Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rainbow - Rising (1976)

I'll admit the only reason I initially bothered with Rainbow was Ritchie Blackmore, who is my favorite guitarist-not-named Hendrix. This is partially because of my absolute loathing of all things Dio. I remember he had his own radio show a few years back and he seemed like a cool guy. Oh wait, that was Dee Snyder. Nevermind. Vocally, Dio is contrived dramatic blech, to be brief. So it's nothing short of amazing that I don't find him annoying. As soon as I heard "Tarot Woman" at my padre's insistence, I was hooked. I usually hate synth (underlying 80s hatred), but the opening line is supremely nifty. And let's face it: at six songs (34 minutes or so), there really isn't any room for these fellows to fuck or fluff up anything. The guitar is ridiculous (as you would expect), especially on "Light In The Black" and that tasty riff that opens "Starstruck." Hell, this is a guitar album, period. People will say it's Deep Purple-lite. I'm not so sure. While Purple is the infinitely better band, Rainbow is much less straightforward rock and more about sounding huge and including wizards and shit. Plus, Rainbow sounds a whole lot darker, perhaps intentionally, than Purple ever did. The real treat of the album is therefore "Stargazer." I never tire of that ominous plodding feel every time I hear it. Orchestras get me tickled, too, particularly when they're used correctly and not as some stupid parlor trick, substitute accompaniment or half-baked pretentious attempt at seriousness from an otherwise doldrum band (insert your candidate here __________ ). So what have you got to lose? Other than your house, job or increased taxes to support a perversely criminal bailout, give this album a spin. It's certainly the best and most consistent of Rainbow's output. Nothing came close to this again. Enjoy. A-


Master Cianan said...

The first time I ever heard this album, years ago, I heard "I'm a wheel, I'm a wheel, I can roll like I feel" and fucking lost it. I think I was laughing at that line for 5 minutes. The thing is, though, that this album rocks a lot. I have to disagree with your Dio hatred, though. I totally understand it, but I actually like the guy and his endless mining of Dungeons and Dragons books for inspiration. I like wizard rock. I like the guy's voice. I like the cover of Holy Diver. I like that Henry Rollins described his vocals on "heaven and hell" as being "so fucking righteous".

I also like "long live rock and roll", because that is also a fucking great album. And I hate what Rainbow sounded like after Dio left. Yech.

The Mad Hatter said...

I agree that it's a funny line, but -- fortunately -- it's not from this album. You're thinking of "Man On A SIlver Mountain" from their first album.

As for Rainbow post-Dio, meh meh meh. Ritchie still has some good chops, but the revolving door vocalist policy didn't work. Hell, he fired everyone except Dio -- even Cozy Powell -- after this album.

Starrlight said...

Ya know Ronnie claims he started the Devil horns ;)

Dio is high camp. If not lyrically then surely for that gawd awful Rainbow in the Dark video.

The Mad Hatter said...

Whether he did start the devil horns or not, he certainly popularized it.

Master Cianan said...

Yeah, you're right, I AM thinking of the first album. oops. Still, "rising" is a terrific record.

The Mad Hatter said...

Regardless of the mix-up, you're still right. That lyric is farm from laudable.

musicobsessive said...

Like you, I bought this album on the back of Ritchie Blackmore and thought it was ace for all of an hour or so, then I got bored and eventually sold it.

But you know what? I'd quite like it back...