HardReviews 3
by Martin Popoff

DEEP PURPLE - With Orchestra: Live At Montreux

I dunno, I'm still that long-haired adolescent rebelling against anything non-metal, frigging almost 40 years after first discovering Purple, Sabbath and Zeppelin. The reason I bring up this stunted maturity is because I've yet to hear one of these orchestra things where I wished there was no orchestra. Never heard a classical album I gave a toss o'er either, although I do occasionally like when a bit of a string section is applied to a studio track somewhere, like a 'She's Gone' or 'Gates Of Babylon' or sumthin' (yeah yeah, I haven't checked whether there are actually strings on those - I think there are). So man, love the 'No One Came' here, but some of the sawing away stuck on Perfect Strangers sounds like the strings-on-disco-songs trend of the late '70s, which in turn look like the Ron Burgundy flute solo from Anchorman. So yeah, and as a concept, these bloody things always look like the band is thinking the same thing, like they get rocking and making real music, the way God intended hard rock, the way it was actually written in the first place, and totally forget that they were going to try include the classical idiots. Which happens here, where just as you thought the real band had forgotten about the penguins, here they come again, soiling a perfectly good thing. Like why does a violin section have to sing the chorus of 'Smoke On The Water' with Ian, and then why do they come back and play the riff? And of course, you can't really hear Steve Morse, 'cos I'm sure the idea was to press him down in the mix like pressed ham so we can rub our chin while enjoying the intellectual "arrangement" along with more Don Airey, who seems to be designated classical guy in Purple for this occasion and thus is more present in the crowd of signals than usual. Paicey plods too, which might also be a function of the muddy mix. 'Black Night', closing this two disc pack, is the ultimate travesty. Man, just never got this. Is there some sort of play for extra legitimacy involved? Purple definitely don't need it, 'cos they aren't just cogs in a machine regularly executing other people's ideas. They are a small army of five guys who are writing this stuff. Leave the upper crust society part of it alone already.
Rating 6

KITTIE - I've Failed You

Commendable is that they've stuck around and actually gotten heavier and heavier over time, Kittie remain a more than passable desktop thrash band, embracing a multitude of speeds, a cloak of doom, proggy change-ups, mathematically jagging beneath the Angela-like bark of Morgan Lander and the occasional baby doll contrast. Production is clean and clacky like much 'net metal these days, but despite the unremarkableness and fatigue of that sound, it's technically "good." Black Label crossed with Megadeth, Arch Enemy, Haunted and Machine Head perhaps gets you an approximation of the resolute march through riff these songs wrap themselves 'round. Another outsized personality trait is the percussive closeness of each song, whereby the drums almost play the riffs, i.e. punctuating each rumble in the jungle.
Rating 6