Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Rainbow - Rising CD (album) cover



Prog Related

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
5 stars Rainbow's second album, released not even one year after their debut, is widely considered as one of the masterpieces of hard rock, as well as one of the cornerstones on which Symphonic Prog Metal was founded. Though somewhat short for today's standards (not even 35 minutes long... about half the length of your average Dream Theater CD), it is nevertheless packed with breathtaking performances by a dream-team of musicians such as incomparable guitar wizard Ritchie Blackmore, diminutive yet iron-lunged vocalist Ronnie James Dio, and powerhouse drummer Cozy Powell (RIP - one of the saddest losses for the rock world). Keyboard player Tony Carey and bassist Jimmy Bain (later to join RJ Dio's eponymous band, with which he plays to this day) are no slouches either - the band is incredibly tight, as attested by the numerous live performances recorded at the time.

As in the case of 'mother' band Deep Purple, keyboards play a large role on this album: opener "Tarot Woman" is introduced by atmospheric synths, before the rest of the band kicks in with a crushing mid-tempo above which Dio's vocals soar. "Run with the Wolf" is another mid-paced song, quite a typical example of the Dio-era output; while the dynamic "Starstruck", undoubtedly one of Rainbow's most popular songs, features intriguing, unusual lyrics about a female stalker. The catchy yet undistinguished "Do You Close Your Eyes", possibly the only item on the album to be considered as filler (and the shortest too), closes what on vinyl was the A-side. The best, however, is yet to come...

There are only two tracks on what was the B-side, but what tracks! Accompanied by a full orchestra, the 8-minute-plus epic "Stargazer" is without any doubt the blueprint for all Symphonic Prog Metal bands, a staggering tour de force sprinkled with dazzling guitar work by the Man in Black himself, and a stellar vocal performance by RJ Dio - one of the best singers EVER in the whole history of rock. His delivery of the sword-and-sorcery-themed lyrics is nothing short of amazing, and makes one wonder at the staying power of his lungs.

Closer "A Light in the Black" is the fastest song on the album, where Tony Carey's keyboards really come into their own. However, this track is also a showcase for Cozy Powell's incredible skill with double bass drums, and clear the ground from any doubts that he was John Bonham's natural heir, the archetypal hard rock drummer. Dio and Blackmore's performances are also immaculate.

I know that, since Rainbow belong to Prog Related, I am not really supposed to give "Rising" five stars - but I will, without any regrets, and not only because it is one of my all-time favourite albums. While not fully prog by any means, it is richly textured, perfectly played, bombastic, operatic and pretentious enough (and I mean every one of these words in a completely positive sense) to appeal to most lovers of 'real' prog. This is no mind-numbing, bludgeoning, run-of-the-mill metal opus - it is a masterpiece of ROCK MUSIC. Period. Enjoy to the fullest.

Report this review (#101189)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
4 stars 4.5 stars really!!!!

It did not take long for Blackmore to start building his dream group by keeping the awesome-voiced Dio and by firing the rest of the old Elf group (which certainly deserved a better treatment from Blackmood), and bringing in one of the best hard rock drummer in the business, the mercenary Cozy Powell. Powell's sound and powerful, inventive and dramatic playing will be the main ingredient that was to build Rainbow's legend. With those three "beasts" in the band , it was difficult for the other two to find their spaces, with Bain just being apt and Tony Carey as a supporting KB to the group (his soloing in concert was simply very poor, and he would get fired soon, albeit Tony learned from his mistakes as he is still around nowadays), but this album is one of the bests in its category and graced with one of the most phantasmagoric artwork ever.

This second album is one of the most emblematic of 70's hared rock/heavy Metal from the 7O's and certainly one of my fave, even if it was quite short. From the start of the synth intro of the outstanding Tarot Woman to the enthralling Run With The Wolf and implacable Starstruck, the first side is simply flawless until the last track, which appears to be a throwaway track: the awful but thankfully short Do You Close Your Eyes. This is rather un-understandably the most often plated track live, often used as an encore where Blackmore destroyed his guitar. Anyway, the trio of opening track is one of the best trilogies of the genre and all three could've made major airplay (with Tarot Woman without the intro).

The second side is made of two long tracks, the first of which Stargazer is Rainbow's major achievement and the apex in dramatic singing. Dio's voice rises and soars (like he was capable until his stint with Sabbath later on) while Blackmore descending riff and Powell's power drumming are over-powering. There is a slight Arabic feeling pervading throughout the track and this adds to the grandeur of it. The second track pales a bit in comparison, but A Light In The Black does conclude capably a very excellent album even it is a bit repetitive especially given its length. Had Kill The King been added to the album track list (and thus shortening ALITB), this album would've been a perfect affair.

Surely one of the most endearing album of the 70's, I don't know any proghead that does not like this opus, and I must say that Rainbow's apex came unfortunately too soon, as I wish they'd duplicated the formula on this album.

Report this review (#101193)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rainbow's shining moment.

After releasing a promising debut album, Ritchie Blackmore chose to replace everyone except singer Ronnie James Dio for the next album, a gamble which would pay off. The Blackmore/Dio combination would reach it's peak with this album.

The opening song 'Tarot Woman' sets the standard. Beginning with a spacy keyboard feel, as soon as those drums kick in you know you're in for a great ride with this album! A brilliant opening song. Following this are three solid tracks. 'Run With the Wolf', 'Starstruck' and 'Do You Close Your Eyes' are all good, solid, shorter songs. But all will be eclipsed by what comes next...

And then comes the opus. 'Stargazer' is a masterpiece, a grandiose eight and a half minute epic recorded with the Munich Philarmonic Orchestra - This song is worth the price of the album alone. A great symphonic feel similar to Led Zeppelin's 'Kasmir', and Dio's superb vocals are the icing on the cake, this one should definately not be missed.

The final track 'A Light in the Black' is a vastly under-rated song, and among the best on this album. Blackmore really shines with an awesome solo, and again Dio gives a great vocal performance. Not quite up to the standard of Stargazer, but it's close.

Rising is without doubt the best Rainbow album, one of the greatest moments for hard rock, and a major influence for the power metal and progressive metal bands which would follow. One of my favourite albums of all time, and I'm happy to award it with five stars.

Report this review (#101322)
Posted Friday, December 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I've always had an admiration for bands who pioneer genres (I hesitate to say invent because music is never simply invented). Rainbow, the project of ex-Deep Purple guitar wizard Ritchie Blackmore, did just that with this 1976 opus. This album single-handedly laid the foundations for power metal, which is often called "true metal" by its followers (the unintentionally hilarious Manowar, for example). Blackmore, along with future power metal and metal horn gesture pioneer Ronnie James Dio, combined the fantasy lyrics of prog with the burgeoning metal sound of England. The result was a short but essential slice of metal.

The album art grabs your attention from the start, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Each of the six songs is proto-power metal gold.

Tarot Woman ushers in the album with ethereal keyboards until the late, great Cozy Powell's bass drum crashes you back to reality.

Run With The Wolf sets the stage for melodic power metal with its mid tempo rumble.

Starstruck is the song most resembling a Purple tune. It's a bit silly, dealing with a female stalker, though not in the unique Ian Gillan way. However, it's still a sing-along track that will get stuck in your head.

Do You Close Your Eyes is usually considered filler, but it's ever bit as good as the previous songs.

Stargazer is Rainbow's ultimate track. Blackmore's solo, Dio's soaring vocals, the crashing drums, the keys, the punding bass, everything is perfect. This song is one of the top ten metal songs of all time IMO. It is responsible for symphonic prog and melodic power metal. How many bands can claim that one song helped set in motion TWO sub genres?

A Light In The Black closes the album with ferocity. It's propelled by Powell's double bass and Tony's keys and Dio and Blackmore never fail to shine.

Rising isn't very proggy, but it is essential for any fan of metal. In 1980, a reader's poll for Kerrang named this the greatest metal album of all time. It isn't that good, but it's certainly in the top 10.

Report this review (#102641)
Posted Monday, December 11, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I first heard Rainbow Rising when I was 11 and it has remained one of my favorite albums ever since. FYI - according to The Encyclopedia of Heavy Metal, by Daniel Bukszpan, Rainbow's Rising ranks #9 on the ten most essential Metal albums.

Tarot Woman - which starts with a tremendous keyboard intro from Tony Carey, great vocals and guitar (Ritchie's trademark riffs begin to kick in). The fantasy theme is comparable to the material on their debut apart from being faster and better than anything on their debut.

Run With The Wolf - reminiscent of a darker Man on the Silver Mountain or 16th Century Greensleeves for the reason that it is a short rocking fantasy song.

Startruck - this song, which is about a crazy French Blackmore fan named Muriel who would follow Ritchie around

Do you close your eyes - does not compare to the other songs on this album. Rainbow's commercial song that was performed throughout their tour as an encore.

Stargazer - really showed off Rainbow's prog potential. The song is about a Wizard who takes people and makes slaves of them to build a giant tower of stone in the sky because he is always looking at the stars. Ronnie puts together his best vocal performance ever and Blackmore's use of Arabian scales in the solo gives the song a great Middle Eastern feel. This song has everything...virtuoso guitar playing, an astounding rocking riff, astonishing vocals, amazing lyrics, virtuoso drumming, rock solid bass playing, amazing keyboard playing and a stylish orchestra part. This song is very progressive and some consider it one of the first Power Metal songs.

Light At The Black - follow up to Stargazer, as it is about the slaves going home (song was originally going to be called Going Home). This song has spectacular performances by Blackmore and Tony Carey.

This is probably the first Power Metal album, but I could probably be wrong. I would say that every band member peaked on this album. This is one of those once in a lifetime/career albums that bands put out. It is apparent how big an impact this album had since it topped the charts in many countries and got amazing reviews.

Prog Related - 4/5 Power Metal - 4/5

Highly recommended!

Report this review (#103879)
Posted Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chris S
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Great to see Rainbow added to Progressive archives. Ritchie Blacmore exstending the muscle and creativity from Deep Purple to Rainbow. No doubt RB is the key character in the Rainbow fold but the vocalist Ronnie James Dio has a phenomenally powerful voice backed up by the thumping solid percussion from the late Cozy Powell. Another key feature on Rainbow Rising are the grand keyboards, layers and layers of them, played very astutely by Tony Carey. The whole album is great and each track is strong. My personal favourites would be ' Tarot Woman' especially the beginning, ' Do You Close Your Eyes'.....when you are making LOVE and the awesome ' A Light In The Black'. Four and a half stars to be accurate, excellent composition and a must have for any progressive rock enthusiast.
Report this review (#104098)
Posted Thursday, December 21, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars I love the vocals of Ronnie James Dio although I think they are even better on the "Heaven And Hell" record by BLACK SABBATH. Add the amazing guitar playing of Ritchie Blackmore and it's a can't miss situation. I'm a big fan of both these guys.

