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Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow: Stranger in Us All CD (album) cover




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3.49 | 149 ratings

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4 stars Dear old Ritchie was sacked for good from "Purple" after the release of "The Battle Rages On". I bet you ! For sure, the battle was furiously raging.... So, why not have another "Rainbow" ride ? Twelve years after their latest release.

The line-up has been totally changed of course. And the result is quite good actually. The lead singer, Doogie White is really performant. Powerful voice, fully in-line with the hard-rock genre. He will be guest vocalist on an awful number of works (doing lots of cover albums from "Iron Maiden", "Whitesnake", "UFO", Slade", but even "T-Rex" and "Yes"). He'll be the lead vocalist of the band "Cornerstone" and will even participate in a band called "White Noise" with a few members from "Mostly Autumn".

The songwriting is also above average (for "Rainbow"). A solid opener "Wolf To The Moon" will remind you the good old days. A hard-rock anthem. One of the highlight. The bluesy side is not forgotten. As if Ritchie was nostalgic about Mark III ! Again, Doogie is rather convincing during "Cold Hearted Woman".

"Ariel" has definite flavours of "Stargazer". The Middle-East sound of the intro strongly reminds this great song. Excellent vocals again. This song is another highlight of this good album. Guitar work of the master being superb (as he always have ought to be).

This album is the best "Rainbow" one since "Rising". Hard-rocking like hell, perfect riffs, heavy and strong beat; but still melodic. "Too Late For Tears" is the perfect combination of all these characteristics. Another highlight. But there is almost nothing but highlights on this excellent album. Of course, you'll need to be in the hard-rock stuff to get into it. "Black Masquerade" is just as good. Catchy melody and wild rhythm. I tend to like this combination very much. Passionate guitar break. This song is not only one of my preferred "Rainbow" one but it can also compete with a lot of "Purple" ones. Really.

There is also a good cover of "Hall Of The Mountain King". ELO also covered it in the early seventies. Where ELO put lots of strings (obviously), Ritchie provides some furious guitar (obviously as well) and the extended version of an old "Rainbow" song ("Still I'm Sad") closes this album in a brilliant manner.

If you want to get the best of "Rainbow", I would recommend the fabulous "Rising" of course and "Stranger In Us All" which comes really close. When I listen to this album, it is really a pity that Ritchie called it quit after such a release. It would have deserved some follow-up. Or maybe that Ritchie wanted to be remembered on a high note ? If this is the case he completely succeeded.

I couldn't beleive what I heard. And when it is good, it is also necessary to mention it. I have been rahter harsh with the band for most of their work but I am enthusiastic about this one. I would also like to salute the great performance from Doogie White.

Four stars.

It is really a surprise to get such a good album at this time of "Rainbow" 's career. They will tour to promote this album and then Ritchie will start his "Blackmore's Night". Something completely different.

ZowieZiggy | 4/5 |


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