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Deep Purple: Perfect Strangers - Album Of The Week Club review

In which Deep Purple's fabled Mk II line-up return to renew their animosity with a new album, Perfect Strangers

Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers
(Image: © Polydor)
Deep Purple - Perfect Strangers

(Image credit: Polydor)

1. Knocking At Your Back Door
2. Under The Gun
3. Nobody's Home
4. Mean Streak
5. Perfect Strangers
6. A Gypsy's Kiss
7. Wasted Sunsets
8. Hungry Daze
9. Not Responsible
10. Son Of Alerik

Deep Purple’s first studio album in nine years, and the first with the Mk II line-up for 11 years. Was it worth the wait? Yes and no. Casting one’s mind back to ’84, Purple’s comeback didn’t cause quite the kerfuffle you might’ve expected. 

With the NWOBHM still fresh in everyone’s minds, and with thrash metal building in intensity (Metallica’s Ride The Lightning had recently been released), Perfect Strangers was received warmly, but not rapturously.

The highlight might just be the title-track, which saw Ritchie Blackmore showing that anything Jimmy Page could do with Eastern scales he could match effortlessly. Unusually, though, the song structure sees him eschew a traditional solo spot so you’ll have to listen hard as he weaves in some clever noodlings and whammy bar divebombs.

Overall it’s a solid, consistent album but lacking a spark of genius. Purple were still a peerless live band, however, as they proved with a memorable (if terminally rain-soaked) performance at Knebworth the following year.

Every week, Album of the Week Club listens to and discusses the album in question, votes on how good it is, and publishes our findings, with the aim of giving people reliable reviews and the wider rock community the chance to contribute. 

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Other albums released in October 1984

  • Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
  • Red Sails in the Sunset - Midnight Oil
  • Too Tough to Die - Ramones
  • The Unforgettable Fire - U2
  • Bathory - Bathory
  • Let It Be - The Replacements
  • March of the Saint - Armored Saint
  • Shout - Devo
  • Big Bam Boom - Hall & Oates
  • The Big Express - XTC
  • Sign of the Hammer - Manowar
  • Stop Making Sense - Talking Heads
  • Them or Us - Frank Zappa
  • Steeltown - Big Country
  • Heavy Metal Breakdown - Grave Digger
  • Give My Regards to Broad Street - Paul McCartney
  • Bad Attitude - Meat Loaf
  • Girls with Guns - Tommy Shaw
  • Italian X Rays - Steve Miller Band
  • Sign In Please - Autograph
  • We Want Moore - Gary Moore

What they said...

"Eventually, though, it’s “enough of the sound check already — where are the songs?” Instead of Glover, an outside producer might have forced the band to tighten up its licks and arrangements. Then again, did Deep Purple ever have more than one or two really good, concise numbers on an album? Maybe they’re just making the kind of record they always did, the only kind they know how to make." (Rolling Stone)

"What we hear here is a band that really wishes to go for it at their reunion, providing us with nostalgic material that doesn’t quite copy their early 70’s output, showing still new sides of creativity. Perfect Strangers is definitely not a simple move made for paying the bills, but rather one of the better examples of a reunion album." (Sputnik Music

"It is one of the better examples of a reunion album, although the band's uneasy camaraderie only lasted a few more years. Knocking at Your Back Door opens the album with a roar. Ian Gillan's lyrics don't make much sense, but Ritchie Blackmore's guitar riffs and Ian Paice's thunderous drumming carry this song as well as the rest of the album." (AllMusic)

What you said...

Nigel Lancashire: Right, let’s get the disclaimer out of the way! I’m slightly more of a Mk3 Purple guy than a Mk2, but I’m not going to touch line-up comparisons here, just ‘old’ Mk2 versus the reformed troupe that recorded Perfect Strangers.

If anything good came out of the gradual dissolution of Purple up to shutting up shop in 1976, it’s that we’d actually gotten three great bands in Gillan, Rainbow and Whitesnake (let along all the other offshoots) but still, the big ‘what if’ hung in the air like old patchouli – what if Deep Purple’s best-regarded incarnation got back together?