"Tarot Woman" opens with synths as the guitar and drums come in followed by the vocals around the 2 minute mark. The highlight for me is the long tasteful guitar solo by Blackmore. "Run With The Wolf" has a catchy beat and the ending is the best part of the song as we are treated to some great guitar solos while Dio's vocals become very passionate.

"Starstruck" reminds me of an older DEEP PURPLE song and doesn't do a lot for me. Neither does "Do You Close Your Eyes". Thankfully the next two songs more than make up for them. "Stargazer" is the longest track and opens with some good drumming. Some more incredible guitar 4 minutes in. This song really reminds me of the LED ZEPPELIN song "Kashmir". "A Light In The Black" is an uptempo barn burner. I really like the guitar melodies throughout this song and especially 4 minutes in as he really lets it all hang out. The drumming is fantastic as well.

As much as I like Dio I don't think this is quite as good as "Machine Head" or "In Rock", but if you like those albums you should really check this one out. 4 stars.

Report this review (#113441)
Posted Sunday, February 25, 2007 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This second album of the famous 1970's hard rock group has a real classic status. I have difficulties to appreciate it much, as there are some elements present here which bother me: Mostly the style of boasting pathos of the musicians, for example the dramatic verse of opener "Tarot Woman" sounds very much the style of later-era Scorpions. If the goal was to create moods of mighty hero riding on the plains with a hunting falcon on his shoulder, I get a visual of a teen eating a Big Mac hamburger instead. Though there are some thoughtful arrangements here and there, the major orientation towards the playing is slightly primitive, based on the "riding rhythm" familiar already from Budgie's "Napoleon Bona Part 1 / Part 2" song. Also the keyboard sounds bugs me, as they don't have any more warm analog tones, but more digital and modern sounds which don't appeal me on this musical context. The best track here for me is the "Stargazer" which has quite powerful and mystical sounding hard chord progressions in it. There are also some faint tracks of blues roots of Deep Purple in songs like "Starstruck". The long track ending the album "Light in The Black" is then really poor, like the short ass-shaker "Do You Close Your Eyes". The long closer's main theme is in my opinion a soundtrack for metal machos doing the hunt of women in the whiskey bar, and the long instrumental sequence bringing the length for the song sounds like a Commodore Amiga shoot 'em up game's progression, having one evident case of a bonus life being gained in middle of the aural mess. Also with all respect, Ronnie wrote all the lyrics to the album, and he clearly was not T.S.Elliot.

Anyway, if you like Ronnie James Dio's stuff or you are a devoted Ritchie Blackmore fan, then this is a quite clearly an album for you, as it is of course recommendable classic for all fans of 70's/80's hard rock music. In my opinion the only relations to prog with this band are just the time when they were active and the longer durations of some songs. Surely they influenced Iron Maiden and all forthcoming power metal groups, but that musical area just isn't my cup of tea. On the other hand, I don't mind people liking that kind of music, as I don't value people on basis of things like what kind of music they like. But if you're an elitist acid folk purist, run for your lives when encountering this album, as the peril of permanent deafness lies nearby.

Report this review (#119228)
Posted Saturday, April 21, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars A masterpiece, depends the point of view of a prog devotee and of a hard rocker

This second album is one of the most emblematic of 70's hard rock . From the start of the synth intro of the outstanding Tarot Woman to the enthralling Run With The Wolf and implacable Starstruck, is simply flawless until the awful Do You Close Your Eyes. Next are two long tracks, the first of which Stargazer is Rainbow's major achievement and the apex in dramatic singing. Dio's voice rises and soars while Blackmore descending riff and Powell's power drumming. There is a slight Arabic feeling throughout the track and this adds to the grandeur of it. The next one A Light In The Black does conclude a very excellent album . Surely one of the most enjoyble album of the 70's, , with all that is a hard rock album all the way, to me, that's why some prog devotee gives 2 or 3 stars. To me is a 5 star album.

Report this review (#125724)
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "We feel that our time has arrived"

After a fine introductory album, expectations were high that Rainbow would come up with the goods big time on this their second release. Even with that in mind, this is a mighty album.

The dropping of the Ritchie Blackmore's wording from the band name was more than just a semantic change, "Rising" is very much a band project. The songs are all written by the Blackmore/Dio team, with Ronnie James Dio providing the lyrics throughout, but the entire band are clearly contributing here.

The start of the opening "Tarot woman" sees keyboard player Tony Carey slipping in a highly progressive synth overture before the hard rocking main theme bursts forward. This song sets the mood for the entire album. Quickly dropped are the folk and medieval influences which were apparent on the first album, this is much closer to Deep Purple than it is to Blackmore's Night. The remaining tracks on side one of the album are straightforward, uncompromising hard rock songs, with strong riffs, great guitar work, and excellent vocal performances by Dio.

It is though when we move to side two of the album that we move from the inspired to the magical. There are just two tracks of 8-9 minutes here. "Stargazer" is unquestionably Rainbow's finest recording ever. Introduced by a Cozy Powell drums recital which Carl Palmer might envy, the song is quite simply a prog classic. The demons and wizards lyrics which grace the album sleeve tell a tale of a man of seemingly special powers discovering his own mortality. Dio's delivery is quite stunning, eclipsed only by what ranks as possibly Ritchie's finest guitar solo ever. As the song develops to its overwhelming climax, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra add a further dimension to the sound. Even before the album was officially released, the song was being hailed in the rock media as a classic, a status it has unquestionably maintained ever since.

The other half of the side is occupied by "A light in the black", a frantic 8 minute rock song whose apparently simple structure belies what is in fact a finely crafted and faultlessly performed epic. The superb keyboards and guitar solos maintain the breathtaking pace, driven on by Powell's relentless pounding of the skins. Dio's vocals are multi-tracked, enhancing the overall power of the track. Subtle it ain't, but this is a criminally under-recognised piece of rock magic.

If I have a gripe with the album, it is that it lasts for a mere 33˝ minutes. Even in the days of vinyl, such brevity was frustrating. That aside though, this is a classic rock album, with excellent prog overtones.

A masterpiece of prog? Probably not, but undeniably an excellent addition to any music collection, prog or otherwise.

Report this review (#126000)
Posted Saturday, June 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A Masterpiece of Hard Rock!

For those of you who were there when this second album was released, must have been aware how legendary this album is. It's not the news about Deep Purple breaking up that mattered at that time but the fact that in fact Ritchie Blackmore could establish a powerful rock band as great as Deep Purple. The debut album in itself was an excellent album. The follow up "Rising" is in fact stronger and much more solid musically. The sound is not something close with Deep Purple especialy with Tony Carey's keyboard which does not seem similar with Jon Lord's. Surprisingly, the new sound of keyboard has even made the music of Rainbow is quite unique compared to other bands.

"Tarot Woman" kicks off the album wonderfully with great keyboard solo. In fact, when I was a student, I kept playing this intro part just before I went to school because the sound is so rocking and it motivated me to go to school. What a great old days! The music that follows the keyboard solo is marvelous and t's so rocking. "Run With the Wolf" is also an excellent hard rocker followed nicely with "Startstruck" which has beautiful guitar riffs.

What makes this album is so special is "Stargazer" which has a fabulous drum solo as opening. To be honest this was my first experience listening to how dazzling the drumwork by Cozy Powell is. It's totally amazing! The blast of music follows and the song enters a great vocal line that sings: "High noon / Oh Id sell my soul for water / Nine years worth / Of breakin my back. Theres no sun in the shadow of the wizard / See how he glides / Why hes lighter than air" .. oh my God! What a rockin' style here! Since then, I admired Cozy (RIP) as one of the best rock drummers in the world. And .. "Stargazer" is so powerful and has become my long time favorite.

"A Light In The Back" is also another great composition. Oh yeah, Ritchie is a guitar hero .. but what he has done here with this album is that he gives his colleagues a chance to perform their best. Ronnie James Dio best contribution for Rainbow had reached its climax through this album!

It's a MUST for those of you who love vintage hard rock music. This is one of the best!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Report this review (#127244)
Posted Sunday, July 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars As far as I am concerned, their debut album was an almost complete mess. So, basically, things could only improve. I hope.

When you listen to the opening number "Tarot Woman", this is effectively way better. Fully "Purple" oriented ("Hard Lovin Man" type of riff). It is hard-rocking alright and features some great work from Ritchie. This is what I can call a great song. The typical "Purple" structure : great beat, nice melody, fantastic soli. A great opener.

"Run With The Wolf" is almost a clone of "Sail Away" (on the "Burn" album). A good slow tempo hard-rock song; almost heavy. The good surprise (compared to their debut album) goes on with two upbeat numbers. "Starstruck" and "Do You Close Your Eyes" are strong hard-rocking numbers. Catchy chorus, shortly formatted and very dynamic.

The relation with "Mistreated" and "Kashmir" is obvious when you'll get to "Stargazer". It is another highlight of this album.Incredible and hypnotic riff and superb work from the master. Dio also performs very well. But this is also true for the album as a whole : he's doing a far better job than on their previous album. "Stargazer" is really a hard-rock / heavy classics. And the Oriental influence during the second part of the song adds an interesting flavour to this great song.

The closing number also has some "In Rock" relation. The extremely fast beat can be related not to prog but to "Flight Of The Rat" (one of my Purple fave). Great and powerful keys, you know like ...Somewhat reminiscent of the "Highway Star" solo. Fantastic. I even wonder if this is not my fave from the album !

IMHHO, this is an extremely good hard-rock album. On par with their great brother (I guess that you know whom I am writing about). Still, this relation is too strong and there is a feeling of "déjŕ vu" as I have outlined in this review. But on the other hand, this is also the reason why I like this album so much.

This is definitely the "Rainbow" album you need, should you need only one.

Four stars but to discover the prog side of the band, I guess that we'll have to wait for later releases.

Report this review (#142351)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Long live rock 'n' roll.... even though that's the next album

"Rising" is probably the Rainbow album that would appeal the most to a prog-oriented audience without being totally unaccessible to your average mainstream rock fan.

It contains some straight on, nonetheless interesting, rockers like "Run With the Wolf", "Starstruck", and the slightly cheesy "Do You Close Your Eyes", which are in many ways typical examples of the hard rock of the time, although tracks performed by such a genious as Ritchie Blackmore will always be unique in some sense.

