Episode #176 – Deep Purple – The Battle Rages On… (Part 2)

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Album Tracks:

  1. Ramshackle Man (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover)
    • Ian Gillan in RAW: “Biographical. ‘Green Onions’-type thing that we would have done in the early 70s.”
  2. A Twist in the Tale (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover)
    • Ian Gillan in RAW: “It could have turned out really different. It was so intense, but took on an almost Country feel. I started off singing a ‘Fireball’ thing, but then I thought better of it.”
  3. Nasty Piece of Work (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover)
    • Ian Gillan in RAW: “Roger wrote it. I don’t know about whom.”
  4. Solitaire (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover)
    • Ian Gillan Music World Magazine: “I also like the song ‘Solitaire’. It’s funny how things workout in the studio. I couldn’t get off on this song at all whenI first heard the backing track. It reminded me of The Shadows’ ‘Man Of Mystery.’ I started doing some vocallines and it didn’t gell with the track. When I finished the words I sangit an octave lower, to see if it would work. Then I sangit again, an octave higher, and they accidentally left the two tracks on together during the playback,and it was a startling effect. They’ve Left it that way and it works really great.”
    • Ian Gillan in RAW: “A cold and lonely song which I thought sounded too much like The Shadows originally. I eventually warmed to it!”
  5. One Man’s Meat (Blackmore, Gillan, Glover)
    • This supposedly came from the song “Stroke of Midnight.”
    • Blackmore really loved the original version.
    • Blackmore said this one was originally called “Lonely For You” and was the one he wanted done exactly the same as what Joe Lynn Turner did.
    • Jerry Bloom states that this is often cited as the weakest track on the album.  He mentions that it is utilizing the “L.A. Connection” riff from Rainbow which had also been reworked for “Tite Squeeze and this was the third reworking of the riff with Joe Lynn TUrner’s “Stroke Of Midnight.”
    • Ian Gillan in RAW: “Quite a fresh approach, with loaders of melody. If you use a proverb it’s nice not to use it cheaply. I deliberately don’t say ??? is another man’s poison’ anywhere, although I did write ‘one man’s meat, is another man’s aching butt.’ A cheap shot, but that’s Rock ‘n’ Roll!”

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Bustin’ Out The Spreadsheet

Reception and Charts:

  • The album peaked at #21 in the UK charts and #192 in the Billboard Top 200.
  • Gillan said in an interview with Rock World Magazine that there was a conscious effort to avoid screaming on this album.  “When I recorded my solo album ‘ Naked Thunder’ I wanted to get away from the screaming. On ‘Tool Box’ I probably went over the top.”
  • Blackmore and Gillan were very candid in their interviews following the album’s release.
  • Blackmore repeatedly talked about how good the album was without the vocals and how he wished you could hear the songs like that.
  • Gillan: “The Battle Rages On was a job, not a labor of love.I was presented with an album that was finished . . . I was singing on tracks that I had no input in. They were not my songs.”
  • Blackmore also stated very openly that he didn’t want Gillan back in the band.
  • Gillan said: “We’ll put it to test on the road. It depends how well the tour goes down and that depends on the guitar player. He is, as you know, an unusual sort of person. He’s not only canceled almost everything to do with the launch of this record, he’s not even heard the songs yet. But those eccentricities are all part of the game. THe bottom line is the man can play.
  • Gillan traveled separately and had his own dressing room. “I’ll see BLackmore for two hours a day as we walk on stage. If I see him just looking down tot the ground as he does sometime, I’ll just get on with it.”
  • Blackmore: “Although none of us will ever be the best of friends offstage, it’s an explosive gelling of individuals, which hits the button on stage and on record.”
  • Gillan in Rock World Magazine: “IsRitchie difficult to deal with? Oh yes. Most definitely. He’s not only canceled almost everything to do with the launch of this record, he’s not even heard the songs yet. But those kind of eccentricities are all part of the game. It would be very boring otherwise. The bottom line is that the man can play. I used to find it extraordinarily irritating and it drove me crazy. Now it just tickles me, and I wonder what prank he’s up to next.What huge obstacle is he going to put in our path next?  If we can’t get around it, that will be the end of the band again. But if we can climb over it, or smash our way through it, then we will proceed.”
  • The group was set to receive an award called the NordoffRobbins Silver Clef lifetime achievement award at a ceremony in London. Gillan, Glover, Paice, and Lord all showed up but at the last minute Ritchie decided he didn’t want to go.  Glover was very upset at Ritchie’s reasoning: “We were only going to get an award for turning up!”
  • At this stage with these interviews Blackmore and Gillan had spent almost no time together so it was fixing to be a very tense tour.
  • In an interview in Metal CD Magazine (August 1993) this is the one with the famous picture of Ian Gillan wearing a shirt reading “I HEART Richie [sic] Blackmore.”  Gillan says: “Another album? I shall have to think about it. One thing Ritchie and I do have in common is a mutual love and respect for all Deep Purple. If it goes well and they want me to stay . . . I’ll probably just screw him up by saying no!”


