvement from "The Battle Rages On...". "Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming" is my favourite from this one.

Digging: Loreena McKennitt - An Ancient Muse

danielcardoso
August 27th 2014


11684 Comments


Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming is probably my favorite 1990's Deep Purple song.

Titan
December 15th 2014


18916 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I might agree Daniel



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