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Rainbow - Rising CD (album) cover




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4.19 | 468 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "We feel that our time has arrived"

After a fine introductory album, expectations were high that Rainbow would come up with the goods big time on this their second release. Even with that in mind, this is a mighty album.

The dropping of the Ritchie Blackmore's wording from the band name was more than just a semantic change, "Rising" is very much a band project. The songs are all written by the Blackmore/Dio team, with Ronnie James Dio providing the lyrics throughout, but the entire band are clearly contributing here.

The start of the opening "Tarot woman" sees keyboard player Tony Carey slipping in a highly progressive synth overture before the hard rocking main theme bursts forward. This song sets the mood for the entire album. Quickly dropped are the folk and medieval influences which were apparent on the first album, this is much closer to Deep Purple than it is to Blackmore's Night. The remaining tracks on side one of the album are straightforward, uncompromising hard rock songs, with strong riffs, great guitar work, and excellent vocal performances by Dio.

It is though when we move to side two of the album that we move from the inspired to the magical. There are just two tracks of 8-9 minutes here. "Stargazer" is unquestionably Rainbow's finest recording ever. Introduced by a Cozy Powell drums recital which Carl Palmer might envy, the song is quite simply a prog classic. The demons and wizards lyrics which grace the album sleeve tell a tale of a man of seemingly special powers discovering his own mortality. Dio's delivery is quite stunning, eclipsed only by what ranks as possibly Ritchie's finest guitar solo ever. As the song develops to its overwhelming climax, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra add a further dimension to the sound. Even before the album was officially released, the song was being hailed in the rock media as a classic, a status it has unquestionably maintained ever since.

The other half of the side is occupied by "A light in the black", a frantic 8 minute rock song whose apparently simple structure belies what is in fact a finely crafted and faultlessly performed epic. The superb keyboards and guitar solos maintain the breathtaking pace, driven on by Powell's relentless pounding of the skins. Dio's vocals are multi-tracked, enhancing the overall power of the track. Subtle it ain't, but this is a criminally under-recognised piece of rock magic.

If I have a gripe with the album, it is that it lasts for a mere 33 minutes. Even in the days of vinyl, such brevity was frustrating. That aside though, this is a classic rock album, with excellent prog overtones.

A masterpiece of prog? Probably not, but undeniably an excellent addition to any music collection, prog or otherwise.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |


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