Review Summary: Don't judge an album by its cover. Rainbow is one of the most rewarding collaborations in hard rock. Rising is essential.
Rainbow is one of the most fascinating bands to ever grace the world of hard rock. What could be better than a classic guitar player teaming up with a a surreal metal vocalist? For those who don't know, Rainbow is the combination of Deep Purple's Ritchie Blackmore and the late Ronnie James Dio. After leaving Deep Purple Blackmore needed a singer for his new band. Although Dio was relatively unknown at the time, Blackmore struck gold when he signed him on as the vocalist. They really do make the perfect combination. Blackmore gives the band their classic rock sound, while Dio provides the metal edge.
is a nice step up from the band's debut. The production has improved and the musicianship is tighter. There's no question this album holds some of the best songs the band has ever recorded. 'Stargazer' is an eight minute rocker, but it doesn't feel long at all because there's not a dull moment. Blackmore and Dio get a chance to shine as the song has some of the best guitar solos and vocals on the entire album. 'Starstruck' is much more upbeat and it's unbelievably catchy with it's guitar work and vocal delivery. There are only a total of six songs, but thankfully each one is a prime example of what classic hard rock should sound like.
Although both Blackmore and Dio are at the top of their game on Rising
, it wouldn't be fair to dismiss the rest of the band. Tony Carey plays keyboards, adding rich atmosphere to many of the tracks such as the impressive closer 'A Light in the Black'. Behind the kit is Cozy Powell, who is revered by many as one of the greatest drummers of all time. He's drummed for Black Sabbath, the Jeff Beck Group and many other well respected bands. His skillfull drumming only makes an amazing album even better. Finally, Jimmy Bain supplied the bass. He's also a competent musician who would go on to play bass on Dio's massive album Holy Diver
. Every musician stands out and the talent on this record is nothing short of astounding.
You really can't go wrong with some good ol' Rainbow. Their first three releases are all fantastic, but "Rising" is the album where they really refined their sound. It truly is a hard rock classic with a rough metal edge and it shouldn't be ignored. The musicianship is absolutely solid and the production is great without sounding overproduced. Fans of Deep Purple, Black Sabbath or classic 70's rock who haven't heard this should considering clearing their schedule. It's a definite classic.