Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Heaviest Album I've Heard - Deep Purple – In Rock

We were given the topic to write about, our personal heaviest album.  For someone like me, who listens to a shit ton of metal all the time, this was a little difficult.  I mean, I listen to stuff that crushes my skull on a regular basis.  It wasn't a problem in that I didn't have anything heavy to check out, it was that I had too much heaviness.

So I started thinking back on my musical journey and how I really got interested in heavy music.  I was very fortunate growing up; my father was into pretty heavy stuff, so I heard a lot of Black Sabbath, Ten Years After, Jimi Hendrix, Grand Funk in their early years, and of course this band, Deep Purple.  You young metal heads may look at this list and think, “That isn't heavy at all”, but these bands wrote the blueprints for all the heavy and extreme bands that we know and love now.  And chalk it up to my personal tastes, but Deep Purple was really the heaviest band to me.

There is something simply titanic about the grooves on this album, especially when Jon Lord on keys, Roger Glover on bass, and Ritchie Blackmore on guitar lock into the same groove at the same time.  The sound is just massive.  “Speed King”, the album opener, is considered by some to be the very first speed metal song, a genre that gave rise to all the wonderful thrash we have enjoyed over the years.  “Child In Time” is an absolute epic, and maybe the first truly epic song that graced metal music.  It shows subtlety in playing, great dynamics, fantastic tempo changes and sheer virtuosity all the way through.  This studio version is killer, but if you really want to see what these guys can go, check out ANY live version of “Child In Time”.  It will leave you spent.

You want some crushing grooves?  Give a listen to “Flight Of The Rat” and “Black Night”.  “Bloodsucker” crushes as well.  These three songs really show how a band can be heavy as fuck and still make you move to the music, and what a legacy that is to music.  How many bands do we listen to today who follow this style, all these bands we know and love?  Here is the genesis of the heavy groove.  These tracks also really bring to the fore how heavy it can be when every instrument in the band locks in to the same groove and lets it rip.  Every bit as skull crushingly heavy as any current metal band you choose to name.

If you want to hear some really illuminating stuff, check out the anniversary version of this CD that came out in England a few years back.  There are additional tracks, demo versions and studio workouts that show just how heavy this band was.  I listened to this album, “Machine Head”, and “Made In Japan”, over and over again.  It got me juiced for heavier stuff, and in time I found Iron Maiden, Motorhead, and Saxon, and then the fun really began.  But if it weren't for “In Rock”, my appetites for heavier things would never have grown and wouldn't have led me down the left hand path.  This album was my gateway drug and I couldn't be happier.  I still listen to it often and still get new things from it.  So in my humble opinion, it is the heaviest album, certainly in my world.


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