Arguably one of the great Deep Purple albums of the 70’s alongside ‘Machine Head’ and ‘Burn’, but ‘In Rock’ (their third album) is where it all started for this British institution.
Written by: Dangerzone
ARTIST: Deep Purple
ALBUM: In Rock
SERIAL: SHVL 777
CD REISSUE: 1989, EMI (UK), CDP 7 46239 2 * Audio Fidelity (USA), AFZ 051
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: England
LINEUP: Ian Gillan – vocals * Richie Blackmore – guitar * Roger Glover – bass * Ian Paice – drums * Jon Lord – organ
TRACK LISTING: 01 Speed King * 02 Bloodsucker * 03 Child in Time * 04 Flight Of The Rat * 05 Into The Fire * 06 Living Wreck * 07 Hard Lovin’ Man
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Purple’s first three albums were patchy to say the least, with only a handful of standout tracks amongst them. Seemingly going nowhere, the decision was made to drop vocalist Rod Evans and bassist Nicky Simper and replace them with the far superior Gillan and Glover, formerly of Episode Six.
Their recording debut with Purple was fairly inauspicious, a terrible gospel single called ‘Hallelujah’ doing them no favours (the ‘Concerto’ album also a relative flop). This spurred the band into creating the heaviest album they possibly could and this was duly achieved with ‘In Rock’, which years later remains one of the defining moments in the hard rock and metal genre.
It’s almost impossible to conceive, but with this, Purple pushed the boundaries of rock to the limits along with other bands that year, like The Who, Black Sabbath and Uriah Heep.
The tracks on ‘In Rock’ almost need no explanation, just about any self respecting fan of heavy music should know them off by heart. It’s staggering to think this was 50 years ago (as at 2020), as the songs still sound as fresh and vibrant as they did back then. This could be released today and still sound better than any current act, Purple included.
What did people think when they heard the likes of ‘Hard Lovin Man’ is anyone’s guess, Blackmore taking the traditional galloping riff and making it a staple in metal for decades to come. The overall sound is so fierce and satisyingly full that it almost reaches Who like levels.
‘Speed King’ remains unflinchingly raw, as do the likes of ‘Bloodsucker’ and ‘Into The Fire’. ‘Child In Time’ was the archetype for metal epics, with Blackmore’s staggering guitar work and Gillan’s still astonishing wails, the likes of which had never been heard.
Paice pummels his kit constantly and Lord’s innovative use of the hammond organ made it a familiar sound in much of the early 70’s rock arena. Seven tracks, all monumental, words can barely do ‘In Rock’ justice.
Purple never attained real heaviness like this again with the MK 2 lineup. ‘Fireball’ and Machine Head’ were both number one albums, but lacked the killer instinct of ‘In Rock’, while ‘Who Do We Think We Are’ was pure rot.
One of the greatest albums of all time, and a statement which really showed where it was at musically at the time. When you consider the best the US had was the MC5, Grand Funk Railroad and Bloodrock, it makes ‘In Rock’ even more amazing. It’s one album we’ll still be discussing in a hundred years.