4.5 out of 5 Stars!
Damn, I recall (as if yesterday) the moment this album came out. I picked it up and hesitated, wondering whether I should shell out my money for an album by a band that had recently went through major line-up changes. I mean, come on…replacing a singer (my favorite in the history of rock) named Ian Gillan with a totally unknown singer by the name of David Coverdale? What the hell???
But I did make the purchase, based on the Blackmore/Lord/Paice reputation, and hell, I have NEVER regretted that decision. Sure, the band had a different sound overall, but it wasn’t so horrifically different from the MKII era that I didn’t appreciate its greatness. And in truth, I loved Coverdale instantly, and Glenn Hughes…damn it, that guy not only added some thumping rhythms with his bass guitar, but vocally replaced the Gillan “screams” part of the band. In fact, there is something to be said for the vocal interplay between Coverdale/Hughes…perfection! It’s something that made this band even more outrageously wonderful then it was with Gillan solely fronting the band. Don’t get me wrong…to this day, Ian Gillan is still what I consider to be the ultra-best metal-vocalist on the planet, but the Coverdale/Hughes swapping-vocals extravaganza was something equally as wonderful. These guys truly worked as a pair, sounding superb as a duo, and their particular unison-sound has never been duplicated in history. Brilliance! One thing for which I have always blessed Ritchie Blackmore is his talent in hearing and hiring the most gifted vocalists, whether in Deep Purple or in Rainbow…all of them have ended up (basically) legends. The guy was a genius when it came to snapping up the “iconic vocalists of the future.”
Anyway, from the title track “Burn” to the ending track “Mistreated” (the final instrumental track not included in my review until below), this album ranks amongst the most inspired and enjoyable releases in metal history. “Might Just Take Your Life, “Sail Away,” “You Fool No One,” etc. all have a special enjoyment factor, a place in my heart (nostalgia-wise) and I will not fault this release (for those tracks). But one thing…
Come on…with two BRILLIANT singers in the band’s “revival,” why Deep Purple would decide to include a rather bland piece of instrumental garbage by the name of “A-200” to close out this terrific album of a mere eight total tracks is far beyond my understanding. It’s a complete mystery to me, and one I find myself unable to forgive even after all these decades. Hitting the world with another Coverdale/Hughes blast would have been so much more preferable.
Nevertheless, this album is as near to perfect as possible, and almost as close to perfection as any of the Purple Mark II releases. Too bad the momentum couldn’t last past this one final powerhouse of a release.