Deep Purple: Mark ii or Mark iii ?

Deep Purple: Mark ii or Mark iii ?
Authored By John Nicholson

It’s an argument that will rage forever. On on hand you got a classic live album and one maybe two classic albums, on the other two brilliant albums and a series of brilliant live shows. It’s an impossible choice. It’s over 53 years since the band made Machine Head, an album that defined the classic rock era but only 50 since Burn came out and has good claim to be their finest record. The two incarnation’s are very different bands.
Certainly the earlier incarnation has much to recommend it. Blackmore’s guitar is strikingly original. A kind of aural sculpture, not just mindless scales. If you listen to some of the solos they are crafted instinctually out of feedback and by use of the whammy bar. No one had made music like that on In Rock. The live recordings at this time reveal a visceral band. Gillian’s scream is earth-shatteringly powerful. Their ability to improvise frequently exciting
But listen to mark iii go through their paces and you hear a classic bluesy rock band with some killer songs. Ian Paice comes to the fore. His jazz-like technique underlying songs like the Live in Europe, You Fool No one.
Stormbringer is a brilliant album which was overlooked a bit at the time and adds to their classy catalogue. The title track is a long way from the mark ii era. Burn itself may be Blackmore’s best riff. I was 13 when the album came out and it hit me hard, playing it on repeat. Sail Away, a song they rarely if ever played in concert, is a brilliantly arranged ballad, bluesy, heavy and aching.
Which is best? Both. They’re actually very different eras. If they were not both called Deep Purple it might be easier to judge. Personally, Burn hit me on the sweet spot but I love Machine Head and feel it’s an important heavy rock record that changed everything. And mark iv it was pretty tasty too.


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