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Under The Radar: Deep Purple, Purpendicular (1996)


Ian Gillan – lead vocals, harmonica

Steve Morse – guitars, vocals

Jon Lord – keyboards

Roger Glover – bass

Ian Paice – drums


01. Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic 02. Loosen My Strings 03. Soon Forgotten

04. Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming 05. Cascades: I'm Not Your Lover

06. The Aviator 07. Rosa's Cantina 08. A Castle Full Of Rascals

09. A Touch Away 10. Hey Cisco

11. Somebody Stole My Guitar 12. The Purpendicular Waltz

13. Don't Hold Your Breath [Japanese & US edition bonus]

Purpendicular is the fifteenth studio album by Deep Purple. The album was released in February 1996 (Europe) and April 1996 (US), respectively. It is their first album with guitarist Steve Morse (Dixie Dregs, Kansas), who replaced Ritchie Blackmore; Blackmore, meanwhile, went on to resurrect Rainbow.

The remaining band members had some hard choices after Blackmore’s departure. They could have called it a day and still have their legacy intact. They could find a guitarist who was influenced by Blackmore and try to continue by mimicking their trademark sound ,however in a bold move, Ian Gillian, Roger Glover, Jon Lord & Ian Paice decided to carry on with a guitarist whose style was quite dissimilar to Blackmore’s.

This is why I really enjoyed Purpendicular, the band seemed invigorated by the addition of Steve Morse. Morse brought in a whole new playing style that not only incorporated numerous musical genres but also a comprehensive knowledge of tone manipulation, bringing in a fresh and different sound and instrumental arrangement to the material. It gave Deep Purple a chance to explore a new spectrum of sounds, experimenting, innovating and reviving their music without abandoning their signature sound.

What I first noticed with the material on Purpendicular, is that it is softer than that on most Purple albums before it. Don’t be alarmed, there are some real good rockers on the record, but there is an unexpected warmth and maturity to the material overall.

Another thing that is apparent on this release, is the feeling of comradery. It’s my opinion that Steve Morse got the band to enjoy making music together, and that they were much more than Ritchie Blamore’s backing band (no offence to Ritchie or his fans).

Highlights on the album include the rocking tracks: Ted the Mechanic, Somebody Stole My Guitar, and the bluesy/jazzy The Purpendicular Waltz. The brooding mid-tempo second track: Loosen My Strings and the seven-minute-long progressive epic track: Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming.

Purpendicular is one the most adventurous albums from Deep Purple in a long time. The band seem revitalised with their renewed love of creating music. Regardless If you are a Deep Purple fan, I urge you to give it a listen.

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