This album kicks ass. It was recorded in Montreux, Switzerland, using the Rolling Stones mobile studio. That particular piece of equipment was responsible for some landmark albums throughout the ‘70s, and this is definitely one of them.
Everybody knows the opening guitar riff to Smoke On The Water, but beyond that first minute or so, it’s a really soulful piece of music, considering it’s supposed to be the blueprint for heavy metal. The lyrics shouldn’t work either. Imagine a heavy rock song released in the 21st century, where the lyrics recount the inspiration, and the subsequent recording of the song. It sounds terrible – a band resigning themselves to banality because they can’t come up with any original ideas; but everything about Smoke On The Water is awesome.
History – and every guitar magazine on the planet – would have you believe that Ritchie Blackmore is the hero of this album – but Jon Lord’s keyboards really steal the show for me (with Ian Gillan’s vocals a close second). The organ work throughout the album is superb – through the prog rock workouts of Highway Star and Lazy – and that’s coming from a man who usually thinks organs belong in church.
Hit: Smoke On The Water
Hidden Gem: Lazy