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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

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JLocke
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Here is my take on Deep Purple's THE BATTLE RAGES ON, the band's loswest rated studio album as of this writing, which I think frankly is quite unjust.

''The Battle Rages On'' - The opening guitar riff for this track had me bopping my head mcuh like I would to a modern, straightforward metal song. Alot of people probably wouldn't find this aspect of the music all that 'prog'. It most likely isn't, by the true defenition of the term, since by this time Deep Purple hadn't progressed in their sound at all. You might say this was their stagnated work, but does that mean the songs featured within the album-- this title track in particular-- aren't worth hearing? Not at all. I really like this song, and the complex guitar playing is still very present here. I'm not quite sure what people are talking about when they say the playing on this album isn't top-notch. It's Deep Purple, it will always be top-notch! It may not be the next epic from them, but it's decent. This first song really starts things off with a bang, if you will.

''Lick It Up'' - is a very groovy, straight-up rocker. No, not anything to write home about, but hey, it ain't bad. It just isn't really all that Prog. If you can step out of your Prog Critic shoes for a moment, however, I think you can agree that the song is very good on its own merits. I frankly don't care if it's a progressive rock song or not, after all, DP is Proto-Prog, and as such will not always produce epic masterpieces like their full fledged Prog counterparts. Another great guitar solo present here just like the last track. Pretty awesome drum beat, as well. Again, I can't really understand why someone would find this song unenjoyable, or any of the album, for that matter. But the rating here says that I must be alone once again in my opinion of this, so I digress.

''Anya'' - Oh, now this is good stuff. Progressive and powerful through-and-through. It almost makes me think of Prog Metal acts such as Ayreon, simply because of the band's use of high vocal harmonies and power guitar playing. There are a few moments of psychedelia to be found as well for more traditional DP fans. This in my opinion is probably the closest sounding track to old DP hard rock-meets- space rock style that the album offers. Fairly long, too, but not overly so. Quite impressive.

''Talk About Love'' - True Rock n' Roll! No, not progressive, but still, it's very much rooted in the Proto- Prog territory. These guys never really did go 'all the way' in terms of proggy weirdness, so a traditional song here and there from them is really no surprise to me, not is it a dissapointment. I expected this. Maybe people went in wanting something more and that is why people seem to be so disheartened by it. Personally, I'm just enjoying the ride. Not a bad song, but certainly not the strongest point for the piece on the whole.

''Time to Kill'' - Y'know, this really takes me back to the classic rock days. No, I wasn't around then, but it just gives me the same vibe that all those Dooby Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd song have. Don't agree with me? Oh, okay . . .

''Ramshackle Man'' - Okay, now I can start to see where others are coming from. This song sounds just like the last one! Why put something so stale and repetetive together when you could just leave tracks like this off and strengthen the record as a result? Quality, not quantity, guys.

''A Twist in the Tale'' - Ooh, I like it, I like it! The vocal work is especially infectious here, and the guitar work is once again superb on all levels. Back is that epic feeling odf the first track, and this song ultimately ranks near the top of my list of tracks on this album, right next to the title track. Good stuff. I like how the song completely changes direction halfway through. Truly progressive stuff, there. Not to mention the guitar solo coming in at around 02:19. Really creative and pleasant.

''Nasty Piece of Work'' - Hmm. Well, I like the organ work at the start, alot. The vocal harmonies are also quite haunting. The groove and tempo sounds a bit stock, but I'll forgive it simply because they pulled it off well, I feel. It is catchy, after all.

''Solitaire'' - My favorite song on the record. Very immersive and never boring. I am absolutely in love with the melody, and while the drumming sounds pretty basic at first listen, repeated sessions with this song will reveal the true genious of Ian Pace's drumming. In fact, all of the musicians seem to be on top of their game with this track. Not one weak link. The band may have been feuding during this time, but I honestly cannot hear it. Perhaps I'm not a serious enough Deep Purple fan to notice the subtleties? I'm not really sure, I think the music here is very enjoyable and solid. No, no necessarily their best, but certainly not their worst.

''One Man's Meat'' - A nice, heavy rocking album closer. I could do without it, personally, as it doesn't particularly add anything, but really, eight quality songs and two not so great songs are well worth purchasing this album. After all, bands, no matter how great, can't have a 100% winner every time, and I think the fire this album goes under is a bit unfair. I like it, and I'm certainly no pushover in my ratings (just look at how I blasted The Mars Volta's latest release). Perhaps I was just in an extra- forgivable mood when I listened to this, but I find no serious flaw in it. The music found within the album is really just a collection of good hard rockers. Nothing is particularly progressive or memorable about them, and yet I can bet at least a couple of the jingles found within the epic cover art with remain in your mind for a day or two after the initial spin of the disc (or vinyl, or .mp3, or whatever).

In the end, THE BATTLE RAGES ON is a good album, but it probably isn't going to fare well among the band's most notable works. If you are willing to give an underdog a try, however, I think this is a worthy purchase. Three stars.

JLocke | 3/5 |

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