Remembering the background to the reformation, we knew it wasn’t about affection, with Gillan and Blackmore’s enmity barely ever concealed. Ritchie had apparently gotten bored with Rainbow, and bringing Glover with him, Blackmore’s management brokered the deal between members. Ian Gillan desperately needed the reunion. He’d gotten bad press from his shoddy treatment of the other members of Gillan, and his flirtation with Black Sabbath had sunk like a stone.

Coverdale had somewhat unceremoniously dumped long-time collaborators including Paice and shortly after, Lord for a younger, leaner Whitesnake (and like it or not, we know where that went three years later), so everyone was pretty much at the end of a chapter. So we’ve got a reunion of circumstance, rather than one that was creatively driven, or even from rekindled friendship; it was always going to be tense. And though musical tension can produce some incredible results, for me, it’s not happening here.

Songs like Under the Gun and Mean Streak have more than a suggestion of Gillan (the band) with Gillan (the singer) performing in a far more... let’s call it stylised, way than he did in the classic Mk2 days, with those extended vowels and ground-out, over-held notes. Gets pretty irritating after a while if you focus on them, when they start to sound cartoonish and distracting. The best-known track, Knocking At Your Back Door is a thinly-veiled paean to the benefits of anal sex. Oh, that wag Ian, knocking on 40 at the time and still with the sense of humour of a 15-year-old... Musically though, it’s a stormer, it’s hard to deny.

Side two (vinyl lovers!) is much more my cup of mandrake root(!), with a far more drawn-out and musician-led set of songs more in line with the Rainbow approach. In fact, the more I listen in fact, the more I think the album suffers from its track order. Perfect Strangers itself should be the grand lead-in track. It’s epic and stylish in a way the album rarely manages. Generally for me, Perfect Strangers as a record isn’t ‘big’ enough, song or production-wise. It needed a Martin Birch or a Bob Ezrin. Glover is just too workmanlike, and too close to the composition to be objective.

Perfect Strangers never really sounds like a cohesive unit, the tension of Gillan’s lads’ rock style versus Blackmore’s more serious outlook slaps up against each other constantly, with only bursts of Lord’s classic keyboard sound and virtuosity allowed to squeak in. Crucially, the music lacks the tight swing and groove that their best efforts had in spades – put this up against a Machine Head and you end up shaking your own head – and not for the right reasons.

I was so disappointed at the time, after anticipating magnificence from this reunion, and I’m afraid time hasn’t made me look any more fondly on it. This album, and I, remain Perfect Strangers when it comes to love. A harsh 6/10.

Robert Dunn: Now that's what I call classic rock. I remember buying this on cassette on the day of release, I had followed all the hype in Kerrang! and couldn't wait to see if it lived up to expectations. 

Knocking At Your Back Door was up first, juvenile lyrics aside what an opener - Jon Lord setting the scene with a classic chord sequence, then Roger Glover's bass heightening the tension before the staccato keyboard bring in Ian Paice's drum on the off-beat, and then bang we are into that melodic riff and off we go. 

When it comes to rock lyrics, I am on the same page as Homer Simpson when he told Lisa that they are "supposed to be meaningless, like Rama Lama Ding Dong, or Give Peace A Chance" so the subject matter didn't bother me at all. The only thing that makes me cringe are spoken lyrics, don't know why.

Anyway, side one carried on in the same vein, all good, solid numbers but not quite classic Deep Purple - it felt like the band were being a bit tentative, playing it safe a little bit.

However, when I turned the cassette over and side two started, it all changed. The slow, insistent pace, the vocals, the measured delivery, man oh man Deep Purple were back. A Gypsy's Kiss has a great middle section where the rhythm section play on the off beat during the first part of the guitar solo, Wasted Sunsets is one of the best rock ballads ever. Hungry Daze I can take or leave, and Not Responsible finished things off nicely, but not spectacularly.

For me the main thing about this album was Blackmore's solos - maybe not as frenetic as in the past, but more thoughtful with (gasp) more space being given to the other musicians. But all the ingredients were there - melody, innovation, fantastic musicianship, a great, clean sound - what a pity it didn't last.

