by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

DEEP PURPLE - Phoenix Rising
(Eagle Vision)

Long discussed, Phoenix Rising is finally here and it's a scorcher, Executive Producers (and longtime Purple cohorts on the business side) Dr. Drew Thompson and Tony Edwards amassing a mountain of rare footage, archival interviews and distinguished new interviews to present professionally the story of - officially - Deep Purple Mk IV (but really Mk III as well). The doc is 80 minutes and features lots of all the principles (including a ton of Tommy Bolin), interspersed with overseas footage that makes yer jaw drop, especially all that Indonesia stuff, which... well, it's described as the darkest point in the band's career - you gotta see this. The package manages to fit on one disc, all of the above, plus the Come Taste The Band (reissue, granted) press kit, the whole Jakarta story, and a richly recorded 30 minute concert from the Budokan, December 15, '75, a significant show as it somewhat represents the downfall of the band (along with UK gigs where Tommy was mercilessly booed), despite how hugely powerful both Coverdale and Hughes are singing (check out opener 'Burn', despite bum guitar notes). The whole banquet of rescued and new footage adds up to 142 minutes of skillfully woven sights and sounds, augmented with a cool reproduction of an issue of the Deep Purple fan mag of the day, a massive amount of reading which eclipses possibly any booklet I've ever seen in terms of academic value. An incredible piece of work, Phoenix Rising is the informative and rocking result of superlative and deft direction and film-making supported by a library's worth of substance.
Rating 10

YOUNG BLOOD - Transfusion
(Angel Air)

UK archive-divers Angel Air continue in their quest to knock off the shelves, shelved albums, here working with latter-day NWOBHMers Young Blood, offering the band's '84 First Blood EP plus a sidelined "demo" album from '89. First with the authentic item here, the '84 12", First Blood put on display a band somewhere between Pyromania-era Def Leppard and Heavy Pettin', solid, commercial, glossed (as could be with sorry NWOBHM tail-enders), highly influenced by the hair metal excitement from LA. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly) the shelved album goes even poppier, with acoustic guitars, ballads, keys, admirable experiments ('Talkin' About L.O.V.E.'), Thunder-like roots rock, but of course, of demo quality, although frankly, not much worse than the EP with its dated knobjob. As bonus to the EP and the bonus album (!) are two demo tracks from the mid-'80s, which are the most Leppard-y things on here. I was going to make a snarky comment about timing, but fact of the matter is, hammering away at this kind of material from... wot, '83 to '89, is actually an example of perfect timing. As we all know, the problem was being poor and British and if so, not moving to LA.
Rating 4

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