Review Summary: "Sleep with the devil, the devil will take you away!"
If you're a fan of 70's hard rock and you've never heard of Rainbow....that's understandable since they weren't THAT big of a band. Chances are you've probably heard of power vocalist Ronnie James Dio, or early heavy metal shredder Ritchie Blackmore. These two, along with Cozy Powell, Bob Daisley, and David Stone make up Rainbow on their third studio release, "Long Live Rock 'N Roll".
This album is longer than their previous offering "Rising", but does not feature two 8+ minute epics like its predecessor. It does, however, feature three of Rainbow's greatest songs. The title track, which opens things with a hard-hitting snare drum, is an anthemic rocker that features a cool guitar riff and excellent playing by every member. "Gates of Babylon" starts off with eerie keyboard playing before the grooving guitar riff fires up. Dio provides trademark mystical and fantasy lyrics, such as "The power of what has been before, rises to trap you within. A magic carpet ride a genie maybe more, a city of heavenly sin". "Kill the King" has probably the coolest guitar riff on the album and the solo is just blistering. More fairy tale lyrics by the late great Ronnie as this all too short epic charges through.
While these three songs are indeed magnificent, they alone cannot give this album five stars in my book. There isn't a bad song on this record, so much as mediocre ones. "Lady of the Lake", "The Shed", "L.A. Connection", and "Sensitive to Light" are all good songs, but that's really all they are: good. The riffs are heavy, the solos are excellent, but for the most part the lyrics don't do much for me ("I'm steel so come and try to bend me if you can....Street walkin" from The Shed) and there really aren't many things that seperate one from the other. Still they're better than just about anything Rainbow released after this album...
What saves the record for me is the finale in the name of "Rainbow Eyes". It's not always a good idea to end an album with a ballad. Thankfully Rainbow can pull it off, and not only pull it off but make it SHINE in the process. The closing epic is beautiful and touching while Dio sings quietly and very toneful. Flutes accompany Blackmore's guitarwork as the song gently fades out around the seven minute mark.
All in all another great piece of work by the boys in Rainbow. If you're a fan of Dio, Blackmore, or just hard rock and heavy metal in general, this is a good album to add to your collection. Sadly, it would be the last one with Ronnie on vocals and the band would soon pursue a more pop rock sound. But at least they left us with this one to enjoy for many years.
-Long Live Rock 'N Roll
-Gates of Babylon
-Kill The King
-Last one with Dio