This must have been a pleasant surprise coming from a band that had been a vannila fudge knock-off until then. It’s one of those seminal albums, a step up on the heavy ladder. In Rock, along with Sabbath and Zeppelin, started heavy metal. Gillian’s singing is soulful and unique, Ian Paice is a very underrated drummer, and Ritchie Blackmore…well, he’s just Ritchie Blackmore, the King of Riffs. Jon Lord has some nice moments, too, but he’s completely upstaged by the guitar god in front of him.
Speed King 10/10. This song would probably make my list for top 20 of all time. It’s a ludicrously simple idea – take some old Little Richard lyrics, have Gillian scream them over a pounding rock riff. Add in a jazzy Blackmore/Lord solo, too.
Bloodsucker 9/10. Cool riff, but what really carries this song is Ian screaming “OHHHHHHH NO NO NO!!!”. The echoey last verse is even funnier.
Child in Time 9/10. Boring at first, but it builds up until Gillian is screaming. When he stops, Blackmore and Lord are happy to unleash a pounding instrumental section, until the boring part comes back in again.
Flight of the Rat 9/10. Another underrated song, with a fairly simple riff. But the fact that they could play a seven minute song that was metal all the way, with out being distracted by jazz or whatever the solo in Speed King was, is great in itself.
Into the Fire 9/10. With a riff that could match Smoke on the Water and Iron Man blow for blow, it’s a wonder this wasn’t a big hit. Maybe the plodding verses are what the radio stations don’t like. It’s an anti-drug song, opposite Black Sabbath, who sang about marijuana with glee in Sweet Leaf.
Living Wreck 7/10. It’s the weakest song on the album with bad lyrics, a so-so riff, and a chorus that somewhat makes up for it.
Hard Loving Man 8/10. A freight train of a song, its problem is that there’s not enough variety in it for a song that long – it gets kinda boring.
One of those albums that it’s hard to get tired of listening to.