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Mark-III is certainly the most acclaimed incarnation of Deep Purple, right after the second, of course, by the mid-70’s probably the most terrific line-up in the planet or at least of the British scene, a super-band which featured the then unknown Coverdale & Hughes, who provided the group of an absolutely refreshing bluesy funk essence. On stage, this formation definitely made history and worked-out perfectly, the talent of each of these virtuosos was combined to build a truly solid wall of sound of blistering heavy metal, so memorable they could forget about the Mark-II days and conceive a set-list predominantly based on both Burn and Stormbringer albums. That greatness had to be captured on record, so Made In Europe was released, including cuts from 3 1975 distinct gigs: April 4th in Graz (Austria), April 5th in Saarbrücken and the historical April 7th in Paris, which would be the last dates featuring Mr. Blackmore on guitar. Curiously, this artifact was put out in 1976 when Mark-IV was already history, less than 2 months before Bolin’s tragic dead.
By 1974, the band survived with no problem to the departure of Gillan & Glover with the right replacements that lead them to another level of brilliance and splendor, as the new studio work proved. However, Deep Purple always focused predominantly on making their live shows electrifying and challenging because this live band doesn’t need studio traps to impress, so their real magic could be found in concert. In case you couldn’t attend their 70’s shows, you got records like this giving you the chance to relive such historical moments for rock/metal. Starting with the heavy artillery of “Burn”, the most brutal relentless version they ever played can be found here, generally obeying the studio patterns but introducing always some variation, distinct bridge, lengthier pickin’ part or something else to make it reach greater power and aggression, because its tempo becomes considerably faster, riffs much sharper and vocals very outrageous - yet remaining precise and disciplined on its execution. That’s the most vivid expression of power metal you could find by the mid-70’s: melody, velocity, progression and extra reminiscence of baroque on that epic organ solo. Other straight tracks on the set are the second Mark-III album title-number and “Lady Double Dealer”, the second one simple and persistently melodic, though incorporating abrasive riffing and a fast-paced early speed metal rhythm that could’ve been spectacular with a heavier edge but Glenn & David gave it class and romance with those revealing lyrics instead. The best is yet to come however, Deep Purple still make complicated lengthy titles part of their policy, “You Fool No One” and its superb 16 minutes is the clearest representation of these guy’s fascination for technique, improvisation, bluesy jams and absolute virtuosism, including titanic organ, guitar & drum solos with each member completely inspired and motivated, Purple ecstasy.
The stunning harmony and meticulousness of this line-up brings back the unique magic of the unforgettable concerts in Japan, though definitely Blackmore & co. managed to conceive brand new solid songs they could bring to next level on stage, making them more elaborated, intense and energetic, adding lots of cool arrangements and structure-modifications to display their entire abilities without the restrictions of the studio. “Mistreated” for instance, is completely emotional and extraordinary on record, but live it achieves bigger sentiment and strength, still the California Jamming - Live 1974 version remains as the most incredible ever - yet this one as well features one of Coverdale’s most impressive performances, alternating tortured and tender vocals with tough harsh screaming, making such an exhibition of talent, accompanied by The Man In Black’s lyrical lines. “Stormbringer” also becomes here more notably vigorous and fierce, so you see the stage is where Mark-III reaches peaks and proves their possibilities to construct more advanced, complex and incendiary music than anything the studio stuff could offer. Deep Purple defined the standards and rules of heavy metal on shows like these, all their innate aggression, velocity and attitude revealed a distinct concept from most mainstream 70’s classic rock groups, all the rage, passion and power displayed were never matched by anybody else by that time when the genre started showing serious signs of decline. I insist, “Burn” was the earliest power metal ever conceived, this live version gives elements like speed, technique and fury greater presence while most of their peers were stuck on traditional weighty tempos, lots of blues influence and vain love/chicks lyrics. The unsurpassable progression displayed on their lengthy numbers proves the excellence as performers of these guys, most passages seem to be the result of absolute improvisation, though always focused, controlled and consistent, no place for chaos or stupidity some pompous prog-rock compatriots in those days couldn’t help.
