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Straight Between the Eyes - 90%

Ritchie Black Iommi, February 16th, 2012

Any creation between two masterpieces like 'In Rock' and 'Machine Head' will be shadowed instantly, without doing an analysis of it's real impact (in terms of music, obviously).

Happens that 'Fireball" is not totally underrated but yet it has not the real place it should have when we tell the history of metal genre. And actually, is in this album when DP creates what would become later his most everlasting legacy: the invention of speed and power metal (with the classic metal sound) first lighted in the previous release and confirmed with the one that comes next.

The stormy drumming by the always underrated Ian Paice introduces us into a magnificent example of the evolution in metal. The opening track of the album, "Fireball", is speed/power metal in pure essence. Blackmore's insane riffing with the frenzy singing by Gillan are enough to explain it. Every monster riff in the history of metal was previously created or drafted by Ritchie Blackmore or Tony Iommi. So be it. What comes next is a copy.

Maybe the finest filler in Deep Purple's history is "No No No". Raw and punchy, is a hard rocking bastard who takes it all away. Gillan is the star here, but the whole band do what it takes to make this song great. Roger Glover deserves a special credit for the nice bass line in this track.

Another shadowed masterpiece, which would later became a prototype in some heavy bluesy songs by Purple is "Demon's Eye". Blackmore's riff, once again, breakes it. The virtuoso exchange of the guitar sorcerer and Maestro Jon Lord foretells what would later be the stage staple "Lazy" or even the MK III wonder "Mistreated" (with a slower beat, of course). To me, one of the greatest songs by DP.

The major flaw in this record, "Anyone's Daughter", has no salvation. If legendary bands can make mistakes, this was one, no doubt about it. Nonetheless, the lyrics are amusing, somehow.

If you have heard before about a live album named 'Made in Japan' (really, I mean, you DO HAVE that live album, metalhead, do you?), you know this black jewel entitled "The Mule". Yes, believe it or not, it is from this record, 'Fireball'. Heavy Metal virtuosity meets light here. Every single member of DP shows us what's about doing a metal performance. Forget about eternally overrated pop-rock band known as Led Zeppelin. Deep Purple is far beyond their reach and thanks to songs like "The Mule" they can prove it. Ian Paice's soloing (with Blackmore-Glover-Lord solid lines to support it) are gorgeous, brilliant, superb. Pure purple magic.

After this, everything would sound hollow and tiny. But the fillers which are coming next, 'Fools' and 'No One Came' are very good enough to keep the things rolling. Straightforward and honest rock, with some progressive licks, probably by Maestro Lord. Because of this, these pieces have a fresh and unique air. Nothing else to be said here.

And of course, we can't forget the hit single of this record, which reached the Top positions in UK and many countries in Europe and helped to re-establish DP reputation in the US: 'Strange Kind of Woman' (this song can be found in the Anniversary Edition, with some other nice oddities). A stage staple by own merits, the track always reminds us the great times when DP and BS started to rule the heavy metal world, even with its pop-ish sound. The life performances of this song, with a huge universe of improvisations (and some ironic battles by Blackmore and Gillan) are always a blessing.

This huge masterpiece is straight between the eyes for you to rediscover and love it the way it deserves. Be not affraid and embrace the Fireball, you won't regret it.