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The Sounds of Purple Silence - 93%

Ritchie Black Iommi, December 13th, 2012

I had my own reserves and fears when I was about to get this album, five years ago. Many doubts were on my mind. Am I gonna listen to Blackmore hitting it? Or will he be just mumbling and staying on the nonsense, as he already got into his mind the Rainbow Rising with RJD?? Will Coverdale and Hughes be up to the point of Purple greatness, as we all know, DP always shattered everyone with their live performances, unique, unmatchable games of virtuosity, improvisation, versatility and madness? Even, will be Jon Lord and Ian Paice, always solid performers, standing up enough for playing the thunder?

I was really afraid. DP legendary reputation in live performances (with Ritchie Blackmore on stage) is unquestionable. 1970's concert with the London Symphony is a magic thing. Made in Japan is beyond any reach in terms of heavy metal live performing. The California Jamming shows us the band in their peak of power. Two or three more albums of the era are the confirmation of this and I wasn't ready for a great dissapointment.

In any case, my curiosity and insane Purple fan collectionist gene made me buy it. And I must say it is one of the finest hidden jewels in DP's catalogue. Here, we taste a bunch of the finest versions ever made of some of the MKIII classics and I know what I'm saying because, about Deep Purple, I know everything.

We get a slashing strike on the face with the most clean and strong version of Burn ever made. The solos are pure, specially the one by Maestro Jon Lord, who usually, never matches in live performances the power of his original solo. Here, at least once, he is up to it. (R.I.P. dear Jon, by the way, you genious!). And of course, if god himself, Mr. Blackmore, is in a good mood and hitting all the notes, we have an instant winner. But the magic trick comes, in first place, with Paicey breaking it so relentless. I wonder how his drums are up to stand a full live performance the way Ian beats them. It's insane. The second thing is the vocal duet. Hughes (a not very metal-suited bassist, that can be easily noted) and Coverdale mix their voices in the exact ammount. Speed and early power metal at its best. That's it. And the magic trick doesn't stops here, because in Stormbringer we get, as well, the finest live performance ever of this particular song. And it's all about a perfect timing between Lord and RB, they fill the atmosphere and that's why this thing will metal up your ass. Magic, magic, magic.

One of a kind moment: Gypsy. And yes, fellows. One of a kind. The vocals rules here, but Ritchie Blackmore, man, that guy in black clothes, he simply outrocks every guitarist in the world. Feel his solo here, feel it carefully. Have a taste of those simply-sounding but actually, enigmatic and tricky keys performed by those fingers and you will understand.

Lady Double Dealer meets his beat. Crafted for a display of rock n roll and speed metal power, this song does it well. That riff, man. That riff.

Anyway, from here on, we got a couple of well known ones in MKIII history. Mistreated (with that particular moment when Ritchie, just before the entrance of Coverdale and the lyrics, misses the point) and You Fool no One. Both are heavy, solid and a pathway for proving, once more, why Ritchie Blackmore is unmatchable, why the sound achieved by Maestro Lord and his keyboards is unique and why Ian Paice is known for being one of the most gifted drummers ever. These numbers are as good as other ones which can be found in other live albums, excellent moments.

The particular vocal style featured here for Smoke and Space Truckin' is also something of a kind. Coverdale and Hughes managed to give, for these two "very MKII" songs an own style and they do it very well. This was hinted already in the "Live at London 1974" album, but here reaches its peak. If you want to listen a different version of that classic song made by that portentous riff, give it a try. The same happens with the other song.

After the long Space Jam, we get to the weaker moments of the album. Getting Down and Highway Star. Simply because the first one is not bombastic enough for joining the lively and powerful Purple rage. And the second, because, well, even if with the prior couple of songs from Machine Head Coverdale and Hughes were able enough to make them work in their style, this classic metal piece requires more than a vocal duet with a funky touch. They lacked, even being two guys, the enough strength for matching Gillan's majestic voice. And that's it. Another thing: Blackmore steals it. In a good and bad manner. His almost-five-minutes long solo is good (not brilliant) but by doing this whimmy improvisation, he prevented us from listening what Jon Lord had to offer. Considering that he actually matched it here with Burn, maybe he could amazed us here. In any case, it's Blackmore soloing and that's more than enough.

Now is about to be released a remastered version of this album with some gifts in it. Go ahead and enjoy the Sounds of Purple Silence, this album which marks the end of an era, the early metal era. This masterpiece must be in your collection.