Sunday, 26 October 2014
CD Review: The House Of Blue Light, by Deep Purple (1987)
The second comeback album from Deep Purple's classic Mk II line-up, The House Of Blue Light proved to be the final recording from Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord and Paice. It's a better than average effort, nowhere near the band's best but not devoid of some excellent moments.
Perfect Strangers, the band was once again beset by internal rivalries and divisions, resulting is a drawn-out recording process. The end product is an uneven collection. At its best, The House Of Blue Light offers plenty of mid-tempo hard rock leaning towards carefully constructed metal, with eastern influences expertly woven into the guitar and keyboard work. There are many shortish instrumental interludes allowing Blackmore and Lord to somewhat stretch, although the band admitted that a regrettable and ill-advised push towards a more commercial sound stalked the album.
The best track does come early, Bad Attitude kicking off the album with a cathedralic burst from Lord's keyboards before Paice lays down a sturdy foundation for Gillan and Blackmore to compete over. The guitar wins that battle with an elegant solo, Blackmore announcing an intention to have fun on this outing.
Otherwise, the back end of the album is much the stronger. Tracks like The Spanish Archer, Strangeways and Dead Or Alive have an old-fashioned let-it-all-hang-out feel, the band rocking out and allowing plenty of time for the still potent interplay between Lord and Blackmore to flourish.
Much less impressive is the miserable Call Of The Wild, one of the weakest efforts penned and recorded by this line-up, a banal piece of nonsense that should have never been associated with the Deep Purple name.
After first coming together in 1969, the tumultuous Mark II lineup officially disintegrated for the second and final time in 1987, having recorded six distinguished metal albums and left behind a lasting musical legacy. The door opens, the band exits into the blue light, and an era ends for good.
Ritchie Blackmore - Guitar
Ian Gillan - Vocals
Roger Glover - Bass
Jon Lord - Keyboards
Ian Paice - Drums
Songlist (ratings out of 10):
1. Bad Attitude - 10
2. The Unwritten Law - 7
3. Call Of The Wild - 5
4. Mad Dog - 7
5. Black and White - 7
6. Hard Lovin' Woman - 8
7. The Spanish Archer - 9
8. Strangeways - 9
9. Mitzie Dupree - 7
10. Dead Or Alive - 9
Produced by Roger Glover and Deep Purple.
Engineered by Nick Blagona. Mastered by Greg Calbi.
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