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




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3.74 | 347 ratings

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4 stars Although they would quickly run out of steam thanks to founding member Ritchie Blackmore's dictatorial style and the subsequent numerous line-up changes that followed, the first two albums from proto-metal exponents Rainbow still count as some of the 1970s most iconic and inlfuential hard rock products. Mixing steel-edged guitar riffs, fantasy-themed lyrics and surprisingly subtle progressive textures, both this 1975 debut and it's richly-drawn follow-up 'Rising' prove just as essential as anything by the likes of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Trapeze or Black Sabbath. Having split from Deep Purple in rather acromonious fashion, Blackmore would quickly set to work on forming his own outfit, absorbing most of the American hard rock group Elf into what would become the very First Rainbow line-up. Elf's membership included the now legendary Ronnie James Dio on vocals, and the singers collaborations with Blackmore would prove the lifeblood of the group, the duo concocting a slick and powerful rock sound that took the Deep Purple heavy blues style one step further, adding an expansive prog-rock veneer that allowed Blackmore in particular to stretch out and experiment in a fashion previously denied him by his old employers. The resulting album would prove a substantial hit record, selling well throughout both North American and Europe, the group taking up the mantle vacated by the now temporarily defunct Deep Purple. Highlights include the fearsome-yet-catchy opener 'Man On The Silver Mountain', the bluesy Quatermass cover 'Black Sheep Of The Family'(the only track here not penned by either Blackmore or Dio) and the mellow, Floyd- tinged and rather beautiful 'Catch The Rainbow'. 1976's 'Rising', in which only Blackmore and Dio would return backed by drummer Cozy Powell, would both continue and expand upon the formula drawn up here on 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow', and both albums showcase one of the heavy rock genre's more creative acts at their impressive albeit rather brief career apex. An important album then, both in the development of heavy metal and in the grand sphere of 1970s rock, this 1975 effort truly deserves its classic status. STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012
stefro | 4/5 |


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