Blackmore's Castle - 2003 A Tribute To Deep Purple And Rainbow

ARTIST: Blackmore's Castle
ALBUM: A Tribute To Deep Purple And Rainbow
LABEL: Lion Music
YEAR: 2003


TRACK LISTING: 01 Mister Kite - Bloodsucker * 02 Transcendence - Perfect Strangers * 03 Arabesque - Stargazer * 04 Lars Eric Mattsson - Self Portrait * 05 Reign of Terror - Sixteenth Century Greensleeves * 06 Iron Mask - Gates of Babylon * 07 Headline - Battle Rages On * 08 Condition Red - Black Night * 09 Torben Enevoldsen - Space Truckin' * 10 Eric Zimmerman - Man on the Silver Mountain * 11 Winterlong - Highway Star * 12 Jason Richardson - Lazy * 13 Condition Red - Still I'm Sad


This tribute CD comes to us from Finnish label Lion Music, who specialise in Progressive Metal, a genre Ritchie Blackmore was indeed an early pioneer of, his style rubbing off on many of the bands featured here.

At thirteen tracks, seven are dedicated to Purple, the other six to Rainbow, that is if you count 'Still I'm Sad', which although Rainbow recorded, was of course a Yardbirds original in the 60's. While the sentiment is admirable, the selections are rather stale, the thought of hearing covers of 'Highway Star' and 'Lazy' hardly appealing.

There are a couple of bold attempts to radically alter the originals in a bold manner, namely Condition Red and Eric Zimmerman's contributions, but basically the covers are straight forward retellings of the originals, with (predictably) none of the impact.

The Songs

The Rainbow selections are a tad more intersting than the Purple choices. Swedish metal act Arabesque knock out a chord for chord remake of 'Stargazer', complete with some whiny vocals that are as far removed from Dio as possibly imaginable.

Executive producer Lars Eric Mattson gets to grips with 'Self Portrait', while US Power Metal experts Reign Of Terror handle 'Sixteenth Century Greensleeves' with ease. Mike Vescera's vocals are the best on the album, and the organ sound is a carbon copy of the original as are Joe Stump's solo's.

Belgian act Iron Mask provide us with 'Gates Of Babylon', coming off as standard contemporary power metal instead of a cover of a 70's classic. Eric Zimmerman adds an industrial tinge to 'Man On The Silver Mountain', which although different, is hardly enthralling. Condition Red's 'Still I'm Sad' is barely noteworthy, just a run through of the original.

The Purple tracks are a similar mixed bag. Swedish progressive metal band Mister Kite execute 'Bloodsucker' reasonably, but the whole time you're left waiting for Gillan to hit the high notes, which Alf Wemmenling seems unable to do.

Another US act, Transcendence, bore with 'Perfect Strangers', before Headline baffle with the choice of 'Battle Rages On', a 1993 Purple cut which was weak then and made worse by this cover. Of all the Blackmore tracks at their disposal, this is a very uninspired selection. It's obscure in its own way, but only on forgettable terms (I'd sooner hear some Graham Bonnet era Rainbow myself).

Condition Red appear again, this time with 'Black Night', adding what sounds like horn and violin work, a nice touch, but not enough to save it from inexcusable dullness. Likewise the same goes for Torben Enevoldsen's 'Space Truckin', Winterlong's 'Highway Star' and Jason Richardson's 'Lazy'.

In Summary

A labour of love or a piece of self indulgence? Hard to say, but this is a perfect example of the redundancy of tribute albums. Not just this one, most of them. All this does is make you want to hear the originals.

In the year 2003 the likes of 'Space Truckin' are so worn out that a cover cannot breathe any life into it. Previous Purple tributes were no exception, this joins the line.

The only audience this would appeal to are fans of the featured bands, and Blackmore purists who must own everything associated with him. Other than that demographic this is of no interest to the regular fan, you're better off sticking with the worn out originals.

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