Since I last wrote about Deep Purple’s upcoming album when little was known but a small clip of sound, we’ve had a lot more information come out. Chief among that is, as you can tell from this post’s title, an album name. We also now have a date for the album, June 12th. This is a bit later than the April release date Ian Paice recently promised and the general statements to watch out for spring time. Well, it’s still technically spring until June 21st, so I guess they’re correct.
I’m going to speculate a little bit on the album below based on what we’ve so far learned.
After months of being rather coy about this album, Deep Purple’s team suddenly decided to drop a bunch of information at once. Yesterday morning, we suddenly got a very pixelated version of the cover.
My first thought when this was released was that the color scheme is a lot different from the blue-toned Infinite or the simplistic Now What?! In fact, it first reminded me of the album Stormbringer for some reason! Probably due to the extremely basic visual composition, composed of a dark slash across a brighter background.
Based on the pace of previous teaser releases, I expected we’d get an update in several days. I was quickly proven wrong when they released the next teaser, the album’s cover, this morning.
This is especially impressive when you consider Ian Paice was saying the were still working on the cover just seven days ago (source).
To stay on the themes of similar covers for a moment, the first thing I thought of when I saw the person on the front was a Black Sabbath Album, Never Say Die! This also had a couple of gentlemen in helmets featured on the front.
As an interesting tidbit, Never Say Die! featured a member of Deep Purple’s current lineup, the keyboard master Don Airey. In fact, it was Airey’s first foray into hard rock and heavy metal, even before his partnering with Ritchie Blackmore to create Rainbow’s first post-Dio album Down to Earth.
And now, back to this particular cover. It’s an oddly beautiful one, with a bit more of a “painted feel” rather than a photo-manipulated, band-based, or logo-based one as Deep Purple’s recent covers have been. In fact, Stormbringer’s cover might be accurate after all, as I’m pretty sure it was the last major cover to evoke the feeling of a painting.
A couple other things jump out. The man appears to be on a beach. The sparse lyrics that we’ve already heard, “washed up on the shore”, comes to mind. The track we’ve heard thus far appears, then, to be the central one the band has gone with in the creation of this album. According to some sources, the title of the track is “Man Alive” (This track is also from where the album title, Whoosh, originates).
The man himself appears to be turning to dust, which probably means someone on the design team is a fan of Avengers: Infinity War. I doubt this is going to be a rock opera about Thanos, however!
One last detail jumped out to me, which is the man’s hand.
Something about this guy’s hand doesn’t quite look right. Either that’s bone that’s slowly being stripped of dusted flesh, or it’s not a flesh-and-blood hand after all. It almost looks a little bit cybernetic to me, but I could be wrong. All of this could potentially fit in with the theme of humanity that seems to be suggested by “Man Alive”. Going back to the concept album theory I floated in my last post on this subject, maybe it’s the story of an android or some other sort of cyborg who has gained some semblance of sentience. Or maybe it’s just a very bony hand. Either way, this is such a cool detail.
Bottom line, this is a gorgeous, gorgeous cover. It might be their best cover ever.
As you know if you follow this site with any sort of regularity, I’m crazy about dates. Of course I’d talk about this!
This date probably wasn’t chosen for any special reasons, though. A first look through the history book doesn’t reveal a special connection between Deep Purple and June 12th.
The month of June is one with a few important dates relative to the band. Two members of the current lineup, Don Airey and Ian Paice, and three members of the band overall (the other two plus Jon Lord) have June birthdays. Three of their twenty thus far released albums were also put out in June: Deep Purple, In Rock, and Abandon. Mark II first broke up in June, as well. Beyond that, you’ll have to keep up with my page to see what other things Deep Purple were up to in the month of June over the years!
I hesitate to write about this, as nothing official is being reported, but there are lists of tracks here and there. Originally, there were reports that there were only seven tracks. Now, however, thirteen names have emerged.
- “Throw My Bones”
- “Drop the Weapon”
- “We’re All the Same in the Dark”
- “Nothing at All”
- “No Need to Shout”
- “Step by Step”
- “What the What”
- “The Long Way Round”
- “The Power of the Moon”
- “Remission Possible”
- “Man Alive”
- “And the Address”
- “Dancing in My Sleep”
There is a distinct possibility that these aren’t real. This iteration Deep Purple is known for using witty working track titles, after all. Some of these definitely don’t look serious, including “Remission Possible” and “What the What”. These are very Ian Gillan-ish! Another one entirely, “The Power of the Moon”, sounds more like a contribution by Blackmore’s Night than a title of a Deep Purple song.
Another thing of interest is the fact that the name rumored for the track we’ve thus far heard, “Man Alive”, is one of the last numbers on the album. This is very rare for a title track of any sort, which is usually the first or second track on the album. Mark VIII, however, has done it before. One only need look to Bananas, which saved the absolutely rollicking title track for the tenth spot out of twelve total tracks. Eleventh out of thirteen is actually a pretty good analogue.
Last but not least, there’s something that will have old-school fans absolutely salivating. Track 12 is titled “And the Address”. To find the significance of this title, we’d have to reach deep into the past of the band. Back, in fact, to the days when Roger Glover and Ian Gillan were still making their way with Episode Six, when Don Airey was a college student, when Steve Morse was just fourteen years old and still learning the guitar, and when Ian Paice was exactly where he still is today. The thing is, “And the Address” was the first track on the very first Deep Purple album ever.
Is there a chance, then, that fifty-two years and four new members after the song was first released, we’ll be getting a cover of that original song?
Are these track titles real? Likely not. They’re still neat, though, and give tantalizing tastes of what we might have in store when this album hits the shelves.
This album is going to be awesome. I can hardly wait.