Roger Glover


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Former Deep Purple bassist Roger Glover's first true solo album is an ambitious concept built around the properties and powers of the four elements -- earth, wind, water, and fire -- with the four principle tracks dedicated to each one in turn. Recorded with the Munich Philharmonic, plus an impressive arsenal of keyboards, percussion, and wind, the sound of the album is vast, yet never so prepossessing as to leave the listener feeling at all alienated by another ham-fisted attempt to meld rock with the classics. Rather, the Wagnerian scope of the music, and the immensity of the orchestra itself, are both wholly ingested into Glover's traditional knack for writing well-arranged, dynamic pop/prog rock. Thus, the riff that is central to "The First Ring Made of Clay" could, with only minor readjustment, have driven a hard-rocking Purple classic, while some of the shifts in tempo and mood put one in mind of early albums by Steve Hackett and/or Godley & Creme -- with the link to the latter further cemented, of course, by the thematic similarities between Elements and the duo's Consequences. "The Next a Ring of Fire," too, rattles along like a well-oiled prog jam, with the sax and drum solo duel amidships conjuring images of mid-'70s King Crimson. To dwell on such reference points, however, is to wholly overlook the sheer originality, excitement, and overall exuberance that is the hallmark of Elements. Though decidedly late in the day by conventional prog rock standards, it nevertheless represents a towering achievement that any fan of the genre -- not to mention of Purple -- needs to investigate immediately.

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