Deep Purple
Machine Head



by sunsinger USER (16 Reviews)
September 8th, 2005 | 886 replies

Release Date: 1972 | Tracklist

The lively bass riff enters with powerful strumming from Ritchie Blackmore. After 30 seconds, the drumming comes to life and Ian Gillan brings a passionate sneer into his singing. The most notable part of Highway Star isn't the drumming or even the vocal work, it's the violent competition of limelight between guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and keyboard player Jon Lord. The minutes spent on the influential musicianship between both of them remain a more than vital part of Deep Purple. The opener finishes with Ian Gillan singing the definitive lines "I'm a Highway Star" topped off with a frantic drumline from Ian Paice. A very good start.
The pulsating rhythm that brings Maybe I'm a Leo is as addictive as it is memorable, and it won't be far from anyone's memory if you see where I'm getting at. The verses seem a little empty and the song itself can feel dull, but by no means is this a filler track, but perhaps not a smart follow up to Highway Star.
Pictures of Home starts with a furious drum pattern shortly followed by another trademark Blackmore riff. The percussion is particularly lively and keeps the song from dragging on or falling apart. Add a 23 second solo that highlights the entire album and a worthy song is what you're left behind with. Oh, and that keyboard player I mentioned earlier gets a pretty good moment in too. Jon Lord carries the entire track before bass player Roger Glover takes over for a few seconds. It ends after about 4 minutes and then springs to life again with another solo and a faded ending.
The shortest track on the album at less than 4 minutes long distinguishes Ian Gillan's vocal talent and Ritchie's blues/rock guitar work with another strong riff and a great - although slightly too short - solo. After which Jon Lord again concludes another song with a keyboard solo, a final drum part and a number of climactic chords.

Well, here it is. The only reason that Deep Purple are known by anyone who doesn't consider themselves a fan. Smoke on the Water suffered the same fate as Nirvana's Smells like Teen Spirit being the only song that each band are remembered by. Perhaps it is the only reason fake fans know the name Deep Purple and some may argue that it is over-played when compared to so many other superior songs they have performed; not just from this album, but from over 3 decades of song-writing. I would have to agree.
I refuse to bash the song simply because it is highly rated. The fact is Smoke on the Water is a superb song and it would take a jealous, possibly resentful music fan or someone devoid of any musical taste to deem this a poor track. Over-rated however, may not be saying too much.

The riff improvised in a jam session after witnessing a casino fire starts off with the addition of a high-hat, followed on by the snare, bass and then vocals. The vivid lyrics and vivacious musicality constitute a special addition to Machine Head. If you were there at the beginning, you probably saw the hype coming too. The chorus is catchy and the ending with reverse high-hats was a very nice touch.

The keyboards and drums are the only thing you will hear for the first 4 minutes until the vocals cross the threshold for the first verse, a harmonica pieces ensues. After the second verse, Lazy comes to life and ends after Ritchie displays an extended solo and a crescendo with the final notes playing within the maelstrom draws the 7 minute track to an end.

The ending song Space Truckin' is a spirited blues song with great rhythm and an addictive tune. Ian Paice performs probably his best drumming on the album here, and as it seems the whole thing is about to fall apart, the chorus jumps in again. "Come on/come on/space truckin'" is repeated over again until the song and the album both fade out and end as dramatically and as passionately as the whole thing began.

Perhaps if the band decided at the end of their session 'this song isn't going to go anywhere' and you therefore know nothing about them, Machine Head would be a great place to start. Take for instance the fact that Steve Harris and Dave Murray of Iron Maiden had bonded over Highway Star before they really knew each other (not to mention the influence Deep Purple had on everyone else). This is an album for fans, newcomers and anyone just passing by.

Best Tracks: Highway Star, Pictures of Home, Smoke on the Water.

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user ratings (1721)
other reviews of this album
Nagrarok (4.5)
Sure, it has Smoke on the Water, but Deep Purple's sixth carries much, much more than just that....

facupm (5)
the best album ever made?...

