Deep Purple
The Battle Rages On...


1.5
very poor

Review

by Nagrarok USER (219 Reviews)
August 22nd, 2009 | 31 replies


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The Cattle Grazes On...

Deep Purple: A Retrospective

Episode XVI: The Battle Rages On

Now, the above phrase could mean a great many things. It was used by vocalist Joe Lynn Turner (ex-Rainbow), who enjoyed a brief stint in Deep Purple after Ian Gillan ducked out of the band once more following The House of Blue Light, and recorded the minimal success Slaves and Masters with them in 1990. Though many would interpret his quote as that Deep Purple were going on without any innovation, or at least putting out quality material, Turner meant that he had co-written tons of strong material until Gillan reworked many of it when he returned. Because yes, Ian Gillan went on to front the band he fronted best for another time, making for a 2nd reunion of the Mark II line-up. The new album was entitled The Battle Rages On, and was already number 14 on the studio album counter. Ironic, for the Battle didn’t actually Rage On much longer for Mark II, because Ritchie Blackmore would leave after this, for the final time. Despite Gillan’s return, the Battle’s sales were even worse than Slaves and Masters’ (they had been deteriorating ever since Perfect Strangers, with good reason).

Deep Purple Mk. II was:
- Ian Gillan ~ Vocals
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Roger David Glover ~ Bass Guitar,
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards, Organ
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums

Whether our good friend Turner was right or not, it all doesn’t seem to matter. Like Slaves and Masters, the material on TBRO is almost all sub-par. Gillan’s return doesn’t seem to have helped particularly either, though his superiority as a vocalist to Turner is remarkable, and then I’m not even considering their age difference. The vocals, although well-performed as we have become used to, are buried to deep in the mix, sometimes even sounding like background vocals. A plus is that Gillan finally seems to have found his ‘older’ singing voice, as the first reunion period had him going through as sort of transition (or refusal to accept his vocal deterioration, pick your choice), making him sound slightly nasal at times.

What is the biggest problem are our two virtuosos here, Blackmore and Lord. Both seem to have forgotten the fact they are extremely talented at playing solos, and also even the guitar riffs and keyboard/organ melodies hugely disappoint. The rhythm section fails to do anything special just as well. No more cool bass lines from Glover (or they are buried in the mix too), and Pace’s drumming skills seem to have completely abandoned him, not playing any interesting fills or beats whatsoever. What I hear on The Battle Rages On is a tired band that have no more musical chemistry together and simply don’t give a damn about the quality of their work. At least that’s what it looks like.

We move through a mess of tracks that are an amalgam of sex, violence and rock ‘n roll clichés, and almost all fall flat on their face. Except for the fact that Gillan has a very recognizable voice, you couldn’t really say what band is playing this music, and that is exactly one of the worst things that can happen to such a remarkable bunch of musicians: loss of identity. Next to the 8 very, very average rock songs, there are two forgivable tracks in the middle part. Forgivable, not fantastic. The two tracks, Ramshackle Man and A Twist in the Tale, have an appeal that all Purple songs used to have: great guitar and keyboard work. Especially the first contains some good ol’ bluesy riffs by Blackmore, and even a solo (blasphemously non-present throughout TBRO). Just too bad one of the greatest guitarists of the 70’s ends the work in his main group with a sploosh.

Deep Purple would never find a true replacement for the great Blackmore, of course, and Mark VI with Joe Satriani didn’t even record anything, but in the end, another (non-wanky) virtuoso came around the bend, with roots in jazz fusion, and his name was Steve Morse. He blew a fresh air of creativity into the band with his multi-genre spanning skills, but that doesn’t change the fact that what was Mark II’s last album, I am afraid to say, pretty much sucks.

Recommended tracks:

Ramshackle Man
A Twist in the Tale



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user ratings (205)
Chart.
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
August 22nd 2009


8579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Getting tired of my regular reviewing style, so here's more of a rant-about-how-much-the-album sucks kind of thing.

ohcleverhansyou
August 22nd 2009


885 Comments


It works kind of well. There are almost no solos on this Deep Purple album?? How dare they!

Edit: I haven't heard it in a long time, but I remember the title track being awful.

Nagrarok
August 22nd 2009


8579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

The title track is probably among the best of the other 8 though, it can be quite catchy. I keep wondering why DP's cover art is always so bland. They've only managed to make a few decent covers. Oh well, it's about the music anyways, and Mark II is all covered.

ohcleverhansyou
August 22nd 2009


885 Comments


I can forgive them for their 70s album covers, it was the 70s. But by the 90s, you're right, they should really have it together.

Douchebag
August 22nd 2009


3626 Comments


yeah the artwork hasn't been too exciting.

LepreCon
August 22nd 2009


5450 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Definitely doesn't make me want to listen to it anytime soon anyway. Pos'd

Metalstyles
Emeritus
August 22nd 2009


8570 Comments


Good review as always, this seems boring as hell.

Nagrarok
August 23rd 2009


8579 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It is boring as hell.

shindip
August 23rd 2009


3536 Comments


Im gonna avoid this one.

jpphoopha
October 14th 2010


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

TBRO is a crystallization of the majesty and grandeur of Deep Purple: a great album.

TheNotrap
August 7th 2011


9023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This record is far from being amazing but definitely don't deserve a 1.5/5 rating. The title track is very cool.

Digging: Michael Romeo - War Of The Worlds / Pt. 1

13themount
January 16th 2012


173 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

dull album

JamieTwort
January 16th 2012


26988 Comments


Agreed.

eWylde28
May 25th 2012


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is GREAT!, really Great!...



The Battle Rages On to me it's a must have, the title track is amazing, Anya is the last epic song from Purple, Ramshackle Men it's a little reminder of past glory days and the lost gems are Time To Kill and Solitaire, great tracks with really good lyrics...

TheNotrap
May 25th 2012


9023 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Title track rules

manosg
Staff Reviewer
October 17th 2012


11154 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Forced myself to listen to the whole album. It's not ALL bad, but this is probably the last time that I listen to this album in its entirety. It seems that the band was so eager to penetrate the US market that ended up sounding like Aerosmith at times. I'd rather listen to Get a Grip next time.

Digging: Crucifixion (GBr) - Green Eyes

menawati
October 17th 2012


16587 Comments


never bothered listening and it seems i was right in that decision, good review, pos

dannyboy89
March 31st 2013


13339 Comments


Yeah, this isn't a 1.5. THOBL and S&M are worse imo.

dannyboy89
March 31st 2013


13339 Comments


This is a 3-3.5 for me.

aggelosm
April 13th 2013


472 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

So you want to say that 'bananas' and 'Rapture of the deep' are better than this?



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