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Rainbow - Rising CD (album) cover




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4.21 | 569 ratings

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The Radiant Is
4 stars A classic album with some heavy weights of heavy metal!

So, I have to admit. I had never heard of this album until Dream Theater covered "Stargazer," at which point I just had to hear the original. After hearing a couple tracks, I was eager to go out and get the album and I haven't been disappointed since. The musicianship on this album is impressive. In particular, Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio, and Cozy Powell are amazing together. This is definitely an exceptional album from the early days of "heavy metal" from musicians who helped to mold the genre. You can definitely hear elements on this album that would later appear in the progressive metal genre, including abstract fantasy lyrics, elaborate background synth, and classically influenced guitar and keyboard work.

Although the album as a whole has some truly great moments, it seems a bit disjoint. First you start off with "Tarot Woman," and "Run With the Wolf," which lyrically employ abstract fantasy imagery. Then you have the next two tracks, "Starstruck" and "Do You Close Your Eyes," which have lyrics that sound like KISS - the lyrics are commercial, generally uninspired, and related to being a rock star and getting chicks (the first seems to be about an obsessed fan, and the second is about trying to get in bed with someone). Then for the last two tracks, "Stargazer" and "A Light in the Black," they switch back to well-written abstract fantasy lyrics.

The album would be stronger if they had cut out the 2 filler tracks in the middle and just made it a 4 track EP. Or they could have just re-recorded "Man on the Silver Mountain" from their first album. Its unfortunate that they couldn't create two more tracks on par with "Tarot Woman" and "Stargazer" to fill the middle of the album, because then this album would easily be 5 stars. However, the end result here is still very good and well worth a listen. Now on to the track-by-track:

1) Tarot Woman - A song is an amazing start to amazing album. This track opens with a long synth intro that seems to emerge from the dark nothingness (sort of like a "light in the black," so to speak). This soon gives way to Blackmore's powerful guitar. Powell's driving drum kicks off and carries us through the rest of the song. Combine this with Dio's powerful vocals, and the result is something great.

2) Run With the Wolf - Not as good as the previous song, but a solid track none the less. This track has a laid back walking beat that carries through the track. Lyrics like "an unholy light," and "there's a crack in the sky, something evil's passing" create great imagery that is indicative of early "heavy metal acts" such as Rainbow and paves the way for future metal acts.

3) Starstruck - This song opens with some awesome guitarwork, but the rest of the song is a bit disappointing. The instrumentals are decent straight-ahead rock, but the lyrics are quite bad and don't fit with the rest of the album. Overall a luke warm song that detracts from the better songs on the album such as "Stargazer" and "Tarot Woman."

3) Do You Close Your Eyes - Another luke warm track that lyrically doesn't fit with the rest of the album (that is to say, it doesn't fit with the first two and last two tracks on the album). This track has a more commercial sound and lacks the vivid lyrical imagery that Dio is known for. A rather disappointing addition to an otherwise amazing album.

4) Stargazer - This track is musical genius. It is the highpoint of the album, which perhaps makes it the highpoint of Rainbow's discography. The song kicks off with some stellar drumming from Powell and never lets up. It showcases Dio at his best, both in terms of soaring vocals and his fantastic lyrics. Lyrically, this song creates some great fantasy imagery that is carried through to the following track. Blackmore delivers some amazing guitar work including a powerful solo. Combine all of this with the dense synth work (including the addition of strings at the end) and you have all the elements that would one day make their way into the progressive metal genre (a sound that is near and dear to my heart). Only criticism is that they may have been a little heavy handed on the flange.

5) A Light In the Black - A great way to round out the album, this track is up to par with Stargazer (as well as the first two tracks on the album). Again, we hear Dio's abstract fantasy lyrics and phenomenal vocals. The upbeat tempo is high energy and really works as a closer to this album and has a great ending. The guitar builds up with ascending chords over a ritardando, the drums go out of time, and Dio just wails on the vocals. It really feels like the end of a good rock show.

The Radiant Is | 4/5 |


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