Bill Griffin: When Gillan joined Black Sabbath in 83, I thought it was a brilliant move for both of them. Then I got the album. Terrible cover and the songs were just as bad. Well, Gillan was just as bad. His voice and style were just so wrong for them. I really thought he had lost it. Then Deep Purple reformed and this comes out. I still hear the change in Gillan's voice that irritated me so much on Born Again but it works here. This is a pretty good album, as good as any of the earlier MkII studio albums save for In Rock (I have a lower opinion of Machine Head than most because most of it appears in much better form on Made In Japan).

Uli Hassinger: The reunion of MKII couldn´t reach the standards and quality of DP in the 70s. It gave us 2 great songs. Knocking at your back door with the amazing orchestral intro switching over in Blackmores riffs. Just great. Wasted sunsets is one of the best DP ballads. The title track isn´t bad either. But the other songs are just fillers. Even the live tour wasn't brilliant. Gillian was far from his top performance. Having in mind the old stuff it´s just 6 points to me.

Chris Downie: With the plethora of high-profile band reunions which have taken place since the late 90s, to varying degrees of success, it's somewhat surprising that the return of Deep Purple's fabled MkII lineup in 1984, after a decade-long hiatus (and around 8 years since their previous incarnation disbanded) was met with polite, but slightly sceptical, response.

In fairness, while there was much to be optimistic about for those who felt Rainbow had gone off the boil and lamented Whitesnake chasing MTV glory, the trepidation of many was well-founded, given the well-known animosity between Gillan and Blackmore. Not to mention the fact the impressive outputs of the MkIII lineup (most notably the Burn and Stormbringer albums) were still relatively fresh in minds. In short, they had it all to prove once more, at a time when hard rock and heavy metal were at a peak.

Looking back, it would be suffice to say they delivered, insofar as they produced an album more than worthy of the name, with three Deep Purple classics (opener Knocking at Your Back Door, the underrated Under the Gun and the timeless title track) woven in with interesting deep cuts like Hungry Daze. What prevents it from reaching classic status however, is the presence of standard fare such as Mean Streak.

It is telling that, while the album was well received and the subsequent tour a relative success, they would never again hit this height with Blackmore. The follow-up album sank without trace, where they struggled (the brief respite of 1993's respectable return to form The Battle Rages On excepted) until the iconic axeman departed forever, to make way for the excellent Steve Morse. 

While their career continues to this day, they haven't enjoyed the widespread acclaim of subsequent classic lineup reunions such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or Judas Priest. One wonders whether this is directly attributable to Perfect Strangers' slight inconsistency and subsequent lack of momentum. 8/10.

Brian Carr: Perfect Strangers is an album that I always felt nailed the radio songs: Knocking at Your Back Door and the title track were slamming tunes that I always liked a lot. Which leads me to wonder why I never dug into the full album. I think it’s yet another case of vocals for me - something about Ian Gillan’s voice never did much for me. It doesn’t irritate me like, for example, many Guns n Roses songs, but something about his delivery just leaves me flat. 

It’s a shame considering the times I do listen to Deep Purple (or Rainbow) I find that I really like Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar work. And though heavy keyboards will generally temper my enthusiasm, Jon Lord’s organ is like a hot rod engine being revved up - just a killer sound.

All that said, I did blast Perfect Strangers multiple times this week and enjoyed it quite a bit, especially on the musical end. Besides the aforementioned tracks, Under The Gun slams, Nobody’s Home has a great riff and the band is tight as all get-out. A Gypsy’s Kiss ought to come with a warning label - I can imagine a heavy foot on the accelerator with that on the car stereo. Not Responsible also kicks some major tail. But again, what this could be with a singer I like better. Seeming to answer my needs, they end the album with the instrumental Son of Alerik which features some nice playing, but not any of the killer riffs that fill the album. It also goes on too long, in my opinion.

I can certainly picture listening to Perfect Strangers again after this week, but unless my appreciation for Gillan’s voice changes, I’ll be more likely to follow the Rainbow when I need a Blackmore fix.

