Depending on which generational camp you may fall into, DEEP PURPLE might be a household name. The band is absolutely legendary, and rightfully so. After establishing a psychedelic rock sound, the band's format morphed into something significantly heavier, helping to create heavy metal's template. Outside of their eight-year-long disbandment, the act has been running strong for over fifty years. Now in 2020, they've returned with their 21st studio album: "Whoosh!", an album that is likely to satisfy a bulk of the English band's devoted fanbase.
With 13 tracks at hand, "Whoosh!" is a long album. But it has been quite some time since DEEP PURPLE has regularly churned out longer songs. The ensemble has become more succinct in its expression, with only a couple of songs on "Whoosh!" exceeding five minutes in length. They've never had any substantial fat to trim, and indeed one can argue they've never put out a subpar album. But they've become quicker to get to the point and find the groove. The more recent inclination for concise, brief, catchy songwriting seems to be linked to their association with producer Bob Ezrin, who has helmed their work for three consecutive albums now. Ezrin tastefully presents modern sensibilities on "Whoosh!" without betraying DEEP PURPLE's heavy, classic rock soul. And, as the case has been with recent DEEP PURPLE albums, there's a clear penchant for the blues.
"Throw My Bones" opens the album with Steve Morse's thick guitar stomp, which carries forward a pronounced seventies swagger. Ian Gillan's powerful, one-of-a-kind voice soars above, not hindered whatsoever by the passage of time. "Drop The Weapon" is up next, ramming through the speakers with simple and effective hard rock. The riff is in command, yet pianist Don Airey's colorful keyboard work proves to be just as memorable. The rhythm section of bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Paice pins everything down with a cool, rocking energy throughout, especially on a track like "And The Address" .
The grumbling of some fans eternally yearning for Richie Blackmore is likely to reverberate forever, but regardless of the reason, it will be a shame for any longtime DEEP PURPLE fan to overlook "Whoosh!", a fantastic album from front to back. "Whoosh!" is a marathon of an album that doesn't feel like it. Time hasn't slowed DEEP PURPLE down one bit — not yet, anyway. Until it does, we are fortunate enough to still have one of heavy music's originators continuing to perform at an elite level.