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Rainbow - Down To Earth CD (album) cover

DOWN TO EARTH

Rainbow

 

Prog Related

2.62 | 116 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
2 stars In the danger zone!

The career of Ritchie Blackmore was always a turbulent one, especially so in Rainbow which suffered constant line up changes throughout its relatively short life time (though it was briefly resurrected in the 90's). For this album the line up changed once again and this time the change would have serious implications to the sound of the band. The most significant change is, of course, the loss of the great Ronnie James Dio who is replaced here by Graham Bonnet behind the microphone. Another, perhaps surprising, change is the addition of Ritchie's old Deep Purple band mate Roger Glover to the line up. Glover contributes not only his bass guitar skills but also (co-)writes much of the material here as well as produces the album!

Down To Earth could be seen as something of a transitional album from the Dio-era to the Joe Lynn Turner-era. This often forgotten album falls somewhere between the two, both chronologically and in terms of value. There are still more than a few traces here of the brilliance displayed on the previous albums, and in terms of progressive nuances, Down To Earth is clearly much richer than the disastrous Joe Lynn Turner-era albums.

As is often the case, the longest track of the album is the best here. The six and a half minute Eyes Of The World features some tasteful instrumental bits and great guitar and keyboard work. The keyboards are here played by Don Airey (who also played with Colosseum II, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne and many others. He is now a full time member of Deep Purple). Despite having some extremely uninspired and generic lyrics, Makin' Love also features some nice bits here and there. The same is true of Danger Zone and Lost In Hollywood which both feature inspired, but all too short instrumental breaks.

The vocals of Bonnet are far behind Dio's, but I certainly prefer Bonnet over Turner. The problem I have with this album lies in the sometimes uninspired song writing and particularly the lyrics are often really bad and full of Rock 'N' Roll clichés and cheesy lines. They even included a cover song here with Russ Ballard's Since You Been Gone, a song I absolutely cannot stand! The similar sounding All Night Long is almost equally off putting. I usually skip these two songs on every listen and the presence of these drags the album down (to earth) considerably. But then again, the debut and the Long Live Rock 'N' Roll albums also had some pure Rock 'N' Roll moments that were less than successful.

Still, there are enough good moments here for this to be an acceptable album. They are clearly in the "danger zone" here, but I'm giving this only two (and a half) stars. It would soon go horribly, horribly wrong over the subsequent couple of albums.

Recommended only for fans of Ritchie Blackmore in general and Rainbow in particular. But for such fans (including this reviewer) this album offers some very enjoyable moments. Beginners should start with the first three albums.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |

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