This review is from: Canterbury (Audio CD)
My review comes from the perspective of a latecomer to the metal scene - 1988 when I was 13 years of age so I wasn't around for the NWOBHM. I first bought a second hand LP version back in 1990 and it was one on the faulty pressings (although I did not know of this fault at the time). I was also a massive DH fan already having bought cassette versions of their first two albums. I had read somewhere in Kerang or Metal Hammer that this album was a) a departure from their earlier material; b) a commercial failure; c) contributed to the band splitting; and d) had something to do with ye olde Engish music (or music from olden times). I couldn't imagine DH letting me down and despite being warned I shelled out my five pounds regardless. Incidentally I also purchase Deep Purple's In Rock at the same time.
Upon getting home I whipped the vinyl onto the turntable and dropped the stylus onto the deck. From the first crackled riff I was hooked on this album, it was so detailed, so complex, so melodic and so rich in new musical directions and ideas that it was unique amongst rock purveyors. Harris' vocals I don't think have ever been the same since, his melodies are sublime and his lyrics thoughtful and his delivery is powerful. When, during my teens I was in a band, I always wanted a vocalist with Harris' attributes. Tatler's compositions are stunning, his guitar work exceptional but subtly underplayed so as to match the conceptual framework of the album. All nine tracks are a joy to the ears. Ishmael, To the Devil, The Kingmaker and Canterbury are my favourites; I need your love would not sound out of place (or phase) on a Def Leppard album and Makin' Music is a belter. Of all the songs, Knights of Sword is my least favourite and one I tend to skip but overall this is a stunning album and one I continue to play even today. I like to compare this album with Maiden's Seventh Son as examples of how new ideas and influences can still produce excellent rock music albums.
To close this review, the jumps in the original vinyl pressing are so recognisable that I can cue each and every one of them on the CD version which is a testament to the profound impact this album had on my musical journey. It made such an impression on me that when I played In Rock a few hours later, I hated it as a poor example of the worst kind of generic 70s rock music, despite being a massive DP and Blackmore fan! Go Figure. In short, whether you're a DH fan or simply someone who likes experimental, thoughtful rock then this album is a must.