Rainbow
Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow


3.5
great

Review

by Matthijs van der Lee USER (219 Reviews)
December 17th, 2009 | 39 replies | 8,686 views


Release Date: 1975 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I'M THE MAAAN ON THE SILVER MOUNTUUUN!

7 of 7 thought this review was well written

Richard Blackmore is a man known mainly for many things: Being one of the most accomplished guitarists of the 70’s, including the massive ego that came along with it, having the tendency of firing everyone he worked with, and nearly always playing on a Fender Stratocaster. He was initially, and still is most famous for his time in Deep Purple, who have since some time gone on without him, continuing still today after four decades of quality hard rock. What most people don’t seem to know however, is his rather significant side-project, which quickly grew out to be his main band. Blackmore had grown frustrated with the funk and soul tendencies brought in by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes in Deep Purple’s Mark III, and by the time those became too dominant for his liking on 1974’s Stormbringer, he called it quits.

Blackmore hadn’t been idle all that time, however. While Deep Purple was touring for their album Burn, they were supported by a blues rock outfit called Elf, led by the then-unknown Ronnie James Dio. Blackmore had expressed interest in the band, and especially Dio’s vocal abilities. Eventually, he ended up recording an entire album’s worth of material with them, minus their guitarist. When things in Deep Purple didn’t go right for him, he decided it was time to take over Elf. So it happened, and they were redubbed (Ritchie Blackmore’s) Rainbow, ready for a fresh start as a new band.

Thankfully, despite Blackmore’s creative leadership, Rainbow never became a Deep Purple clone. The guitarist obviously felt like change after his disappointments with his previous band, and Rainbow’s early years were marked by an influence of both classical music and medieval/fantasy themes (a courtesy on Dio’s part). The first Rainbow formation released their debut in ’75, the self-titled Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (Blackmore would change their name to just Rainbow after this album). Soon after it was released, Blackmore would fire everyone except Dio, and put together a completely new outfit. He would go through this between virtually every album, never satisfied. As a result, Rainbow’s line-up was never the same, except for of course its creator. Potentially, this is very interesting, and could result in a great variety of musical influences.

Their debut isn’t exactly a flying start to Rainbow’s career though. The blame can be laid completely upon the Elf musicians (yes, except for Dio, of course). Neither bassist Craig Gruber, drummer Gary Driscoll or keyboardist Mickey Lee Soule is very competent, and for the most part, they go by unheard. The mix allows their respective parts to be all quite audible, but unavoidably, they get overshadowed by the two greats because of the enormous difference in creativity and innovation between them and the two main men. Blackmore’s bluesy leads and Dio’s big voice will instantly distract your ears, so they’re not entirely to blame either. The three of them get somewhat of a better moment on the catchy If You Don’t Like Rock ‘N’ Roll. The bass is funky, the keyboards are nicely upbeat, and the drums can actually be called noticeable. Ironically, the entire rhythm section goes by unnoticed for almost the entire album, and then gets better on the very same track.

That doesn’t mean our guitarist and singer are on top of their game. Blackmore had to settle in a bit, or so it seems, because in his prime time with Purple, he has been much more consistently delivering excellent leads. As for Dio, his power is undeniable, but his voice was still a little underdeveloped in this point of his career, and would much improve on his later work with Rainbow, and later Black Sabbath and his own band Dio. That said, he is far from unconvincing.

Average, too standard-fare blues rock to the likes of Self Portrait and Black Sheep of the Family drag this debut down, but there are a few occasions upon which the combination of Blackmore’s and Dio’s talent truly slides into its just form. Without question, the two best moments of the record are when it’s at its heaviest, and when it’s at its lightest. Opener Man on the Silver Mountain, a minor hit at its time, is about as good a start as it gets with this formation, and pairs some of Blackmore’s more heavy, Purple-esque leads with Dio’s mighty voice, as he belches out the catchy chorus in the way he would keep doing it in the near future. The very soft ballad Catch the Rainbow is a different matter, and marks Rainbow’s own identity and classical influence, and is a showcase of how Dio can use his voice in a different manner than the one since long standard to him.

Don’t expect too much Blackmore/Dio magic just yet. Most of the work on Rainbow’s debut is quite decent, but mostly, it was a stepping stone for upcoming greater achievements. The mystic The Temple of the King, for example, marks a style the band would carry out again on follow-ups Rising and Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, to much, much greater results. It is catchy blues-rockers such as Snake Charmer that you should like if Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow is to appeal to you. It provides only subtle hints of the band’s best 2nd and 3rd works, and probably has more historical value than anything else.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow Rainbow was:
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Ronald James ‘Dio’ Padanova ~ Vocals
- Craig Gruber ~ Bass Guitar
- Gary Driscoll ~ Drums
- Mickey Lee Soule ~ Keyboards


Essential listening:

Man on the Silver Mountain
Catch the Rainbow
Snake Charmer
If You Don’t Like Rock ‘N’ Roll




Recent reviews by this author
Genesis Calling All StationsGenesis We Can't Dance
Genesis Invisible TouchGenesis Genesis
Genesis AbacabGenesis Duke
user ratings (315)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
Shachar Sagui (5)
The Temple Of Richie Blackmore....

Priestmetal (3)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Nagrarok
December 17th 2009



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Sadly overlooked band that needs to be reviewed. Needless to say, I'm the only one willing to do it.

Greggers
December 17th 2009



2375 Comments


As expected, a good review, although I never really listened to much Rainbow. Saying that I have two of their albums on my PC I should check out at some point

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
December 17th 2009



8221 Comments


good review

Digging: Metsatoll - Karjajuht

Nagrarok
December 17th 2009



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Thank you both. I hope that's Rising and LLR&R, Greg.

LepreCon
December 17th 2009



3544 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Dio for life.
This album's pretty cool,but Rising wipes the floor with it for me. Great review too, as always

MetalMassacreAttack
December 17th 2009



424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Album rocks... good review, though.

Nagrarok
December 17th 2009



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Yeah Conor, Rising makes you wonder how the hell they got there from here. This has its charm.

BigHans
December 17th 2009



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Do I smell a Rainbow discog coming?

Nagrarok
December 17th 2009



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

You have a good nose.

Blindsided
December 17th 2009



1871 Comments


Nice review as usual.

Greggers
December 17th 2009



2375 Comments


Actually it's Rising and this one, but I'll have to check out Long Live... as well.

Nagrarok
December 17th 2009



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Rising and Long Live are their 2 best by far, so get on that.

Greggers
December 17th 2009



2375 Comments


Will do Burnsy!

SteelErectedb4you8er
December 17th 2009



2612 Comments


Good review and fun listen. Too bad Blackmore has gone way too medieval on us these days.

Nagrarok
December 17th 2009



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Well, I guess it's what is best for him now, just like Plant was better off recording with Krauss.

BigHans
December 17th 2009



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Gates of Babylon and Kill the King from Long Live own. Essential early metal listening.

Nagrarok
December 17th 2009



7956 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The title track is pretty damn catchy too, although not so amazing musically.

EVedder27
December 17th 2009



6088 Comments


Great job man.

Jips
December 17th 2009



1127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

was a great day when i stumbled upon both this and rainbow rising vinyls in my local shop... both rock hard...

Meatplow
December 18th 2009



5524 Comments


It's always good to see you do these discography run throughs Nag.

I can't remember if this is the Rainbow album i've heard.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy