Whitesnake 'The Purple Album' Via Frontier Records - 8/10
Whitesnake have returned with their 12th studio album The Purple Album, an album focusing on the adaptation of Deep Purple classics, transformed by the refined line-up of Reb Beach (guitar), Tommy Aldridge (drums), Joel Hoekstra (guitar), Michael Devin (bass) and of course, David Coverdale (vocals). With what can be described as a collective of superb musicians forming the current Whitesnake line-up, this album is an ardent homage to Mark 3 and Mark 4 Purple years in which Coverdale and Hughes reigned supreme.
Forming from the backwind of Deep Purple, Whitesnake was born and have battled on through the decades despite changes in the make-up of the band and many diversions in sound. They’ve transitioned from the earlier blues driven albums such as 'Trouble', 'Ready And Willing', and 'Come And Get It' to the more recent material, which is directed to a much heavier sound, yet still maintained the status of being a legend band. To advance with the times and still be a relevant touring band, it seems important to embrace style changes and experimentation of sound. For a band with such a vastly successful career, this approach has been working wonders
This latest release presents these much-loved classics in a heavier, meatier manner. Jam-packed with shredding guitar fillers, solos, and riffs, as well as a technical, busier take on the drum front, it's all signed and sealed with the now deep and raspy voice of Coverdale. Coverdale handles these songs very well, working against negativity and doubt that’s voiced in the months leading up to this release. Such worries are unfounded, as Coverdales' vocals trim these songs with the edge that they need to be real stand-outs in the Whitesnake catalogue. With age, we have to expect deterioration in both vocal range and strength, but DC has affirmed that he's till got the attitude, passion and desire to make it work.
The Purple Album is introduced with a rejuvenated version of 'Burn', which demands attention with a heavy, driving progression in the overall sound and a stupidly impressive, blistering guitar solo that gives this track exactly what it needs to compete with the original. The solo proves that this classic can be arranged in such a way that it adds a lot of technicality to the structure without sacrificing the elements that made the original such a memorable and loveable song.
This is undoubtedly one of the stronger tracks on this album and though the connecting links to the authentic Deep Purple versions are never completely broken throughout 'The Purple Album', there are a few select songs that offer interesting musical alteration, but not much else. 'Sail Away' is a track that lacks a distinct difference from the original track and somewhat fails to excel in development. Again, impressive musicianship, handled with excellence but with ephemeral elevating moments, it falls just short of being a defining contributor. This is made more evident when you consider that the majority of tracks deliver features that make them contenders against its Purple beginning.
That said, fall shorts are few and the strengths of this album completely override the negatives, especially when considering the successful efforts of the refreshed 'Mistreated', 'Soldier Of Fortune', and 'Stormbringer'. Mellifluous melodies maintained with the added bonus of driving, distorted guitar magic and wonderfully fitting, passionate vocal performances, these tracks make a lasting impression and intertwine the essence of modern Whitesnake with the master-crafted authenticity of Deep Purple, just as I would have hoped. The Purple Album does not better its predecessor but it certainly presents a complementary, compelling, and often epic alternative to Mark 3 and Mark 4.
Take it as you will, I'm sure the masses will agree that regardless of personal opinion, this release has resulted in sparking a lot of attention towards classic rock music at its finest and ultimately, has and will continue to introduce many new listeners to Coverdales' notable introduction - Deep Purple.
David Coverdale – lead vocals
Reb Beach – lead guitars
Joel Hoekstra – lead guitars
Michael Devin – bass guitar
Tommy Aldridge – drums
2. You Fool No One (Interpolating Itchy Fingers)
3. Love Child
4. Sail Away
5. The Gypsy
6. Lady Double Dealer
8. Holy Man
9. Might Just Take Your Life
10. You Keep On Moving
11. Soldier Of Fortune
12. Lay Down Stay Down
Reviewed by: Christiane Robinson
Release Date: 15th May 2015