Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Blues Taking Over
If one were to expect an album simliar to "Burn" then that person is going to be thrown in for a loop. The remarkable thing is that both "Burn" and the album being reviewed, "Stormbringer", were released the same year yet both have significantly different sound and style to them. It may have something to do with the amount of drugs being taken by Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale, but that is a discussion for another day. The one aspect that is evident is the amount of blues and soul infused into the songs and it is understandable why master axe man Ritchie Blackmore would be upset.
The songs that shine on here are the ones Ritchie goes full force with his famous Fender Stratocaster and when his riff playing is the main component featured. His catchy, intricate up-tempo riffing is the main highlight found here. This also brings out the brilliance of Jon Lord because the double team of his keyboards and Ritchie's guitar playing is unmatched by any other band.
The dueling vocals of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes return and again they are very impressive to hear. Hughes shows his soulful vocal chords on "Holy Man" and "Hold On" and Coverdale's screeching, bluesy voice complements it perfectly. The way they play off each other is impressive and unique to this version of Deep Purple.
However, where "Burn" succeeded is where "Stormbringer" failed. For one, the drumming of Ian Paice is severely toned down, mostly doing a simple, blues type of beat and is not the wild, frantic kind we all know and love from him. The guy is a great musician, but you would not know it from this album. Another is the prevalence of the funky bass playing by Glenn Hughes. It just sounds annoying and is not enjoyable. "Love Don't Mean a Thing", and "Hold On" just drag the album down with no awesome riffing and having an overload of blues in them. Then "You Can't Do It Right" is a pure funk song and it is embarrassingly bad especially with the trippy chorus.
While a listener of this album maybe frustrated on what is going on, the last song will cure a lot of it. "Soldier of Fortune" is an acoustic track song sung by Coverdale and it is very melodic and beautifully done and might bring on a few tears. It is very melancholic and the inclusion of the violin in the background furthur adds to it and is one of the best Deep Purple songs.
"Stormbringer" is an album that will frustrate listeners as it is rather hit-and-miss. There are some very enjoyable moments found on here though and is worth the purchase. Some may like the bigger inclusion of blues and funk, but it just does not fit Deep Purple. With that being said, this still gets a good score and is still a good Purple record. This would be Ritchie's swansong as he would go on to form Rainbow because he did not like the direction of the band. Don't let that fact deter you from buying this though as it is certainly something to listen to.