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Many things had changed since the heydays of “In rock” and “Machine head”. Ian Gillan with his distinctive screaming voice had left the group, the legendary pioneer bassist, songwriter and producer Roger Glover had gone and Ritchie Blackmore was the last victim of changes, leaving Deep Purple disappointed by the band’s new music direction and his little involment in the previous album “Stormbringer”. Bluesy David Coverdale was the new main vocalist and funky Glenn Hughes was the new bassist, sharing also the vocals with David. Tommy Bolin was also the new guitarist of the group (and a new great vocalist too!) revitalising the band.
The differences between MK IV and the previous incarnations of Deep Purple are apparent. David, Glenn and Tommy were not so dynamic and they could not scream as well as I. Gillan, but few groups had the privilege of three top-class gifted singers sharing the vocals (the quality of these guys has also been proved by other projects such as “Trapeze”, “Whitesnake”, “Tommy Bolin band” etc.). They were softer, but that does not mean that they were worse than Gillan (some people also believe that they were better!!). Additionally, the new guitarist was not so inventive, progressive, capable riff maker and aggressive as Ritchie, but he was more virtouoso, vivid, spontaneous and fresh than his predecessor. Ritchie seemed to use his guitar as a powerful gun, while Tommy made love with it! Nobody was better than the other, they were just different. The group had also been freed by the rival between Ritchie and the “newcomers” (Glenn and David), who wanted to lead the group, so they could express more easily their preferences, creating an exciting mixture of blues, funk and hard-rock. Finally, Ian Paice and Jon Lord (always precious additions) had abandoned any claim of leadership, leaving the others to show their creativity.
In fact, that’s a completely different band than that of the previous years, sharing only the name and the glorious past. However, they deserved to continue as Deep Purple and they added another one legendary piece to the history of the band with “Come taste the band”, an ignored (for its quality) album, which is not so heavy as “Machine head” for example, but it’s, along with “Stormbringer”, the most melodic and emotional too.
“Comin’ home’ (9/10) is a vivid, fast song, with Tommy’s distinctive guitar and David’s bluesy voice being the landmarks of the track. It’s not so heavy as other openers of the group (“Highway star”, “Burn” etc.), but it’s also impressive. “Lady luck” (9/10) is another vivid song, catchy at its structure and another chance for David and Tommy to show their skills. “Gettin’ tigher” (8,5/10) is the most funky track of the album, with the apparent involvement of Glenn in the songwriting and performance too. “Dealer” (8/10), “I need love” (8/10), “Drifter” (8/10) and “Love child” (8,5/10) are the result of David’s characteristic lyrics and melodies (these songs remind me of “Whitesnake” sometimes) and the magnificent solo work of Tommy. “This time around/Owed to G” (10/10) is a melodic track divided to two parts. In the first one, the three singers share the vocals one by one, while Jon Lord backs them perfectly playing all the instruments (!). The second part breaks the serenity, with an impressive crescendo of Tommy and Jon, full of emotion and dynamic solos. Finally, the album ends with the best closer in their entire history. “You keep on moving” (10/10) is a melodic, slow song in which the long eerie vocals of the three singers, the poetic lyrics and the killing solos of Tommy really rule.
CONCLUSION: Caution! I adore that album, because I am also a hard-rock fan (not only metalhead). But when I say that it’s one of the best quality albums of Deep Purple, I really mean it. So, don’t expect to hear a heavy metal anthem such as “In rock”, but only good rock music.