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This is the 7th Deep Purple album that was released within a year or less of the last album and although 'Who Do We Think We Are' was a significant drop in quality from the usual Deep Purple standard, 'Burn' is a quick and startling jump in quality back into the league of 'In Rock', 'Fireball' and 'Machine Head'. In contrast to the draggy feel of 'Who Do We Think We Are', 'Burn' feels fresh, lively and relevant. The purple fire is still burning!
In this album, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover make way for Mark III, consisting of newcomers David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. Both of these serve as vocalists for the album; David Coverdale having the more deep, raw voice and Glenn Hughes having the more higher pitched, showy voice. This lends to some brilliant vocal harmonies appearing throughout the album, which has happened before in Deep Purple, but not of this quality. Glenn Hughes also takes the role of the bassist for the album, giving a funkier feel to the album, which comes as a nice surprise.
The addition of these members looks to have made the original members think smarter with their song-writing skills, as songs such as the title track, 'Sail Away' and 'Mistreated' are right up there with gems such as 'Child In Time', 'Fools' and 'Highway Star'. 'Mistreated', in particular should be singled out due to the sheer amount of emotion that Coverdale pours into this beautiful song, as well as Ritchie Blackmore's fantastic bluesy guitar work. The only song which doesn't work is the synth-drenched instrumental closer, '“A” 200', which may have served as an interesting into, but is instead placed after 'Mistreated', which makes this song look awful.
Richie Blackmore's style, at this point, is getting heavier and heavier and is approaching what would define the guitar work found in albums such as 'Rising' and 'Long Live Rock 'n Roll', which is definitely not a bad direction. Ian Paice is on fire on songs like the fill-happy title track and the 'Chasing Shadows'-esque 'You Fool No One', but is also solid throughout the entire album. Jon Lord is brilliant as always, but instead of using his usual organ, he used a piano on 'What's Going On Here' which gives a nice classic rock 'n roll flavour to it.
In conclusion, 'Burn' is an astoundingly quick and major comeback for Deep Purple, and while not quite on par with 'In Rock' or 'Machine Head', a lot of the material really does show how great Deep Purple are. The next album would come within the same year, which sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, as an album like 'Burn' doesn't just come often. Was it a disaster though?
Blackmore and Gillan. Two enourmous egos tempered with equally enourmous talents. Yeah, the break up was impossible to avoid and some victims were about to take part on this (Roger Glover, a good bassist and great producer).
Around 1970-1976, Deep Purple was the greatest heavy metal act in the world. Their albums were the gold and platinum standards in terms of sales, production and most importantly, performance. Yeah, until today, the power and brilliance of "Made in Japan" is unreachable, the "Mark II trio" of heavy metal pioneering albums "In Rock", "Fireball" and "Machine Head" are still regarded as landmarks of the genre and Ritchie Blackmore-Jon Lord duet makes the finest virtuoso-couple ever.
Whatever. Gillan left (with his heavy metal attitude and unique voice) along with Glover, so, fresh air was needed (specially because of that weak release known as "Who do we Think we Are"). After some auditions, the unknown David Coverdale was hired and he recommended, later, bassist Glenn Hughes to fill the final vacancy. Great! Deep Purple shall continue!
And for the sake of many people, this album is as good as the holy trinity created in the seventies by the Mark II. Specially because it's completely driven by Ritchie Blackmore, the one and only Guitar Hero of early heavy metal. This record is a total creation of his mind (of course, the collaboration of the always-underrated Ian Paice and magic Maestro Lord are inmense) and it is completely evident when you check, song per song, that the sound of the album is almost totally driven by the guitar.
The blast opener "Burn" is a bliss. A speed-power metal song to the core, made to replace "Highway Star" in terms of brute strength. Alongside the magic soloing by Blackmore and Lord, we note a nice new feature in this always-changing band: the vocal duet by Blackmore and Hughes. Yes, of course, they have a little influence here, as well, in terms of composition. But, as I said before, Blackmore rules this record. Period.
"Might Just Take Your Life" may be the only song in this record which has a Coverdale/Hughes influence in a major manner than Blackmore's. It's a nice groovy song, with Lord's keyboarding giving the finest note.
Again, in "Lay Down Stay Down", we find Blackmore showing us who is in charge. The vocal duet sounds explodes and Ian Paice beats the hell out. This is heavy, traditional heavy, but heavy and nice. To me, an underrated song by Deep Purple. Almost the same happens with "Sail Away", with a slower and more moody tempo, of course. The beat remains metallic and gives a nice point to refresh the album.