The tracks that probably appeal to a prog-oriented audience are "Stargazer", "A Light in the Black", and "Tarot Woman" with its interesting synth/keyboard intro and almost Iron Maiden-esque (and remember, Rainbow preceded Maiden by a good handful of years) main riff. "Stargarzer", heralded by many as Rainbow's finest track ever, and possibly Blackmore's best composition of all times, is an epic 8-minutes long symphonic track which evokes an almost otherworldly atmosphere with it's sword-and-sorcery lyrics and eastern scale elements in Blackmore's guitarwork. This track is certainly a milestone in epic symphonic rock, and has been described as a progressive rock composition proper (check out the "Inside Rainbow" review DVD). Progressive or not, it certainly is a masterpiece. "A Light in the Black" is another 8-minutes long epic which, if nothing else, is a display of high energy and musical skill, and certainly worthy of the progressive rock label, too.

"Rising" is among those rock albums that are progressive without being too inaccessible to non-progheads, and straight-on hard rocking without being too banal to prog-heads. This perfect equilibrium in itself makes the album a masterpiece of rock 'n' roll... and what's great is that Rainbow maintained this equilibrium on the next two studio albums (although "Down to Earth" is arguably more commercial than "Rising" and "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll").

Report this review (#145020)
Posted Tuesday, October 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars I see a rainbow rising!!!!

I thought no Ritchie's work outside Deep Purple could be masterpieces comparable to DP's best work. But I was wrong. And I'm glad for that! And Rising is maybe the latest absolutely awesome hard rock album, and gives me that old classic feeling, the same as when I listen to Zep, Purple, Heep or Sabbath! This is not prog, really, so what? This is a two chord band, complete feeling that will blow you read apart without any need of intrincate structures. It's great in it's own way and any heavy music lover should own this album. Dio is great on this album and he's one of my fave vocalists, he's reminiscent of the greatest one of all time, Freddie Mercury (take Run With The Wolf and see similarities). He has such feeling and depth in his voice. The big Cozy Powell hits the drums with incredible strenght and makes and incredibly solid base with the bassist. Ritchie is great as always and delivers some awesome rocking solos and RIFFS!!! Yeah!!! The RIFFS here are outstanding!!! Keyboardist Tony Carey particularily shines on the last song. The more outstanding songs are... well, it's all great, it's all masterpiece, this is an absolutely essential listening! Please, if you're a fan of heavy music, listen to this! You WON'T be disappointed!!! You'll probably end with the head on you hand after any listen. A classic.

Rating: 4.7/5

Report this review (#159740)
Posted Friday, January 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ritche Blackmore and Dio... what else could a metal head want?

It's the mid 70s, punk and prog fight a tough battle while metal starts to head to the front. That's where Rainbow comes in... the product of the ex-Deep Purple guitarist and that blimp-lunged vocalist that is Dio. While a fairly random band when it comes to quality of releases, this is the album where it all came together. Rising is a release that captures all the intensity and power of each musician on the album and puts it forward with some very fantasy-ish lyrics to back it up. The album really does border on prog when it comes into the second side, and this is an album that should appeal to many a prog fan.

Right from the get-go this is an album with great amounts of power. A quick bit of keyboard noodling and TAROT WOMAN is under way with some excellent riffs from Blackmore. Pulling into full speed Dio backs up this song with tremendous force, his vocals actually pulling the focus away from guitar god Blackmore at times. Most of the other songs on the first half are the same. RUN WITH THE WOLF is a catchy song with an explosive intro where Dio again gets to prove how good of a singer he is. Blackmore's blues influences constantly shine through in these songs making some very interesting music, adding a great kind soul behind all the power.

Speeding up a bit we come to the end of the first side. Unfortunately it won't be quite as strong as the start. The VERY Deep Purple sounding STARSTRUCK is quite well performed, but Dio doesn't really get the showcasing that he needs on this one and the song comes off as fairly weak. However, this song is excellent when put right beside DO YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES. This is the standard rock song on the album. Kind of sleazy and kind of cheesy, this song is one that kind of fell into the trap that many of the 70s metal bands fell into -- poor lyrics about women. Seriously guys... stick to the nerdy stuff. This song always makes me want to laugh when it comes to the chorus. ''Do you close your eyes when you're making love/making sweet love to me?''. I'm very tempted to answer on the behalf of the women that hes singing to with a resounding ''YES'' because we all know that metal-god Dio is not the most pretty man in the world.

Off that tangent now! ...Just about got lost for a second there...

Luckily, these songs are VERY redeemed coming into the second side. STARGAZER is the best song that Deep Purple never put out. Excellent guitar riffs from Blackmore mixed with those fantasy lyrics that Rainbow is so good at to make a truly wonderful experience. Most fans will tell you (and I will too) that this song is the defining performance of Dio's career. Coming into the end of the song Dio lets out some amazing vocal parts. So emotional, so blood chilling. This is what metal's all about.

Following up directly on that song is A LIGHT IN THE BLACK. (I'm almost 100% certain) This song is the continuation of the former and it's another very excellent song, this one much faster in pace. Blackmore's guitars just fly in this one as though he hasn't really been able to play at full speed the whole time. This song is mostly (excellent) soloing and is very well worth the listen because of the song's wonderful melodies composed by that wonderful Blackmore.

Overall this is likely one of the most progressive of Rainbow's records. Well, the second half anyways. Regardless, this is music that should appeal to most prog fans, especially those into heavy prog and prog metal. Deep Purple and Dio fans should also get a kick out of this. The one weak song on the album is easily overlooked in place of some of the best stuff that any of these artists ever put on tape. 4 stars, highly recommended.

Report this review (#163408)
Posted Saturday, March 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Stargazer is by far the best Rainbow song. This is a must-have for a hard-rock fanatic. Too short (33 minutes for 6 tracks), but marvellous album, which contains no weak songs. Dio's voice is at his best, Blackmore's guitar is as great as always, Cozy Powell's drums are fantastic...This is almost the best Rainbow album from their first era. Almost, because there will be, in 1978, Long Live Rock'n'Roll. But Rising, with this fantastic Stargazer and this great Tarot Woman, is highly recommended as well !
Report this review (#164746)
Posted Sunday, March 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars A great album in all the aspects, contains to my it looks like the best song of this group called Stargazer where it is possible to see Dio, Powell and Blackmore's great quality,

In if the album is short, but entertaining enough, if we analyze song for song we have that this material is perfect, though it has some songs that are not very known.

In the Progressive side we can say that its good enough and for my it is the classic one of the music related to the Prog.

Report this review (#164979)
Posted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Every lover of rock music ought to have this stunning album in their collection. And every fan of metal ought to listen to it regularly, reminding themselves of their genre's origins.

RAINBOW was the hard rock supergroup assembled by RITCHIE BLACKMORE after he left DEEP PURPLE in the mid 1970s. This was going to be bigger than purple - after all, a rainbow has all the colours. Their first eponymous album was disjointed though it showed promise, but this, their second album, is where everything came together. Every member of the band was at the height of their powers, and in a mere 33 minutes each band member has ample space to contribute their own genius. The superb songwriting on this record deserves to be highlighted: a blend of short, sharp rockers with not a bloated note anywhere and three magnificent extended tracks. Frankly, this album almost serves as a 'Greatest Hits' for RAINBOW, so uniformly excellent is their work here.

The first side of the album begins with 'Tarot Woman', an extended keyboard introduction building energy, leading to a dramatic, above-average rocker. RONNIE JAMES DIO is perhaps an acquired taste - I found his distinctive exaggerated tremolo hard to take initially - but it is suited to the semi-operatic style he adopts and the storytelling lyrics that characterise this album. COZY POWELL lays the strongest of foundations with his double bass drum attack, and BLACKMORE has never sounded better. The intensity drops a little with 'Run Like The Wolf' and 'Starstruck', but these songs are better than anything DEEP PURPLE was cobbling together in the mid-70s. And certainly better than the KISS-inspired pap masquerading as rock. 'Do You Close Your Eyes' is this album's little mistake, a short love song in somewhat bad taste. For those of you who demand perfection before you award five stars, subtract a star.

Side Two, however, is a level above anything hard rock had hitherto brought to the table, and must be listened to repeatedly at maximum volume. 'Stargazer' is, simply put, one of the most influential tracks in rock. However, I'd like to consider Side Two as one unit - after all, 'A Light in the Black' continues the story begun in 'Stargazer' (a wizard tries to learn the secret of flight, enslaving men to help him build a tower. He dies in the attempt, setting the slaves free). 'A Light in the Black' tells the story of one man's journey home. So, here we have a common progressive theme (fantasy) and the music is most certainly prog. From the rollicking drum prelude through the guitar motifs and the astonishing variety of vocal hooks, 'Stargazer' grabs your attention immediately. It is, however, the gargantuan keyboard lead in the chorus (with the vocal responding) that gives this song its mystical flavour. There's a central guitar solo - easily the best thing to come from BLACKMORE'S fingers, you forget such naivety as 'Smoke on the Water's riff - which builds into a series of rising notes that bring us back into the narrative of the song.

The final two minutes feature DIO at his very best, with a series of rising exclamations ('My eyes are bleeding!' 'There's a rainbow rising!') with the band at their bombastic best, backed by a full orchestra into an extended fadeout. I wish I could listen to this again for the first time, so breathtaking did I find it in 1976.

'A Light in the Black' is a much faster track, sounding for all the world like an ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND workout, something from 'Live at Fillmore East' perhaps, but with a much heavier, driving beat. The central section of the song is a series of frenetic soloing from keyboardist and guitarist, an over-the-top celebration of freedom that leaves the listener breathless. A final rock-n-roll ending - the boys deserve it - and the album is over far too soon.

This is how they made music back then. It's an album that retains every bit of its lustre three decades after it was recorded. An essential element in the history of rock, 'Rainbow Rising' is one of the most impressive albums of the 1970s and perhaps the best of its year.

Report this review (#165272)
Posted Saturday, March 29, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Chills, Thrills and Bellyaches

The sacrificial band of the debut (Elf) had mainly been sacked, and the original core of Blackmore and Dio came up with one of the most stunning pieces of rock music since Child in Time.

For this is Heavy Rock with keyboards - music at the roots of Heavy Metal with a strong foundation in the Blues but with far more swagger than swing, and pretentious aspirations towards Classical music and Progressive Rock, but without the structuring of the former or the musical boundary breaking of the latter.

You won't find any Prog here, of course - but Stargazer comes very close with its epic themes, and there is something about the way the band come together for this track that has that certain something.

