One Track Mind: Deep Purple, “Hell To Pay” from Now What?! (2013)

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After losing founding member Jon Lord, Deep Purple emerged with the twilit reverie of “All the Time in the World,” a ruminative song that spoke to passages. With “Hell To Pay,” however, they return to the locomotive glories of the band’s youth.

The second advance track from Now What?!, Deep Purple’s first album of new material in eight years, positively bursts out — with Don Airey’s gurgling keyboards bolstering a cocksure lyric via Ian Gillan. “That,” as he urgently proclaims here, “is the way it’s meant to be.”

After a boisterous chorus, guitarist Steve Morse digs deeper into a grimy groove, before unleashing a solo that begins as a simmering retort and then ramps up into a tornadic flurry. Meanwhile, drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover keep a furious pace, later bolstered by a series of sharply constructed asides from Airey.

It’s as close to classic Deep Purple as we’re likely to get at this late date, with Paice the only co-founding member left. (Gillan and Glover joined a year after Paice, in 1969. Morse followed Ritchie Blackmore’s departure in the 1990s; Airey followed Lord in 2002.) Both “Hell to Pay” and “All the Time in the World,” are set to be released on March 29, 2013, via earMusic. The Bob Ezrin-produced Now What?! follows in April.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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