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THE BATTLE RAGES ON...

Deep Purple

Proto-Prog


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Eetu Pellonpää
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
1 stars This was terrible disappointment for me. The album concists of completelly unimaginative 90's hardrock songs, and there is not a glimpse of creativity or style anywhere to be noted. I had to sell it away from infesting my record collection.

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Send comments to Eetu Pellonpää (BETA) | Report this review (#47750)
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
WaywardSon
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars This album has one great track, "Anya" and a more radio friendly song called "Solataire" which works well. However there is just too much filler on this album. Where are the famed guitar solos? I listened to this album about fifteen times, trying to tell myself that there must be more here or something I´m missing. I think the tension between Blackmore and Gillan (returning to the fold on this one) had reached an all time high on this album, and it shows by the bands lack of creativity. The only really good thing on here is "Anya"

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Send comments to WaywardSon (BETA) | Report this review (#82605)
Posted Monday, July 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is again not the best album from the band. After having gone through bumpy roads with many line-up changes, finally the band came back to best line-up they have ever made in the 70s - and now happening in 1993. Ritchie Blackmore is in, joining Ian Gillan. The best line-up does not guarantee the best music quality. Time has changed, people have changed as well. This time the band cannot look back to the glory days of "In Rock" which was commercially successful. Nevertheless, this isn't a bad album at all. I even enjoy very much the title track "The Battle Rages On". This track has become my favorite track to wake me up in the morning and elevating my emotion and spirit for the day. It's an excellent track with powerful composition and performance. I keep repeating this track whenever I play this album. It's basically Deep Purple new recording but it has elements of the old or early years when "In Rock" was famous. The other track that I consider worth listening is "Anya" and "Ramshackle Man".

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#95507)
Posted Monday, October 23, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars The last LP futuring golden 5 of Deep Purple. Thi the only Deep Purple LP from the 90's that I still listen to. Why? Somene may say that there is nothing new, noting oryginal... But there is still a good Deep Purple Music. First look... The Battle Rages On is one of those song which keeps me on moving ;) When i hear this song I want to be alive. The second ... Anya. Does this masterpeace need any description? Everyone should know it. All other songs are not that good but still very good. And this is why i Give 4 stars for this LP.

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Send comments to adamB (BETA) | Report this review (#101498)
Posted Sunday, December 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#107308)
Posted Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars After continual falling outs between Gillan and Blackmore since DP's reunion, The Battle Rages On proved to be the final studio album of the classic lineup. The result was beyond disappointing. The proggy neoclassicism of yore is gone and replaced by what sounds like a sad imitation of the essential Machine Head. Lord and Blackmore play straight-froward hard rock and the wear on Gillan's voice is beginning to show. With Steve Morse, he would learn to adapt his voice, but here he's straining a bit.

"Anya" almost single-handedly redeems the album. This song is a Purple classic with a killer solo from Blackmore. The rest of the songs, however, are mediocre stabs at pop and AC/DC like hard rock. "Talk About Love" and "Time to Kill" sound like Zep imitations, but "A Twist in the Tale" gets things back on track with Paice showing why he's one of the greatest drummers of all time.

All in all, this is a sad swan song for the classic lineup, but Steve Morse's addition would rejuvenate the band. Anya is a classic, but try to find it on its own. This is for stubborn completionists only.

Grade: D

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Send comments to 1800iareyay (BETA) | Report this review (#113387)
Posted Saturday, February 24, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars The best MkII LP after "Machine Head" and "In Rock", contains some excellent songs, even if the band sound comparatively disjointed in places after the slick AOR of "Slaves And Masters". Plenty of really good songs like the title track, "Anya", "Time To Kill", "Ramshackle Man", etc.

According to Joe Lynn Turner, though, the backing tracks for these songs had mostly been completed before Gillan was asked to return, so this could also have been a great MkV album. I do think that longterm damage was done by firing JLT, the band was sounding fresh and opening the set with "Burn" for the first time in many years.

With this album, all aspirations for commercial success were seemingly set aside (it peaked at just 192 on the Billboard chart) and it was the first DP album to sound like a previous one (it sounds quite like IR and MH). Very hard to dismiss though, in my opinion, it's a great listen.