Comments:Add a Comment 
September 8th 2005


great review and yea the only reason ive herd of these guys is cuz of smoke on the water. good song anyways

September 8th 2005


I hate "Smoke on the Water".

September 8th 2005


Ha ha, there's a new one. At least you're honest about it rather than just pretending to build yourself some kind of fake status.
Edit: Don't be offended finalhazard08, I wasn't refering to you.
This Message Edited On 09.08.05

September 8th 2005


Good review. And good band.

September 22nd 2005


Album Rating: 4.5

this is one of my all time favorite albums..EVER !!!

heavy metal kid
September 24th 2005


Album Rating: 5.0

best album ever made, just a great song followed by another great song.

October 17th 2005


Great review and nice album but Smoke On The Water is the most overrated song EVER!!!

December 28th 2005


awesome,awesome album, but i like fireball better

Craig Blunden
January 19th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

Smoke On The Water is a great song the reason people say its over-rated is its easy to play but its the simplisity of the riff that makes it so great. its a great track from a great album

January 28th 2006


0mg l0l!!1!1 L3t's hat3 5m0k3 0n th3 wat3r b3cau53 1t wa5 p0pular!!11!!one11!!

No. Popularity doesn't have anything to do on how good the song sounds.

March 2nd 2006


Best DP album!!

March 19th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Pictures Of Home is good. So is the rest of the album. I think Deep Purples earlier stuff is better though.

April 29th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

This albums great but I just find Fireball better, it's less repetitive. Smoke on the Water may be overated but everyone must admit that thinking of a riff that somple and then making one of the most famous songs ever out of it is damn cool.

May 4th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I went and saw Deep Purple last night (3 May 2006, Challenge Stadium, Perth, Western Australia) and they did not disappoint at all. They are one hell of a classy band, pure showmen and crowd pleasers. They combined a stunning lights show with a very diverse set, which included at points, the whole band leaving the stage to let one member of the band to play their instrument solo for 5 minutes (which included keyboardist Don Airey playing Waltzing Matilda...respect). DP had a very varied set list, including about 5 songs off of this album, a few other's off of other classics and some off their new album, which is surprisingly a lot heavier than their older stuff. For a bunch of old geezers, they still fuckin rock, as do Status Quo, who also played a set last night.

Ian Paice is still one of the greatest drummers going around, some of his drum solos were spectacular.

Saxon Priest
May 10th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0

I can't believe we have people here that critcise the song with the greatest guitar riff ever in it.

I love Ian Paice's drumming, he's light but heavy at the same time.

Highway Star is the best track.

June 8th 2006


My jazz band played smoke on the water for our talent show. I'm proud to say I remember how to play the riff on trombone.

June 30th 2006


People hate Smoke on the Water for the same reason they hate Immigrant song by Zeppelin, huge hit, that everyone loves (even if your not a fan of the band), and becomes uncool to say you like it. Saying you hate the song or that the song is overrated makes you feel like a even bigger fan. Sad really.This Message Edited On 06.30.06

October 26th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Another awesome classic rock album, probably the only Deep Purple CD I can listen to the whole way through wihthout skipping/getting bored.

December 20th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

Machine Head has very solid tracks and features possibly some of DP's best material, but musically this was a retrograde step for DP. In rock was really seminal (Speed King, child in time), Fireball took forward what was established on in rock, but Machine Head seems very formulaic. Just a collection of Hard Rock songs repeating an already established sound - true they are very good songs - but there is no experimentation here - except maybe Lazy. I must admit that I find fireball a more interesting record. Good review.This Message Edited On 12.20.06

February 15th 2007


I love this album. I bought In Rock two years ago, and Fireball several months ago, and I got this for christmas. Amazing album. Not one weak song on here (except maybe SotW, which is because I've heard it so many damn times I'm bored with it). I still prefer In Rock though, mainly for Child in Time, one of my favorite songs.

Deep Purple = greatest hard rock band of all time, except for The Who.

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