What you will also find on this album is an awful lot of filler - like a rather bland starter to a meal with an unsatisfying main course - but a scrumptious desert that you'll keep coming back to, and coffee that doesn't just give you a lift, but jet-propels you into the night.

Dio Mk I

Tarot Woman opens with a one and a half minute flurrying, phasing keyboard run from new guy, and relative unknown, Tony Carey. This sets the scene for Blackmore to gradually crank up the volume on a menacing single-note rhythm that suddenly explodes into the main, driving riff.

Then the unmistakable tones of Ronnie James Dio knock you for six - the man could be singing about anything, the power of his vocal chords, the perfect intonation and the quality of the tones he produces are simply astonishing, no matter how many times you hear them.

A great opening, and great sound to a song that is, in itself, fairly unremarkable. The melodies are strong but forgettable, the key changes reasonably dynamic, and the performances driven with an almost unheard of precision in rock music of the time, but I find that the choppy drumming removes flow in an almost surgical manner, and the aimless noodling on both guitar and keyboards gets a bit tiring.

Run With The Wolf sounds a bit like an outtake from a Mark II Purple album. Again, all the elements are carefully in place, but the precision drumming does make the song feel rather cut up. Naturally, when you focus on the great Mr Dio's voice, the shivers run up and down the spine, but again, the song is pretty unremarkable, and Blackmore's soloing insipid. His interjections to Dio's vocal line have a decent loose and expressive feel, though, and the last minute of the song is significantly better than ther rest, as the band get into a groove.

Starstruck has a lot more groove going on - the change in gear is almost tangible as the energy of this song pours out at you, the drums flowing decently, and every change feeling like it's a part of the ongoing musical narrative rather than some afterthought. The slide guitar solo enters more interesting territory as Blackmore experiments with the possiblities of using the slide, and moves away from pentatonic noodling into something more melodic.

We're back to the choppy ploddy stuff for Do You Close Your Eyes - and it's worth nothing that we've heard little from Tony Carey apart from atmospherics, and absolutely nothing from fellow new guy Jimmy Bain... and we're still hearing little. Small wonder that Blackmore continually changed the line-up, as there are none of the personality players found in his previous band(s).

Now for the big event.

From the opening phased drums of Stargazer, you know you're in for something rather special. All the ingredients of the previous tracks are still here - inconsequential keyboards and bass, ploddy, precise drums, crunching power chords, and the majestic tones of Dio - but the overall feel has suddenly changed, like an aura of magic has descended on the group.

The verse lines are long and strung out, with decorative instrumental lines and sumptuous keyboard washes concentrating the mind on the moment rather than the journey - but Eastern flavoured motifs spring out of the guitar and keyboards, and suddenly some of Dio's rather nonsensical lyrics suddenly take on a life of their own and begin to make sense.

Then Blackmore winds out a perfect concoction of Eastern sounds, thanks to flurries around the harmonic minor scale, and microtonal note-bending and a not insubstantial amount of bluff - although here, again, the Rainbow magic is at work, making a mysterious sense out of the bluff. Some very tasteful dive-bombs later, and an even more impassioned vocal section follows, the vibrato in Dio's voice almost brass-like in quality, the spat out rhythmic patterns and note-bending giving more feel to the music than any note- flurry or technical display possibly could.

Underneath, there's the vaguely dissatisfying feeling that this is just a two-chord jam, in the manner of a psychedelic band - but, for a Hard Rock act, this is an act that's Hard to follow.

And it has to be said that Lights in Black does a good job to start with - it feels like part II of Stargazer somehow, uptempo and driving fast and hard, ex Jeff Beck group member Cozy Powell putting in a thumping battery on the double bass drums. This is quite an exit, and Blackmore and Carey's arpeggio duet puts me in mind of some of the duets he had with Jon Lord.

5 minutes of this feels a bit long though, especially when Blackmore goes off on a noodle trip. He fortunately brings it back to something a lot more melodic later - and I recognise the melody line as the same one Riot later used on the title track of the album Narita. There's lots to like about the ensuing duetting and soloing, and, of course, there's more Dio to look forward to - but nothing new is stated musically.

In Summary

Side 2 of the vinyl (the last two tracks) are well worth owning this album for, if you enjoy the heavier side of rock - although I'd argue that Stargazer is a song for all). The first side is second-rate hard rock, though, and the entire album is just the Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie Dio show, not an excursion into experimentation and improvisation by a great Prog Rock band.

Ultimately an energetic rock album that would be unremarkable if it were not for the tight precision in performance, the legacy of Blackmore, Stargazer, and above all, the astonishing vocalisations of one Ronnie James Dio.

In case I'd forgotten to mention him... ;o)

Report this review (#176491)
Posted Friday, July 11, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Consider that illusive rainbow (almost) caught!

Rising is clearly more adventurous and progressive compared to Rainbow's promising, but slightly immature, debut album. We have here a new line up of the band featuring in addition to masters Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio also one of the best drummers of all time in Cozy Powell. I would say that Rainbow Rising is the definitive achievement of these three amazing musical talents. (Yes, I think this is better than any Deep Purple album!)

The remaining two band members Jimmy Bain (on bass) and Tony Carrey (on keyboards) also do an excellent job here. The keyboards, which are dominated by swirling synthesizers rather than the Hammond organ we are used to in Blackmore's previous band, gives this album a very fresh and timeless sound and the keys sound particularly good on Tarot Woman and Light In The Black. The former starts with a very captivating synthesizer, slowly building up the melody until, the drums, guitars and bass kicks into the main riff of the song. Truly amazing opening!

Light In Black features one of those very rare moments of total musical bliss. At 3:41 into the track an excellent, melodic, very structured guitar part; then some more improvised, wild soloing; then at 5:42 the excellent part is repeated, this time doubled on Moog synthesizer. All accompanied by Cozy's thunderous drumming. This part is pure musical ecstasy for me (up there with Rick Wakeman's Moog solo at the end of Starship Trooper from the Yessongs live album!). I always play this part of song at least twice every time I listen to the album. The symphonic Stargazer is also a fantastic song and an instant Rainbow classic. The remaining songs, however, even if very good too, are fairly straightforward Hard Rock songs that would not be out of place on the two Deep Purple albums made just prior to Ritchie leaving to form Rainbow.

On the down side, Rising is a bit less varied and diverse than the band's debut album. There are no real ballads to speak of this time like the beautiful Catch The Rainbow or the wonderful, folky Temple Of The King both from the debut. I cannot help thinking that they could have made a masterpiece album had they taken the best tracks from the debut and put them together with the best tracks from the present album to make a single cohesive and varied album (preferably, with the drum and keyboard sound of Rising); keeping the fantastic (and very progressive) Tarot Woman, Stargazer and Light In The Black and replacing the remaining three tracks with Catch The Rainbow, Temple Of The King, Man On the Silver Mountain and Sixteenth Century Greensleeves from the debut. This "fantasy" album, had it been a reality, would most probably have gotten the full five star rating from me and be one of my most highly regarded albums of all time! However, as it now stands, Rising is a timeless, strongly Prog Related Hard Rock classic and an excellent addition to any Prog music collection, fully deserving four solid stars.

Very highly recommended!

Report this review (#183963)
Posted Sunday, September 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
5 stars One of the best power metal records ever made. I remember when it was released: I was 16 at the time and a big fan of Deep Purple. I was still recovering from the sadness of Blackmore´s leaving from that band. Ok, the first Rainbow album was great, but nothing that really compares to Blackmore´s best work with his former group. Rising changed all that. He fired all the Elf members (except Ronnie James Dio, of course) and hired what is now generally accepted as their best ever line up: the legendary Cozy Powell on drums, the excellent and creative Tony Carey on keyboards and bassist Jimmy Bain.

What they delivered at the time was quite unique and if Rising does sound too familiar today this is because too many artists tried to copy the formula in the following years. The record starts with one of the best things Blackmore ever wrote: Tarot Woman. This track alone is worth the price of the CD in my opinion: great atmospheric keyboards, thundering drums, excellent double tracked Dio vocals and the amazing guitar solo in the middle that simply showed why Blackmore is a genius. It is emotional, unpredictable, melodic, amazing. You have to hear to believe. The following 3 tracks are not as groundbreaking, but they are still very good (specially Starstruck, with a lyric telling the true story of a stalker that was following Blackmore for a long time. That song has a very fine slide guitar solo).

Side two of the LP is where progheads should pay atention: Stargazer is a 8+ minutes epic that really defines the future symphonic power metal genre. It´s bombastic, it´s heavy, it´s melodic and sure as hell it´s one of their best moments (including a very good orchestral arrangement in the last part). Light In The Black is all about virtuosity with a terrific duel between Blackmore´s guitar and Carey´s synthesizer, while Powell and Bain keep the rhythm at breakneck pace. Above all, Dio proves he was the right choice for the frontman.

It is a pity that this would be the only studio album done by this line up (the live On Stage is another classic). But they did left their mark on the music scene. Ritchie Blackmore showed anyone that heavy music could be progressive, as he had done before with Deep Purple. And, one more time, paved the way to so many great artists that would follow into the 80´s and 90´s.

A classic, 5 star CD. Highly recommended.

Report this review (#185763)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is of course Rainbow's best album, and it's the best album on here that's considered prog-related. This album has some very good prog moments, too. The beginning of the album is incredibly awesome (and progish!), with Tony Carey's keyboards creating a really cool atmosphere with the sonic sounding keyboards he's shredding up. After some time on the keys, Ritchie Blackmore's guitar comes in, and then Cozy Powell (awesome drummer) comes in out of nowhere and the song picks up from there. It seems like most people hate Dio's vocals because of its cheeziness and the corny fantasy lyrics that he writes. I have to admit, sometimes I chuckle when I hear Dio singing (listen to Sensitive to Light on Long Live Rock N' Roll), but seriously, you have to admit that his singing is pretty good on some occasions. His singing fits into the music very well, too, and despite his over-the-top singing he can make any song interesting. Anyway, onto the other songs. After the great and bombastic Tarot woman, three short songs come in. Starstruck is my favorite of all the shorts songs on the album, and after I found out what the lyrics meant, I appreciate the song even more. At first I hated most of the solos that Blackmore did on this album (it sounded at first like a terrible attempt at slide guitar and hitting sour notes), but I have grown to love the solos on here, even the somewhat weak solo on Starstruck. Run With the Wolf is also great, and the same statement above applies with the solo. Do You Close Your Eyes was the weakest song on here, but that fact shows how good this album is:the worst song is still great! The last two songs are incredible. The epic Stargazer is very good. The orchestra adds to the song (unlike most times an orchestra appears with a rock band) and the main riff is very good. Dio's vocal performance on this song is, as usual, great, even though I have no clue what he's singing about (then again, not many people do). The last song, A Light In The Black, is also great. I feel like I'm alone with this opinion, but this song sounds like something Iron Maiden would do, just listen to the main riff. Anyway, great album with great songs. Sadly, this group would not continue to follow up on something like Rising (although LLRAR was very good), as Dio and Blackmore could not agree with anything. A must for prog fans and hard rock fans.
Report this review (#190241)
Posted Sunday, November 23, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars I see a Rainbow Rising

We all know you're only here for that one certain song. Joking aside, this is a very solid album, with some lapses here and there, and one true highlight that is high enough as to be gazed at from the stars. I am speaking of course, of Stargazer.

