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We listen to the new album, part 1 =1

The fine folks at earMUSIC have kindly allowed pre-release access to Deep Purple’s new album =1, so that we can tell you all about it here on The Highway Star. Starting now and continuing until the official release date July 19, Rasmus Heide will be reviewing the full album in two-track segments. As they say: Hit Subscribe Now.

1. Show Me. “Uh! Come on, man! Don’t be shyyy!” Is this Ian Gillan urging new guitarist Simon McBride to fully embrace his new role in Deep Purple? He might as well. Over a tightly knit non-riff riff(!), Gillan moans, then urges, and then we’re off – into the explosive opening song on =1.

And what a fresh new start this is! For the first time in almost 30 years (since 1996 to be precise) we’re offered new blood on the geetar in Deep Purple. This alone is something of an accomplishment. Now listen to the size of Simon McBride’s Irish balls in this.

Show Me is a very effective opener – and unlike any openers you’ve heard from Deep Purple before. Its hypnotizing opening guitar with keyboard effects both intrigues and attracts, then moves into the song proper. Ian Gillan is front and center, and the words arrive fast and steady in a staccato style delivery that could almost be described as Ian’s way of rapping. Yes, rapping. Just wait and hear it for yourself.

“You’re on a hiding all for nothing, not going anywhere,” he sings. The verses are dark and menacing while the bridge clears the skies away to show us a happier face in excellent contrast.

Then there’s the solo section. Oh yes, Don Airey and McBride embrace each other at the front, trading licks in classic Purple style, rounding off their bit with an intense ascending run, before Gillan returns with another chorus before we’re taken through a dramatic build-up to the song’s ending. No meagre fade out here!

What an opener. This band is playing off each other, and their energy is palpable and gorgeous.

2. A Bit On The Side opens with fast double bass drum pattern underpinning an intense but less staccato riffing. Let’s consider this a modern day cousin to Fireball. There, I said it.

There’s a ton of energy here – supporting Ian Gillan’s superb tale about Charlene, another femme fatale in his long list of conquests. “You’ve been getting bolder, now you’re leaning on the shoulder, I can guess how you want this to be.”

With great intent Gillan claims in the chorus, “I don’t want no left or right, I want front and back – and a little bit on the siiide!” slowly trailing off the last word while Airey sweeps in with an effective Moog-style solo – until Ian Paice’s drums break things up and a whooshing McBride guitar takes us up to the next verse. This is busy!

Then, after another verse and chorus, towards the end, McBride levels the playing field with an intense and speedy solo that both excells and cements his position with the band. This guy’s here to stay! Then it’s straight to the song’s breathless climax. Phew!

Repeated listens give more insight into the playful lyrics and the layers of intrumental excellence. There is a terrific abundance of energy, detail and entusiasm here, perfectly portraying the collective skills of a band that sound half their age yet play with a refined restraint rarely seen among youngsters.

An absolute pleasure!

33 Comments to “We listen to the new album, part 1 =1”:

  1. 1
    D'ablo Bicasso says:

    Thank you for invigorating my aural expectations with a well crafted description of a band not quite ready to relinquish their hold on current day Ro k & Roll.
    Excitedly anticipating the newest tour de force 🤘🏻

  2. 2
    Uwe Hornung says:

    An oRASMic review, no less – once these Danes are unleashed, there is no stopping them. 😂

  3. 3
    Scott Mcnay says:

    Purple continues to be on run of producing some of the best music of their career. Loved Morse, but can’t wait to hear McBride’s take on Purple.

  4. 4
    AndreA says:

    my expectations are rising more and more. What a struggle to wait!! 🥵

  5. 5
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Alas!, there are two kinds of people in the world: those with pre-release access to =1, namely St. Rasmus, and all the others, namely us! 😂 But rather than doubt, we must put our faith in him and patiently wait as our DP Moses leads us to the Holy Land of the official release. 🙏

    In the meantime: No mindless dancing around the Golden Calf of a BCC release either! ☝️🧐

    (I can’t help it 🤷🏻‍♂️, the imminent release of a new Purple album holy-waters my Catholic roots and triggers biblical comparisons!)

  6. 6
    Tony says:

    and i think to myself in this cradle of
    but strangeways is all you

  7. 7
    Andrea says:

    Dear All@1-6 and Rasmus

    This review and comments have already made my week and it’s only Sunday 8am !!!

    As I am getting revved up for the first Purple gig of the year(Summerside Grenchen) on Thursday, simultaneously enjoying lots of VORFREUDE for the coming release.

    2024 promising to be one of the best years for a DP diehard since `82.
    To think that this takes place 56 years after the group’s inception is nothing short of mind-boggling!!!
    Greetings, Love and Peace to All in this forum and beyond

  8. 8
    Stathis says:

    @7 What was happening in 1982? Purple certainly weren’t there, Rainbow were touring SBTE (but not in the UK), Gillan were doing their farewell tour, Whitesnake were trying to recruit Jimmy Page, and Paicey was playing with Gary Moore. So all in all, not really a vintage Deep Purple year, was it? 😉

  9. 9
    Max says:

    That sounds very promising, thank you! I only wish they would somehow find the courage to include the better part of the new album in their live set. As they did back in the day with the songs from Purpendicular and Abandon …until they dropped them half way in the tour that is … 😀 But hey, they did up to seven new tracks then!

    Somebody out there reading the comments … I know RG did now and again? Come on, please for the sake of the lifelong cumstomers: just drop one or two …ok three … of the classics and Uncommon Man and treat us to half of the new album. Can’t unbuy my ticket anyway – I already bought it.

