I guess the time is right to review one of my favourite Hard Rock records ever; “Machine Head”. For me DEEP PURPLE has always been better than BLACK SABBATH. I’m not the biggest fan of Doom Metal so that might be a good explanation of why I never got to dig BLACK SABBATH, spare from a couple of their songs. The reason why I like DEEP PURPLE better is because their music goes a bit faster, not to mention the fantastic Hammond solos by Jon Lord. The vocals of Ian Gillan are also damn good, even though they are far from what I usually threat my ears to. He is one of the few clean vocalists that I actually think is great; Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull being another one. It seems like I favour clean vocalists named Ian.
The songs on “Machine Head” are all great showcases of how good DEEP PURPLE really was. I don’t give anything for their albums after “Machine Head” and not much for those prior either to be honest. I had a kick on both “In Rock” and “Fireball” when I was younger but nowadays they don’t generate much interest. “Speed King” is still a great song, though. And I know that “In Rock” and “Fireball” are still considered to be classic albums even though I don’t like them that much anymore; my psychiatrist cured my megalomania as mentioned in my review of the quite horrible band called HYMEN HOLOCAUST.
The strange thing about “Machine Head” is that, in my opinion, the weakest song is the best known and most played; that being “Smoke On The Water”. It’s the most simplistic song on the album and that might explain why it became the most popular. I like the song, but I rate “Highway Star”, with its brilliant guitar and Hammond organ solos, way over “Smoke On The Water”. I’m not saying that I don’t like “Smoke On The Water”, because I do, but it’s just that DEEP PURPLE is so much more than just that song. Take “Pictures Of Home” as an example, easily ten times more interesting than “Smoke On The Water” ever was, with its brilliant use of Hammond organ which enhances the guitar in such a manner that it sounds heavier than it actually is.
DEEP PURPLE consists/consisted of good musicians but first and foremost they were great song writers. I’m sure the members of DEEP PURPLE would have ended as curveballs if they tried performing Death Metal ala BEHEMOTH but one can’t say that DEEP PURPLE was hindered by lacking skills when they wrote their songs.
“Machine Head” and this review, ends with “Space Truckin’”, without doubt the most extreme song on the whole album. DEEP PURPLE makes a real noise here, especially towards the end of the song; great stuff. A record that should be owned, or at least checked out, by every fan of Hard Rock, not to be confused with Heavy Metal. (Online August 7, 2006)