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Articles Home » 1981 Articles » Gillan - 1981 Future Shock
Gillan - 1981 Future Shock

ARTIST: Gillan
ALBUM: Future Shock
LABEL: Virgin
SERIAL: V 2196
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 1990, Virgin, CDVM 2196 * 1999, Repertoire, RR-4793 * 2007, Edsel * EDSS 1005


LINEUP: Ian Gillan - vocals * Bernie Torme - guitars * John McCoy - bass * Mick Underwood - drums * Colin Towns - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Future Shock * 02 Night Ride Out Of Phoenix * 03 (The Balld Of The) Lucitania * 04 No Laughing In Heaven * 05 Sacre Bleu * 06 New Orleans * 07 Bite The Bullet * 08 If I Sing Softly * 09 Don't Want The Truth * 10 For Your Dream


It was with some amazement that while researching this album I learned it reached no 2 in the U.K. album charts. Amazing perhaps given how increasingly forgotten Gillan's excellence as a solo artist was, whereas in 1981 he was a British hard rock institution competing with the NWOBHM acts he helped influence. Gillan's early solo albums post Deep Purple toyed with jazz fusion, and were convincingly handled. By 1978 he was primed and ready to assume the hard rock sound of his Purple past and achieved that grandly with 'Mr Universe' and 'Glory Road'. Gillan like David Coverdale and Ritchie Blackmore seemed unable to break the US to a large extent, although Coverdale eventually would of course. Perhaps Ian had been forgotten since his departure from Purple in 1973 on that continent, but the music remained of the highest degree, combining all the ferocity of heavy metal with the melodic sensibilities of AOR, one that obviously appealed to a legion of greasy denim clad metalheads all over the UK. 'Future Shock' saw Gillan in his prime, cementing his legend, not that he really needed to!

The Songs
Keyboards were always a vital component of every post Deep Purple project and Gillan was no different, the title track using organ to give Gillan that unique sound, with a keyboard and guitar solo trade off amidst the metal bluster. Gillan's niche centered around his always eccentric lyrics, and the mid paced but still heavy 'Night Flight Out Of Phoenix' showed his melodic side among his offbeat writing. Gillan's penchant for speed was always evident on all his releases and for 1981 you'd be hard pressed to find anything more brutal than '(The Ballad Of) The Lusitania Express', which stands alongside anything from Saxon, Iron Maiden or Motorhead. It reinforces the fact that Gillan was the most genuine rocker of any Deep Purple member past and present. 'No Laughing In Heaven' became one of Gillan's instant classics, with Gillan portraying in humurous fashion a man desperate to enter heaven, displaying his keen sense of mischief! 'Sacre Bleu' is another faster cut, and the rock and roll staple 'New Orleans' is handled with aplomb and vigour. Truly on a roll, 'Bite The Bullet' delivers another blood and guts piece of sped up metal, but Gillan calms down enough for the stunning ballad 'If I Sing Softly' which builds tension in suitably atmospheric style. Gillan's vocals were at their high pitched heights for the somewhat AOR based 'Don't Want The Truth', which nearly humbles Rainbow for pure drama. Keyboards are smattered throughout 'For Your Dreams', which continues the more melodic side of the great man, rounding out this terrific album.

In Summary
Nothing more than exemplary, which most Gillan fans have known for quarter of a century. Any of Gillan's albums could have been given the same review in all honesty; such is the cohesion and consistency of every LP. Gillan of course folded the band following 1982's 'Magic' to join Black Sabbath, not recording another solo venture until 1990's tremendous 'Naked Thunder' which proved Ian had not lost a thing following his brief exit from Deep Purple. Simply one of the all time greats and still going strong thankfully, Gillan has had the type of career few could ever hope to emulate. All stages of it have been uniformly excellent and 'Future Shock' holds a firm place near the top. Ozzy? Never. Gillan will always be the man.

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