Opening with a captivating synth solo, Tarot Woman kicks off this Rainbow colored space adventure, through a mythic land of dungeons, dragons, wizards, and +3 broadswords. Blackmore is most certainly a talented guitarist, and Dio is an absolute vocal whiz. These guys fit together so well, I want to know why nobody thought of this, sooner! These songs are mystical proto-metal, with a Zeppelin and sabbath and (of course) Deep Purple influence. The lyrics are average metal fare, but you aren't here for the lyrics are you? No, you are here to be filled with a mystic aura (or was that enema?). The soloing is classically inspired, and very technical. Power metal bands probably ate copies of this album for breakfast, though. If you are turned off by power metal, then you might not like this power rock.

Tarot Woman is catchy, and rocking. With the synth solo at the beginning that I mentioned, earlier. The synth and guitars are high flying, and at times, breathtaking. Run with the Wolf, is a funk rock strut, paired with Dio's great vocals. Starstruck is scale climbing and features more rocking guitar work. Tickling his fretboard so skillfully leading in with a nice, if somewhat forgetful riff. The thin, but metallic Do You Close Your Eyes seems like a filler song to me. Like the previous song, but shorter and less diverse. The only real weak point I see in the album. Side two is reserved for our precious holy song, and the last one Lights in the Black. Which is a fast and murky hard tune. Speedy riffing straight out of Deep Purple, with Dio's snarling vocals. I do feel this song goes on for a bit longer than it should, and really failed to impress me, overall. Up until the soloing section comes in. This is some crazy work for it's time. Synth and Guitar trading off in the upbeat stomping middle of the song. If they cut it down by a couple of minutes, as to not lose some of its intensity, it could have been quite the firestorm.

And finally (not FINALLY, but finally), we have what perhaps birthed every symphonic/power subgenre of metal in existence: Stargazer. What a monstrosity of metal. Beginning with a hungry drum attack, and a behemoth riff that even Jimmy Page is probably jealous of, eight and a half minutes of classic metal nirvana. With multiple sections, changing tempos, brilliant musicianship, and the solo... which could very well fry bacon without an oven. The lyrics aren't brilliant, but can easily be forgiven when the songs other qualities are so high. I could venture to say that this song is the absolute peak in the entire careers of either Dio, or Blackmore. The album is worth getting for this epic track, alone.

Not as progressive as one could hope for, and weakened by filler here and there (Don't you close your eyes) or excess (Lights in the black), but Stargazer is not only a metal masterpiece, but a masterpiece of music in general.

4 stars. Three for Stargazer, one for everything else.

Report this review (#210632)
Posted Monday, April 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars |B+| One of the most influential hard rock albums to date.

Way back over thirty years ago, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple guitarist fame united with Dio's band Elf (at first, as a side project; for this album he would replace the rest of the musicians accept for Dio) to form a new group Rainbow that would revolutionize the world of hard rock, especially Rainbow's sophomore effort, Rising. This album in many ways has achieved historical merit regarding it's influence on the direction hard rock and metal would take in the future, and that influence reverberates throughout the metal community today, especially with power metal and prog metal acts. So exactly what about it made it so influential?

Well, nothing like it had really been done before. And it still sounds remarkably unique and well aged all the way to the incoming another decade of the millennium. Blackmore's guitar work is some of the best (if not the best) he had and has ever recorded, at least in the sense of how he'd progressed out of the blues style into what would help define hard rock/heavy metal guitar playing, with heavy hitting riffs, sweeping (guitar pun not intended) solos, and even hints at what would be the basis for power metal guitar playing (especially in A Light in the Black). The synth work is a big thing that separates this from your standard rock album as well. There is also an overall slight complexity to the composition, though not that it's nearly enough to considered all out prog, but surely enough to at least be included in this site. Dio's vocals fit the music remarkably well, adding the the wholesome and almost mystic feel the album has. The drumming is interesting enough, and I think it could have been made very cluttered had Powell had a more complicated progressive playing style, for the style and rhythm patterns he plays only contribute to the solidity and heaviness of the album. All of the instruments just fit so well together, like a puzzle that just fits nearly perfectly (though certainly not the most complex puzzle, mind you, this is still hard rock here).

What surprises me most is just how catchy all the tracks are without loosing hardly any musical integrity whatsoever. This is definitely an album that wasn't created just to make money, these guys are writing exactly the music they want without compromise, and it well paid off as that mentality created an album that has endured the test of time. Unfortunately I can't say the same for pretty much any of the group's following albums. Had they kept on the role they were on with this album, they could have easily been my favorite band, as this is definitely one of my favorite hard rock albums. Head banging hard rock, to the level of awesomeness as Uriah Heep, some Rush, and obviously Deep Purple. This is the non-progressive album that is a heavy progger's dream come true.

As far as the actual tracks go, it's pretty hard to determine the best, for all are so powerful and splendid in their own ways, but I think Stargazer takes the cake. Had the entire album been as truly transcending and godly as this one, this album would be a complete masterpiece for the ages, but alas it only comes incredibly close. It seems as though in the main chorus, at the part of the lyrics "I see a Rainbow Rising," a magical arua falls around the band, as another reviewer said at some point, a feeling caused by the introduction of the moving string lines that add to the already magical feeling the song presents, especially with the male choruses (I'm pretty sure they're keyboard settings...). It is seriously that epic. "I'm goin' home, Oooooh!!!" Everyone who listens to rock should hear this epic track at some point in their lives. My least favorite tracks are actually the first and last, though for relatively minor reasons.

This is one of those albums that makes my standards for music overall so high, the fact that I must give such incredible albums as this a four to reserve my masterpiece ratings for truly transcendental albums that surpass even this. I someday may change it to a five, should it gain such status in my collection. Essential for rockers, as I'm not sure the musically educated prog elitist would have much appreciation for rock of this simple of. If you like ANY hard rock or early metal AT ALL, especially bands like Deep Purple, Scorpions, Savatage, Black Sabbath, etc., this is an album you MUST buy, period. Oh, and the remastered version (or at least the one I bought) tweaked some things and added effects where they weren't really appropriate, especially with the cymbal crashes; just a fair warning to any of you that actually decide to buy the CD version of this remarkable piece of work.

Report this review (#211328)
Posted Wednesday, April 15, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Rising is the second full-length studio album by hard rock/ heavy rock act Rainbow. After the success of the debut album Ritchie Blamore´s Rainbow (1975) the rythm section and the keyboardist were replaced with more accomplished musicians and it clearly shows on this album. New drummer Cozy Powell ( MSG, Whitesnake, Black Sabbath...among others) is a great addition to the band and his playing on Rising is extremely powerful and drives the music forward much better than his predecessor did. New bassist Jimmy Bain is also a force to be reckoned with and new keyboardist Tony Carey brings much to the music too. The two mainmen of the band Ritchie Blackmore ( guitars) and Ronnie James Dio ( vocals) show their full potential on this release too and the sum of all these great performances makes for a very special listening experience.

The music is still blues rock based hard rock/ heavy rock but there are far more neo- classical elements in the music on Rising than on Ritchie Blamore´s Rainbow. The biggest difference in addition to the much better songwriting on Rising is the intense performance on the album though. The vocals, the guitars, the keyboards and the rythm section are just excellent. The album is only 33:35 minutes long and only contains six tracks. That half hour packs so much power and joy about playing music that I couldn´t wish for more though. The songs Tarot Woman, Stargazer and the excellent A Light in the Black with its neo-classical twin guitar/ keyboard lead are the most most progressive sounding tracks on the album while the remaining three songs Run With the Wolf, Starstruck and Do You Close Your Eyes are more in the simpler hard rock/ heavy rock vein. All six songs are of high quality though.

The production by Martin Birch ( Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath...etc) is powerful and intense. Just like the performance. Everything seemed to click on this album.

Rising is THE Rainbow album to own if you only had to have one IMO. It´s a seminal hard rock/ heavy rock album of the seventies and its influence on both heavy metal, power metal and ( to a lesser degree) progressive metal is not to be underestimated. A very important album that fully deserves a BIG 4 star rating from me. I find it highly recommendable. A true classic.

Report this review (#219901)
Posted Friday, June 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Although this album was a very influential to the world of prog, I don't see it as a masterpiece of prog. It is definitely a great hard rock album, but it isn't very proggy. Don't get me wrong, I like this album and very good performances are given by all members. The only tracks I recommend to proggers are the opening track, The Tarot Woman, and Stargazer. There are few really good tracks on the album other than those two. Do You Close Your Eyes is the worst song on the album, close to Van Halen/Def Leppard (though I do like both those bands) -style pop hard rock. Another song I wouldn't recommend is Run With The Wolf. In all, this is a solid album, though I can't see why it is considered a near-masterpiece.
Report this review (#223855)
Posted Monday, June 29, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars It's not even 35 minutes long, an EP by today's standard but what a blast of melody, energy and emotion it is! I think there will be little disagreement among fans that this is Rainbow finest hour (yeah well half hour).

Tarot Woman leaves little room for doubt that Rainbow really means business this time. The debut album had a lot of good hard rock songs and tasty ballads but nothing of this epic proportion. After a nice moog interlude the track sets off for real with a vintage Cozy Powell power drum fill. What follows is an epic swirl of big riffs, thumping rhythms and Dio's ominous voice.

Run With The Wolf and Starstruck are typical Blackmore hard rock: catchy, fast and very lyrical; similar to the debut but with a bigger production and a real drummer here. Do You Close Your Eyes is the seemingly mandatory throwaway track that has to appear on every Dio-fronted album. On to 'side two' then, where two of the best hard rock songs ever are still awaiting us. These tracks will probably also be the most appealing for non-hardrock prog fans that want to check this band out. They are long, sweeping tracks with astounding melodies and a sequence of excellent guitar and keyboard solos. Yes, even I do not have any reservations against the keyboards here, on the contrary.

