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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Various Artists – Re-Machined a tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head reviewed

Various Artists – Re-Machined a tribute to Deep Purple’s Machine Head
Released on: Eagle Records. Release Date: Available now
This is an interesting one with a collection of various artist’s material having been gathered for this tribute album to British hard rocking legends Deep Purple, on their classic album ‘Machine Head.’
For the most part it’s a pretty good solid album, with really – to me at least – only one track that I just can’t stand!
We’ll get to that in the review ...
Otherwise, it’s really a very well ‘qualified’ album release indeed with some seriously class names involved, including former (Deep) Purple player Glenn Hughes. – Man, does this guy ever stop working these days?! It’s like he’s trying to match his Black Country Communion colleague Joe Bonamassa for recorded output and live performances!
Incidentally, Mr. Bonamassa is on this album too, although not playing alongside Hughes.
Also involved though are Carlos Santana, Chickenfoot, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Steve Vai and a bunch more folks too.
It opens with Carlos Santana’s take on ‘Smoke on the Water,’ the track that Deep Purple are probably best known for.
Carlos is joined by some fine players, including Papa Roach front man Jacoby Shaddix and overall this is not a bad take on the classic at all. Very respectable and some great riffing from Carlos, where he’s stepped out of his comfort zone, it seems though with ease.
Good one!
Chickenfoot featuring Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani – Who actually had a brief spell in Purple himself, after (Ritchie) Blackmore quit the last time around. – Michael Anthony and Chad Smith take on ‘Highway Star’ and I’m thinking, how will they pull this off without keyboards? All I can say is they rock it, seriously! Satch plays Blackmore’s style well and controls it without going as insane as he can sometimes do, overall it’s a gem.
‘Maybe I’m A Leo’ gets a makeover from Glenn Hughes, who is joined here by Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot) and guitar hotshot, Luis Maldonado (John Waite, Into the Presence) and it drives well, with well taken vocals from Hughes.
Maldonado is a talented guitarist, as well as producer / engineer and he carries this off really well, while giving it his own stamp too.
When I saw Black Label Society were involved, I dreaded having to hear this, as I’m not a fan, sorry.
It’s actually not a bad take at all on ‘Pictures of Home.’ It kind of comes across a little like a heavy Cream, but with Zakk Wylde’s rough edged vocals, but some ripping guitar too and I was pleasantly surprised.
Next is actually one of my all-time favourite Deep Purple tracks in ‘Never Before,’ covered here by King of Chaos alias Joe Elliott (Def Leppard), Steve Stevens (Billy Idol, Vince Neil), Duff McKagan (Loaded, Velvet Revolver, Guns ‘n’ Roses) and Matt Sorum (The Cult, Velvet Revolver, Guns ‘n’ Roses.).
I have to say, it’s great, I really love this, very good indeed and if you’ve never given much attention to Steve Stevens' guitar work, then shame on you! This is great!
The next track ‘Smoke on the Water,’ as covered by The Flaming Lips …, frankly I am just going to pass by. It’s horrible!
I cannot even understand WHY whoever was behind this, would ever include The Flaming Lips. It’s just awful.
Thankfully ‘Lazy’ next, featuring guitarist extraordinaire Joe Bonamassa and vocalist Jimmy Barnes puts this album back on track, in a fine, fine way! The two are ably assisted by Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford, Arlan Schierbaum (Heaven and Earth, Joe Bonamassa) on keys, Michael Rhodes on bass and star drummer, Anton Fig.
Sounds great, Jimmy, Joe and all the guys are well on their game here, blows me away! Very good indeed!
You know something that really always amazes me is how whenever I speak with American rockers, friends in bands or people I meet at rock shows or wherever, besides ‘Smoke on the Water,’ there’s one specific song they seem to remember or mention. ‘Space Truckin’.’
I don’t know I mean yeah, love the song and yeah I remember it taking up one full side of the four that made up the ‘Made in Japan’ double live vinyl album, but for me, ‘Highway Star,’ ‘Speed King,’ ‘Burn,’ ‘Fireball’ or even ‘Black Night’ always stood out more for me. That said, I guess muso’s just always looked at the song as a good excuse to jam for ages, on a Deep Purple riff, which is exactly what Purple did on that live album, as the original version on ‘Machine Head’ was just four and a half minutes long.
Iron Maiden cover it here, getting it down to just under three and a half minutes and Bruce Dickinson does a fine job on the Ian Gillan screams and there’s two quickly jammed guitars solo here too. Nicely done guys, it rocks!
‘When a Blind Man Cries’ is perhaps a strange choice for a rocker to make his favourite song by a band, but it has been mine for years and when I saw that Metallica were going to be covering it on here, I really feared the worst.
I have to say though, I was really impressed …, for the first three minutes of the track and then they trash it for the final sixty seconds, getting into a punky thrash.
Why couldn’t they try to stick closer to the original? Ah well …
Final track here is identified as a bonus track and it’s an absolutely killer, storming version of ‘Highway Star’ featuring Glenn Hughes, Steve Vai, Chad Smith and Lachlan Doley on keyboards, who I’ve never heard of before, but he jams covering the late and truly great Jon Lord’s parts here.
Steve Vai, wow! I mean he’s always a ‘wow’ player, but he really excels here and it works just great!
Does he overplay things – As he did in Whitesnake … - yes, he does, but you know what, on here it sounds truly stunning!
So, for the most part then, yes it’s a great tribute to Deep Purple’s classic album, but the one track from Flaming Lips, should not be on here!
What Metallica did at the end of ‘… Blind Man Cries ..’ I don’t like it, but that’s my take, maybe you guys will?
Rating: 3.75 out of 5


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