Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (1975)

This is the first Rainbow cd that was ever recorded, and it still remains to be one of the best. The songs have that medieval flair, and range from soulful guitar driven songs like Catch the Rainbow, and sing along hard rock classics like the metallic Man On the Silver Mountain, and the remake of Black Sheep of the Family. Ronnie James Dio wrote the lyrics to most of the songs, and his vocals are the icing on the cake. Ritchie has the opportunity to write and play the songs he has always wanted to, but was unable to in Rainbow, and this shows in his brilliant axework on the enchanting Snake Charmer and throughout the story of The Temple of the King. Overall, a true rarity, a classic cd, worthy of playing over and over again.


Rising (1976)

If there ever was a classic heavy metal release, this is it. From the mystical sound of Tarot Woman, to the rocking sound of Do You Close Your Eyes to the killer crank-em-up Run With the Wolf...this album just screams heavy metal. Ritchie Blackmore's guitar playing has reached new heights with this release. The axework still has Ritchie's bluesy edge but has more bite, more fire, and makes a super backdrop to Ronnie James Dio's powerhouse vocals, which add so much to each song. Ronnie wrote all the lyrics on this release, and his composing skills really show through on the epic story of the wizard and his enslaved people, Stargazer, which is continued in Light In The Black. It promise that anyone who dares listen to the majesty and power of Stargazer, that they will instantly become spellbound, its just one of those unforgettable songs that come along only once in a decade.


Long Live Rock And Roll (1978)

Continuing the Blackmore/Dio legacy of pure musical perfectional, the two masters release yet another classic piece of metal history. Poetry set to blazing guitars and blasted out by the voice you would imagine God would have. This release features another of Ronnie James Dio's musical stories.... Gates of Babylon, a song that features some of my favorite lyrics from any song. It has an irrie sound to it, truly capturing the mood of the music. There is also the crowd pleasing title cut, as well as one of the songs that made them memorable in concert and became one of their trademark tunes, Kill the King. The solo is definately an "off with their heads" riff...other great metal songs include the hauntingly melodic Lady of the Lake and the thundering pound of Subtle (the Shed) which will always be one of my Rainbowfavorites. To finish it off, is the sweetly, sadly, gentle sound of Rainbow Eyes, the purest ballad Rainbow ever did, Dio proves that not only can he get you pumped up and haul you directly into one of his mystical stories....but he can also whisper the lyrics to a sorrowful ballad and break your heart into. Ritchie Blackmore's guitar riffs fit the lyrics and string section perfectly, and the flute in the background weaves a tapestry of sadness for the background. Overall it is a wonderful cd, not quite as classic as Rising, but even the low points on here still have redeeming qualities...(L.A. Connection, Sensitive to Light).


Down To Earth (1979)

Dio was out of the loop for this one, having left the Rainbow camp to join Iommi in Black Sabbath. So the growling gravely voiced Graham Bonnet was recruited to blast out the vocal tracks. The result was more of a bluesy sounding release, which shows in songs like Making Love and Love's No Friend. Eyes of the World sounds ALOT like a Ronnie James Dio song, while others like All Night Long, and Since You've Been Gone, sound like what Rainbow is about to become in the near future. Its a cd that seems to be caught in the middle between heaviness and poppiness, yet the crossroad in the middle seems to work nicely. A great effort from a great band.


Difficult to Cure (1981)

This just happens to be my least favorite Rainbow cd, due to the lack of songwriting skills which are displayed here. Joe Lynn Turner, the new kid in the vocal spot from New Jersey, shows the potential to be a great vocalist, but the material falls short and leaves this feeling of boredom through most of the records. Only two tracks standout, neither written by the Blackmore/Glover team that composed everything with an exception or two on Down To Earth. Rainbow managed to have a big hit out of one of these, I Surrender, and Magic was surely a Rainbow classic, one of their best overall, with quite magical lyrics. But two songs don't make a classic. Vielleicht Das Nachste Mal and Difficult to Cure (Beethoven's Ninth) almost make up for the lack of great songs with lyrics, but still isn't enough to drag this out of the midiocre label. The rest is just so-so, Spotlight Kid, Freedom Fighter, Midtown Tunnel Vision, No Release and the semi-hit Can't Happen Here.


Straight Between the Eyes (1982)

Ahhhh yes. After the bomb known as Difficult To Cure, this was a completely surprise, and a breath of fresh air. The writing team of Blackmore, Glover and vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, finally meshed and they churned out a list of 9 classics, all with that delightful poppy edge. There was no use in trying to write songs in the Ronnie James Dio Rainbow-era formula, so they opted for a more pop sound. Joe Lynn Turner's voice is adorably enchanting, there are few singers who are this charismatic, and display such a variety of emotions in their voice. Joe Lynn Turner can do this, and Stone Cold is the perfect example. In fact, that song IS perfect. Stone Cold is a heartbreaker, with a very bluesy sound and heartripping guitar riffs, provided by Ritchie of course. This song just takes your heart, and stomps on it. A tear jerker if there ever was one. This isn't the only superb song on here, Rock Fever, Power, and Death Alley Driver, are packed with hard rock energy and just scream to get airplay. Miss Mistreated and Tearing Out My Heart are two other ballad like songs that deserve being mentioned. Especially the way Joe Lynn begins one by cooing "I never meant to hurt you baby." This is the best cd since the Diodays. It is sheer perfection in my book, and I suggest anyone pick this up if you are a Blackmore, Turner, Rainbow, or hard rock fan in general.


Bent Out Of Shape (1983)

This was sadly the final cd for the Turner/Blackmore lineup. But even so, it was packed with more Rainbow-esque classic songs. Street of Dreams is the standout song, a beautiful song with a touch of mystery to it, and the lyrics have a haunting quality to them. The Joe Lynn Turner influence is quite visible on it, making it all the better. Same thing with the other two great songs on here, Can't Let You Go and Desperate Heart. Desperate Heart has that feel good rock beat to it, a very unusual one at that, so catchy and wonderful, you will listen to it a million times. Fool For the Night is a great poppy Rainbow song, and Fire Dance is also unusual sounding, a delightful surprise. Stranded is another excellent song, the other couple on here are just average, Drinking With the Devil, and Make Your Move. And Snowman and Anybody There are two superb instrumentals, with Blackmore's gentle guitar riffs mixed throughout. Another great Rainbow release, the last one of that decade, a good finale.


RainbowFlame's Metal Domain Review 2000