"You Fool No One" is a great song, at least for me. Glenn Hughes is the star here, with backing vocals by Coverdale. Of course, the song sounds groovy and funky, we all noted it, but still has the Blackmore's heavy metal element in it. And, by the way, Ian Paice drumming excells. Take a little time to figure it out. He is a genious.
The only filler in the record "What's Goin on Here" remains a nice rocker, with funny lyrics and a nice co-op work by Hughes and Paice. Have I forgot to mention Maestro Lord? Well, yeah, he is brilliant in this piece as in the whole album (nothing new to tell here).
Finally, two Blackmore pieces: "Mistreated" and "A-200". The latter one is an enjoyable instrumental piece with not much to say about. But "Mistreated" is a hell of a heavy bluesy song, a traditional formula in Deep Purple's repertoire (remember "Lazy" or "Demon's Eye" for having some examples). That riff is majestic, so powerful and magic. The whole band, driven by that riff, plays a great performance. And Coverdale gives us, maybe, his finest vocal performance ever.
Yeah, this album is so freakin' great. Maybe with some funky touches, but great, specially because of Ritchie Blackmore. The Coverdale/Hughes Society was still a newbie, without such a great power to take the wheel in Deep Purple's destiny. But this was about to change soon... The downfall and the "comma" for DP would come soon... The band had to wait until "Perfect Strangers" to resurrect as the metal gods they always were. But that's another episode.
When a band loses a key member or members, it usually spells doom for the soldiers who carry on. With Deep Purple losing the wonderful talent in Ian Gillan and dropping Roger Glover, it could easily be concluded that this was just the beginning of the end for one of hottest rock bands of the 1970s. Further proof in the pudding was the choice of replacements in little-known David Coverdale and this funky bass player from Trapeze, Glenn Hughes. In fact, the “Burn” cover art with the members’ heads as wax candles could be a symbol for their careers melting away.
However, what we have here is the finest Deep Purple album. The songwriting is top notch and the inclusion of Coverdale and Hughes as vocalist brings a great mix of bluesy and soulful singing. Ritchie Blackmore always had an eye for talent and he didn’t miss here. The title track and the opener is one the best Purple songs. From the insane drumming of Ian Paice to the back and forth solos between Blackmore and keyboardist Jon Lord; this is the definition of a perfect song. The world is also introduced to the blend of Coverdale and Hughes.
The Brits keep the music flowing with the bluesy and slow rocker in “Might Just Take Your Life” which transitions to the walloping guitar riffing in “Lay Down, Stay Down.” The guitar solo is done well with a clean piano in the background to keep the beat. The back and forth between Hughes and Coverdale is also enjoyable as this is one of the standout tracks of the album.
One of the other positives is that each track is unique. “Sail Away” brings a funky edge to the proceedings with the bass riff and the Blackmore closing solo which features many wavy guitar notes sounds similar to Blackmore’s future band Rainbow’s epic “Stargazer.” Another one of the standouts is “What’s Going On Here” which sounds like a barroom rocker as I can see Lord doing the piano part while Coverdale and Hughes are enjoying the devil’s fuel in the background.
A final masterpiece is found with “Mistreated.” This is the only track with a single vocalist as Coverdale takes the helm and delivers his finest Purple performance next to “Soldier of Fortune.” His bluesy voice blends with the depressing riff provided by Blackmore perfectly and the emotional solo drives it home safely. Soothing bass and trembling drums really drive the sad mood it goes for. This is a grade A song from a grade A band.
“Burn” shows how a band can change members and deliver great music. The new blood in Hughes and Coverdale a perfect combination of soul and blues and combined with Blackmore’s trusty guitar wonders makes this an awesome album. My only quip is “You Fool No One” does not fit the Purple mode of hard rock as it is way too funky and groovy. However, the title track is I daresay the best Deep Purple song ever written. Don’t believe me? Just put this song on and feel the “burn.”