One warning. If you don't like (or indulge) the artwork you might not like the music neither. It's the exact visual representation of the epic power that you'll find inside the sleeve! 4.5 stars

Report this review (#240711)
Posted Monday, September 21, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It was said that there were neither a communication of the intention nor a friendly communication with other members of Deep purple according to the remark of Ritchie Blackmore. And, it might be true not to have gotten the action that Ritchie Blackmore seceded Deep Purple the answer easily voluntarily either. His secession might have held worry as a frame of mind at that time. However, the challenge and the creation to the music of Ritchie Blackmore surely stared at the next stage.

The single Solo production has already progressed to Ritchie Blackmore in the process of the production of "Stormbringer" of the album of Deep Purple announced in 1974. Collection is refused to this "Black Sheep of the Family" for the reasons why other members of Deep Purple do not perform tunes other than the original as a result. This "Black Sheep of the Family/Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" runs aground as a result. Leaping results attended with a further necessity the idea of Ritchie Blackmore.

The band that was called "Elf" by one of the bands of the support that took charge of a lot of tours of Deep Purple existed. Ritchie Blackmore had evaluated Ronnie James Dio of this band high. It has the result of this fact's leading to the formation of "Rainbow" as a necessity.

To make the shape of the music at which Ritchie Blackmore had to aim exactly in 1975 an embodiment, their debut albums were announced. It is ..Rock album with high quality that Ritchie Blackmore in the debut album of Rainbow added elements etc. of a few Blues to the cultivated Music character with Deep Purple.. finished.

It makes remarks on Ronnie James Dio by the process from the debut album of Rainbow to the production of this "Rising". 「The member of Elf was appointed and the album was produced in the debut album. However, it was necessary to give dismantlement and restructuring to raise the perfection of the music character at which the band aimed further. 」This remark at that time was not to have criticized Ritchie Blackmore at all. The directionality of the zeal that the band had and the music that should be aimed surely catches everything at that time and it is not in "the difference. All the results might be expressed in this album. My act was a correct answer or was mistaken when Deep Purple seceded or Ritchie Blackmore was made remarks no understanding. However, this act has succeeded as a result in making very complete music as the result surely without having complete power.

The member is replaced to construct the perfection and the idea of the work for the recording of this album and it is produced. Tony Carey takes charge of the keyboard player. And, Jimmy Bain of an active Bass player in the album etc. of Wild Horses. And, Cozy Powell takes charge of the drum player. The rhythm that Cozy Powell performs as a point that should make a special mention is a point that surely responds to the music character at which Rainbow aims while following the performance to listen in the Jeff Beck group. The straight rhythm and a hard, intense performance might be the performances to complete for the band.

"Tarot Woman" might be a tune of which the element and the conception of the gramary to which Ritchie Blackmore devoted oneself went out. The tune explodes from the start of the synthesizer with the Spacey part attended with Riff of five group notes. The composition of a complete tune has evolved greatly since the time of Rainbow that has already debuted. Intensely advanced with reminiscent of the culture in the Middle Ages development might splendidly express the music character at which the band should exactly aim. The obbligati of Solo and the keyboard of the guitar harmonizes completely, too.

"Run With The Wolf" is straight Rock that ensemble of the band is splendidly demonstrated. The progress of Chord also ..good composition.. has finished while giving the change. Solo that the guitar is good twines as Groove continuing. It might have been exactly proven that the band had evolved greatly.

"Starstruck" advances with the rhythm of the shuffle with Groove from the part of the harmony of the guitar. Overwhelming power of the tune raises the album-quality. And, the line of Bass also contributes to the tune. Straight Rock will completely raise this album- quality. Solo of the guitar that uses the bottleneck has acted on the tune well, too.

"Do You Close Your Eyes" progresses with complete power and a friendly melody. It was often performed as a tune of the encore of live that Rainbow at that time had done. The sound of the guitar might be a sound for Rock in complete. Groove is continued.

"Stargazer" progresses from Solo of the drum that multiuses the demiquaver as complete Rock. The music at which the band should aim appears remarkably exactly. Development that gives the impression in the Middle Ages while containing the part of the orchestra will be one of the elements that this band will continue in the future. Solo of the guitar that twines while continuing the impression of the solemnity has the overwhelming might. The tune offers the listener one shape of the music that completely reached the peak and they aimed.

It is said that "A Light In The Black" spent the period of about eight months by the time the tune is completed as well as "Stargazer". The flow that progresses with a complete dash feeling might be one the top. The performance of the band continues complete power and the dash feeling attended with Riff of an impressive guitar. The flow that multiuses harmony from overwhelming Solo of the keyboard and shifts to an advanced composition of the tune and solo of the guitar will exactly call the excitement and impression. An overwhelming dash feeling and power express the highest idea and the power of the band.

This always popular in work of Rainbow album will have been a legend momentarily of the completion.

Report this review (#253277)
Posted Saturday, November 28, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rainbow Rising is the second album by the group Rainbow founded by ex-Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and ex-Elf lead singer Ronnie James Dio. Unlike their first release, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, one can hear the band's pre-power metal sound beginning to take form. Rainbow Rising includes and all-star cast of very talented musicians. Cozy Powell takes the stool to deliver some heavy drumming, Jimmy Bain takes over the bass for a really nice warm and heavy tone and rounding it out is Tony Carey on keyboards to give the songs depth. Of course we can't forget the amazing Ritchie Blackmore giving us some crunching riffs and Mr. Ronnie James Dio giving us a great vocal show. The first song we encounter on this epic journey is the heavy guitar/drums drivern song "Tarot Woman". The introduction to the song has a really nice keyboard solo by Tony Carey to set the mood for the song. Once the solo ends, Blackmore begins to play the guitar riff to the song while being accompanied by Bain on the bass. Once the song kicks in, you are hit by a bone crushingly heavy song. Dio takes the mic telling the tale of a tarot woman predicting the future, a fine subject for a great opener.

The second song is the more down tempoed "Run With The Wolf". Again, Blackmore and Bain deliver some nice heavy riffing while Powell gives us a nice pounding drum rhythm. Carey's keyboards seem to be very distant and almost unnoticable throught the sing and audible during the chorus. The solo is very laid back, almost like the solo from Deep Purple's album "Burn" on the song "Sail Away". Dio's voice is amazing as always during the whole of the song adding some nice depth to the song itself.

The third song is called "Starstruck". The song starts off with some nice arpeggio work from Blackmore on guitar and Carey on keyboards. The main riff of the song is very hard rock orientated other than heavy. Carey's organ work is a little more present on this track, but it is still overpowered by Blackmore's riffing. Bain and Powell prove to be a worthy rhythm section in the song. Dio's lyrics in this song tells the story of a woman who becomes obssesed with him and stalks him everywhere he goes. A great rocking tune.

The next song is "Do You Close You Eyes". In this tune, we hear Rainbow take a chance at writing a more mainstream song. The song itself is very basic and radio friendly. The song has an interesting riff, but not much can be said about it. Obviously the weaker song of the album.

The next song has to be the highlight of the album. The song is called "Stargazer". The intro to the song contains and awsome mini drum solo by Powell while Blackmore pick scratches all the down the guitar neck. The main riff/rhythm to the song is incredibly heavy and a real joy to listen to. Carey's keyboards are a real treat in this song as the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra provides the song a lot of depth for that epic feel. Dio's vocal work has to be at it's best here. He tells the story of a wizard who commands his slaves to build a "tower of stone" so the he can gaze at the stars. Blackmore's solo starts off very laid back until the second part where he beings the fast playing and soloing he's known for. Definetly a really great song with a lot of depth and power. The ending part of the song is also a real treat for the listeners.

The final song in this amazing musical journey is called "A Light In The Black". Dio's lyrics in this tune is the continuation to the previous track "Stargazer". This song is the fastest song on the album and it includes really nice and heavy riffing by Blackmore while Powell's drums roar like a frieght train. The middle part contains solos between Carey on keyboards and Blackmore on guitar. Carey's solo really shows what he's capable of and Blackmore's solo shows what he can do on his gutiar as well. Bain and Powell keep the driving speed going all the way until the end of the song. The song itself clocks in at 8:12. A really good closer to an amazing album.

In all, Rainbow Rising is a very good album if you're interested in hearing some heavy riffng and or headbanging. Not necessarly prog, but a great album nonetheless with a lot of prog influence.

Report this review (#254220)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars After very strong debut, Rainbow released their best ever album "Rising". I think the main reason of radical change of musical quality is almost totaly new line-up: Blacmore changed all Elf musicians ( only Ronnie James Dio stayed on vocal) to professional team.

I can't say that musical style was changed in their second album - it just was improved. Much more professional sound, focused songs and more heavy songs.For me the difference between the sound of their debut and second albums is in part as difference between early seventies hard-rock and heavy rock from late seventies, with heavy metal influences.

Dio voice is even better than in debut, all music is really stronger. "Stargazer" is most classical Rainbow truck. I think that this album is band's highest point.

Strong 4,5 ( for me the only reason why it isn't 5 is a bit dated common sound looking from today's point).

Report this review (#254230)
Posted Friday, December 4, 2009 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#254460)
Posted Saturday, December 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars Somehow I'm not feeling the love from this album. Probably one of the most beloved albums in the archives that isn't exactly a prog album. The last two songs contain elements of prog things, but I say this is a hard rock album first and foremost.

Expecting the rock elements here to be subpar would be almost criminal as Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell all play on this album. A plethora of rock riffs invade the first half, so this is euphoria if you like that stuff especially with Blackmore being a master at this kind of thing. These four songs are really hit or miss with ''Run Like the Wolf'' being the weakest track and ''Starstruck'' being the strongest.

With ''Stargazer'', the album makes an epic detour into symphonic rock. Most progsters will find this is the best track of the album, but I tend to think the song's orchestral backings weigh everything down too much. I prefer the relentless pace of ''A Light in the Black'' even if that song runs a little too long. I'd say a prog fan should get this if they want an occasional escape from prog rock.

Report this review (#276767)
Posted Wednesday, April 7, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
4 stars After the shaky first album Blackmore basically fired everyone except for Dio and rebooted the band with a completely different lineup. Among the new recruits were such talents as the great Cozy Powell and Tony Carey who gives a career highlight performance with his keyboard arrangements.

Rising is a great hard rock album from start to finish with Dio/Blackmore/Powell lineup at its best. Just like in my review of the band's debut album I have a slight dispute concerning this album's highlight. Both Tarot Woman and Stargazer are excellent compositions although I tend to lean towards Tarot Woman since I can't help the excitement I get every time I hear the keyboard intro of Tarot Woman! Stargazer isn't far behind but I feel that this type of mix between classical music, hard rock and eastern flavored influences is done even better on Gates Of Babylon from the follow-up album.

