Deep Purple – Infinite (Ear 2017)

Deep Purple, still going and still sounding like Deep Purple. There’s nothing new to either the songwriting or sound of the band. If you like Deep Purple, you will probably like this album too. If you’re a hitpicking Purple listener you might as well just skip this record all together. Just a little side note; is this actually the most stable “mark” of Deep Purple? Is there any constellation of the band that’s been together as long as this particular line up?

Don Airey has kept the sound and feel of Jon Lord, the horrible organ sound of the seventies is still alive and well on Infinite, I really do detest this sound, it screeches in my ears and, just as I do with the older purple songs, I skip these tracks more often than not. Ironically, the first song to stay with me is the organ heavy Hip Boots. Steve Morse is a great blues guitarist, he wrangles that thing and makes it howl and scream when he wants it. Get Me Outta Here has some major licks and so does Roadhouse Blues. The latter being an old fashioned dirty blues tune, borrowing heavy from the yearly decades of last century, complete with harmonica and everything.

Ian Gillan sounds a bit whiney. His voice pretty much sounds the same, but with a tinge whineyness to it. When he brings on the energy, he is magnificent, truly. Ian Paice is steady, groovy, heavy and same old same old. All I Got Is You has that recognizable Piace groove.

This record is for the people who have a past with the band, lets be honest, who else is interested in Deep Purple anymore? This is not a creative masterpiece, it’s rather predictable in its greatness. The musicianship is rock solid and the songwriting is heavy inspired by their back catalogue and true blues rock. I will give them props for playing to their strength rather than experimenting with all kinds of craziness which plagues a lot of aging rockers.

The question is: does the world really need more original material from Deep Purple? Off course it does! Infinite is worth a good spot in any hard rock rotation.

Recommended tracks: Hip Boots, Roudhouse Blues

Rating: 3/5

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Glenn Hughes – Resonate (Frontiers Records 2016)

I know Hughes mainly through Deep Purple, I haven’t been a follower of any kind. I like Black Country Communion and his Sabbath record. My interest was peaked for this particular record after a chance listen to a tune from this record, the song was called Heavy, and yes it was heavy.

As might be expected the bass sound is thick and rumbling throughout the entire record. If anything the sound might be a tad bottom heavy and somewhat light on top. The vocals are always soring way over top, it fits a few of the songs like Heavy, Let it Shine and God of Money, however it seems a bit misplaced on Flow or Stumble and Go.

The record is put together in a rather splendid and clearly planned out manner. The different songs roll and build on each other, even songs I find on the weaker side of things, work in the big picture. Take the song When I fall, it’s a rather boring piece of straight forward rock n roll, kind of bluesy, real predictable if you put this track on, say a playlist or just by itself in any sort way. It would be a “skipper”, track to skip, but when played in its spot on the album, this song is worth listening to. It actually sounds pretty God damn good.

A lot of the riffs have a bass kind of feel to them, in that I suspect they are written on a bass, for a bass, by a bass player. Some work as pillars of the song, but some sound rather weak through a guitar. Other than that the record is kind of what to expect from Hughes, it’s bluesy, heavy music with some clear ties to hard rock scene of the seventies.

Recommended tracks: Heavy, God of Money

Overkill – Coverkill (Steamhammer 1999)

I’ve been looking around for this record for quite some time, but it’s not that available in my frigid corner of the world, so I buckled under and bought the damn thing on Itunes. I’m completionist, if it’s an artist I really like, I need to own the entire discography (excepting some compilations, live recordings, singles etc.) or my life will be pointless and sad (ocd?). This hole in my Overkill collection has bothered me for years. And completion feels oh so very sweet.

I’ve talked about my fascination for cover albums when handling Danzigs latest travesty of a record. I downloaded these songs at work, with a slow, slooooow connection, which gave me plenty of time to check out the track list. Three Sabbath covers, wow, a Deep Purple track, Priest, Motörhead, Ramones, Kiss and Tull. Good stuff! But, wait, what’s this? ManOwar? Really? I’m never drunk enough to listen to ManOwar any more. I was in my youth, but now? I’m old fart… man.

