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That album cover is one of the worst I've ever seen in my entire life. And, you know, I've seen lots...
I promised myself not to write a review about this album, the harassed and bullied "Slaves and Masters". But I couldn't resist myself and here you got me, bashing the worst release of one of my top-3 favourite bands in heavy metal. Yeah, I did say "the worst" and it is the worst one, forget about Bolin's tragical death after "Come Taste the Band", ancient hippie oriented psychedelia in the late 60's with hit singles like "Hush". Let go the idea that, since Purpendicular, Deep Purple released a succesion of bad records, cause that's not entirely true (Bananas and Rapture of the Deep are respectable, though distant from those magic grooves made by the MK II and some portions of Coverdale/Hughes era). This one, no other but this one, is THE VERY VERY WORST album by DP.
I mean, here you can find a song with the devious and terrible title "Love Conquers All". Even for that australian duo Air Supply, those guys singing extremely pink and mellow cursi love songs would be embarassed to put this on a track. But, hey, DP did it, as they created heavy metal, they made the finest metal album ever and stuff. You know, Ritchie, my dear one, the only moment in my entire life when I said "Blackmore Sucks" was, precisely, after listening to this. Because we are all quite aware that this record was a whim of yours, and the good guys, Lord, Glover, Paice and Turner did their best, as they are very talented, to make this thing work... But, you know, Blackmore is a human after all...
I've been mistreated! I've been abused!
Believe me, darling, that's exactly what happens when every fan of heavy metal or Deep Purple, most particularly, listens to this. The fan starts to scream loud "I've been mistreated, I've been abused" and it comes from the bottom of the heart. It actually happens, give it a try. This thing is truly painful and you got no choice but to remember better times.
Even if we forget that this was made by Deep Purple and we think it was crafted by Foreigner, White Lion or even, to get even worst, Celine Dion, the content here sucks so much that it makes you believe that Dio's stomach adenocarcinoma started to grow right after he listened to this. I bet *insert ammount of money here* of dollars that you can't find some lyrics more stupid and dramatically mellow, cliché and oriented as the ones you get in "Fire in the Basement". Mix that with a weak and uninspired melody and there you get an example of how bad this thing is.
"You've got it bad, you're hopelessly addicted
You're always searching for the cure
Love is the crime, you stand convicted
You keep on coming back for more" ("Too Much is not Enough" - Fragment)
Mein gott!! Read that?? Am I getting clear enough to explain how lame this have got?? Add to those lyrics some gutless and flat rythmical lines and melodies and you will understand. It Is not bad to talk about love, mind you. The bad thing is to do it in this pathetic way. What happened with Deep Purple, those five guys in that live album "Made in Japan", filled with heavy metal power?? What happened with Ritchie Blackmore, the guy who smashed cameras, exploded equipment during massive live shows without giving a fuck about anything while he was fretting his guitar like no one else in this world ever did, does or will do. That guy here is posessed by a dark spirit (the same one who owns him now in Blackmore's Night, but with a little more dignity) and perhaps is even reflected in the cover picture. No doubt that spirit has the shape of a woman.
Maybe the formula is not that bad with a couple of songs, like "Fortuneteller" or "King of Dreams", pieces where the band remembers its real identity as metal (or hard rock, in this case) gods and throw us a couple of enjoyable songs ala AOR, like JLT Rainbow era (which is just slightly inferior to Dio's era of early epic power metal, in some places), with not so silly lyrics and some nice additions in the instrumentation, most of them by Maestro Lord. Link to these ones "The Cut Runs Deep", which contains the only riff to be remembered by Ritchie in this album (a good one, by the way) with some intrincate keyboarding lines and ballsy beats and, there you go, a good track (not excellent, good). Joe Lynn Turner does what he can but we all know he was not suitable for the job. And that's all we can say about him in this review, period.
And then, simply, there is nothing and I mean nothing to be highlighted here in the rest of this album. It is wrongdoing at maximum of the expressions. A non-suited vocalist with a terrible art cover and pathetic lyrics with no sense of creative music and there you go: "Slaves and Masters", a vomit by Blackmore, cause he can puke as well as every mortal does. For some fragments of "Fortuneteller" and "King of Dreams" and the riff and keyboarding at "The Cut Runs Deep", I give to this album 10 points. Because it is Deep Purple, they got some 20 extra points. And one extra point for actually recording some of the most pathetic lines ever sung in the rock world ("Love Conquers All" et al.). That should recieve some credit too.
Get away from this thing.