When I think of this album, I always think of Deep Purple as a school teacher in a classroom. As Purple outlines a lesson in how to change your style of music without compromising your integrity, Rush (a nerdy kid with thick glasses) takes notes. Judas Priest is the dumb kid who doesn’t get it and asks stupid questions like “but isn’t it okay if a band needs money?” Meanwhile, Metallica, Megadeth and Dream Theater are fast asleep in the back of the classroom, their notebooks open but blank. As the teacher takes attendance, he discovers that Def Leppard, In Flames, and Slayer are absent…
Deep Purple considered many famous musicians for the vacated bassist and singer spots, including Paul Rodgers of Bad Company (and Queen), and Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. So why settle on two little-known singers, Glenn Hughes (who also played bass) and David Coverdale? For one thing, it gave the band a dual-vocal attack that few others could match. There are only a few bands with two singers who could both sing everything on their own. It’s precisely this fact that made Deep Purple MkIII such a force in the studio and onstage. (Watch Burn on California Jam if you want to see what I mean.)
As a whole, this album is also a marked shift away from the pre-metal sound that Deep Purple polished on In Rock through Machine Head. Much of this album is rooted in R&B, blues, and funk. Even “Lay Down, Stay Down”‘s metal riff is done in an R&B context, with barroom piano and tambourine playing. None of this matters because the album, as music, as art, and as good fun, just plain works.
Of course, this album’s fire-breathing metal scorcher is its title track. Its riff is a speed metal version of “Smoke on the Water”, and its vocals are screamed in a manner that reminds me more of Bruce Dickinson than of Whitesnake. And you gotta remember, Bruce Bruce himself was 16 and in boarding school at the time. Top everything off with ten-second screams of “Buuuuuuuuuurn!” from both vocalists, Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore playing beautiful solos, and Coverdale raising the mic-stand in the air like a wizard’s staff when performing it live, and you’ve got an undisputed metal classic.
Now is where things get tricky. Because the next song you hear is the organ-driven boogie-ish. number “Might Just Take Your Life”. It’s good mid-paced rock, reminiscent (very reminiscent) of something Paul Rodgers might sing. And it took on new stomping life when played live. All in all, a good song, yet a vast stylistic shift from the title track. You find yourself wondering if the same band produced these two songs. Most bands wouldn’t be able to pull this off, but Deep Purple isn’t most bands. Deep Purple are the inventors, not just of traditional metal, but also of power and speed metal. Deep Purple are the band whose In Rock album Bruce Dickinson still worships today. Deep Purple can do this and have it work splendidly.
The album continues with the very odd track “Lay Down, Stay Down”. Glenn Hughes called it a “funky rock’n’roller” on the Live in California ‘74 DVD, but then again, Hughes was probably drunk enough to call it anything. “Lay Down, Stay Down” is basically, as mentioned before, a metal riff and song dressed in R&B/boogie clothes. Both vocalists howl out their lines, drums pound, Blackmore drives the song with his somewhat intricate riff, and well, it just sounds like Purple had a damn good time recording it.
This stretch of three songs reaches its climax with the mournful funk shuffle “Sail Away”. Coverdale’s low voice is the defining thing about the song, and it lifts the song’s somewhat nonsensical lyric and makes it seem heartfelt and beautiful. Ritchie again adds another layer with his elegant soloing.
Unfortunately, the only unworthy track on here, “You Fool No One” was also one that they decided to play live and even release as a B-side. It has some nice vocals, and fast drumming from Ian Paice, BUT it’s simply too fast, too quick and panicky for its own good. Normally in metal, a fast song is a good thing, but somehow it just doesn’t work.
But then the album gets right back on track with the seedy drinking song, “What’s Going On Here”. Lines such as “Roll me over slowly, I've been drinkin' all night,” and “When they closed up the bar, you know, they left me for dead,” give it an authenticity that makes you sure that Coverdale and Hughes have been there. And again Blackmore makes the song work with his guitar line on the chorus.
And then it comes to the album’s blues masterpiece, “Mistreated”. I don’t know what Coverdale was so upset about when he sang the song – after all, hadn’t he just been hired by one of the best bands of all time? – but his performance kicks the entire genre of emo on its ass. This is real depression, something that whinecore bands sadly lack, real emotion that is so raw that you can’t help crying as you sing along. It’s a slow plodding, mournful electric blues song that has a vibe so unique you can’t help but wonder what would have happened if they had made more songs like it. Near the end of the song, it goes into double time, Blackmore soloing away over both vocalists’ crying ooohs and aaahs. And then…it stops, gives way to a final moan, sob, and shaky deep breath.
Really, after “Mistreated”, there is nothing for Coverdale to say, so he doesn’t, the rest of the band finishing things up with the strange, lurching instrumental “‘A’-200”. I find it slightly boring but good enough background music for playing chess. Yeah. Seriously, the song suffers for the lack of vocals, even if vocals wouldn’t have fit the music. And if you have the remaster, like I do, you’ll also get the funky instrumental “Coronarias Redig”, which has some very cool soloing.