Jonathan Novajosky: A great comeback album – I think very few would argue this. The opener, Knocking At Your Back Door is such a killer track, despite its, uh, strange lyrics. The classic lineup is back so for me, that means you should expect some wild Jon Lord solos. His work on Nobody's Home is just so enjoyable. I don't think Lord is as much of a driving force in the sound for this album, but his presence is still definitely felt.

I still think the best song here is probably the title track. It's a slow, build-up kind of song that gets you in the right mood immediately with the Hammond organ intro. Perfect Strangers doesn't feature outrageous playing by Ritchie Blackmore, or a Burn-like monster organ solo; instead it keeps things simple and serves as a satisfying midway point for the album. 

By far the best deep cut on here to me is A Gypsy's Kiss. It feels like the most "classic" sounding Deep Purple song on the album, and a lot of that is credited to Ian Gillan's fierce vocal performance. As is also the case for Wasted Sunsets, a solid softer track on here that mixes up the sound nicely.

If there's a complaint I would have for Perfect Strangers, it's that a couple of the songs are a little forgettable. Under The Gun, Mean Streak, and Hungry Daze just don't do enough to distinguish themselves. None are bad, but I think this album could benefit from a little more variety. At least the closer, Son Of Alerik is pretty cool.

I wouldn't call myself a Deep Purple fanatic or anything, but I enjoy almost all of their albums. Perfect Strangers has always been one of my favourites. The band was in desperate need to hit the restart button, and they did just that. I could go back and listen to Perfect Strangers just about anytime. 8/10.

Mike Knoop: Like others have written, Perfect Strangers was my first Deep Purple album, being too young the first time around for Mk II or any of the other configurations. I remember reading in Circus magazine that Deep Purple were reuniting with their classic singer and the writer was having a little fun with it, “No, not David Coverdale, the other one… no, not Glenn Hughes, the other other one!” I remember thinking, “How could a band go through so many singers?”

I bought it on cassette based on the strength of the title track and Knocking At Your Back Door, which were getting played all over rock radio. Overall, I thought it was alright but it had nothing on Defenders Of The Faith” or Powerslave or even Ratt’s Out of the Cellar. Ultimately, I wasn’t ready for Deep Purple. These were a bunch of old hairy guys with nary a flash of spandex or leather to be seen. One of them even had a huge moustache! How un-metal was that in 1984?

As time went on, I still never really liked the Mk II lineup as much as I felt I should – a good greatest hits comp was enough for me and that was pretty much to have Child In Time, Knocking at Your Back Door, and the Big Three from Machine Head on one CD.

All that – and it’s a lot of that – is to say I found Perfect Strangers the first fully satisfying Deep Purple Mk II album. I didn’t remember a lot of it from 1984, but I realised how much I liked the song Perfect Strangers (not on my greatest hits CD), as well as Hungry Daze, which made me think back then, “Wow, the 70s must have been really screwed up!” Still like those two, still like the one with the lyrics that would make Bon Scott blush; but I like the rest of it as well, especially the snarling Not Responsible.

I have long realised that, even with my keyboard aversion, Jon Lord was a beast – the proverbial exception that proves the rule. Most of the album rocks, and a lot of that comes from the extra muscle and colour that Lord provides. But all five band members sound like they’re having a blast playing together again. It still wasn’t a machine built to last – What Mk are we on now? – but it was fun while it lasted.

Glenn McDonald: For older fans at the time, this was a long awaited reformation / comeback album. For me, as a 13-year-old fledgling metalhead, it was my introduction to Deep Purple. Absolutely loved it end to end on release and to this day. Soon collected their back catalogue and have been a first day buyer ever since.

Placing this in their canon in hindsight it's a pretty straightforward rock album in comparison to MKII's initial output, and even in comparison to some of what the band have done since. So it doesn't take many stylistic chances, instead going for what, even in 84, was a pretty traditional heavy rock sound. Nothing wrong with that, it's a sound they helped invent. And I suppose the band were dipping their toes back into the water, creatively and personally, so it's understandable.

