In Rock by Deep Purple
In Rock is a strange addition for the list because I only got into Deep Purple this year and it seems like I would be hearing it properly from the get go, having never listened to it as a teenager. Another reason it seems a little out of place on the list is because it doesn’t contain ‘Smoke On The Water,’ and if you were going to do a Deep Purple thing that is the song you’d expect to be covering.
I plan to forge on anyway, it just seems like it should be covered for some reason and so it will be. Feel free to skip this entry.
Anyway. In Rock is probably the heaviest album released in the early seventies. I would argue it has the biggest age to heaviness ratio of any album ever made. After the first twenty or so seconds, ‘Speed King,’ kicks in and just nails it. The song may twist and turn into corners of jazzy keyboard sounds, of not very metal drum beats and may have a silly lyrical content, but when it rocks it rocks harder than anything from this whole era. At times, In Rock is harder than Iron Maiden and I say that without exaggeration having recently listened to a lot of Maiden.
The second track Bloodsucker, my favorite on the album shares a lot in common with Black Sabbath in its verse and Led Zeppelin in its bridges and as such may be the perfect classic rock track, combining the best parts of both those band’s styles with none of the blues and non of the psychedelic influences.
The album also contains ‘Child In Time.’ If you are familiar with the song you’ll understand the tone in which I said that in my head. If not imagine how a combination of the feelings you get from listening to ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ and Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Machine Guns,’ give you, and this is the song that would illicit that feeling in one go.The thing that is so great is the building, the song builds in such an intense way that you rarely get on music that isn’t from a genre prefixed by the word ‘post.’
Drummer Ian Paice uses the bass drum so well to make each repetition of the same little bit that much more intense than the last until it all finally erupts in one of the best guitar solos of the band’s career.
What else sets In Rock apart is that it uses speeds other than funereal slow and sub normal for the whole time, and normal when a song gets ‘fast.’ Things are actually fast on In Rock in a way that isn’t really widespread until the very late 70s.
(If you are desperate for exceptions Kiss may have one fast song per album, Black Sabbath have the song ‘Paranoid,’ and Zeppelin have ‘Rock N Roll,’ )
In Rock doesn’t contain any bad tracks, ‘Flight of The Rat,’ is supreme fun, has a terrific key solo and THAT wah wah brake down.
Elsewhere, ‘Into The Fire,’ is heavy and inventive (well as inventive as you can be when still ripping off a verse from Purple Haze) ‘Living Wreck,’ is a vocal masterpiece and the album closes with ‘Hard Lovin Man.’ A song that sounds like what ‘Knights of Cydonia,’ by Muse would sound like if it came out in 1970, with that cyborg cowboy sound coming out of the same production style and instrument tones as you’d expect from Jethro Tull.
I’d go into more detail on the second half of the album, but I feel I’ve already written too much slavering praise. This may not have been the best candidate for the ‘re,’ part of my re-listening project, but it is certainly a classic album that in my opinion deserves its ‘classic,’ status fully and one which I gladly add to my list of favourites.