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Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow CD (album) cover




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3.72 | 286 ratings

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4 stars No matter how long I've listened to a wide range of music, with the array of incredible talents I've listened to, ranging from compositional prowess, to incredible technicality, to near inhuman vocal skill, one thing that has stayed very consistent, no matter how many other musicians I've listened to, is that Ronnie James Dio is, and likely always will be, my absolute favourite vocalist of all time. Out of the many appearances in various bands that he's had, I always go back to Rainbow's first 3 albums as some of my favourite of him, as I love the careful balance between the strong fantasy lyricism and powerful, riff-centric hard rock, giving the band its own identity while also not overdoing it on any front, which is an issue that I feel could sometimes pop up in his later solo career. The debut of the band, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, is the most straightforward, least bombastic and grandiose of the trio of albums with Dio, but that said, it definitely still displays a high level of compositional quality.

The album kicks off with one of their most popular hits of Man On The Silver Mountain, with the iconic main riff of the song immediately worming its way into the listener's head before the infectious vocal melody acts similarly. There's just something about this song that's incredibly uplifting to me, likely the combination of the way Dio belts out his voice, especially in the last minute or so, and the constant rising power that the song possesses, making this a song I often will find myself returning to. Both Self Portrait and Black Sheep of the Family are far more pedestrian tracks, but are still definitely enjoyable listens, especially Self Portrait, which is somewhat more laid back, providing nice contrast after the powerful opener. Catch The Rainbow stands out to me as not only the best song on this album, but one of my personal picks for best song that Dio was ever involved in, with the instrumentation being absolutely perfect, using the mellotron to give the song incredible atmosphere. This combined with the sublme vocal performance and the impossibly dreamy melody makes the song give the feeling of floating on a cloud, being lightly swept along by the wind, all of this comfortably making this my second favourite Rainbow song. After this utterly beautiful masterpiece, Snake Charmer seems somewhat underwhelming, although I don't put that up to the song as much as I do the track listing, as the song is definitely one of the better hard rockers here, especially with the awesome bass work. Temple of The King evokes some more beauty, but focuses on the narrative aspect more than the atmosphere of Catch The Rainbow, giving it a very different feel, while still being incredible, as the passion and power that Dio has while still being amazingly melodious and beautiful can be most clearly seen here. Unfortunately, after this comes If You Don't Like Rock N Roll, which is nothing short of awful with almost no redeeming qualities to be found, other than the fact that it is very short, but even so, the cheesiness is painful, and the piano is horrible. The final two songs definitely redeem this to some extent however, as Sixteenth Century Greensleeves is filled with excellent riffs and lyricism and the instrumental Still I'm Sad is just really fun all around.

This album is overall very high quality, with the majority of the lower points still being passable, and the highlights being absolutely breathtaking, providing a listening experience that is almost consantly an enjoyable one. While this is not the album I'd immediately go to when wanting to listen to some of Dio's work (that would be the followup album, Rising), it's still one that I do enjoy going back to. I do wish that If You Don't Like Rock N Roll was just completely cut out, as it both breaks the flow of the album and just sounds awful all around, but even with this, there are still plenty of songs which more than make up for it. The two thoughts that stick with me whenever I listen to this are "Wow, Dio had some serious talent", and "Catch The Rainbow should have closed off the album".

Best songs: Man On The SIlver Mountain, Catch The Rainbow, Temple Of The King, Sixteenth Century Greensleeves

Weakest songs: If You Don't Like Rock N Roll

Verdict: I would highly recommend this album to anyone who's a fan of 70s hard rock along the lines of Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin, as this definitely would fit that sort of taste. While the album has a couple of small flaws, it doesn't stop this from being a great listen.

Kempokid | 4/5 |


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