The second part of A Light In The Black is another noteworthy performance from Blackmore and Powell who basically play off each other in the extensive concluding outro. Considering the lengthy in concert jams that the band was know at the time it would have been nice to hear this type of performance even featured here. Instead the album ends after only some 30 minutes and leaves me wanting to hear more.

Rising basically shows how great this band could be. Just as every other of Rainbow's albums there are a few lesser performances but this time the tops are so high that the final release is well worth awarding the seal of excellence from me!

***** star songs: Tarot Woman (6:08) Stargazer (8:27)

**** star songs: Run With The Wolf (3:47) Starstruck (4:04) A Light In The Black (8:11)

*** star songs: Do You Close Your Eyes (2:58)

Report this review (#278429)
Posted Sunday, April 18, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Second album by Rainbow, Blackmore's creature after his departure from Deep Purple, is an astonishing demonstration of musical power and creative strenght, showing a mind-blowing wall of sound delivered by a lineup featuring nothing less than three giants of rock like Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Blackmore himself on guitar and Cozy Powell on drums.

"Rising" is a non-stop storm in your own stereo, featuring some stunning tracks like "Tarot Woman", "A Light in the dark" and of course the INCREDIBLE grandness of "Stargazer" an absolutely epic song very close to symphonic/hard prog, somehow similar, but more convincing by years than Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" ; most of all this album shows off the strenght of Blackmore's coherence and importance in terms of artistic view : imagine ourselves back in 1976 when this hard rock milestone was released, well, Deep Purple Mark IV was already history after recording the quite insipid funky "Come Taste The Band".

In musical terms there are strong prog influences on this work, especially in the three tracks recalled before, amazing dialogs between Blackmore Stratocaster and Carey's hammond in "A light in the dark", an entire strings section played thru the keyboards is the main basis for Dio's visionary lyrics on "Stargazer", which all alone makes worthy the buying ; of course almost every track is driven by a killing guitar riff.

Absolutely reccomended to heavy sound lovers.

A wild, majestic, powerful masterpiece.

Report this review (#280413)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2010 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
4 stars Outstanding and unique, Rising combines the vintage soul of metal with a forward thinking sound (for the time), charging at the listener with a mighty sword of classic hard-rock.

The album opens with some brief sci-fi synthisizer, opening up the throttle with the driving "Tarot Woman". The hard-rock feel of this song is excellent, and sets a powerful tone for the album. Blackmoor's guitar riffing is driving and heavy, with a thick bluesy feel and a sort of understated proficiency-- few solos but a great sound. The real highlight here, and in the strutting "Run to the Wolf" that follows, are Dio's vocals. I am rapidly being convinced that he is the one of the greatest hard-rock vocalists of this era, his masculine voice and powerful phrasing adding a tremendous amount of energy to these songs. I love a good metal wail, but Dio's gruff persona may actually be better. His vocals, and the band's style in "Starstruck", rival Zepplin on their best day.

The second side of Rising is where things get epic, and we can start to see how Rainbow's proto-power metal style influenced some of the heavy-metal giants following in their footsteps. "Stargazer" gives us a heavy, driving rock pulse with an ambitious mystic/egyptian-like feel. While overall a good and very powerful song, it lacks direction, loosing its focus in the chugging. However, the rip-roaring closer "A Light in the Black" ends Rising very well, with fat keyboard and guitar solos surrounded by classically inspired unison moments-- and did I mention Dio?

A rock solid album; the heavy/vintage sound is exceptional and the muscianship stands out even today, not to mention what is clearly one of the coolest album covers of all time!

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 4 Style/Emotion/Replay: 5

Report this review (#281034)
Posted Saturday, May 8, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars For sure one of the best hard rock/proto metal albums ever. A true classic, a masterpiece that must be listened to anyone who loves this genre. Rainbow includes some of the worlds greatest musicians, such as Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) on lead vocals, Ritchie Blackmore on guitars, Cozy Powell on drums. Not to forget Tony Carey, that thanks to this album shows his talent, especially in songs like "Tarot Woman" and "A Light In The Black".

The style of the album is typical hard rock, even though there are some very original moments and elements, like the already mentioned virtuosity of the keyboardist Carey, making the record prog related. We also fond though traditional elements of proto metal, such as enlivened and heavy guitars that play some simple but effective riffs, and magnificent solos. Many consider Rainbow's "Rising" or even the band very similar to Deep Purple, actually they think they are pretty much the same. They couldn't be more more wrong, in my opinion. Both bands have a very original sense of songwriting, different from each other. Sure, they do have a lot in common, but I wouldn't consider them identical.

The album stars with "Tarot Woman", one of the best hard rock songs ever. It also has one of the most original intros of the genre, played only with the keyboards. The rest is extremely catchy, with great vocals by Dio and amazing guitar by Blackmore. Fantastic. "Run With The Wolf" is a great hard rock song, very traditional, with a simple riff, but played with great energy and heart. The same can be said for the two following tracks, "Starstruck" and "Do You Close Your Eyes", other two fantastic pieces. "Stargazer" is the bands masterpiece, one of the very best hard rock songs ever written. Mysterious, epic, energetic, powerful, enigmatic, here we probably find Dio's best performance. "A light In The Black"'s best moment in my opinion is Carey's solo, a true hymn to virtuosity and real music. The rest never appealed to me much.

A fantastic album, absolutley essential for any hard rock fan, I recommend it to EVERYONE!!

Report this review (#283309)
Posted Monday, May 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm on a bit of a nostalgia festival tonight, and revisiting this classic of hard/classic rock from 1976 is a pleasure.

My very first "true" prog album was Yes, Going For The One. This album preceded it in my start to a record collection by a matter of a few weeks. I don't consider this to be a progressive rock album. It always was, and will always remain, a classic of the type of hard rock perfected by bands such as this, Blackmore's predecessor band Purple, and Black Sabbath, amongst others.

There are five classic tracks on this LP, ones which demonstrate a rock guitarist, his vocalist and sparring partner, and a backing band of exceptional quality, in the highest light. From Tarot Woman to Light In The Black, we have some incredible toe tapping numbers.

However, the centrepiece of this album, from the incredible cover (I was SO proud showing it off to my friends walking up the road at the time!) to the album itself, is Stargazer, the most incredible slab of sci fi/fantasy ever committed to vinyl.

Right from the staggering Cozy Powell intro, a drummer who is, by the way, really very much missed, to the dying embers of the orchestral interplay with band, this track still never fails to excite me and make me want to go straight out and write a sword and sorcery classic. This is a tightly worked and executed piece of music, with the basic riff and rhythm deliberately kept simple and repeated by Ritchie Blackmore, and the interplay with Tony Carey on keyboards (whatever did happen to him?), the Munich Philarmonic Orchestra, and the massive riffing drum and bass are a wonder to behold. Blackmore's solo in mid track is also amongst his finest, and that is high praise indeed.

One thing is certain. This was not intended to be a symphonic prog masterpiece. It merely reflected the bombastic hard/classic rock Blackmore & Dio were exploring at the time.

I am, however, glad it is on the site, and I have no hesitation in awarding it 4 stars, but 4.5 in reality.

If all you heavy prog fans out there want to know where your Iron Maiden, Opeth, and other such bands, started off, here it is.

Report this review (#306256)
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars Possibly the best hard rock album ever

Started as a side project of Ritchie Blackmore to counter his time at Deep Purple, Rainbow was starting to soar new hights as the years went by. The energetic and raw fantasy blues rock music presented at the band's debut, Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, was replaced by a polished, operatic and epic hard rock in the band's next release, just a year later, that, by far, surpassed anything Blackmore's older band was doing at the same time. In fact, Deep Purple would enter in its first hiatus one year after Rising's release,

Capturing the peak of the creative powers of Dio and Blackmore, as well as being clearly influenced by the progressive rock scene around them, Rising manages to merge the best of the hard rock / heavy metal both usually played, composed and recorded up untill that point and some progressive rock. There are various points throughout the album that you can actually see that. In songs such as Tarot Woman, Starstruck and Stargazer it becomes evident. This album's impact was so big that, together with Rush's late 70's albums, Rising would later prove to be an enourmous influence on progressive metal bands to come.

Everywhere you look here, the lyrics, the guitars, keys, drums or bass, you canfind nothing but extraordinary musicianship combined with cleaver, new and inventive compositions, but no matter how much I praise those characteristics, Rainbow's Rising manages to be such a powerful album for, most of all, being a short album. The famous all killer, no filler.

In spite of not having any song that is really bad in their classical era, that is untill Long Live Rock & Roll, it is undenyable that, both in Rainbow's debut and in their third album, there ARE weak songs in those albums, what does not happen here. Deciding to have a compact album with only good and powerful showed to be a great decision.

The only flaws I can ever point out here are some mixing issues, being the biggest one Blackmore's downward glisando at the begining of Stargazer, which could be a bit louder.

Grade and Final Thoughts

Rising is a practically perfect rock album. Recorded just before this style of music became unfashionable, it has everything you can possibly imagine a rock album can have and everything is used well or is the right place. It has the excesses without being bloted, it has the virtuosi without being self-indulgent, it has the power without being midless, and etc.

The only conceivable grade the biggest.

Report this review (#333442)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rainbow's best album by far, but not exactly a masterpiece. Yes if your expectations are low after hearing Rainbow's first effort, or if you forgive the obvious Led Zeppelin copy cat portions of Stargazer then maybe I could see giving this album a higher rating. But, can you forgive the cheesy tracks like Starstruck or Do you Close Your Eyes that are needless fillers in what is a rather short album to begin with. I can't. These musicians have far too much talent to produce a six track 33 minute album with at least two if not three subpar tracks contained in the middle of the album. I will say that Tarot Woman starts out beautifully, but then unfortunately gets extremely ho hum and repetative about mid way through. Stargazer and A Light in the Black are legitimate 5 star tracks, with A Light in Black being my favorite track on this album in terms of creativity, originality, and masterful guitar work. Now, why could they not keep that level of quality throughout the entire album as found on the final two tracks?
Report this review (#410449)
Posted Thursday, March 3, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars Rainbow - Rising (1976)

This famous album by Rainbow, the band of Blackmore (ex Deep Purple) and Dio is a cornerstone in the development of the heavy metal genre as we know it today. On side one Rainbow sounds as a post-hard rock and proto stadium metal band, whilst on side two Rainbow plays early metal with an innovative edge to it. It is often mentioned this is a short studio-album with it's 33 minutes, but I must say I'm through with it when it's over. Can't make a problem of it.