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Send comments to analogueaddict (BETA) | Report this review (#122800)
Posted Saturday, May 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars In 1993 Ian Gillan was back in the game, joining the other guys for the final, definitive Mk II reunion and they gave light to "The Battle Rages On..." To be honest, from Deep Purple Mk II, was right to expect much more than what in the end this album actually is. The whole sound of it reminds much of that mainstream 80's metal, with even epic metal influences, expecially in the lyrics, with less technical skills from the players, because, let's not be hypocrite: Blackmore is not Van Halen and nobody would want it that way. Most of the songs are quite useless, and yes, some of them even boring not to say embarassing, I'm referring to "Time To Kill", anyway there are some brilliant numbers: "The Battle Rages On", "Lick It Up", "A Twist In The Tale"... anyway we must consider this is a Progressive site, and there's close to nothing in this terms on "The Battle Rages On..."

2 Stars.

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Send comments to Malve87 (BETA) | Report this review (#139131)
Posted Wednesday, September 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Let's try to be friends one last time

Back came Ian Gillan, and the classic mark 2 line up was intact once again. The title has more than a hint of irony to it, leading to the suspicion that this reunion was very much for commercial reasons. This appears to be born out in the type of music which features here, which if I was being harsh I would describe as Deep Purple by the numbers.

The opening title track sets the tone for the album as a whole. Had it appeared on an album 20 years previously it would have sounded new and invigorated. It is a good enough song with fine lead guitar and strong organ work and Gillan in good form vocally. Unfortunately, there is little to differentiate it from what has gone before, and it lacks the real character of songs such as "Perfect Strangers" or "Black night".

When the band switch to Aerosmith mode, such as on "Lick it up" and "One man's meat" things take a turn for the worse. Both have a passing resemblance to the likes of "Love in an elevator" and other such pop rock.

"Anya" has been described by some members of the band (on the "Come hell or high water" DVD) as being a sort of "Child in time part 2". This may be wishful thinking, but it is head and shoulders above anything else here. The song kicks off with Ritchie on acoustic guitar prior to the band picking things up with a sort of cross between "Perfect strangers" and "Knocking at your back door", the song incorporating a truly classic DP riff.

"Time to kill" is very like a rock version of the Bob Seeger (and Ecclesiastes) classic "Turn turn turn", the lyrics sharing similar sentiments. "Solitaire" is better than most of the rest here, as it's a slightly slower song with strong keyboards and a more satisfactory melody.

In all, a decent Deep Purple album, but no more than that. By and large the songs are rather forgettable, and while they contain many of the right ingredients, they fail to find the spark which might differentiate them from being just another Deep Purple song. Worth hearing for "Anya", but that's about it.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#145537)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
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.

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Send comments to JLocke (BETA) | Report this review (#180490)
Posted Thursday, August 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars The battle rages on is i think not bad, i love the title track the battle rages on,anya ramshackle man,a twist in the tail,nasty piece of work,solitaire,these songs are all good in my opinion,this album by deep purple was the first album i ever got into deep purple[age 16 now 32]i still listen to it now and enjoy it evertime but its still not the best album,the reasopn i love it so much is that it got me into one of the best rock groups ever[out of loads] i think,the battle rages on gets 4 stars but might be a 3 sometimes,if u want to get into deep purple buy maybe first machine head or in rock there deep purple at there best i think.

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Send comments to davidsporle (BETA) | Report this review (#202383)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
The Quiet One
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars The Rage Goes On...

The Battle Rages On is definitely not a classic Deep Purple album, nor the usual fans cup-of-tea, obviously because Blackmore & ''Friends'' go in a Heavy Pop Rock style ala Aerosmith and Turner-era Rainbow. What is surprising is that I'm not fond of that style of hard rock, but there's something in The Battle Rages On that makes me rock out with it with its simplicity.

You might find this album difficult to digest as a Deep Purple album mainly because of the hard/cold edge of the guitar and drum sound, this is the early 90s remember. Also, Jon Lord has a minor role in here, while there still are some organ solos, his key role in the band is gone, though soon to recover in Purpendicular.

Though those were mainly the cons, now the pros: There are catchy guitar riffs everywhere, and with a very powerful sound(Fly On The Wall by Ac/Dc rings a bell). But as I said before, this is not classic Deep Purple style, it actually does sound at times as Aerosmith but with keyboards and a better singer. Although there are some few interesting tunes like the acoustic guitar intro to 'Anya', that's quite a shocker coming from Ritchie, The Battle Rages On is not a good Deep Purple album.

2 stars: I enjoy this, but I'm a big fan of the band and can definitely realise that this is not such a great album and I really don't recommend it unless you're a 80s hard rock fan.

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Send comments to The Quiet One (BETA) | Report this review (#202388)
Posted Wednesday, February 11, 2009 | Review Permalink
SouthSideoftheSky
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
2 stars "What are a couple of nice tracks like you doing in a place like this?"

