Deep Purple released Rapture of the Deep on this day in 2005.
This album was the second album of the Mark VIII era, following Bananas, which had been released in 2003. By this point, even newest member Don Airey had been with the band for three years; every other member had been around for at least a decade. The group also brought on producer Michael Bradford, who’d worked with them on Bananas, for a second go-around. All of this meant that the album was in experienced hands during its creation!
This album dealt with overt real-world problems, including wrongful incarceration in “Wrong Man”, violence in “Before Time Began”, environmental destruction in “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”, materialism in “Money Talks”, and so on. Never before had Purple gone this route as completely as they did with this album; while they’d brought in their own real-world experiences since Machine Head and subtle social commentary since In Rock, they had never quite leaned into it like they did on this album.
The album was recorded in Los Angeles in approximately five weeks. When recording, the band often simply played all together. Producer Michael Bradford usually limited them to a small amount of takes before simply finishing up the songs. During promotion for Whoosh!, their currently most recent album, bassist Roger Glover revealed that he was dissatisfied with the production.
They’re back, and they’re on form.BBC reviewer Rahul Shrivastava about this album. Retrieved from here.
Fans are mixed on this release as usual, with some reviews from the time showing preference for Bananas. However, it garnered some positive reviews in the press, with critics suggesting it was a return to form for the group. Classic Rock magazine ranked it as #24 of their 50 best albums of 2005. Amusingly, Deep Purple alumnus Glenn Hughes was also on the list with his album Soul Mover–at a higher position, #12, than Purple! The album peaked at #11 on the Finnish album charts and #10 on the German charts. It’s position on UK charts, 81, is actually an improvement from their position on Bananas.
After the release of Rapture of the Deep, the group undertook their Rapture of the Deep Tour to support the album. At seven years, it is their longest tour to date. This period also marks the longest gap between albums from the band while not on hiatus. In 2012, the group teamed up with producer Bob Ezrin, who saw them at a show late in their Rapture of the Deep Tour. As of this writing, they have worked with him on three albums: Now What?!, Infinite, and Whoosh! A fourth project, Turning to Crime, is forthcoming.
In my opinion, many of the grains of what makes these new albums so great can be found in Rapture of the Deep. The darker sound of songs (especially as compared to Bananas), the rejuvenated guitar-keyboard balance, and the more social commentary-heavy lyrics of this period in the band’s history have their genesis on this album. Songs like “Weirdistan”, “Out of Hand”, “Time For Bedlam”, and “Man Alive” all pick up on these threads and spin them into absolute masterpieces. As usual for an album from Mark VIII, I absolutely love it. If you haven’t checked it out yet, it’s available here in its entirety on YouTube!
- Edit on 2021-02-02: Added Finnish and German album chart information.
- Edit on 2021-10-21: Updated post to reflect the forthcoming Turning to Crime. Added information on UK chart position.