  • Darker Than Blue Issue #45, July 1993
    • Well, it’s dangerous to get too excited (we are getting on after all!), but there does seem to be something happening here.The title track doesn’t bode well; though all the right ingredients are there, it sounds like there hasn’t been much thought given as to how to use them. A lively guitar solo then cuts in, preceding an interesting instrumental passage, and after that the track gains a certain musical grandeur. ANYA heads off in the “Perfect Strangers” or “Spanish Archer” direction, although sadly they seem to have chickened out of developing this into the epic that is certainly there for the taking. Wth Jon on harpsichord and Ritchie on acoustic, we get some Romany strumming before the riff cuts in. It hits hard. Then, suddenly, you’re mentally pulled up: isn’t that the “Stranded”riff?
    • Side 2 kicks off with RAMSHACKLE MAN, with the band laying down some tight, heavy, bluesy rock. Good stuff from Jon again, and when Ritchie takes over later on the feel is there, so that the last section really moves. “I used to be friends, but now I’m second-hand” Ian sneaks in at one point. TWIST IN THE TALE is a fast moving cut with Ritchie chuggin’ away, some great drumming, and a vocal bite which adds to the power. For my money it deserved to be the opening cut. There’s a curious but hugely inventive end section that naturally deserved to be developed; just bass, splashing drums and weird guitar, but it’s as if nah, it’s too adventurous, cut it. And they do. I think above all, that’s what really has hurt most about the whole reunion, a seemingly wilful refusal to stray from anything but the expected course. Yet in the moments when they do, as here, you just know they’ve got it in them to reinvent hard rock all over again. NASTY PIECE OF WORK also begins to move ahead, a menacing heavy bassy noise, dirty guitar, and Lord chucking his weight about, cracking stuff. The trick of fading in Ian’s scream right out of the Hammond is a treat. SOLITAIRE is a good solid powerful piece of work, with Lordy again taking the honours towards the end. Great vocals, with a sort of low register double tracked effect- “I’m dancing with strangers, fighting with friends”. We’re left with an album that genuinely threw me. I’d expected it to flounder, and it would be easy to dismiss it as another lashup of old riffs, but there is, despite the obvious problems of uniting a fractious group of individuals, some very enjoyable work here. In terms of overall power and cutting edge, I think the sound probably leaves the previous reunion cuts standings.
  • RAW Magazine – 21st July, 1993 (Submitted by Patron Will Porter)
    • In Too Deep
    • “Some things will never change . . . Deep Purple will always make the album that’s expected of them. Accomplished. Professional. Same as the last one. The music, style and production will remain untouched until the end of time, and only the names of the band members seem to change.
    • Sadly if you ignore the obvious fillers and the MAgnum-style “Time To Kill’, the only other highlight on Side ONe is the bouncy “Auya [sic].” But even then there’ll be a nagging doubt that you’ve heard the melody elsewhere. The creative juices are finally during up.”
    • “Deep Purple are still the same stalwarts of Rock – egomaniac Ritche B lackmore will come up with vintage solo after vintage solo; Ian PAice will never let that archetypal beat waver; and Jon Lord’s distinctive Hammond flurries will continually warm the heart – but there’s a fine line between classic and rehashed. When does ‘time-honoured’ become repetitious or ‘definitive’ slide toward predictable? The riffs to ‘A Twist int he Tale’ and the more pedestrian ‘Solitair’ are good, but vaguely familiar.
    • The dinosaur tag will hang around Deep Purple’s collective neceks like a millstone. And no matter how you package them they’ll always be a bunch of old geezers playing safe. No harm in that, but no fun either.
    • Three stars
    • Sean Tyler
  • Q Magazine – September 1993 (Submitted by Patron Will Porter)
    • The Battle Rages On
    • RCA 43211 5420
