If you see an album with the words "Deep Purple" on it, you can be pretty sure it will consist of no less than 4 star material, and will most likely consist of 5 star material. Fireball is not my favourite Deep Purple album, although it has some great songs on it. "Anyone's Daughter" stands out the most, to me anyway. Maybe its just taken me longer to get into Fireball, but I'd have to say, to my personal taste at least, Machine Head, In Rock, and Made In Japan are THE essential Deep Purple albums, at least from the MK 2 line up. Still, Fireball will make an excellent addition to the CD collection of anybody who appreciates good rock music.
Incidentally, this "thinking persons rock music" idea (which I noticed in another, otherwise very fine review) doesnt really sit with me. Deep Purple were certainly one of the better rock bands of the 70's, but Zeppelin and (in my opinion) Sabbath in particular were certainly strong rivals. A holy trinity of rock, with three very different sounds and a strong sense of identity. I'm not sure that still exists in bands today.
What a nice surprise it would be to hear an album this good released by a mainstream "rock" band nowadays. Buy this CD, plug in the 'phones, and be transported back to a magical time when strong musicianship, individuality, and innovation (as opposed to image and packaging) were considered actual priorities in the music world. Hard to imagine, I know.