First re-release of the twelfth full-length studio album by the legendary British Hard Rock band.
It’s the second recording by the re-formed Mark II line-up, considered as classic: Ian Gillan - vocals, congas, harmonica; Ritchie Blackmore - guitar; Roger Glover - bass, synthesizer; Jon Lord - organ, keyboards; Ian Paice - drums.
Though it was considered a disappointment upon its release (indeed, its production was much too sleek at times, and it lacked the creative daring of "Perfect Strangers"), 1987's "House Of Blue Light" has actually stood the test of time just as well, if not better, than its predecessor. This album showed Deep Purple searching for an 80s-flavored hit single, and by doing so, sounding similar to guitarist Ritchie Blackmore's other band, Rainbow.
Of the seventies Hard Rock dinosaurs that still roam the Earth, Deep Purple is one of the few with any credibility left in its crunch. "The House of Blue Light" is certainly a marked improvement over their lukewarm '84 comeback, "Perfect Strangers", and is as good as this band has ever been since its "Smoke On The Water" salad days.
"Bad Attitude" opens the album with five minutes of vintage "Machine Head" sludge - Ian Paice's thunder sticks calling the proceedings to order with a rigid goose-step beat, Ian Gillan raping his tonsils with the vigor of yesteryear. And "Mad Dog" is basically an '87-model "Highway Star," high-speed Metal fortified with Jon Lord's lusty Hammondorgan sound and the brass-knuckle guitar of Ritchie Blackmore.
The band has spiked its old hammer-and-anvil sound with a little future tech here and there: "The Unwritten Law" features subtly deployed electro-hand-claps and percolating sequencer amid its clenched-fist chorus and Blackmore's loco fretwork. But it's only when Purple turns on the retro-charm full blast that "The House Of Blue Light" really goes up in flames. "Hard Lovin' Woman" and "Dead or Alive" are both body-slam rockers in the old blitzkrieg spirit of "Speed King" and "Fireball", while Paice's sledgehammer-of-the-gods drumming and Blackmore's punch-your-lights-out chords keep "Call of the Wild", with its atypically Poppy hook, from turning into neo-Boston fluff.
"Strangeways" and a notable lack throughout the album of classic Blackmore psycho-chicken-scratch soloing, "The House Of Blue Light" is a surprisingly strong return from the tar pits. There's no "Smoke On The Water" here, but Deep Purple still has a pretty good fire going down below!!
PolyGram Records, Inc. / Mercury, 1987/2013 (831 318-1 M-1). Made in USA.
1. Bad Attitude 4:43
2. The Unwritten Law 4:35
3. Call Of The Wild 4:40
4. Mad Dog 4:51
5. Black & White 3:44
6. Hard Lovin' Woman 3:23
7. The Spanish Archer 4:57
8. Strangeways 5:55
9. Mitzi Dupree 5:02
10. Dead Or Alive 4:44
Total playing time: 46:34 min.