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Deep Purple - The Battle Rages On... CD (album) cover

THE BATTLE RAGES ON...

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

2.73 | 231 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer
3 stars After the disastrous "Slave & Masters" (nothing worse can really happen after this one), Ian Gillan is back in business again for another Mark II experience (Mark II, C). It will also be the last Blackmore studio album with Purple before he got sacked for his bloody bad tempered attitude and his over exaggerated ego and impossibility to live and work with other people.

This album brings us back to a more traditional Purple : good hard-rock as they can do. A good example is the title track : solid keys and drumming; great, deep vocals. This track brings us back to the "Perfect Strangers" level which also marked the return of the classic Purple line-up (Mark II, B). Oustanding : good tempo, great guitar break, strong bass & drumming. In this track, the Oriental influence is again very present (they produced quite a few of that genre during their recent career).

In one word : Purple's back once more !

"Lick It Up" seems to come out from the "In Rock" sessions (sort of "Bloodsucker"). Not a great track, but it is amazing to notice the similarity between those two eras.

Of course, with "Anya" we get another wonderful Purple classic. The accoustic intro from Ritchie is full of subtlety. The song turns then into a great hard rock mood with fantastic keyboarding from Jon at first, then strong and furious electric guitar solo. The live rendition of this track will be a highlight of their concerts (listen to it in "Come Hell or High Water Live" to figure out).

"Talk About Love" is reminiscent of Led Zep "Nobody's Fault But Mine" (1976) from "Presence". Have a listen to both songs one after each other : it is amazing to hear how similar they are.

"Time To Kill" is a good pop-rock song. Not hard, just commercial and catchy. "Ramshackle Man" is good old rock'n'roll song : the riff reminds me of "How Many More Times" from Led Zep again (1969). But there are worse references, right ? Ritchie's solo here is just great.

"A Twist In The Tale" is one of the best number : incredible rythm with a fabulous Ian Paice on the drums. This guy is a great drummer for sure. After all these years, he still reaches a superb level. Thanks, Ian. In terms of speed, this song is very much "Fireball" oriented (the track, not the album). Great guitar riff as well. A highlight (unlike "Solitaire").

"Nasty Piece Of Work" and "One Man's Meat" are more at the heavy range of their repertoire, which I do not appreciate that much.

At the end of the day, this album is furiously hard-rock oriented, but IMO Deep Purple paved the way for this genre and can, at best, be associated with prog with two of their first three releases (back in 68 - 69).

FYI, I will copy my conclusion for the "In Rock" review :

"As far as prog rock is concerned, there are three sections available here : "Speed King" (fifty seconds), and two in "Child in Time" (fifty-three seconds during the intro and thirty after the first break). Total : two minutes thirteen seconds. If we add the "human" vocal parts of "Child" the total reaches five minutes forty-five seconds".

This album will pave the way for a unique music genre : combining the wildiest rock with elements of classic. It is even more obvious in their live sets in which Jon will always integrate bits of his classical taste and talent".

So, there is no reason to be surprised with this effort. If some of you are, I strongly recommend to listen to their thirty or so offical studio or live albums to figure out. Should you do this, no doubt that you will agree with me. This album is a return to the Hogweed hard-rock roots. It will be far much better received than "Slaves" (guess why) ! At least in the UK peaking at Nr. 21. Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |

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