Made In Europe was the best successor possible of Made In Japan, demonstrating Deep Purple eluded to live in the past and repeat themselves with no originality, presenting instead a completely renewed set-list based on competent compositions which satisfied the avid fans as much as the legendary Mark-II material did. Avoiding as always simply emulating and copying the studio schemes, Blackmore & co. introduce here more countless variations and extended jams you never heard before, an expression of admirable talent and innovation. There seems to be certain extra motivation from the members, specially from Ritchie, knowing these would be the last Mark-III gigs ever. So relive the priceless heritage of one of the finest line-ups in the history of heavy metal at its best, making absolutely timeless music.
When you thought it was it for DP after MKII breaking up in 1973, the founding trio led by Blackmore, Lord and Paice recruited a couple of new and funny guys to fill the cartier. David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, while not as great as Gillan and Glover, gave to the band a couple of vivid, powerful and remarkable shows to be forever reminded for both fans, metalheads and lovers of rock music in general.
We've got a taste of the, seemingsly infinite, power of Deep Purple back in 1972, when Made in Japan started to burst its unmatchable and everlasting light for heavy metal. More of the same was to be put on in the famous California Jam. And now, with "Stormbringer" recently released, DP was going further into their deep ocean of early metal.
Long jams, virtuosity, shredding, shocking power, that was all about DP. Even if Blackmore was getting bored and lonesome in thoughts, overcomed by the little dudes, Coverdale and Hughes, that got too big to control, Made in Europe is clear evidence of the magical attributes, the legendary status of the band's blasting live performances. Every single minute of them, playing loud and clear over a stage was a bliss and a joy. No other band in the world could match them. And that's it, period.
This album is more of the same. More evidence proving Deep Purple's major ability to display might and magic over the scenario. Listen to Blackmore's riffing through all the record. He was on a light, firescorching every available fret. Mr. Lord (rot in pieces) never sounded so technical, vivid and full of joy (with the possible exception of MKII first comeback), he was at the zenith of his keyboarding, filling all the atmospheres. Paicey will forever be a favourite in drumming for his fast and very felt playing and with Coverdale and Hughes completely established in the band, the ancient linage of DP's major live performances was correctly continued.
The five songs here are tremendous: The blatant might of "Burn", an early power metal display; the moody and firey "Mistreated" with the bluesy touch and heavy feeling; the speedy and breathtaking "Lady Double Dealer"; "You Fool no One", an underrated song which is a pathway for long and amazing improvisations and "Stormbringer", a forgotten masterpiece by the band (and in this performance, simply, sounds awesome). Mind you, Ian Gillan refuses to perform any of these five majestic pieces of early metal. Such a shame, considering that they are such an important part in Deep Purple's colorful history. If you had any doubt about these songs in their original albums, here you simply love them, you taste them as an unique plate of the most relapsed delicatessen.
They sound so tight in here! This is almost as good as Made in Japan. There are, though, a couple of little failures which prevent this for having even a higher note. First, there is no interaction with the audience, or the interaction, seems to me, is very little compared with Made in Japan. I mean, in the concerts at Tokyo and Osaka, the crowd was a part of the show, they were alive, they can be felt in any second of it. Here, they sound dull and faded, perhaps because the band simply wanted to do their thing, without thinking a lot about their people. Anyway. Finally, the production, which is somehow inferior compared to MIJ. The sound is a bit duller and sounds kinda hollow. Maybe, it's something about the mix. Nevermind.
So, after this DP entered in a deep depression. Blackmore left the band and the thing never got the same (until Perfect Strangers). With a little help of Tommy Bolin, Funky Purple was to be formed and, shit happens, you know. In any case, this is a total safe music product. If you enjoy Made in Japan, you will probably enjoy this one, a little bit inferior to the shows in Osaka and Tokyo but with lots of the same power and energy. This is a total safe buy, both for fanboys and any metalhead in general. Go ahead and have this in your collection. You will have no regrets at all.