DEEP PURPLE – A Fire in The Sky
This excellent 3CD set containing some of the best and most memorable tunes ever conceived by the living legends that are Deep Purple is a damn-near flawless compilation in that it covers and chronicles all eras of the band’s rich and intriguing history. While many compilations tend to contain or feature only the most well-known or chart-topping songs by a band, “A Fire in the Sky” strikes the perfect balance between anthemic and timeless tracks such as “Stormbringer”, “Woman From Tokyo”, “Black Night” and (obviously) “Smoke on the Water” on the one hand and slightly lesser known or simply overlooked cuts such as “Sun Goes Down”, “King of Dreams” (featuring divine vocals by former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner), and “Dealer”. In other words, there is something for everybody here and each line-up makes an appearance, which is what makes this so cool and marvelous.
The highly underrated “Slaves and Masters” record from 1990 is represented by means of the aforementioned “King of Dreams”, two songs from the overlooked “The House of Blue Light” appear on one of the discs, and even some of the experimental and psychedelic MK. I recordings featuring Nick Simper and Rod Evans have found their way onto the third and last disc of the set. How cool is that? Luckily, we are also served a couple of exquisite and fine songs from the masterpiece that is “Come Taste the Band” (1975). The title track and the utterly catchy “Wrong Man” lifted from the splendid “Rapture of the Deep” album are a most welcome addition to “A Fire in the Sky”. It seems kind of daft to list standout cuts or personal favorites here as nearly each and every one of them is very close to my caffeine-soaked heart. However, I will say that the inclusion of the kick-ass “The Battle Rages On” as well as the charmingly eerie Vincent Price make me very happy and that it is nice to see that pieces such as those form an important part of this career-spanning gem, as they are right up there with the very best of them. Do not even get me started on the entire Coverdale/Hughes era of the Purple narrative as the masterful songs featuring those two gentlemen are out of this world in terms of quality and longevity. The liner notes by Malcolm Dome are superb and offer a lot of interesting thoughts and perspectives on the Deep Purple saga all the while managing to outline the discography and history of the band in a concise and captivating manner.
“A Fire in the Sky” is the perfect introduction to Deep Purple should you be new to the band (and in that case; where the fuck have you been?) but it also serves as a great overview of fifty years of musical brilliance and creativity. Summarizing or putting into words just how important the majority of songs that constitute these three CDs are is pretty much impossible. After all, these tracks still resonate with us fans and form a hugely important part of the legacy of hard rock and heavy metal music. There is a reason why people still lose their minds whenever Purple launch into “Black Night” or “Highway” Star at one of their gigs even to this day. These guys have always been about pushing musical boundaries and crafting superior song material regardless of any fads or trends out there, which this sublime collection of glorious compositions perfectly illustrates. Heck, the only thing that is missing from this one are a couple of live tracks. There is nothing new as such to be found here, but if your old Purple vinyls are all worn out or if you are simply interested in immersing yourself in an inspiring and inspired collection of songs that changed the course of rock music forever, check this awesome release out and revel in the magic and madness that was and is Deep Purple. Note that the vinyl version of this release has a different track list to the CD set, so pay attention to that if seeking the LP version of “A Fire in the Sky” out.