Deep Purple - Burn review
|Release date:||February 1974|
02. Might Just Take Your Life
03. Lay Down, Stay Down
04. Sail Away
05. You Fool No One
06. What's Goin' On Here
08. 'A' 200
Burn was the first Deep Purple album to feature the Mark III lineup; returning from Mark II were the living legends Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, and Ian Paice. Vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover had departed, to be replaced by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes, respectively. These additions brought to the band an entirely new set of influences and a novel musical direction, which set apart the Mark III albums from the rest of Deep Purple's material. Burn is a step down from the Mark II era, in terms of both sound and substance, but Coverdale and Hughes had some impossibly big shoes to fill.
The new arrivals have roots in funk, R&B, and soul, a drastic departure from the classical/blues/hard rock mix for which Deep Purple had become known. Glenn Hughes had taken the position only upon learning that he would be joined by David Coverdale, because this meant he would have a musical counterpart to back up his creative input. He certainly wasted no time in taking an active role in the songwriting process, evidenced by the noticeable presence of the aforementioned funky and soulful elements. Sometimes, Burn almost sounds like Deep Purple accidentally walked in on a gospel choir. Put simply, there is very little of the heavy, exciting, groundbreaking Deep Purple to be found on Burn. The title track is a marvelous exception, embodying everything that this album could have and should have been, but there are few other positive aspects. "Sail Away" and "Mistreated" are decent, but not great.
Ritchie Blackmore is still present, but his riffs are not as engaging or memorable, and he sounds as if he, too, is bored with this album. Ian Gillan's absence is hard to look past; despite the admirable efforts of Coverdale and Hughes, both accomplished vocalists, not even two singers can make up for the loss of such golden pipes. The space left by Roger Glover is not adequately filled either, as Hughes did not consider himself a bassist so much as another singer, and had no intentions of continuing Glover's complex machinations. By far, however, the most noticeable and disappointing change is the lack of The Beast, Jon Lord's Hammond organ. Lord does perform on this album, but for some reason he entirely abandons the loud, aggressive sound that made him a force to be reckoned with on previous albums. Instead of the loud, distorted monster that turned the organ into a lead instrument, Lord uses an "average rock and roll keyboard" sound that does nothing to enhance the album. On some tracks, he even uses a basic piano sound, which only reinforces the aspects of funk, R&B, and soul brought in by Coverdale and Hughes.
David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes are both very talented musicians, but they were brought in to replace two vital cogs in the Deep Purple machine. The styles that they took with them do not gel very well with the classic sound of Deep Purple, and the result is a mundane tour of perfectly standard 1970s rock and roll. There is nothing special or interesting about it.
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