Having an extensive history in some of the best hard rock and heavy metal anthems on their plate, legendary rock act DEEP PURPLE recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of their fourth studio effort, “Deep Purple In Rock.” The band surely hasn’t their lost their stripes when it comes to songwriting and you can find proof in a brand new album showcasing their uncompromising nature, “Whoosh!,” which is set for release on 7 August 2020 through earMUSIC.
Being one of the many albums that got postponed to a later date due to COVID-19, “Whoosh!” is the definition of worth the wait. With no less than 13 tracks, DEEP PURPLE offers an overall positive experience, with songs that follow the same line as their more recent studio efforts, “Now What?” and “Infinite.” Instead of plummeting into soaring high vocals and downright heavy riffs, DEEP PURPLE have changed their approach a little bit with a more rounded, progressive rock feel that still encompasses their trademark sound, which is no different on “Whoosh!”
The Mark VIII lineup starts their new record with the single, “Throw My Bones.” From the minute this song was released as a single, it completely ensnared me. With incredible guitar hooks and an overall great atmosphere, the song is the perfect way of kicking off the band’s 21st studio album. The powerful chorus makes the expectations of this record rise within seconds.
Don Airey‘s Hammond organ is put in the spotlight during “Drop the Weapon,” immediately clear from the intro onwards. Again, the band embraces an incredibly groovy approach, with a soulful chorus. The song is topped with incredible solos by the hands of both guitarist Steve Morse and Airey.
“We’re All the Same in the Dark” could have been taken off a DEEP PURPLE album from the 80s; with a traditional sound, the song is a bit more straightforward than the previous two tracks and is proof of the incredible variety of this album, with influences going as far as their debut album. “Nothing at All” is a little bit of a lighter track, consisting of an intro with almost frivolous guitar and keyboard melodies on top of a classic rock’n’roll rhythm. Due to its uplifting nature, the song has a very soothing effect on the listener and will surely have a great effect on an audience when played live.
The thrill rages on with “No Need to Shout,” which starts off eerily similar to “Perfect Strangers,” but then twists into what is possibly the grooviest track on the album, with its bouncy bass melodies, heavy guitar riffs, and smooth keyboards. Later on, the track turns around with a magnificent jazzy piano solo. While this was advertised to me as the highlight of the album, I’m actually blown away by what came next: “Step by Step.” The track is seemingly more simplistic than the others but progressive at its core. The most important parts here are the vocals and harmonies by Ian Gillan, which implement an important part of the atmosphere. Guitars, drums, and bass are a little bit more simple, yet there is plenty of room for proggy layered elements mostly intertwined with the melodies and solos. The track stands out on the album due to its different character and is surely one of my personal highlights.
“What the What” completely turns everything around and is almost a classic rock’n’roll song, the equivalent of traveling back to the sixties with a time machine. It’s the kind of track that you want to dance to in the same way the cast of “Grease” jived during the iconic dance competition scene. More classic rock riffs are thrown around in “The Long Way Around”; with its thick riffs, the song feels a bit heavier due to its predecessors and includes some great melodies and hooks.
The mood changes again with another album highlight, “The Power of the Moon.” The most progressive track on the album has a little bit of a mystical atmosphere and showcases yet another side of the band, with a dark but groovy bass melody. The song is topped up with progressive elements in guitars, keyboards, and incredible drumming. The instrumentation is blended beautifully with Ian Gillan‘s vocals and delivers a track that makes this album incredibly diverse and showcases how these musicians can still surprise their listeners with unexpected turns.
“Remission Possible” continues the darker tones in the bass lines and starts off with excellent keyboard and guitar sections. It’s a short instrumental intermezzo that definitely shows the best side of DEEP PURPLE Mark VIII. The more progressive side of DEEP PURPLE continues with “Man Alive,” which has some riffs slightly reminiscent of YES. Again focusing mostly on the atmosphere conveyed, the song feels very soulful and if you pay extra attention to the lyrics, “a man alone washed up on the beach,” you will understand that, especially in these more progressive tracks, Gillan is excelling at storytelling through his voice.
In contrast with the progressive nature of the last couple of tracks, instrumental track “And the Address” continues with that more classic DEEP PURPLE sound, filled with hard rock and Hammond organs and a lot of groove; a welcome change in the pace at this point.
This new chapter in DEEP PURPLE‘s rich discography ends with “Dancing in My Sleep,” a perfect mix between a more progressive sound and rock. Starting off with a proggy electronic intro, the song takes a turn when the rest of the instruments blend in and showcase once more that trademark sound. The track starts off fairly simply, but in the end, it becomes an incredible mix up of different DEEP PURPLE styles with incredible instrumentation, mixing in blues, hard rock, and a lot of groove. The ending is an extravaganza of rock that really hits a sweet spot and will surely leave you to linger for a while.
The onomatopoeia “Whoosh!” as a title is a perfect fit since the sound is mostly used to describe a sudden movement accompanied by a rushing sound. In other words, “Whoosh!,” in my opinion, is a rush of energy. The diversity of these tracks is really incredible, varying from more straightforward rock tracks to progressive pieces of art. I can’t think of any DEEP PURPLE fan who would dislike this album – there’s plenty there for everyone. With “Whoosh!,” DEEP PURPLE matures the sound they have established previously in albums like “Now What?” and “InFinite” and once again, showcase that rock music will never die. Anyone who claims differently should immediately listen to this “all killer, no filler” album.
1. Throw My Bones
2. Drop the Weapon
3. We’re All the Same in the Dark
4. Nothing at All
5. No Need to Shout
6. Step by Step
7. What the What
8. The Long Way Round
9. The Power of the Moon
10. Remission Possible
11. Man Alive
12. And the Address
13. Dancing in My Sleep
Ian Gillan / Vocals
Roger Glover / Bass
Ian Paice / Drums
Steve Morse / Guitars
Don Airey / Keyboards