The title track and Knocking At Your Back Door are the obvious standouts, now rightly considered classics for the band. But there's much more on here than that. Under The Gun and Nobody's Home sail close to classic in a similar way to those great overlooked tracks on Machine Head. Gypsy's Kiss has a snaking, regal Blackmore riff last heard during Rainbow's Dio period. And Hungry Daze offers effective reminiscence on the heady days of Purple's original road-trip through the 70s.

In short, this doesn't capture the pugnacious exuberance or sheer inventiveness of Deep Purple MKII's original incarnation (what does?) but it's a classy, bright and brilliant rock album nonetheless.

John Davidson: I bought this on vinyl when it came out. Rainbow had turned to fluff and blown away and Gillan’s brief run of solid solo rock with Bernie Torme had petered out, so it was with some excitement that I bought the first proper Deep Purple album to come out since discovering my love of heavy rock in 1977.

Thinking back, my initial reaction was positive, but the lyrics (particularly on Knocking...) veer between the banal and the utterly risible. Maybe that’s why it didn’t join my collection again when I did the mass conversion to CD. It doesn’t help that it isn’t available as mp3 download or streaming service.

Musically, it would be easy to think of this as largely Blackmore’s album, because his soloing is as stellar as ever, but Jon Lord’s keyboards are equally prominent and the best songs benefit from their interplay.

There’s also a fair bit of Rainbow in the songwriting – not surprising given Blackmore and Glover had worked together there as well.

Despite having let this fall out of my listening habit years ago I can’t for the life of me think why. Other than Knocking... the lyrics aren’t so offensive and though some tunes are better than others they all have a decent guitar solo, or organ riff or something that made me think it was worth listening to.

Track by track:

Knocking At Your Back Door starts strong with strings, organ and bass, then drum beat kicks in and we get a classic riff. Great tune – pity the lyrics are utter garbage, Samurai Cunning Linguist. I rest my case.

Under The Gun rips in at a good pace – sounding more Rainbow than DP, but at the heavier end of that spectrum. Good tune, lyrics ok and a great guitar solo.

Nobody Home’s synth intro hints at another Rainbow-esque song but in reality it is more old school; a straightforward high-energy blues rocker with a good run of hammond organ in the middle.

Mean Streak is another high tempo blues rock number structured around an organ riff – it’s as close to a traditional 70s Black Night-type song as this album offers.

Perfect Strangers is the out-and-out classic on the album a great song with lovely guitar fills, good vocals and a Kashmir-style heavy stomp to the rhythm.

Gypsy’s Kiss romps along like a lost cut from Rising – though in fairness Gillan’s more bluesy wail suits the track better than even Dio would have mustered.

Wasted Sunset is one of those heavy, slow blues laments that were (sometimes) fantastic in the 70s but turned into hideous power ballads in the 80s. While this one isn’t a classic, its no power ballad either and the guitar solo is pretty nifty.

The main riff for Hungry Daze has a Russian/Cossack feel to it, but lyrically this is one of those rock star reflections about how it was in the old days and life on the road. Probably my least favourite track but it’s not bad really.

Not Responsible has a gnarly charm. Gillan snarls and screams over a driving bass line and Blackmore delivers a sinuous solo. Probably the most ‘metal’ song Deep Purple had produced and shows they weren’t stuck in the 70s.

Bonus track Son of Alerik on the other hand sounds like it is from the early 70s rather than mid 80s. The long, guitar instrumental and the lush backdrop of the Hammond organ transport you back in time over 10 glorious minutes.

Stand out tracks are Perfect Strangers, Under the Gun, A Gypsy’s Kiss and the instrumental bonus track Son of Alerik, but there’s not a bad track on the album. It’s a better record than I remembered and have enjoyed listen to it, so happy to give this an 8/10.

Lee Jones: Amazing musicians making awful music. Title track is okay and Knocking At Your Back Door has a good riff but suffers from the usual inane lyrics. Rest of the songs are forgettable. Some bands should never reform.

Michael Böcher: Oh yes, it's a classic and one of the best "comeback" albums ever. Very good production - not too 80s like, but also not "retro" - so it stood the test of time and is still listenable today. The outstanding tracks are of course Knocking At Your Back Door (silly or sexual lyrics, I have no idea because I am not a native speaker) and the title track: Perfect Strangers - very epic and Led Zep-like. 

