Deep Purple, Dio, Iron Maiden, and Rainbow are amongst the greatest rock and roll bands to have ever existed. Hence, it is hardly surprising that prolific guitarist Ari Rosenfeld has written and recorded an album paying homage to these pioneers.
Very Heepy Very Purple VI is Rosenfeld's 30th album and while he’s not yet a household name, there is a lot to like about an independent artist that forges their own destiny. As such, you won't be able to listen to his work on any of the mainstream streaming platforms. Initially, I thought this omission was strange as one would want as much recognition as possible. However, when you consider the pittance streaming services pay artists, you can't blame talented independents for looking at alternatives.
Rosenfeld's alternative is to utilise bandcamp. You can sample the entire album for free, or purchase the album at a price you determine to be appropriate. A simply fantastic idea! If you do decide to purchase the album, you will receive the MP3 and FLAC editions of the album. A purchase will also allow streaming via the official bandcamp app. Most importantly, a purchase will help a very talented independent artist.
Very Heepy Very Purple VI is also intriguing as each song has been recorded with a different vocalist and musician lineup. Rosenfeld is, of course, the sole conductor of the project and while the lineup of musicians may initially raise questions of consistency, the result is surprisingly pleasing as all songs morph perfectly into the theme of the album. If nothing else, that fact alone should be a testament to Rosenfeld's vision and musical skill.
Battles Rain has a groovy Deep Purple feel with vocals to match. It is like a crossover between Deep Purple and Iron Maiden. I thoroughly enjoy it! It is a great song that sets the stage for what you're about to hear.
Crash Into The Burning Sun has a killer guitar solo that will appeal to air guitarists everywhere. It is a good song, but I'm unsure about the choice of vocalist for this track. Don't get me wrong, Arpie Gamson has a great vocal presence, but I feel another song on the album may have suited him better.
Sole Survivor has a blues rock and roll feel that I adore. The song is great, but I would prefer to hear a much wider soundstage as the musicality, while excellent, is just a little too shallow.
Help Me My Brother is exceptional! Rilvas Silva is the perfect vocalist for this song. I also love the electronic-styled interludes that remind me of the 8-bit computer gaming era.
The Desert And The Wind has a killer demonic introduction. William Stewart’s violin riffing is amazing and simply has to be heard. Yes, I truly believe classical instruments can and should be implemented in rock and roll music, albeit on a case by case basis. One only needs to hear how extraordinary Metallica sounded with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra on S&M to understand the appeal of symphonic metal. I also enjoy Guilherme de Siervi’s vocal delivery, and to be honest, the entire composition is perfect. The end result is that The Desert And The Wind is one of my favourite songs on the album.
Castles Burning reminds me again of the sound from the 8-bit video gaming era. While that isn't necessarily a bad thing, the song is strong enough on its own to avoid these musical cliches. A remix would be recommended here as I would love to hear an edgier version of this song.
Shes A Woman (sic) is a B-side. It sounds more like a demo than a finished recording.
Dragon Slayer is Deep Purple 101. I love it! Yet, it is also Maiden and Dio inspired. Despite crossing the streams, the merging of inspiration pays off. However, I'm not entirely sold on the Marimba solo.
State Of Decay has an interesting melody with a key focus on the keyboards. It works well but was not an immediate favourite of mine. However, it did grow on me.
Lonely Ship has some glorious guitar and bass work. The vocals, by Peter Rudolf, are well suited to the song and I find that it encourages me to listen to the album again.
Overall, Very Heepy Very Purple VI is an incredible independent release that Rosenfeld and his musical collaborators should be proud of. If I were a record company executive or a producer, I would be signing Rosenfeld immediately. The man has serious raw talent and I can only imagine the sonic wonders he would release with some major backing.
Very Heepy Very Purple VI has very few flaws for an independent release. Other than issues expressed above, my only feeling is the album could have been mastered differently. A wider soundstage and greater instrument separation would be appreciated as I want to be enveloped in sound, rather than acknowledging that the sound is emanating from my speakers. That said, compared with some of the mainstream masterings, this album sounds exceptionally good. After all, Iron Maiden has some of the best and worst masterings, of the same album, that I have ever come across. I love Maiden, but the mastering variations in their releases are nothing short of infuriating. That said, the 2015 remasters in MQA 24/96 kHz, from TIDAL Masters, are excellent.
This review was based on listening to the 16 and 24-bit master WAV files provided to me by the artist.