RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Deep Purple – Now What?!
Eagle Rock Entertainment

Rating: B+

Deep Purple is back with their best studio album since 1984’s Perfect Strangers. 

Deep Purple decided to go back to their roots with Now What?! and it paid off.  The band enlisted producer extraordinaire Bob Ezrin to help them capture the spirit and vibe they were looking for.  Ezrin took the band up on their offer and pushed them hard along the way.  The result is a classic Deep Purple album that will thrill their hardcore fan base.

Every member made great contributions on the album.  Vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover collaborated on the lyrics, impressing the hard to impress Ezrin.  Guitarist Steve Morse and keyboardist Don Airey are the true rock stars on the album.  They gave 110% and it shows in both their songwriting and their playing.  Drummer Ian Paice, along with Glover, lay down the groove to allow the others to jam resulting in a great listening experience.

Below is a track-by-track commentary on the album.

A Simple Song
The title is deceiving as Morse and Airey play some complex musical passages, Airey even invoking the spirit of Jon Lord. 

Gillan believers big, vocally and lyrically on this crazy rocker as Steve Morse pounds out a stop and go riff setting up Airey to deliver a big time solo.  This one fades and then builds into a very upbeat rocker.   

Out of Hand
This song is over six minutes long.  It opens with a classical sort of “Chopsticks” keyboard lead before Morse bangs away on his six string with an almost “Perfect Strangers” type of guitar section.  This one features amazing musical interplay between Morse and Airey. 

Hell to Pay
Perhaps the most classic DP sound on the album, with a chorus that brings to mind the ‘80’s era of the band.  Gillan’s vocals are great and the lyrics are clever.  Again, the keyboard solo is the star of the song.  

Body Line
This one sounds very much like something that would be on an Ian Gillan solo album.  There is a smooth solo by Morse but, as far as fitting in on the album, this is not one of the stronger tracks.  

Above and Beyond
After a slow tempo during the verses this one builds up to a strong chorus.  There is a Prog influence on this song and it is a strong vocal for Gillan.   

Blood From a Stone
This one is both ethereal and bluesy as Ian Gillan gets into a smooth vocal groove on the tune.  Morse adds the punch with his guitar.  When the songs dies down ,the guitarist provides a smooth solo with great tone that builds as Airey plays a “Riders on the Storm” keyboard sound in the background.  This is classic DP all the way.  

Uncommon Man
Total Deep Purple meets ELP!  This one has Prog elements stemming from Morse’s guitar segments and Airey’s string sounding keyboard passages.  There is a ton of tension and release to the tune.  This is an epic song and one of the best on the album.  

Apres Vous
Don Airey owns this song.  His keyboard flourishes build the song until Morse brings in a complex guitar run that turns into a classic Mach II Deep Purple sounding riff.    

All the Time in the World
This one has a jazzy vibe and is very Ian Gillan influenced.  The song has a slow pumping cool vibe to it.  Steve Morse adds a guitar solo that he could have played in his Kansas days.  

Vincent Price
This is the best rock song on the album. Gillan’s lyrics are classic and the music is as suspenseful as a Vincent Price oratory. This one is a classic guitar fest that also contains the best Gillan classic scream on the album.  Airey adds the scary keyboard sounds behind the second passage of the solo.  This one totally works and needs a video.  

It’ll Be Me
This is a bonus track of a Cliff Richards’ song.  It is a boogie woogie tune that my money says Gillan wanted to include.  Not a necessary song by any means but it is cute and fun. 

NOW What?!  will also be released in a limited quantity with a bonus track and a bonus DVD featuring Deep Purple in conversation plus additional audio material. This edition will be available in a Digipak with a cut out front cover.

NOW What?! will be released as double vinyl LP containing 11 tracks plus bonus track, as in the limited edition CD.

By Jeb Wright