The sound of Rainbow is quite exciting. Most of the compositions are up-tempo or bombastic and the sound of the band is very original (on it's time of release!). Ronnie James Dio sings very motived and theatric and because of this album I'm beginning to understand how the man gained such an reputation in the metal-scene. Ritchie Blackmore's guitar sound just great, though we mustn't expect to much Deep Purple-like material. Only the guitarsolo's reveal the origin of Blackmore.

Side one has many shorter metal tracks with extrovert vocals and simple formulas. Side two has two longer tracks that make this an worthwhile release for listeners of the progressive genre. 'Stargazer' is a symphonic and partly gothic metal track with a very impressive and magical long ending section. 'A Light in the Black' in the black is also quite impressive, but not as atmospheric as 'Stargazer'.

Conclusion. This is step towards the great heavy metal scene of the up-coming eighties and the performance of the band makes the album stand the test of time. Next to this album, I would recommend Rainbow on Stage for fans of hard rock and metal. Furthermore I would like to point out that much of this material has become 'conventional' by todays standard and that much of the high ratings of this album are given by people who listened to it in '76. Three stars.

Report this review (#453491)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rainbow's Rising is the epitomy of traditional heavy metal. Dio's stylized, dramatic tone of voice is ideal for the genre. Cozy Powell's unambiguously thundering drumming style anchors each track perfectly. Guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore's neo-classical riffs and extended melodic solos are class. Jimmy Bain's bass provides the consummate level of heaviness to proceedings. Tony Carey's keyboard playing beautifully enhances the fullness and symphony of the band's sound, and provides some great solos of his own. In particular Carey sets the mood with a solo at the start of the album. The tracks are full of the requisite epic melodies and themes reinforced by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in the case of Stargazer where the album rises to its summit.
Report this review (#512528)
Posted Wednesday, August 31, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is the album that single handedly prised me from the clutches of punk rock when I was MUCH younger. Together with Deep Purple Made in Japan that is. 'Tarot Woman' is one of those tracks that simply stays with you forever, a monster of a track that I still remember hearing tfor the very first time and being totally captivated by Ronnie Dio's huge voice. Run with the wolf, Starstruck and Do you close your eyes are three absolute classic rock tracks of our time. Brilliant brilliant brilliant. Then we reach 'Stargazer', epic, huge and awsome. Symphonic, orchestral and, well, progressive. Blackmore shine's through on this album like on no other, but not as over indulgent as on DP albums. He really seems to be playing for the song, not for the ego. Ronnie James Dio, from start to finish is amazing. A voice like no other that will be sorely missed. The album closes with 'A light in the black', another chunk of classic hard rock. This album is as close to perfect as I think I will ever hear, so for the first and probably last time I'm going to award 5/5. A wonderful album.
Report this review (#515249)
Posted Monday, September 5, 2011 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
4 stars Rainbow rising over 70s metal.

One of the great Rainbow albums with fantastic musicianship throughout. Dio is in wonderful form along with the incredible drumming of Cozy Powell and the definitive fret melting lead work of Blackmore. He is fantastic on songs such as 'Tarot Woman' and 'Stargazer'. He uses a slide on the mid tempo 'Run With the Wolf' to great effect.

There are so many highlights including the brilliant 'Starstruck' with great classic lyrics such as "it used to be a game now I can't repeat my name at all, She seems to believe that I never can refuse her call, She wants a souvenir, To everyone it's clear, She's hooked, one look She wants a photograph, And everybody laughs But not me, 'cause I see She's creeping like a hungry cat, Seen it before and I know it can mean that the ladie's starstruck..."

'Stargazer' is a symphonic classic including a terrific drum intro and killer riff, awesome lead break and a melody that stays with you; "We built a tower of stone, With our flesh and bone, Just to see him fly Don't know why, Now where do we go".

Another treasure is the rocking fast paced 'A Light in the Black', "I'm coming home...", with amazing synth solo, and there is so much more on this album. This is one to buy if you see it, especially on vinyl with that iconic cover.

Report this review (#548863)
Posted Wednesday, October 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This landmark Rainbow proved to be a turning point in the careers of all involved, but most particularly of Ritchie Blackmore and Dio; it not only established Rainbow as a credible band rather than a mere vanity project of Blackmore's, but it also saw Dio join the front rank of metal frontmen from the era. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that most of Dio's subsequent career would be based around refining and perfecting the fantasy metal blueprint provided by this album, both in terms of his Dungeons & Dragons lyrics and the driving proto- NWOBHM sound on display.

I do not say that to denigrate Dio - quite the opposite. The fact that he was able to base so much of his future career on what was accomplished with this album just goes to show the rich creative vein tapped by it. As well as Dio's stalwart vocal performance and Blackmore's usual virtuoso guitar playing, major kudos has to go to the rhythm section of Jimmy Bain and Cozy Powell, whose driving fast-paced playing provides a rock-solid base for Blackmore and keyboardist Tony Carey's solos and Dio's quasi-operatic proclamations.

Although it's of obvious historical interest, on a purely musical level I wouldn't count the album as an unadulterated classic. Tony Carey's keyboard playing, aside from the intro to Tarot Woman, is usually upstaged by the rest of the band and doesn't seem to add much to the compositions beyond the odd bit of texture here and there, to the point where it feels as though he's present solely because artsy rock bands in the 1970s were supposed to have a keyboardist. In addition, the songwriting flags a bit after the first half of the album, with Stargazer getting repetitive to the point where I never want to hear Dio yelling "Whips and chaaaaaiiins" ever again. In addition to this, fans of more brutal and aggressive metal styles - or even harder and heavier Rainbow-influenced variants of NWOBHM, traditional metal and power metal - may find it to be rather tame. But still, when I'm in just the right mood for a Dio fix and I don't want something as heavy as his Sabbath material or as quintessentially 80s as his best solo work, Rising hits the spot.

Report this review (#549299)
Posted Thursday, October 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
3 stars This second album by RAINBOW is not as good for my taste than their first. Their first album had more variety in the musical moods, having some slow and some heavy songs. For this second album, the music tends more to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal while in their first there even were some Classical Music inlfuences ("Temple of the King") and more Prog Rock music influences. Maybe the changes in personnel (too much changes, in my opinion, and not really needed, I think) really affected the sound and musical style of this second album. While Cozy Powell is still considered as one of the most versatile drummers and one of the best particularly in the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal musical styles, I think that their previous drummer (Gary Driscoll) was also a very good drummer and brought more variety to the music of the band. And I also think that, despite being good musicians, Tony Carey and Jimmy Bain were not better musicians than Mickey Lee Soule and Craig Gruber. Anyway, with Ritchie Blackmore being a very good musician but also "a very difficult person to work with," like some of the musicians who have worked with him have said in interviews, it really was not a surprise that he never was totally satisfied with the line-ups of his band, so many musicians came and went. This "Rising" album is good, but I still prefer their first album more than this album.
Report this review (#1221423)
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rising was my first Rainbow album (still on vinyl), and I loved it immediately. Though Jimmy Bain on bass and vocalist Ronnie James Dio have never been the most talented musicians, and Ritchie Blackmore has proven later that he is at his best with an acoustic guitar, they somehow managed to compensate this by something they never achieved again: playing as a real band.

The most dominant feature of Rising is the intensity of the songs. It is no wonder and quite fitting that Rising contains no ballad. The six songs, however, are nowhere near similar or even monotonous. Though it is evident that Ritchie Blackmore dominated the songwriting, of course letting Dio write the lyrics, similarities to Deep Purple are subtle. Blackmore's solos sound like they always did, but that's it basically. Drummer Cozy Powell and keyboarder Tony Carey prove that they are in the same league as Iain Paice and Jon Lord. Who would have thought that Carey would later become famous for a pop ballad like Room With A View?

It is not easy to point out single songs as better or weaker, although Dio once stated in an interview that he wished A Light In The Black had never been written. I strongly disagree, as it is my second favourite song of the album. It is only surpassed by Stargazer which is the reason why I didn't write impossible at the beginning of this paragraph. Stargazer is definitely a five and a half star song with tendencies to six stars, although it never made my personal Top 10. But this is not Stargazer's fault but simply due to the even higher quality of the other songs I rated above it.

The rating for Rising is simple: 5.0 stars.

Report this review (#1355458)
Posted Wednesday, January 28, 2015 | Review Permalink
Magnum Vaeltaja
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars To put it bluntly, "Rising" is a really solid album. Ritchie Blackmore's fretboard magic, searing synth solos, Cozy Powell's tight drumming and Ronnie James Dio's hyper-masculine vocals form a careful marriage of neoclassical licks, symphonic orchestration, fantasy lyrical romance and hard rock testosterone. Altogether the album delivers like a long lost Deep Purple Mk II project, though it really stands for itself as something independent. Numbers like "Tarot Woman" and the orchestral epic "Stargazer" particularly stand out as top notch heavy prog, though there really aren't any weak songs on the album. "Do You Close Your Eyes" is more straightforward hard rock than the rest of the album but there's really nothing wrong with it; it only seems weaker due to the high caliber of the album's other five tracks.

One of my personal favourite albums, "Rising" is a short but powerful musical journey that will be a big hit for fans of bands like Deep Purple or Uriah Heep and wouldn't be out of place in any proghead's collection. A classic well worth investigating!

Report this review (#1474730)
Posted Saturday, October 10, 2015 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rising is easily the best studio album ever released in my opinion. The style on the album is perfect, early Heavy metal mixed with classical music, dragons and wizards, and with a bit oriental harmonies. There is so much stuff on this album that pioneered a whole genre. Those who credit Motörheads drummer for being the "inventor" of heavy metal drumming should check out the drumming on "A Light in the Black". It is so powerful, and for 1976, those bassdrums are impressive!! Blackmores (and Careys) solo on the same tune is the best example on how you should take a solo over a ONE chord progession. Perfect dynamics, melody, swing and technique. "Stargazer" is just the best track ever written! So incredibly simple, but still not in a way. I love the oriental bits in that one too. "Tarot Woman" is another favourite of mine, and also an example of Blackmores unique simplicity in the riff! You can´t talk about Rising without mentioning Dio either. His voice is a one of a kind, and on this album it is more mighty than on any other record. I love all the songs on the album, but the ones mentioned is probably my favourites. The stomping, Purple-like tune "Starstruck" is worth a mention too. If you don´t own this album, buy it and play it till it gets worn out! You will be a happier man after that!
Report this review (#1679846)
Posted Saturday, January 14, 2017 | Review Permalink

RAINBOW Rising ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of RAINBOW Rising

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives