Deep Purple – The Battle Rages On

The Lebrain Le-rocks Series, Part 2

Alright so here’s another amazing gift from Mike. With this one, we’ve got Deep Purple in 1993, the follow-up album to Slaves And Masters (see yesterday’s review!). Ian Gillan returns to replace Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. Let’s see what’s up!

The Battle Rages On is a full-on tune of epic proportions, all the parts playing perfectly, and all held together by that monster of a guitar riff. Damn. You know, if this didn’t sound so damn much like Deep Purple already, I could hear Iron Maiden doing this song. Imagine!

For the record (pun intended), Lick It Up is not a KISS cover. Still, it launches us into bluesy guitar riff heaven. I liked the verse parts, but I admit I kept waiting for the bridge and chorus bit so that the guitars would do more of that thing they do! Anya begins with some beautiful acoustic guitar work, but of course that doesn’t last long. We blast into a straight-on rocker with those keys floating throughout. Talk About Love is here to rock you. Great barroom rock by a band that outgrew its barroom days ages ago!

Time To Kill sounds like exactly that, a rock band with time to kill in the studio. It’s a mid-tempo stomper, sure, but somehow not quite on par with the tracks that came before it. Still, that’s one helluva guitar solo in this one! The tune just goes on too long, we’d have got the point after 2.5 minutes not almost 6 minutes! Ramshackle Man sounds like a song I know already but do you think I can place it? Oh hell, that’s gonna drive me nuts. Anyway, it’s a decent rockin’ tune that (for some reason) makes me think of the southern States. Man, I wish I could think of what it is… Still, here’s Jon Lord’s big solo! Awesome!

A Twist In The Tail is what I’m talking about! Let’s rip out some bluesy rock at 100mph and go go go! Yes please! Haha that was FUN! Except that one line, where he says “I’ve been where the sun never shines…” Uh, dude? Hahaha. It takes a bit of a breather on the outro, but this thing otherwise just keeps on goin’. Up next it’s Nasty Piece Of Work eases us in with some noises, then fuzzes us out completely with a slinky blues riff and a slower pace. I dig it, it’s unlike anything else here. Lots of effects on this one.

Solitaire is an odd duck, that music that sounds like a million other songs, but then the vocals are just odd. Whatever that effect is on them, it sounds like when Axl sings low, sometimes. Weird. The whole thing gives the impression of being underwater, or done when the band was tired. I dunno, it stil rocks. Just an odd track! And finally, it’s the unfortunately-titled One Man’s Meat, yet another huge bluesy riff that Poison would’ve killed for a decade earlier. It’s OK, Purple pulls it off perfectly, and totally makes it sound like themselves.

In Sum: 

I dunno, I’ve heard Gillan scream, and he really kept the vocals on the down-low on this one. He sounds… tired, and buried back in the mix. He never achieved lift-off, which is disorienting. Also, there’s not nearly enough Jon Lord pyrotechnics! But it’s still a smokin’ rocker of a record. I really liked it’s easy swagger and huge riffs. Right freaking on! Thanks heaps, Mike!

5 thoughts on “Deep Purple – The Battle Rages On

  1. deKE says:

    Love your spin on hard rock albums! Especially with albums that didn’t really sell all that well as previous efforts!For myself I really have a hard time listening to anything past the brilliant Perfect Strangers album when it comes to Purple except for the Morse fuelled Purpindicular release….man that one is wicked good!

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      Hey thanks Deke! I’m an old dog learning new tricks! I sure wasn’t looking for Deep Purple in 1993. More like… Harry Connick, Jr.! I’m REALLY enjoying listening to these, though, a real education for me.

      I have Perfect Stangers… on cassette! Haha so hawt. And Purpendicular… Hm…

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  2. mikeladano says:

    HUGE coincidence here dude. I was just listening to Rainbow’s final album with Joe, called Bent Out of Shape. There is a song called “Fire Dance”. At exactly 2:18, Ritchie plays a very very fast version of the Battle Rages On riff. I have never noticed this before now! But it is there. From 2:18 to 2:25. It could actually be a keyboard riff, but there is no question it’s The Battle Rages On. Absolutely no question.

    Also, they wrote this album with Joe…before they got Ian back. The studio situation was very sour and I think you can hear it. You pretty much nailed it on this album.

    Well I’m just really excited about this riff discovery now. COOL BEANS.

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    1. keepsmealive says:

      I would just like the record to show that that is two Deep Purple reviews in a row where Mike ‘Lebrain’ Ladano, King Of Deep Puple knowledge (of all the folks I know), has said that my review – written blind, going in, mind you – has “pretty much nailed it.” This is approbation of the highest order. A winner is me!

      Like

    2. keepsmealive says:

      COOL BEANS INDEED! Dude, that’s an awesome catch, on that riff. Wowzers. Great ears, on that Lebrain, folks. Watch him go!

      I saw on Wiki after this post that Gillan joined in afterwards. Man, I spent the whole album waiting for him to explode and he never really did. It was… still good, but not what it could been from the vocal end!

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