    • Heavy rock’s Burton-Taylor, Deep Purple once again welcome lan Gillan backto the fold. But will the old magic return? And if not, is being fired three times from the same band some kind of record?
    • Like postwar Britain, the Purps have lost an empire but have yet to find a role. The Battle Rages On, however,is their most persuasive bid yet to recover the colonies, being a return to the basics of balls,
    • brutality and flash that vaulted them to the toppermost over 20 years ago. Thetitle track stomps Eye Of The Tiger territory somewhat gingerly, but thereafterthey juggle riffology and filigree boogie to some effect. An undoubted asset, Gillan’s voice is strangely muted in the mix, and even Ritchie Blackmore reins in the spanksmanship for the sake of streamlining. Mostly, the fusion of Gillan’s fire, Blackmore’s
    • ice and bassist Roger Glover’s lukewarm water, the songs throw up afew green shoots despite a recently fallow repertoire: Time To Kill punches the air con brio while Ramshackle Man bulldozes along on that mean and moody Green Onions riff, Jon Lord’s Hammond organ aptly stealing the show. No Machine Head, but at least a partial return to form.x x x
    • Three stars
    • Mat Snow
  • Metal CD Magazine (August 1993) (Submitted by Patron Will Porter & Doug MacBeath)
    • Had this album just followed on from Gillan’s last efforts with the band, namely ‘Perfect STrangers’ and ‘The House Of Blue Light’, it’d be considered a par for the course outing that strays little from the sound nyou’d expect. Gillan disguises the fact that the passage of time has handicapped his vocal apbilities in a reasonable manner by not attempting anything beyond himself; Blackmore and Jon Lord produce their trademark sounds, although they’re hardly stretching themselves; while bassist Roger Glover (who in his capacity of producer and mate of both Gillan and Blackmore plays the mediator in this little scenario) and drummer Ian Paice perform with the competence that’s guaranteed but without delivering anything spectacular.
    • What emphasises the averageness of this whole affair, however, is Purple’s last ‘Slaveas and MAsters’ album. With Joe Lynn Turner’s AOR-tuned voice, Blackmore cultivated a relatively contemporary looking Purple, with Jon Lord’s traditional organ sound preventing it from becoming another RAinbow. With ‘The Battle Rages On’ they’ve simply taken a predictable step backwards, and the songs – of which ‘Anya’, the typically Gillan-esque ‘Nasty Piece of Work’, the title cut and the bluesy “Ramshackle Man” are the most memorable – are too undistinguised to compete seriously with their past.
    • Two and a half stars
    • Kirk Blows
  • Kerrang – 10th July 1993 (Submitted by Patron Will Porter)
    • Under the circumstances, ‘The Battle Rages On’ (an ironic title, perhaps?) is a good record. After a quarter of a century, DeepPurple sound amazingly strong. The rumbling title track and the old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roller ‘Ramshackle Man’ are especially vibrant.
    • At their best, these cunning old foxes can still craft fine classically-styled Heavy Rock, as on the epic and insidious ‘Auya [sic],” which borrows a little from ‘Stranged’ By Blackmore’s Rainbow. Blackmore riffs and solos with typical good taste and economy, while Jon Lord puts in a sterling performance on the Hammon organ! An old tart he may be, but Gillan doesn’t sound like he’s marking time here.
    • Deep Purple’s last album, ‘Slaves and Masters, featured journeyman Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. It seemed like a bitter end for the band, but Gillan is back yet again and PUrple live on!
    • The band’s fans and accountants weep with joy.
    • KKK
    • Paul Elliott
  • By Sylvain Cormier, Le Devoir (Montréal), August 21-22 1993 (Submitted and translated by Flight of the Rat Bat Blue Light)
