REVIEW: Deep Purple – Abandon (1998)

DEEP PURPLE – Abandon (1998 BMG)

19 years ago, Deep Purple released their final studio album with Jon Lord.  We didn’t know that at the time of course.  Jon’s departure happened a few years later, when touring wore him down.  He capped it off properly with a Purple tour of live performances of the Concerto for Group and Orchestra.  However, there is always a certain sense of…incompletion.  Lord’s last studio album wasn’t the kind you want to go out on.

Purple had a huge comeback with the masterpiece Purpendicular in 1996.  It was a beautiful, quirky and intelligent record.  Its followup Abandon was an effort to “get heavy”, but with hindsight even the band admitted it missed the mark.  Sure, it was heavier with more riffs, but Steve Morse isn’t particularly a riffy player.  Abandon lacked the feeling, and the level of songwriting was not there.

Lead track “Any Fule Kno That” works on a heavy groove, and it’s one of the songs that does click.  There are two particularly memorable songs on Abandon:  “Any Fule Kno That” and the laid back “Fingers to the Bone”.  “Fingers” is based on a celtic Steve Morse guitar lick, with a passionate Ian Gillan vocal on top.  Almost up there with them is “Seventh Heaven”, which could be the heaviest Purple song ever.  Paicey’s drums are relentless.  You can also count “Bludsucker” among the best material, but it’s a re-recording of “Bloodsucker” from In Rock.  Unfortunately this serves to underline how many years have passed, in regards to the vocal cords of Mr. Gillan.

All the other tunes have something to them of interest, but just not enough.  “Almost Human” for example has a nice shuffle beat.  “’69” has cool lyrics and a hell of a tempo.  There is a killer slow blues called “Don’t Make Me Happy” that just needs a better chorus.  The magic sauce just isn’t there.  Few of these songs were played live, and when they were, they tended to have more life than the album.

One must wonder, if the lacklustre Abandon is the reason Deep Purple haven’t self produced an album since.  Every record since then was either produced with Michael Bradford or Bob Ezrin.  Every record since has been better overall.  Something about Abandon just doesn’t hit the bar.  Maybe it’s the oddly obtrusive double-tracked vocals.  Whatever the cause, it’s hard to recommend Abandon when there are so many awesome Purple albums to enjoy ahead of it.

3/5 stars

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12 comments

      1. Yeah. I think they also did Any Fule… and Watching the Sky too. Fingers was definitely the best of the bunch though. I’m surprised they haven’t played it much since. I read they were playing Seventh Heaven on previous shows but dropped it by the time they got to Glasgow.

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  1. Purpendicular was such a great record and it was bizarro that I never checked this one out as I have no idea why as you would think I would have right away gotten this one ..but didn’t!
    Cool write up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know when it was new, T-Rev and I both hoped for something as good as Purpendicular. T-Rev loved that album. But I don’t think he even bothered with Abandon after a listen or two.

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  2. I wonder if they used up so much good material on Purpendicular, that the tank was empty.
    Maybe this album got some rejected tunes that were not good enough for the last one.

    Also, I wonder why the band wanted to make it heavier. If Purpendicular worked, why change the formula.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In this case, no. Purple don’t usually work with leftovers, they usually start fresh each time. I think they wanted to get heavier just because it was what they felt. They wanted to slam a little bit live.

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  3. Could this be Purple’s worst album ever? Any Fule Kno That and Bludsucker – good songs. The rest – not good songs. I’d give this record 3/10.

    Almost Human. Lick It Up. Love Gun. Do you think Ian Gillan might be a closet Kiss fan?

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      1. I don’t even count the Rod Evans albums. And I’m not that fond of Battle either. It had some good songs but it’s an easily forgotten record.

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