Both of you are correct, in that DP isn't quite as good as MkIII, but this album goes a long way to redress that. One of my complaints about Morse, fine as he is, is he's a bit widdly-widdly. Here he gets down and crunches, more like Blackmore but still very much his own stuff And Airey has to bear Lord's legacy, but he's starting to step out into the light more here.
The thing I like is here we're hearing genuine Mk VIII, inventive, powerful, its own beast, its own creation, with all band members writing the songs like the old days. Dare I say it... it's a little more prog than straight ahead rock. These are good songs. I rate this ahead of the last couple, which I thought were okay to fine, and I rate it ahead of 'Blue Light'. I can see this being a high rotation on my playlist kind of album.