After the disaster that was Slaves And Masters which had seen Joe Lynn Turner join replace Ian Gillan, Gillan returned once more to the band for The Battle Rages On. And indeed, the battle rages on here quite literally! That is, the internal "battle" between Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan. They were at each other's throats constantly, or so I've understood. Still they managed to make one last album together. After this one, Blackmore would leave the band for good to be replaced by Steve Morse who is with the band to this day.

Anya is definitely one of my all time favourite Deep Purple songs of all time and the title track here is also excellent! These two songs are easily up to par with, or above, anything from the strong Perfect Strangers album released almost ten years before this one. Solitaire is a decent song too, but the rest is rather mediocre or at least very middle-of-the-road, Deep Purple by-the-numbers. Anya reminds me of the similarly excellent Rainbow song Ariel that would be featured on Rainbow's last ever album Stranger In Us All before Ritchie would leave the world of Hard Rock forever to form the Folk Rock/Pop band Blackmore's Night with his wife Candice Night. The acoustic intro is wonderful. The title track is a Perfect Strangers-like song with a strong, heavy riff.

Compared with Slaves And Masters, this was clearly a major improvement and The Battle Rages On still stands as one of the best Deep Purple albums recorded with both Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan present after the classic period of the 70's and, I would say, it even competes with some albums from that era! Still, there are shortcomings that put this album well behind the Perfect Strangers album.

Tracks such as Lick It Up, Talk About Love, Twist In The Tale are unimaginative both musically and lyrically and leave me wondering if they were really running out of ideas rapidly.

I think that we can safely conclude that Gillan and Blackmore are better off apart. Another chapter of Deep Purple-history is closed.

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Send comments to SouthSideoftheSky (BETA) | Report this review (#230163)
Posted Wednesday, August 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars 'The Battle Rages On...' is the album of the return of Ian Gillan... But it is another 'Slaves And Masters' only that J.L. Turner was driven kick in the pants and Gillan was forced to return. Hmmm... And this is good? For me no. Gillan, in fact, is no good for Rock and Turner is good for this music. But the story so far.

In other world Gillan ruined the song of 'The Battle Rages On...' because Gillan has a style not suited to these songs.

Said this 'The Battle Rages On' is a great song, with good refrain and pimps synths, as 'Solitaire' is a great 80's Purple's style song. But for the rest is Gillan in songs for J.L. Turner! Not memorable until the end.

But Purple remain one of my preferred bands, 'The Battle Rages On...' or not 'The Battle Rages On...'.

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Send comments to 1967/ 1976 (BETA) | Report this review (#240217)
Posted Friday, September 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars 6/10

While this album does not decay to levels of Perfect Strangers and The House of Blue Light, he certainly has the potential to match the surprisingly great Slaves and Masters. Gillian is back, but honestly I'm tired of his voice. Joe Lynn Turner was a great singer, in my opinion, and it is a shame he is not on vocals again.

This is the kind of album that "neither smells nor stinks." There are songs here deplorable, but none stands out from the other. It's all more of the same. Therefore, there is a moment that I feel honored by the musicianship of the band (with the exception of the powerful organ solos Jon Lord, who are always a highlight nice), nor angry. This is perhaps the most middle of the band's albums released so far, without any highlighting or failure.

Considering everything that was presented, I can only book at The Battle Rages On. .. a rating of three stars. No more, no less. An album on the fence, nor without merit highlight their strengths and by its negative.

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Send comments to voliveira (BETA) | Report this review (#914550)
Posted Saturday, February 16, 2013 | Review Permalink
b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The battle rages on is the first album Deep Purple released in the '90s with original line up known as Mark I. I was really shocked to see how low rated is this album, what the hell... After Slaves and master who had almost an AOR sound, Deep Purple makes a good return to what they done in the 70's. THis hard rock with very nice pieces, I don't find any low points here. Ian Gillan is back in bussiness and his voice shine like in the glory days. I know this album since it was released 20 years ago and is still one of my fav DP albums. The album started with good solid hard rock tune the title track that shows that they are still in bussines, very strong rhythmic section and good vocals. Another highlight for me is Anya , Ian Gillan is one of the best vocalist ever and here is shown why. Time to kill is another worthy one and Solitaire, the rest are also good. The band plays with passion and is to be hered on every pieces. Richie Blackmore done some fantastic solos and combined with Lord's organ the rsult is quite enjoyble for sure. Better then predecesor wich I like it, on same level with House of blue light wich I also like a lot, so no complain for me here, 4 stars easy. One of the better DP albums, at least for me.

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Send comments to b_olariu (BETA) | Report this review (#943184)
Posted Saturday, April 13, 2013 | Review Permalink

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