Various Artists Blackmores’s Castle: A Tribute to Deep Purple and Rainbow
Released: 2003, Lion Music
In the history of heavy metal few men have had as big an influence on the genre as Ritchie Blackmore. As guitar players go there are few more revered than the legendary Blackmore. During his time in Deep Purple and Rainbow he helped create some of the most memorable songs ever put to vinyl. With the plethora of tribute discs on the market there has to be a place for one which pays homage to one of the genres greatest legends. Lion Music has put together this disc, which contains 13 tracks that run the gamut from 1970s DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK through Blackmore’s Rainbow albums, and up to 1993s Deep Purple release THE BATTLE RAGES ON.
As with any tribute CD the tracks run the gamut from great to go to just plain bad. Lets start off with the great. Mr. Kite lead off this category with “Bloodsucker” which originally appeared on 1970s DEEP PURPLE IN ROCK. Alf Wimmenlind and company take the original and add their own style to it to create the perfect lead off track. The first time I listened to this CD I can remember thinking that if every band does this good a job then this will be an excellent disc. Another of the standout tracks is Transcendence covering the title track from Deep Purple Mark IIs “comeback” CD PERFECT STRANGERS. Joe Stump and The Reign of Terror contribute possibly the best track on the CD with an excellent version of “Sixteenth Century Greensleeves” which originally appeared on the 1975 self-titled Rainbow CD. Its not surprising that Stump and his Terror mates deliver such a strong track as Stump counts Blackmore among his main influences. Condition Red delivers an excellent version of one of my personal favourite Purple songs “Black Night”. Along with the excellent guitar work of Lars Eric Mattsson the song is rounded out by the excellent flute and violin of Ella Grussner. This song is another perfect example of a band taking a cover song and putting its own original stamp on it.
Unfortunately the good has to be followed by the not so good. Luckily these moments are kept to a minimum on this release. The first disappointing track is Torben Envolden and his cover of Rainbow’s classic “Man on the Silver Mountain”. The song is played pretty faithfully to the original except for the distorted techno drum track that makes listening to this particular version very annoying. It almost to listen to this with headphones as the distortion just makes a mess of the whole production. An otherwise good version of the song that is killed by too much distortion and static techno drum machine beats. My biggest disappointment comes from a band that should be one of the highlights of this CD. Winterlong covers the classic opening track of MACHINE HEAD, “Highway Star”. Unfortunately the awful sounding drum machine ruins the song. Winterlong have worked with some great drummers in the past and I don’t know why they couldn’t have found a real drummer to help record this track.
Ritchie Blackmore and his various projects have been the subject of at least a dozen tribute CDs performed by a variety of musicians ranging from Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy to the Moscow Symphony Orchestra. Lion Music have assembled a very good tribute to one of metals pioneering guitar players. The biggest surprise of the disc was that no one covered “Smoke on the Water”. I think that’s a blessing because other lesser known tracks received the attention they deserved. BLACKMORES’S CASTLE: A TRIBUTE TO DEEP PURPLE AND RAINBOW is a solid disc that should interest any Deep Purple or Rainbow fans.
1. Mister Kite - Bloodsucker
2. Transcendence – Perfect Strangers
3. Arabesque – Stargazer
4. Lars Eric Mattsson – Self Portrait
5. Reign of Terror – Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
6. Iron Mask – Gates of Babylon
7. Headline – Battle Rages On
8. Condition Red – Black Night
9. Torben Enevolden – Space Truckin’
10. Eric Zimmermann – Man on the Silver Mountain
11. Winterlong – Highway Star
12. Jason Richardson – Lazy
13. Condition Red – Still I’m Sad