I suppose it’s natural to open with the tune they took their name from. The Motörhead classic sound ferocious in the Overkills interpretation. I kind of wish they’d included a studio version, not a live version, oh well. Two of three Sabbath covers sound decent. Never Say Die has never been a personal favorite of mine, I rarely listen to that record at all. Megadeth has also done a cover of this song, but I think Overkill has the edge on this one. Changes I don’t like, Blitz doesn’t really have the voice for ballads, just like Ozzy. The bass really bothers me, it sounds half assed. DD’s bass is bouldering, as always, but it doesn’t fit this particular song. Cornucopia has never made an impact on me, neither the original nor this cover version, so I won’t linger on this tune.

Deuce is just a killer. I find the original Kiss song a bit on slow side. Overkill has sped it up and given it some power, which is totally what this song deserves. This one is just nice. I enjoyed the Ramones cover as well. I had a Ramones period in high school, when I listened to every track I could get my hands on, but this track … I don’t think it ever came my way. I’m not familiar with The Dead Boys, I like this song, but I have no idea how the original sounds. I think maybe they should have picked a different Purple tune, but that’s just me.

This entire album has the same feel as Metallicas Garage Inc. in that the production is not as slick and or precise as the studio albums containing original material. I guess that they’re looking for that garage sound, that feeling of the days when they first started. It’s not the best selection of covers I’ve heard, but certainly not the worst. Overkill had a typical groove metal sound in the late nineties, evident on this record, and it really doesn’t fit well with a few of the chosen tracks on this record.

This isn’t the big whole in my collection I thought it would be. It’s a nice little reminder that Overkill used to be a coverband, but also that they’ve moved on.

Recommended tracks: Overkill, Deuce

Rating 3/5

Deep Purple – Perfect Strangers (1984 – Polydor)

I’ve always clamed to be a big Deep Purple fan, but a couple of months ago it was pointed out to me that I haven’t even heard a substantial amount of their music. My fandom centered around the mark II era of the band, and the rest of the catalogue was more or less in the dark to me. I couldn’t really stand the thought of myself as not being familiar with one of the essential hard rock acts of last four decades, so began my new found project to better myself: buying the catalogue.

I haven’t really gotten far in this project, but I have to stop for second on Perfect strangers. I really love the sound of this album. It’s thick and full, and so well rounded. Roger Glover has done an amazing job. Two things that stands out from other Purple records are the bass and the organ. The organ sound has lost that squeaky sound that has bothered me and I have blamed for terrible headaches. Everybody always talk about Lords amazing sence of melody and his playing ability, but nobody ever seems to mind the horrible sound he used for most of the seventies. On this record the organ sounds thicker and fuller.

Richie had been out of the band for a while and this record was marketed as a comeback record or a reunion. Richie does an  excellent job on this album. The cooperation with Lord is at times amazing. The riffs have that duality of being great on their own, but also as backing tracks to the vocals.

The foremost song is the title track. This is an almost perfect hard rock song. If you’re ever wondering how a rumbling, heavy bass should sound, just listen to this song. This is just the heaviest bass ever. Another great thing about this song is its arrangement. Nothing is particularly complex and all the different instruments play relatively easy parts, but they fit together so well, and create this rich tapestry of sound.

I really enjoy Son of Alerik, which was not part of the original album. It’s ten minutes long, but doesn’t seem like it. It’s interesting and pushes ever onwards and upwards, twists and turns. Especially Richie excels on the bluesy instrumental parts. Paces’ drumming is very impressive, especially around the 5 minute mark, where he has some amazing fills. The entire song is so deep purpely, it’s like the essence of Deep Purple.

 

The opening track, Knocking on your back door, is also stellar.  I just love the riffs. The guitar solo sound sort of half assed on first listen, but the more I listen to it, the more the brilliance of it strikes me. I also enjoy Mean Streak and A Gypsys Kiss and Hungry Daze and Under the Gun. Actually there is only one song I don’t particularly care for and that is Wasted Sunsets. It’s a bit tedious and, somehow, slow moving.

 

Recommended track: Perfect Strangers and Son of Alerik