15 May 2015 (released)
30 May 2015
From the opening blast of ‘Burn’ this album drives hard, fast and with huge power – Whitesnake plays the songs of Deep Purple, interesting concept and it takes someone like David Coverdale to make this a re-imagining of the classic songs rather that a weak ‘tribute’.
Coverdale was urged, apparently, by the late Jon Lord, to reimagine his work with Deep Purple and this album only contains tracks from his time with the band but frankly I don’t want to hear Coverdale covering ‘Hush’ or ‘Smoke On The Water’.
To take that track ‘Burn’, it is a classic and you approach a new version with trepidation but the band give it their all, staying true to the original but never trying to repeat it lick for lick – what would be the point. Tommy Aldridge’s drums pound like a steam hammer while new guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hokstra rip a new solo into the number Michael Devlin’s basslines are taut and driving while Coverdale does what he does better than almost anyone else – that man wails.
Of course, you cannot get away from Whitesnake’s sound but the songs are so strong that the listener can fall into the trap of hearing this as a new band, full of piss and vinegar, but also remind just how great a band Deep Purple were.
Even when the volume is turned down and they play acoustic and bring up the emotional content – ‘Sail Away’ for example – Coverdale’s vocal is intense and powerfully restrained.
The classic tracks are here – ‘Mistreated’ is magnificent, powerful and as fresh as they could have wished for and Coverdale really carries the vocal, ‘Stormbringer’ is immense and dense, you feel the tornado around you and the fear and excitement is palpable.
‘Soldier of Fortune’ sounds utterly modern with the sensitive guitar and vocal feeling just right for today with the advent of the mercenaries and ‘Private Armies’ proliferating in the Middle East.
My personal favourite is one of Purple’s lesser tracks ‘Lay Down, Stay Down’ – just balls out rock with no attempt at redemption.
To be honest, I would still go back to my originals time and again but this is one of the best attempts to interpret these maligned and often ignored tracks.