But all tracks are above average, and Wasted Sunsets is very beautiful, as well as the bonus track on the remastered version: Son of Alerik. I like as well Gypsy's Kiss and especially Hungry Daze. The rest is OK as well - there is no "stinker" on it. Even the CD bonus track is great: Not Responsible. All in all a 9/10 for me. 

The reason why it was only warmly welcomed, I think, is that it was not much in the vein of current Hard Rock / Metal at that time - 1984 it was a little bit old fashioned, what helps the album to be still enjoyable today. It has simply a great production, Blackmore's guitar playing is great, also the keys from Jon Lord and the drumming from Ian Paice. It went to platinum in the US and had very high charts positions in Europe. I really love it and still listen to it regularly. It is much better than House Of Blue Light or Battle Rages On, for me the best Deep Purple album after the comeback of the MK II lineup. I am just wondering why there is no proper remastered / deluxe version with bonus tracks and/or live tracks available.

Matt Roy: One of my favourite albums of all time. I still remember the day I bought it and put the cassette into my car stereo. It stayed there for several weeks, listening to it over and over again. I was so stoked to hear Gillan back in the band. The entire album is great. The standout tracks for me are Mean Streak and Perfect Strangers. Unmistakable Deep Purple MKII sound.

Graham Tarry: Not played it much since I got it in 84. Too much like post-Dio Rainbow, with little inspiration, but still top playing. Good solid production, a couple of stand out tunes, but mainly filler. like all the subsequent albums. Purple, like AC/DC, soon turned into a retro band, unlike Rush who carried on producing fresh material up to their sad end.

Adam Ranger: It has Wasted Sunsets so it's a winner for me. But yeah, I get the other comments. It's a bit formulaic apart from couple of songs, but way better than I thought it would be. And Wasted Sunsets is one of my favourite latter-day Purple songs (though 1984 is hardly latter days... more ancient these days).

Joe Cogan: This is actually my favourite Deep Purple album. For a band that tended to fly apart into chaos, bickering, and lineup changes at the drop of a floppy hat, it sounds like a band cooperating, listening to each other and writing some of the best songs of any lineup. Being Deep Purple, it wouldn't last, alas, but this is a high water mark for them.

Tony Rockall: This is where I came in. I was 14 and a mate loaned me this album, along with In Rock, on 12,"vinyl.

Sorry to use the old cliche, but I felt blown away by the excellence of the music. A couple of years later I was even more blown away when I read the band's history in the gatefold sleeve of The Anthology double LP. It was then I realised other great rock bands owed their existence to Purple.

I loved Perfect Strangers then. I love it still. I suppose I'll love it until I'm no longer around. 

Warren Bubb: Much better than we dared hope for and it's aged really well. One of my most played Purple albums. Knocking At You Back Door is a killer opener and Under The Gun and Mean Streak aren't far behind.

Bernard Daly: Funny, I seem to recall quite some excitement about Perfect Strangers prior to, and upon, its release. Think I recall the great Tommy Vance devoting a substantial segment to it one Friday night.

Just a tad young for their halcyon days. this was my first foray into Deep Purple. Really introduced to Mr Blackmore via Rainbow, I saw this as more of a natural follow up to Difficult To Cure than Straight Between The Eyes ever was. Loved it then; love it still... Still rides high on my Desert Island Discs list!

Mike Donnelly: I've been listening to this album since it came out. I love the whole album from beginning to end, but Wasted Sunsets... such emotional guitar work from the master. Gives me goosebumps. I always have to turn it up a little louder when that comes on. Great choice!

Another note, there was a record shop by me (when this came out) that had some real cool owners who were Deep Purple fans. When you walked in the front door, they had an autographed pic of Ian Gillan that he signed with "I'll drag your lungs out through your nose! All the best Ian" (from Gypsy's Kiss). I always thought that was hilariously cool. Cheers!

