Various Artists - 'Re-Machined - A Tribute To Deep Purple's Machine Head' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     December 25, 2012    
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A mixed bag.

Cover versions are common enough, a band having several of their songs covered is also not unusual, but here we have something which is a bit different - Deep Purple's seminal album 'Machine Head', re-recorded in it's entirety by some of rock's finest artists. It's an idea spawned to celebrate the influence and majesty of Purple's glorious music, but with 'Machine Head' being such an iconic rock album, how well would it work?

Replicating the running order of the original record, 'Smoke On The Water', by Carlos Santana and Papa Roach frontman Jacoby Shaddix, opens proceedings. They both make a fair effort at it, although Santana adds some of his flourishes to the song, which I found rather unnecessary. Chickenfoot offer a live rendition of 'Highway Star' next, which is very well performed, Sammy Hagar doing a good job on the vocals and Joe Satriani performing Ritchie Blackmore's original solo note for note before playing Jon Lord's organ solo on his guitar. Next is Glenn Hughes, who handles 'Maybe I'm A Leo' with ease and sticks pretty much to the mantra of "If it ain't broke…"

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Some artist choices suggested a car crash waiting to happen. Black Label Society were one of those candidates - I've nothing against Zakk Wylde, I just couldn't imagine how he would handle 'Pictures Of Home'. The reality is it's slow and plodding with an unconvincing vocal. Similarly, Kings Of Chaos featuring Matt Sorum, Duff MacKagan, Steve Stevens and Joe Elliot doesn't work for me. I have never been a big fan of Joe Elliot's voice and I remember him saying he hated Gillan in Black Sabbath as he felt Gillan’s voice sounded too weak. Well, Joe gets his own back by phoning in a feeble, soulless vocal, fast turning 'Never Before' into 'Never Again'. The ultimate insult comes in the form of The Flaming Lips, who add their take on ‘Smoke On The Water’ by transforming one of the world’s greatest guitar rock tracks into parping electronic nonsense with a spoken vocal. Fortunately Jimmy Barnes, Joe Bonamassa and Aerosmith’s Brad Whitford create a very good interpretation of ‘Lazy’ and Iron Maiden step up to the plate with a good solid rendition of ‘Space Trucking’, with Bruce Dickinson nailing the high parts with style. The most surprising is Metallica covering ‘When A Blind Man Cries’. This was another song choice which worried me, but to Metallica’s credit, they do a very faithful version and impressed me no end. The Classic Rock fan pack adds a cracking bonus cover of ‘Highway Star’ by Glenn Hughes, Steve Vai and Chad Smith, Glenn feeling compelled to do it after hearing Jon Lord had passed away.

The album is a mixed bag, proving that, even with all these stars on offer, there wasn’t one track I thought topped the original – which only goes to show how good Purple were in their prime. Interesting and fun in equal measure, but I’d never pick it to play over ‘Machine Head’ itself.

James Gaden

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