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Deep Purple's Fireball is an album which seems to suffer the fate of being located between two albums which are pretty much perfection and overshadow this very album. Like most cases where this applies, the album that is in the middle is fairly underrated, but still gets high praise from the fans and in this case, it's deserved, as the quality control level here is nearly just as high as 'In Rock'. It isn't quite on the level of that album though, as there is one song that doesn't quite work.
That song would be 'No No No', which goes on for a tiring six minutes and fifty two seconds. While the base ideas are good, they sound like they could've made a great four or five minute song, but instead just meanders about without retaining and focus. This song still has a decent amount of positive aspects, like how the main verses are actually quite catchy and the instrumental breaks can be fairly relaxing. Also, it's still better than most of the songs off of the first two Deep Purple albums, to give you an impression of their standards at this time.
So that leaves everything else, which is great to fantastic. The two main attractions of this album are the title track and 'Fools'. The title track is probably the most speed metal-esque track of the early seventies, but it also doesn't reduce the importance, resulting in a thicker texture than what most speed metal would have. 'Fools' is an epic with a similar style to 'Child In Time', but with less focus on instrumental prowess and more on hard-hitting and memorable verses. 'Anyone's Daughter' is an odd track with a country feel to it, but despite how it is in contrast to the rest of the album, it's an upbeat, quirky song that is thoroughly entertaining.
The production here sounds much cleaner than 'In Rock' did and even if the fuzz gave that album a raw charm, this is definitely an upgrade production-wise. There is simply far more clarity on the louder songs on the album, which makes it an easier listen than the previous album.
Overall, 'Fireball' is a worthy follow-up to 'In Rock', showing an expansion to the hard rock sound that it started. Even if it has a minor flaw, it is still just as essential as 'In Rock' was due to the maturation and ambition this album shows.