    • Singer Ian Gillan can’t stand lead guitarist Richie Blackmore anymore, whether in effigy or in caricature. Jon Lord would gladly drive Ian Gillan’s head through the Leslie amp of his B-3 Hammond organ, just to see if it would change its sound. Roger Glover, because he’s nothing more than a bass player, could never have his say, but he ruminates thoughts that one can only imagine homicidal. Ian Paice would gladly behead everyone with his cymbals. The last time they reunited (in 1984) and separated (in 1988) after a deplorable overhaul of Hush, their 1968 success (adapted in French by Johnny Hallyday and Jenny Rock), they all swore to each other that they would never be caught working together again. Unable to keep their word: Deep Purple, the original band in full force, is back once again, with a phony album to deceive. Because it is indeed a question of nickels and dimes: young hard-rock fans who would pay dearly to see Led Zeppelin reunited, and frustrated because Robert Plant won’t even consider it, have money to spend. Album, tour, program, t-shirts, posters: the temple mechants are here.
    • (Sylvain Cormier is an idiot – but not entirely without comedy value)
  • Le Soleil (Québec city)(Submitted and translated by Flight of the Rat Bat Blue Light)
    • A good hard rock album
    • by Michel Bilodeau, Le Soleil (Québec city), August 08th 1993
    • No matter the motives behind this Nth chapter of the Deep Purple saga, The Battle Rages On… turns out to be a good hard rock album.
    • This disc will certainly not make history, but Richie Blackmore and company prove to be more inspired there than when creating Slaves and Masters.
    • The Battle Rages On…! Hint to the atmosphere reigning within the band ? At least that’s what some rumors suggest. Gillan’s return did not necessarily take place under the sign of reconciliation.  Surprisingly this does not prevent the group from delivering the goods.
    • All interested parties find their interest since the release of The Battle Rages On… coincides with the tour marking the band’s 25th anniversary.
    • The straight rockers supported by the metronomic drumming of Paice get the lion’s share. Talk About Love, Lick It Up, Ramshackle Man (which almost recycles Booker T. and The M.G.’s Green Onions) and Anya hit the nail on the head. 
    • Despite some weaker moments, such as Time To Kill (appropriate title !), the batting average of Blackmore and his accomplices is good.
    • Not the imprint of a classic but a disc which stands in line with of Perfect Strangers.
  • Hell Patrol by Bill Peters (reprinted in Darker Than Blue) (Submitted by Jim Collins and Angelo Abele Mutinelli – original publication unknown
    • “Critics think the alternative/grunge sound is so ‘cool’ right now but exactly what will bands like Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam and Monster Magnet be doing in the year 2015? Probably working as stock brokers or insurance agents I presume . . . some of you reading this may not even be 25 years-old yet yourself!
    • The two key elements involved here are Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan. Gillan’s voice, Blackmore’s guitar . . . Malmsteen can play faster, Vai can play flashier and Eddie Van HAlen looks cuter, but no one has written better songs over the past 25 years than Blackmore. He is the world’s greatest hard rock/metal guitarist – second to none. Gillan’s vocals sound as good as they did on his 1992 solo album ‘Toolbox.’ It sounds as though te’s out to prove once again what an incredible vocalist he actually is.  His voice is in such top-notch form I half-expected him to launch into a chorus of ‘Child in Time’ at any moment while listening to this record . . . This album picks up right where 1987’s “House of Blue Light” left off . . . Of the 10 selections presented, 6 are excellent, 3 are good, and 1 poor.  ‘ Solitaire is an absolute classic (in every sense of the word) and should be a mainstay of their live set for years to come. Highlighted by Jon Lord’s keyboards and Gillan’s haunting chorus, ‘Solitaire’ is a track that sticks with you long after repeated listens. ‘Nasty Piece of Work,’ laying a downright illegal dirty in-your-face sounding groove, sounds like something found on the ‘Fireball’ album and should go over well with older fans. Other standouts include the heavy, anthem0like title track, the classically inspired ‘Anya’ the bluesy hard rock of ‘Ramshackle Man’ and the high speed ‘A Twist int he Tale.’ Blackmore is in fine form throughout the album, playing his classically-inspired guitar as only the master can, and scoring big with tasty memorable solos and irresistibly catchy rhythm parts. The problem with so many of these so called 90s ‘Guitar Gods’ is that they do not know how to write a song. Technically they’re great but there’s NO HOOK! The only downside to ‘The Battle Rages On’ is the sappy sounding commercial filler ‘Lick It Up’ (downright embarrassing guys!) which was probably written to satisfy the whim of some A&R geek and a few borderline CHR-ish chorus’ on ‘Talk About Love’ and “Time to Kill.’ Fortunately for the later two, Blacmore’s heavy riffing and Gillan’s aggressive verse passages save the songs, making them quite listenable and not too much of a nuisance. The press will tell you it’s not ‘cool’ to like Deep Purple. Tell them all to f*#k off!!! 25 years from now, your kids will ask you “Alice in What??? Who were they?”
  • German MINT Magazine by Andreas Schiffman (Translated from German by listener Michael Joseph)
    • Three years after the much-discussed Slaves and Masters the hard rock flagship returns with a mediocre record. On The Battle Rages On, you can hear, under which circumstances it was recorded. It is not good enough for the classic line up of a band to sound the most convincing when obviously copying itself. In addition to that, most of the songs on the record sound the same. Especially Lick It Up, Talk About Love and One Man’s Meat are built around rather weak structures, whilst Ian Gillan is – as on his last two solo efforts – not in great shape when it comes to lyrics. Anya may be a little over the top but is the only timeless piece on the album. This is mostly because Blackmore’s genius as a lead guitarist and soloist comes through one last time in the context of the band. Considering that this is the band’s swan song, the LP doesn’t hold up too well. In hindsight, though, this Nasty Piece of Work is better than it had been considered to be back when it was freshly released.
  • Guitar for the Practising Musician (sent by Chris Clark)
    • Perfmrance: Heavily churning.
    • Hot Spots: “Nasty Piece of Work,” “Lick It Up,” “Talk About Love”
    • Bottom Line: Still raging righterously, 25 years on
    • For album number 25, heavy metal forefathers and scions Deep Purpel haven’t done anything new or different.  That means “The Battle Rages On…” offers churning, big -riff, guitary-busy rock as dinosaurian and dated as it is thunderously fresh. Back in the bickering fold is singer Ian Gillan, whose deep croak has lost none of the screech that influenced new metal singers like Axl Rose and Layne Staley. Basis Roger Glover co-produced (with Thom Panuzio), giving Ritchie Blackmore’s riffs the appropriate deep-bass ballast. Fifty-two-year-old (!) Jon Lord lays a devilish dose of roiling organ on the title cut and on the delicious darkness of “Nasty Piece of Work” to rework the classic Purple sound. Ian Paice beats the hell out of his drums. And the guitar of Mr. Blackmore rages and stirs up spindly blues and rock lines as if he’d never retired half a dozen times. The Battle is loaded with beefy riffs that easily pull you in, and the band still throws mock classicisms into its dark brew as if to remind us all of who was in on the birth of heavy metal back in ‘60s. With minor weak moments (the KISS-like pop metal of “Time to Kill”), “The Battle Rages On…” is both a vintage flashback and a shiny new ride worth taking. Touche, Black Sabbath.
    • -B.M.


Thanks to Jeff Breis for this “The Battle Rages On…” promo poster!
Thanks to Jeff Breis for this “The Battle Rages On…” promo poster!
Thanks to Doug MacBeath for submitting this “The Battle Rages On…” newspaper promo featuring the jigsaw puzzle 25th anniversary cartoon of the band.

Thanks to Doug MacBeath for submitting this “The Battle Rages On…” newspaper promo featuring the jigsaw puzzle 25th anniversary cartoon of the band.
Thanks to Alex Jes for the great “The Battle Rages On…” promo poster featuring the jigsaw puzzle graphic.
29 years to the day prior to us recording this episode they were touring to promote the album!

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