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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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Symphonic Team
3 stars Blackmore's Masquerade

The sound of this album is closer to that of the Ronnie James Dio-era Rainbow albums than to the Joe Lynn Turner ones, or for that matter the sound of Blackmore's Night. But you could say that this album has traces of all three elements. This is hard rock with some AOR and also some slight Folk and Symphonic influences. Candice Night contributes some background vocals at the end of the excellent Ariel (a song that was recently performed live by Blackmore's Night, see their Paris Moon DVD).

The album opens on a strong note with Wolf To The Moon and there are several good moments. The best tracks are the aforementioned Ariel and Black Masquerade. Also the Symphonic Metal version of the classic Hall Of The Mountain King I find quite enjoyable. The progressive moments of this album is largely confined to these three tracks. Black Masquerade has a somewhat folky instrumental section with great acoustic guitar play and a short (and somewhat subdued) harpsichord solo (or something that is supposed to sound like a harpsichord). Apart from that the keyboards largely take a back seat on this album, unfortunately.

The bluesy rocker Stand And Fight is rather boring and generic and brings this album down a bit. The rest is pretty straightforward Hard Rock, not bad but not remarkable either.

Still I'm Sad is, of course, a classic Rainbow number that used to be an instrumental (originally from the debut album), but this is a version lyrics.

Overall I think it is clear that Stranger In Us All was the best Rainbow album in a long, long time, vastly superior to any of the Joe Lynn Turner-era albums and also far better than the recent (at the time) Deep Purple albums. Sadly, this was to be the last ever Rainbow album. Ritchie went on to create the Folk Pop band Blackmore's Night to the everlasting bafflement of his long time followers. As I hinted at above, if you listen really, really carefully to this album you might hear some traces of what was to come. Personally, I think that he went too far with the Blackmore's Night idea - something in between what can be heard on this album and what was to come in Blackmore's Night, would have been really interesting, I think. Building on the few folky elements of this album but still maintaing a Hard Rock base.

For Ritchie Blackmore fanatics and fans of classic Hard Rock in general, Stranger In Us All is an essential album. For other people this is still a good, but non-essential album.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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