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Beverly Phillips writes:
Many of us have been salivating at the thought of the next Deep Purple album. After nearly five years the questions have been is it worth the wait, and is Don Airey a suitable replacement for founding member Jon Lord? Happily, the answers to both are a resounding yes.
The latest Deep Purple release, The Human Race, finds the band in great form opening with an uptempo song, the title track, at a pace not seen since Burn. It would tough for a band half their age to keep up. And when Ian Gillan sings, I'm going to win this human's race, you believe he means it. In the meantime, guitarist Steve Morse and new keyboard player Don Airey swap solos like they've played together for ten years, while bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice keep the song cooking with a murky undercurrent. This song makes a strong beginning and can easily stand along other album openers like Speed King, Fireball, Highway Star, and Knocking At Your Backdoor.
The band is able to sustain its legacy and add to it too on fourteen songs, with Gillan using current events for much of the lyrical content. Nowhere is this more evident than on All My Past Years, where he bemoans the fact that here he is in advanced years(for a rock star anyway) and the world continues to have many of the same troubles it had when he was thirty years younger.
The song that follows, Up The Wall is taken from a live show performed during the band's extensive touring over the past couple years. In the liner notes, producer Michael Bradford states the version they did that night was so perfect it didn't warrant trying to cut it in the studio. The mark of this band has been its ability to mark its stamp of musicianship on various rock styles. As is their routine, such is the case on 'human race.'
Ian Gillan duets with vocalist Sam Brown on My Favorite Cologne which serves as a marked departure from many of the songs on this release. Another song departure to the hard-edged theme on this release that recalls Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming, is Match Made In Vienna, which is another sad tale of what can happen when you go down to the bar with your friends and have a glass of whatever takes your fancy.
And what of Jon Lord? Fortunately, he's presented on six of the album's 14 cuts, trading solos with Morse on Sky High, the guitarists love song for aviation(he owns a plane). Lord also surfaces on Slave To The System, which many fans will note is a not-so-distant-cousin of Living Wreck, and is the album's showpiece clocking in at just under nine minutes of free-for-all musical bliss with the Paice-Glover combo holding down the fort with Gillan, Morse and the Maestro trying to steal the limelight from the other.
If Golden Blues is to be the last song done with Mr. Lord, its an apt swan song. New keyboard man Don Airey opens the song in a standard blues vein with messrs Paice and Morse playing a rough cut of some acoustic blues, and then with little warning, the songs goes electirc with Lord weaving his magic with an assortment of Hammond divebombs that will leave listeners spellbound, before the song closes again with Airey taking over, symbolically.
The album closer, Over The Tower finds Gillan railing against capitalism and man's faults, while the band plays at a gallop that recalls Hard Loving Man. The opening to this song will find fans speechless as it opens with a baby, and then a child crying followed by a Gillan scream before Paice goes through a number of cymbal crashes as the song gains momentum that lasts for roughly seven minutes.
In terms of material, there's variety that recalls Purpendicular, while the band has been able to maintain the hard edge of their last release, Abandon. In fact the song, Abandon, one of Lord's appearances, is on this album.
Taken as a whole, The Human Race, recalls the band's salad days of Machine Head, while also planting a firm foot forward. The band has shown that in choosing Michael Bradford to be its producer, it was an inspired, and inspiring choice. Bradford has chosen to not tinker with the band at the cost of its sound or its musicanship and has in fact allowed a little more freedom in the playing than had been on recent releases. With time left in songs to stretch out, newer band members Morse and Airey have been able to establish their own identities and show fans of departed members Blackmore and Lord, its still the music that matters.
While this may not be Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band as Gillan had wished, its still able to take its place with In Rock, Machine Head, and Perfect Strangers in Deep Purple's legacy of triumph.
The album cuts: 1. The Human Race (5:46) 2. Looking In The Mirror (5:06) 3. All My Past Years (6:53) 4. Up The Wall (4:49) 5. Match Made In Vienna (6:16) 6. Sky High (4:43) 7. My Favorite Cologne (3:27) 8. Slave To The System (8:54) 9. Dark Light (5:51) 10. Abandon (4:37) 11. Contact Lost (4:14) 12. Find My Heart (6:27) 13. Golden Blues (7:24) 14. Over The Tower (7:15)

Craig Storey writes:
Five years, that's what we've got, five years, warbled St David of Bowie too many years ago, and who would of believed it would have worked out that long for the Purps to conjure up a selection of studio magic. Well, a combination of lengthy road trips across every hemisphere (and a few more), plus the goodbye and farewell of Hammond meister Jon Lord made sure of the lenghty hiatus from the studio, but fear not lovers of spiral word connundrums, swirling Hammond waves of sound and all the other magical ingrediants that make up DP, they are back, and they are back to pin you up against the wall with Clouds Out Of Nowhere, their third studio effort with Steve Morse.
Highlights are the opener, which is in the vein of Highway Star and Ted (shoot that dog) The Mechanicand is titled Crying Out For You, featuring some manic keyboard work from Don Airey.
Based On The Blues follows, and pulls you into a Chicago blues style feel. Imagine a cross between John Lee Hooker and Johnny Winter and you'll be there with 'em.
However, the real highlight on this glorious platter is the ballad Falling Down On The Hard Times, featuring an orchestral refrain over some dexterous Gillan ballardry. The producer, Michael Bradford has applied his own brand of Purpleism to the band, and when you hear the cover version of Green Onions, complete with gob iron intro by little Ian, you'll see this ain't no rap record boy.
A glorious return, and should you have a chance to catch 'em on tour, carpe diem baby, cause this band will steamroller you. Who was that man in a little black pointed hat looking over the hill anyway?

