Deep Purple – InFinite (2017)

InFinite is Deep Purple’s first studio album since 2013’s acclaimed Now What?! As well, it’s their first major release since the band’s long-awaited induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After such a late career surge and critical recognition, one might speculate that more than a few bands would give in to temptation by kicking back for a while and coasting on their good fortune.

In the case of Deep Purple, such speculation does not apply.

Like their previous studio offering, InFinite was recorded in Nashville with veteran Bob Ezrin sitting in the production seat. Once again, the modern sonic quality of the recording showcases the band’s classic rock style. Furthermore, keyboardist Don Airey has been quoted as saying InFinite is “more prog” and “heavier” than their last album.

The title is appropriate because there’s a very real sense of timelessness on InFinite. This doesn’t sound like a bunch of old guys trying to recapture their glory days; Deep Purple is tight, and hits the groove in each song. Not only do guitarist Steve Morse and bassist Roger Glover still supply the requisite firepower in their respective positions, but drummer Ian Paice seems to have recovered nicely from a minor stroke he suffered in 2015. Meanwhile, keyboardist Don Airey continues to carve out his own legacy after replacing original member Jon Lord in 2002.

And let’s not forget frontman Ian Gillan, who seems to have settled into a comfortable range for his voice, avoiding the swoops and screams of his Deep Purple heyday, yet still having the strength to deliver the goods as an elder statesman of hard rock. He sounds like a man half his age, singing lyrical observations of a man who has been around the block more than a few times.

There are a few standout tracks, of course. The opener, “Time for Bedlam,” begins with some chanting weirdness, then settles in right away as a solid opener. “You can bury me up to my knees in s—,” quips Gillan in “Hip Boots,” followed by some great riffing from the band. And “The Surprising” is nearly six minutes of the most prog sounding piece the band has recorded in a long time.

The one indulgence on the album might be the closing track, a cover of “Roadhouse Blues,” re-keyed so the band can play it as a fairly sleazy blues rocker – which it is. But no one should begrudge old rock heroes taking the occasional victory lap. Rock ‘n’ roll can be like an infinite racing oval, where on occasion the best bands get a chance to reinvent themselves and start over. Throughout its career, Deep Purple has always known that, and on InFinite gets yet another chance to prove it.

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito

JC Mosquito spends most of his day keeping the wolves from the door. When he's not occupied with this pastime, he's interested in all things rock and roll -- which may or may not have died back in the late 1950s, the late 1970s, or the early '90s, depending on who you believe. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
JC Mosquito