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DVD/Music reviews: Deep Purple, Primal Scream, My Dying Bride

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A short column this week with a couple of DVDs and a two-CD set.

DVD reviews

Deep Purple: Pheonix Rising

Here we have a DVD that means to tell the tale of the Mark IV lineup from the beginning to its tragic end. The two camps–the drug addled and the non-addict camps–are represented well by Glenn Hughes and Jon Lord. It would have been better if David Coverdale and Ian Paice were on hand to give their views of the entire saga.  Coverdale does appear in a disclaimer at the end. Paice, it should be pointed out, is the only member of Deep Purple that was in both the Mark IV line-up and the current one. What is harrowing is the tale of their trip to Malaysia and the resulting death of one of their entourage.

Have to say that we are treated to a bit too much of Hughes going on about his own battle with drugs. It does get a bit tiring after a while, and more about the actual music would have been welcome. These are minor quibbles because overall it’s quite an interesting view into that period of the band. Both Lord and Hughes are candid, which makes for a genuine feel to the whole thing.

In addition there are extras like two booklets about that version of the band, totaling over 50 pages of content.  The rest of the visual extras are a bit weak, with a press kit for “Come Taste the Band” and a rehash of the Jakarta stuff. There is, of course, a remastered 30 minute concert recorded at Budokan right after their doomed trip to Indonesia.

If you are a Deep Purple fan and your knowledge of this period is a bit light you could do far worse than this DVD. The fact it includes some rare video with Tommy Bolin on guitar makes it all the more special. A good companion to the recent re-issue of Burn, Phoenix Rising is a fascinating release from a great band at one of its lowest points.

Primal Scream: Screamadelica Live

Considered a “classic” by many, this is one of those albums that does not work unless you are off your head on acid or X. If you are sober it comes across as drugged-up drivel. Furthermore it’s the album that launched a whole myriad of even worse indie crap for the X scenesters. It’s a bit like all those 60s albums that people thought were great, but sound utterly awful sober. The album doesn’t age well either and as I was never a druggy it does nothing for me. I was living in the UK at the time and it was popular for those wishing to be trendy. That said, this live performance of the album also contains a “rock” set before the entire album was performed. “Country Girl” does have its charm, but the band are nothing special live, to be honest.

The reason this package is actually quite interesting is the documentary of the making of the album. It’s one of the “Classic Albums” programs and it’s quite an insight into the band. It shows the contrast between the drug-addled members of the band and those who aren’t. As you would expect, the druggie members of the band are barely understandable at times. The fact that a band inspired by the New York Dolls and the Stones could produce such a load of ole’ bollocks and make it a hit is quite amazing. Even their record company head was amazed when it did well, as Primal Scream was expected to be a “cult” hit for those into X and druggy music. The one rock & roll thing about the whole affair was the fact they won the Mercury Prize (to their surprise) and managed to lose the check partying after the ceremony.

Overall this will probably have little interest to anyone who likes the music mostly featured in this column. However as a piece of musical history it does hold some interest. Its just a shame the music is so utter shite.

CD reviews

My Dying Bride: Evinta

This was either an exercise in abject genius or a complete load ofutter balderdash from a band that has run out of ideas. Allowing a classical interpretation of My Dying Bride songs is quite a brave thing to do. I can report that it works rather nicely (on the tracks I have heard) and brings a whole new level to their stuff. In fact if you had no clue that this lot were a goth metal band, it would not matter. It almost helps to ignore the fact this bunch of stuff was ever in any other form than this.

One thing that probably helps me in this review is that I have seen My Dying Bride live (opening for Iron Maiden in Brixton), and I thought they were bloody awful. So this release is a bit of revelation to me and quite a pleasant one at that. This release works well as a backdrop for writing or having a gathering. Its varied enough never to get boring, but interesting enough not to be white noise.

Metal this ain’t by any means, but the heaviness and intensity still exists in the tracks. If you are going to do something pretentious with your back catalogue, you damn well make it good. MDB has just done that.

That is your lot for this week. I have a whole bunch of goodness to review next week. Stay safe and rock as you enjoy the summer.

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