Philippe Joseph writes:
14 new tracks! That would have been a double LP in the 70s. Can you imagine 2 In Rock or 2 Machine Head at once? Well get ready for it cause here comes the new Deep Purple Purr Forrest, Purr! Let's get into the subject track by track:
The album could have started with a classic Vavoom or Any fule... type of song, but here Deep Purple sets new rules and warmly welcomes their new keyboardist. Cash More opens the album, this long prog track could very well become the new Child In Time, the Hammond intro, the cool two first verses building up to a complex and strong refrain followed by an incredible guitar solo... 12 minutes of pure pleasure! This sound is huge, the production is clear and very intense, here and there some intriguing noises and effects, but don't worry the Purple feeling is there in all its greatness!
Paice opens Shake my spear with an incredibly groovy shuffle, followed by Glover and Airey on the Hammond in an unusually simple melody, leaving free space for a fast guitar/vocals duet getting together on the refrain. Airey's first solo on this album is an exciting piece of powerful Hammond.
Queen of the balls starts with a classic Morse riff. An up-tempo track with great singing and solos and extra tambourine from Guru-Paice.
We know who we are, could have been a Who do we think we are out-take, a heavy, breathtaking number on a fast groovy tempo (Smooth Dancer).
And here is the first real surprise, the thing I 've been waiting for years. Remember that flanging-tubular Hammond sound that Mr Lord used on Place in line (and sometimes during the Burn tour)? It's back and it's great!
Track 5 is Up the wall, a song they played live a couple of times during the last tour. A Watching the sky type-of-song, mid-tempo with complex bridges and rich guitar work. Mr Bradford added some studio effects-background noises, cabaret moods-which brings an interesting and intimate feel to the song. Again Gillan sings like he has never sung before.
I found the other napkin is a radically different track, a groovy/funky-soul tune (somewhere in between No one came and Hold on) which is a playground for Airey and a blue quiet open sky for Morse who plays here some of his most melodic and inspired gimmicks, in between the incredibly funny lyrics about a guy who loses his job on the day he finds out his wife is cheating on him with Ted, his mechanic, who just smashed his brand new car...
Seek my duck is another Purple classic along the line of Bloodsucker (sort of), very strong and powerful with an amazing bass/drums line... Deep Purple the way we like it.
Country side chainsaw massacre is a slower number, a bluesy/jazzy track with a beautiful Irish-like melody and smooth vocals, quite usual until Glover set the distortion on his bass and turns it into a killing roaring machine. You actually need a couple of listenings to get used to it, it's so blasting!
Okay now, track 9 You'll get you fingers burnt is THE surprise, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. Deep Purple did what we couldn’t even dare expect. Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr David Coverdale on vocals! Yes, Gillan and Coverdale, the two most beautiful voices in the history of rock'n'roll together, sharing the lead vocals on a heavy, mid-tempo (Sail away-like) tune! Incredible, and if you think it wasn't enough, well yes it is on this track that Jon Lord appears for a three minutes solo... waoow!
Now you think that after that they could have let us breathe a little bit, well noooo, track 10 Zip up your fly is version 2003 of Highway star mixed with Speed king, a long 8-minutes fast rocking track with furious solos from Morse and Airey on a bombastic rhythm section. Those guys are twenty years old again!
Track 11 Be careful what you wish for is a boogie track with a great country feel and a great guitar solo, Morse using a bottleneck. Again some funny lyrics about a hippie-freak farmer who's daughter has married a rich man.
A frog in the fog is the second prog track of the album, a long complex 5-minute instrumental intro very hard to follow and understand at first, leading to a fast chorus, a couple of breaks and bridges followed by an almost claustrophobic atmospheric middle part, very slow, amplified by a hypnotic shaker (remember Fools) and a display of weird voice and keyboards effects. A studio track.
Lucky number has the Morse signature all over it, complex, subtle, intelligent. When rock'n'roll meets class and avoid clichés. Serious lyrics on that one!
Track 14 You wish this was all true is the most disappointing song, but only because it is the last track on the record. It starts with a mid-tempo in 3/4. Paice using a cowbell reminds us there was once a track called Rat bat Blue. Again a very exciting number where each member of the band shows his talent and skills. The song ends in a fade out after a Don Airey solo joined in the middle by Steve Morse, on a pretty fast groovy tempo. A great track to close the album.
Really I don't know what to say, it seems like every time there’s new blood in Deep Purple (in this case I am more referring to the producer), the band reaches another level of creativity and energy while remaining true to themselves and funny. Could they be vampires? The album is simply great, combining the best from each Mark with a little extra. Great job! Worth the wait!

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