Gillan - Mr Universe
Imagine the early days of bands like Bon Jovi and Guns N Roses; think traditional rock music and you have this album. It was originally released back in 1979, and even to today's generation it is an amazing record. When it comes to rock, most artists focus on making everything loud, so generally drums, electric guitar and screaming vocals. With these guys basics is best. The album has tracks for everyone. From hard rock anthems, soft ballads, songs with a jazz feel and those with a country sound.
The inspiration behind the songs is taken from Ian's life growing up and dealing with various situations. She tears me down begins slow, with a chorus that speeds up, then goes back to the slow paced verse – showing a regretful tale of frustration whereas Puget sound tells of Ian's teenage adventures on a bus journey. When it comes to the vocals, they are amazing throughout the album. Ian has that original rock voice, specifically effective on the track Message in a bottle. He experiments with the now popular scream effect on Vengeance.
The intros and finales of each song can be mind blowing. Second Sight sounds like something out of a horror flick with its mysterious instrumental which speeds up to an electric sound. This suggests the album isn't going to be just a typical rock record. Message in a bottle and She tears me down have strong guitar intros, as does Smoke on the water. Secret of the dance and Roller have electric finishes and Fighting man ends as quiet and calm as it started - 7 minutes earlier. To be honest the entire album sounds great. Most of the tracks are upbeat, Secret of the Dance and Roller are perfect head banger songs. She tears me down on the contrary sounds more like a ballad, a little like Jon Bon Jovi's Blaze of glory to be honest. The ballad, Fighting man, has a soft piano, which is great to hear on a rock track.
As well as great vocals, lyrics and sound, the instruments chosen for each of the tracks is superb. Basic drums and electric guitars of course play an integral part. From the outset, Mr. Universe sounds like beginning is going to be explosive – music keys and bass build up, add vocals, an electric guitar and BANG, you get a full-blown rock anthem. Smoke on the water is the definition of rock with that amazing guitar riff. Then there are a few tracks where keys and bass are astonishing. The keys in She tears me down is a great touch, with that slightly jazz sound. Puget sound has a lazy guitar effect – kind of like a country take on a rock tune, which develops to a very different sound. It has the jazz keys intertwined along with the guitars. Dead of Night is a melodic song, with the heaviness from keys and bass being central. Many of the songs have amazing, and very different instrumentals. Secret of the dance has a great electric guitar solo and amazing riffs, where Mr. Universe has an amazing central keys instrumental.
You if want to listen to a good ol' rock album, with none of this new wave techno nonsense, and musicians screaming down the mic, this is an album to listen to. It goes back to the basics, when all you needed to make a good tune was talent; and Ian Gillian and the band defiantly have it.