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After the almost-deadly strike given by Coverdale/Hughes society in their third record "Come Taste the Band", the world thought that was about to be the definitive end of Deep Purple, one of the two (or maybe more) bands who pioneered heavy metal. Sadness and void were attached deeply into the fans. They felt they were forsaken.
Anyway, maybe for monetary reasons and no other one, legendary Mark II was reunited. The event was legendary by itself: Blackmore, Lord and Paice with Gillan and Glover. Yeah, the crowds were going wild waiting for it and screaming loud "the Metal Gods are Returning". Like a magic trick, they drop out what would become one of their finest albums ever: Perfect Strangers.
The main opener alone can be considered a legend: Knocking at Your Back Door, with the unique rubato intro provided by Jon Lord, quickly merges the listener to a very Deep Purple universe. The catchy sex-themed lyrics and the nice beating combination by Paice and Glover makes this piece a forever living classic in the band's repertoire. Also, this piece gives us something different from Mark II. Usually, their opener songs were speedy and powerful, but this one enters in a "moderato" level. Anyway, there are no complaints, it is a masterpiece.
Ritchie, the String Sorcerer, Blackmore claimed once that his favourite song ever was Under the Gun. I don't remember exactly where or when he said that, but this piece is actually a blast. DP gives us pure traditional heavy metal, with the whole band breaking everything away. Blackmore's performance has some extra points here.
Nobody's Home has, as well, some funny lyrics with a catchy chorus. It is almost a recycled tune from "Burn" (Lay Down, Stay Down, exactly) and has some heavy metal power on it, besides the catchy spirit it has. The star here is Ian Paice. He is the one who keeps the fire up, who maintains the correct temperature for the thing.
The fist filler here, Mean Streak, is what we like to name a "good straightforward rocker". Maybe, it can sound weak alongside the bunch of powerful tunes here, but somehow manages to survive.
Following this, we found a couple of great songs in DP's catalog: Perfect Strangers, the main theme of the album, it doesn't have a Blackmore solo, but there are some rubato-like fragments which are leitmotifs of what happened in Knocking at Your Back Door. Another hit single worldwide and a powerful hard rocking song. Then, Gypsy's Kiss returns us to the heavy metal realms, speedy and joyful. Can you believe me if I tell you that there are, actually, keyboards' riffs?? If you don't, listen to this song. Jon Lord (and Blackmore, of course) gives us a powerful and speedy riff. And the singing, well, remains a bit groovy, but it is heavy metal, it has the heavy metal riffing, beating and style. A great song.
Deep Purple always gives us nice ballads. Wasted Sunsets is not an exception. Are they talking about themselves here? Maybe, maybe not. But is a dark slow piece, the darkest ballad by DP ever.
For the closing, yeah, an underrated filler by DP: Hungry Daze. Blackmore frets like hell in here, followed by Maestro Lord. But the stars here are Gillan, Glover and Lord. Those thres guys fill the atmosphere of the song, giving a total metal mood, pumping everything away. The bonus track Non Responsible also has the same feeling.
But, just for the record, the song which is beyond any reach here is Son of Alerik, the bonus track created by Ritchie Blackmore in a jamming session. It has a sublime magic power. Starts with a moody and flowing atmosphere and evolves into a slow dancing vortex, thanks to Blackmore and Lord soloing. A major piece you should enjoy as soon as possible, if you haven't done that before.
Yeah, this album is great. It has the heavy metal spirit and beat DP MK II always has with a touch radio friendly tunes. But, hey, we talk about Deep Purple, the guys that took early heavy metal to the grand masses. Remember Smoke on the Water? Well, that is. This band is very, very beyond that hit single, but they really know how to make metal songs with a nice additive of poppish sounds. Metal Gods, charismatic Metal Gods. That's what they are.