Title - 'Now What?! Gold Edition' (Eagle Rock)
Artist - Deep Purple
Originally released in May of 2013 - back then as a single disc and as a CD+DVD versions - Deep Purple's latest album, Now What?! (an album completely made of new studio material at the time) sounds so good, so fresh, so crisp you could have sworn you heard this stuff from them back in the day!
Well, riff wise maybe you might have done, but these DP members - Ian Gillan (@ 67) vocals, Don Airey (@ 64) keyboards and organ, Roger Glover (@ 67) bass, Ian Paice (@ 64) on drums, and the inclusion of Steve Morse (@ 58) on guitar - confounded the critics with this release. Sure, Purple purists may not like it, but it really is one of their clearest, brightest works of musical art.
This latest edition of that very same album, now entitled the Gold Edition (due to said album having achieved Gold status in Germany, Russia, Czech Republic and Poland) has just be re-released in a 2CD set with bonus studio and live cuts.
The studio album was produced by Bob Ezrin (Pink Floyd, Alice Cooper, etc.) and is probably why it has that sensible pop-rock bounce to it. More pliable to the purists ear, the light shines through here - as well as Gillan's extremely still-impressive vocals.
So, what about that album? Well, aside from the aforementioned vocal depth of Gillan still being there, the amazing rhythm section of Paice and Glover still rocks and rolls perfectly. Steve Morse is a great guitarist and Don Airey fondly recalls founder Jon Lord's hypnotic organ solos. Indeed, stand out tracks for me are 'Above and Beyond,' 'Apres vous' and 'Vincent Price.'
For the Gold Edition, two studio tracks ('First Sign of Madness' and a questionable cover of Jerry Lee Lewis' 'It'll Be Me') join 12 live performances from the band's last European tour. Highlights here, for me at least, include an incredible Lordesque extended organ solo from Airey on the DP classic 'Strange Kind Of Woman,' a determined Steve Morse shines on the rockin' riffs of In Rock's 'Hard Loving Man,' and the overall coming together on the band's best-known track, 'Smoke On The Water.'