Sound — 9
"Fireball" is the 5th album by Deep Purple, released in 1971. It's the second album of the Mk2 era. Unlike "In Rock," it is not so hard and powerful, instead of it, "Fireball" is a strange experimental album. Maybe it is not a masterpiece of Hard Rock, but it shows a band in the peak of its creativity. It starts with "Fireball," an hard song with a powerful drum intro, a supreme riff and a great Hammond solo by Jon Lord. "No No No" is a blues rock song, despite to some negative comments, I liked it very much. "Demon's Eye" got a blues feeling, but the riff is harder, an excellent song. "Anyone's Daughter" is a really strange song: a country riff with an incredible good sung and lyrics, very catching. "The Mule" is an hypnotic and suggestive song, with his strange melody and lyrics. It got some really good solos (and in live concerts Ian Paice used to play a drum solo at the middle of it). "Fools" had a good riff and chorus, but the most interesting thing is the guitar solo: Blackmore play his Stratocaster like a viola (or a cello), using potentiometers. I know that he was the first doing this. The last song "No One Came" got a hard riff, but I would say a progressive arrangement. A positive note for the brilliant solos on the track.
Lyrics — 9
For the second time, Ian Gillan shows his supreme singer talent. His voice is one of the best ever been in the Rock history. But his other strength are the lyrics: perfect, creative and really interesting. Lyrics about love: "Fireball," a love story with a strange woman, "Anyone's Daughter," the struggle with many girls because of the father, "Demon's Eye," about a complicated relationship. "No One Came" is about the hard road for a musician to get the success, "The Mule" is about the devil and "Fools" is actually about fools. All the lyrics are perfectly written and sung by Ian Gillan, every lyric is almost a masterpiece.
Overall Impression — 9
So "Fireball" is maybe the less appreciated album of the Mk2 era. It is not hard as "In Rock" and doesn't features the masterpieces like "Machine Head." But in "Fireball" you can listen something that the other albums don't have. This strange and progressive creativity, this journey over many genres, complicated arrangements and experimentation. "Fireball" shows how a good hard rock musician can be a master in music generally, without be louder than anyone else. And it even shows that all the five musicians were seriously involved in songwriting. There aren't album like it. So if you want to hear the Progressive side of Deep Purple, "Fireball" is the best choice.