Deep Purple

Burn/Stormbringer

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Smartly slipcased, this two-CD package rounds up the last will and testament of the Mark Three incarnation of Deep Purple -- that is, the David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes fired lineup that ended with Ritchie Blackmore's departure to form Rainbow in 1975. Released in 2002 as a stop-gap following former bassist Roger Glover's late-'90s remastering of the earlier Deep Purple albums, but before he agreed to supervise similar restorations of the later discs, it is a utilitarian offering. There are no bonus tracks, despite there being a number to choose from, and the actual packaging offers no variation on the existing single discs. Nevertheless, Burn, at least, indicates just how powerful this lineup of the group was, with highlights ranging from the title track -- the first song the band completed with the new members; to the Blackmore showcase "Mistreated," and onto the distinctly Free-influenced "Sail Away." Free's Paul Rodgers was Deep Purple's own first choice as vocalist, and it is interesting to hear how that partnership might have sounded. Stormbringer, recorded with Blackmore more or less a passenger, is somewhat less inspiring -- indeed, once past "Gypsy" and "Soldier of Fortune" (still a regular in Blackmore's own live set 25 years later), the album is very much Hard Rock By Numbers, a chilling prediction of the arena rock sound that would flow out elsewhere, later in the decade. And how ironic is that? Most metal groups of the '80s and beyond cite "Smoke on the Water" as the ultimate Deep Purple song. So how come they all ended up reworking "High Ball Shooter"?

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