Terje Rognli: This album and In Rock are my favourite Deep Purple albums. The title track is sublime, and have stood the test of time. Not all songs were of real quality, a couple of plodders, but then again, this was a more than OK comeback album.

Fielding Fowler: So strange to think only 10 years passed from the lineup's last album to this one. I always loved Purple (my favourite band) but was in High School when this came out and very little when previous albums came out. Seemed like an "old band" coming back.

Jacob Tannehill: A very well deserved comeback album from a band that had been totally written off as a “has been”. With Ritchie and Rainbow going and Ian Gillian fronting his namesake I don’t think anyone was up for the classic Mark ll lineup to get back together. 

Every song works. I think there was an energy that I didn’t expect out of them. Knocking at your back door is a great opening way to reintroduce the band. Under The Gun is another classic track. The title track is the centrepiece of the album, with Jon Lord taking centre stage on that one. Wasted Sunsets is probably one of Ian Gillian's best moments up to that point. Classic album. I still listen to a lot these days. The one track left off there is the instrumental Son of Alerik which is a monster instrumental showcase for all of them. The album still holds up.

Philip Qvist: Great album - Knocking At Your Back Door, with Ian Gillan's not so subtle lyrics, is a great song - along with the title track, Under the Gun, Mean Streak and Wasted Sunsets. Not quite an In Rock or Machine Head, but a very good comeback album from the Mark II lineup all the same. 8/10 for me.

Scott Baker: I’d been a fan a couple of years, so when they announced they’d reform it was like a dream come true! Not a perfect album but some bonafide Purple classics on there. Crap that they only played Knebworth in the UK though. 

Stuart Morrison: Great album, Knocking At Your Back Door, Under the Gun and Perfect Strangers are my highlights. The intro to Perfect Strangers still sounds majestic and is an absolute live classic.

Tito Lesende Galán: It's a pretty decent comeback, for my money. It was my first year at a new school and respect for Perfect Strangers was a great tool for meeting rock fans. I used to get petrified at Ritchie Blackmore's solo in Knocking.... You couldn't find that kind of luxurious mastership in the new rising American bands, say Mötley Crüe, Bon Jovi or whatever. 

It seemed Deep Purple was a confident group of reliable musicians, with no need to be fashionable anymore. Of course, all the repertoire is superb, but I still shudder and shake at that song, and Ritchie's work throughout the entire set. And how about Paicey? I listen to Perfect Strangers nowadays and it's not only a great memory, but a brilliant album.

Jochen Scholl: This was a true landmark, a real classic. I was raised listening to Made In Japan and all the bands from the post-Purple cosmos, and I was struck by this release. The expectations were monstrous, and what a monster of an album this was. 

Starting with the intro to Knocking At Your Back Door“ to the final chords of Hungry Daze, great songs and a sound most hadn’t expected the 70s icons to deliver, a mixture defining hard rock in the following years. 

Looking back I have only one regret: before 84 you got one album each year from Rainbow, Whitesnake, Gillan etc, whereas after the reunion it was only one Deep Purple Release every 3-5 years.

Elad Winberg: Maybe the best comeback album ever, alongside Brave New World by Iron Maiden, Back in Black by AC DC and Magica by Dio. I mean, sure, it's not Fireball or Machine Head, but it's a fantastic hard rock album with a lot of memorable song and amazing guitar work by Ritchie Blackmore, along with an atmospheric and exciting keyboard playing from Jon Lord. 

The problem is with Paice's drumming, which is very repetitive and uninspired, if compared to the classics from the 70's, and maybe Gillan's voice, but I think that despite being not so virtuosic like in the 70s and even on Born Again by Black Sabbath and his solo career, this vocal style fits with the more mid-tempo songs, and it completes this album and makes it a rock landmark.

Keith Akow: I was 21 when this came out. So what can you say when you felt you'd missed out on the days of one of the greatest bands of all time, you'd heard how they fell apart the first time, you'd heard how destructive Ritchie could be, yet they of all people decided to give it one more time around. And it was good. And to this day, no one yet sounds like Jon Lord did.

Final Score: 7.88⁄10 (408 votes cast, with a total score of 3217)

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