“So, modern metal bands, take heart, because it is possible to pull off a style change without selling out. Hellooo…Metallica?” (shakes Metallica, who’s been dozing off in the back of the classroom, awake.) “Wha?” “Since you’ve been paying so much attention, I want you to tell me the things that allow a band to change their music without selling out.” “Who gives a shit, man? Once you’re famous, you can do whatever the hell you want.” (sighs)
This is my all time favorite Deep Purple album. With the departure of Gillan and Glover, Deep Purple came back with their strongest album. Since hearing this album, I have never compared anyone to Blackmore and Lord. Because the solos are SO GOOD. To top it off, Paice is a great drummer. Sure some drummers are faster but none sound as enjoyable. The combination of Coverdale and Hughes is fantastic. They both have very distinct voices. The title track is AMAZING!!!! Songs like that make you appreciate music so much more. The next two tracks Might Just Take Your Life and Lay Down, Stay Down are great songs, but not Burn great. Next is Sail Away, which I might actually enjoy more than Burn. Everything about that song is wonderful. Coverdale's voice is just filled with so much emotion! Then there is You Fool No One. That song is all about Paice. The drums overshadow everything else on the song. What's Goin' On Here is another solid song. Mistreated is along with Burn and Sail Away. Mistreated might not be enjoyed by everyone because it is at a slower pace than most Metal fans are used to. If that bothers you than you suck. Blackmore shines on this song. "A" 200 is a very interesting instrumental.This is a great album, and you will enjoy it, unless you do not consider anything but the mark II lineup as Deep Purple. It is sad, but yes I know a few people who believe that. If you do not own this album then you do not like Deep Purple. And if you do not like Deep Purple then you are beyond repair!
It was time for changes. Mk II could no longer exist since the rival between Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan had left its scars to the band. After releasing a good but not so impressive album, which lacked the power of the previous ones (“Who do we think we are”), Ian decided to leave and Roger Glover was also forced to go. However, the guys who replaced them proved to be equally talented and ambitious. Bluesy David Coverdale was the selected one to be the singer and funky Glenn Hughes was the man to be bass player and second singer too. Both of them were hungry for the fame and glory they deserved.
But the ruling power was even then Ritchie (plus the other two original members). Although the funky and blues elements are apparent there, they avoided the experimentations of “Stormbringer” or “Come taste the band”, which disappointed so many hard-core fans of heavy music. Deep Purple Mk III wanted to cement their place to the hearts of their fans, so they decided to release another one powerful album, based on Ritchie’s heavy riffs. The two singers were not so dynamic though and they had not the ability to produce the powerful screams of Ian Gillan, but they were capable of singing with emotion and soulful vocals more than their predecessor. So, the new Deep Purple were ready to rise out of the ashes of the old one.
The first track “Burn” (10/10) is a great opener, the song that reminds me more of the previous line-up. If it hadn’t been for the two singers’ sistinctive voices, we would be confused talking about another blue-print of Mk II, not Mk III period. It’s as classic as “Smoke on the water” or “Speed king” and apparently the best song there. The next three “Might just take your life” (8/10), “Lay down stay down” (9/10) and “Sail away” (9/10) are a great mixture of Ritchie’s everlast heavy riffs and solos with the softer voices of David and Glenn which mark the changes in comparison to the past. These changes are still in “normal quantity”, since Ritchie’s still the leader, not leaving their fans imagine what would follow to the next two albums. “You fool no one” (7,5/10) and “What’s goin’ on here” (8,5/10) are also... results of that mixture. “Mistreated” (10/10) is the second classic track of the album, which is too slow for an avarage hard-rock fan or metal-head, but it sounds great with a David Coverdale’s outburst of emotions and a Ritchie Blackmore’s dramatic solo. It’s more a bluesy rock ballad, than a hard rock song, but that doesn’t mean that we should condemn it. It’s just bloody excellent! Finally, “A 200” (7/10), is a quite good instrumental (it has its moments), but a bit weak as a closer.
Conclusion: Many people like Coverdale’s Deep Purple more than Mk II. It depends on your taste. However, I don’t recomend this album to hard-core heavy metal fans, who may be dissatisfied by some blues and funk melodies that appear there. But if you don’t like “Burn” (the track), you are apparently a fan of... another music genre!