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Stathis, I read Andrea’s 1982 reference to mean that he has been a DP fan since then (children! 🤗), not that it was an especially remarkable year in the history of DP which indeed it wasn’t. Just read the “for a DP diehard since ‘82” in his sentence @7 again.

    Maybe a year of realization: For Ritchie and Roger that even their attempt to swerve to AOR would not catapult them to be a major force in the US, for Jon and Ian that for Whitesnake to break big in the US they would have to do grinding tour work there again (which they were both not really prepared to do, having it all done with DP already), and for Big Ian that he had been throwing his Purple royalties out of the window with the cost of running IGB and GILLAN. Possibly the year where the thought of a reunion gained momentum among them all.

  11. 11
    David Black says:

    When’s part 2 going to be published?

  12. 12
    Attila says:

    From what I hear it may be a Purpendiclar #2.

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    David #11, most fittingly we should refer to all future releases from St. Rasmus as “testaments”.

  14. 14
    Hristo says:


    as it seems it should be once in a week at 6 stages 🙂

  15. 15
    David Black says:

    #13 Uwe, St. Rasmus’s edicts are surely so monumental they are delivered unto us carved into stone tablets.

  16. 16
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Good point, that would indeed explain their somewhat sluggish sequence of delivery, lieber David. 🤐


    But then Møses couldn’t be rushed either, he took 40 years …

  17. 17
    David Black says:

    #16 Laughing. But….The longer you wait for something, the more you’ll appreciate it when you get it. Because anything worth having is definitely worth waiting for.

  18. 18
    David Black says:

    Mind you Mark Twain said “All good things arrive unto them that wait – and don’t die in the meantime.” and lets face it, none of us are getting any younger

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I put all my faith in Rasmus’ health hoolding up until the next promised delivery.


  20. 20
    Thorsun says:

    “Listen children, what’s that sound, won’t you come and hear the music play…” (John Wetton)

    Get really well ready for the 19th of July, Children. Trust me – you’re gonna like what is going to be thrown at you. A LOT.
    I’m not sure if that unit can be called “Purpendicular II”, as with Steve the purple sound was a completely new cosmos to acquire and get accustomed to. But with this one… The DEEP is so much back in Purple. You’ll love it, I tell you. Well deserved time for a new true classic.

    There is a valid reason why the Band plays 3 tracks live already well ahead to the premiere date. And the fourth shot is revealed as a single. “Pictures of You” is groovy and infectious enough to stick to your hearing for weeks. I hope radios all over the world play it, it’s hooky as hell. “It’s none of my business, Charlene”, but there IS more.

    “People get ready… Purple Train is coming… You don’t need no baggage… You just get on board…”

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Alas!, we are humbly awaiting more Manna from Nordic Heaven, Rasmus, you Porphyrophile Prophet, feed the starving masses!


  22. 22
    David B says:

    #20 Can you share what you’re smokin’? I want to try your world.

  23. 23
    Uwe Hornung says:

    My hunch, David, is that legendary Viking brew prepared from, inter alia, mushrooms …


    You could never get these wild Norsemen to give up on their rites and customs, it’s why Christianity failed there largely too.

  24. 24
    Thorsun says:

    Dear David, the funny thing is that I don’t smoke anything. I’m just on the same cloud as Rasmus, so I’m just saying the wait will be worth it and there is a value for the money coming.

    Such joy, I could almost diet.

    That’s all, buddy. Cheers and peace!

  25. 25
    David Black says:

    #24 good answer and I meant no offence. The best high available is high on life!

  26. 26
    Thorsun says:

    That’s right David – best things in life you can only see, feel and listen to. You won’t take all your earthly possessions to your coffin. I fully agree with your attitude about natural high.

    Having said that, I listened to “Now What!” yesterday and it came to me that this strike of luck of hearing “Equity” just once was the most pleasing experience since 2013. “Infinite” and “Whoosh!” were decent with extraordinary moments, but one or two each, only. Here – it was an exciting pleasure – on most of the tracks. Grin on the face and joy to soak it in.

    Still I have to be with respect and obedience to the gods of opportunity and zip my lip, zip my lip… Until 19th July, that is. I’ll tell you all then – all my feelings good and bad – in a proper review.

    As Rasmus says “abundance of energy” comes down as proper description to the proceedings and I agree with his assessment of the first two tracks. This two punch is as good as “Simple Song” and “Weirdistan” – my big favourites personally – shamefully never brought to the live set. So best opening for purple journey since 2013 and as good, this!

    Have a great weekend!


  27. 27
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “You won’t take all your earthly possessions to your coffin.“

    Now I’m confused in my compulsive stereotyping. Shouldn’t that be “dragon headed longboat going up in flames” and the wife and all the slaves go with? 😎

    Don’t do this to me.

  28. 28
    Uwe Hornung says:



  29. 29
    MacGregor says:

    @ 28 – good video clip regarding the ‘like Purple sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives’. And yes Uwe, everything goes ‘Into The Fire’. Throw the lot in. Cheers.

  30. 30
    David Black says:

    Uwe #19. You may have been too optimistic

  31. 31
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The commonalities between Scandinavians and Krauts – such as sticking to schedules and general punctuality – are largely overrated, sigh! For all we know, Rasmus might be a soccer fan who is easily distracted?

  32. 32
    Rasmus Heide says:

    Guys (of all genders),
    Your dedication to our common cause is inspirational. And witty. 🙂
    New segment up now. Please enjoy.

  33. 33
    David Black says:

    Thanks Rasmus. Enjoying the review and the banter on here!

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