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Rainbow - Rising CD (album) cover

RISING

Rainbow

 

Prog Related

4.16 | 360 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Raff
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Rainbow's second album, released not even one year after their debut, is widely considered as one of the masterpieces of hard rock, as well as one of the cornerstones on which Symphonic Prog Metal was founded. Though somewhat short for today's standards (not even 35 minutes long... about half the length of your average Dream Theater CD), it is nevertheless packed with breathtaking performances by a dream-team of musicians such as incomparable guitar wizard Ritchie Blackmore, diminutive yet iron-lunged vocalist Ronnie James Dio, and powerhouse drummer Cozy Powell (RIP - one of the saddest losses for the rock world). Keyboard player Tony Carey and bassist Jimmy Bain (later to join RJ Dio's eponymous band, with which he plays to this day) are no slouches either - the band is incredibly tight, as attested by the numerous live performances recorded at the time.

As in the case of 'mother' band Deep Purple, keyboards play a large role on this album: opener "Tarot Woman" is introduced by atmospheric synths, before the rest of the band kicks in with a crushing mid-tempo above which Dio's vocals soar. "Run with the Wolf" is another mid-paced song, quite a typical example of the Dio-era output; while the dynamic "Starstruck", undoubtedly one of Rainbow's most popular songs, features intriguing, unusual lyrics about a female stalker. The catchy yet undistinguished "Do You Close Your Eyes", possibly the only item on the album to be considered as filler (and the shortest too), closes what on vinyl was the A-side. The best, however, is yet to come...

There are only two tracks on what was the B-side, but what tracks! Accompanied by a full orchestra, the 8-minute-plus epic "Stargazer" is without any doubt the blueprint for all Symphonic Prog Metal bands, a staggering tour de force sprinkled with dazzling guitar work by the Man in Black himself, and a stellar vocal performance by RJ Dio - one of the best singers EVER in the whole history of rock. His delivery of the sword-and-sorcery-themed lyrics is nothing short of amazing, and makes one wonder at the staying power of his lungs.

Closer "A Light in the Black" is the fastest song on the album, where Tony Carey's keyboards really come into their own. However, this track is also a showcase for Cozy Powell's incredible skill with double bass drums, and clear the ground from any doubts that he was John Bonham's natural heir, the archetypal hard rock drummer. Dio and Blackmore's performances are also immaculate.

I know that, since Rainbow belong to Prog Related, I am not really supposed to give "Rising" five stars - but I will, without any regrets, and not only because it is one of my all-time favourite albums. While not fully prog by any means, it is richly textured, perfectly played, bombastic, operatic and pretentious enough (and I mean every one of these words in a completely positive sense) to appeal to most lovers of 'real' prog. This is no mind-numbing, bludgeoning, run-of-the-mill metal opus - it is a masterpiece of ROCK MUSIC. Period. Enjoy to the fullest.

Raff | 5/5 |

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