RAINBOW RISING (Oyster OY-1-1601)

From Deep Purple's earliest recordings to this second album with his solo group, there's no mistaking a record in which Ritchie Blackmore is involved. Here, abetted by lyricist/vocalist Ronnie Dio, guitarist/composer Blackmore continues to lord over his peculiarly dark corner of the universe.

The problem, compounded on the both Rainbow albums by the lyrics, lies in the discrepancy between the listener's and Blackmore/Dio's reality. Evil is the prominent subject, but what's portrayed is either too ambiguous (the apparently diabolical wizard in "Stargazer") or too mundane (the autograph-hunting groupie in "Starstruck") to merit attention.

Blackmore's songs have a predilection for minor modes and simple riffs punctuated predictably and often with syncopated power chording; the result is disjointed, grandiose and humorless - a gothic heavy metal style.

Dio is certainly the match for Blackmore, in both his relentlessly impassioned warbling vocals and his lyrics, which uncover apocalypse at every turn. "There's a hole in the sky / Something evil's passing by" Dio spits and snarls, but what he is describing is usually called spring fever.

Even after Blackmore mounts the most successful musical attack of the album, replete with Who-like slashing guitar chords, all Dio can muster -albeit with exceptional angst- is: "Do you close your eyes / When you're making love?" If this ia the denouement, what's all the fuss about?

Blackmore's guitar soloing has always been the saving grace of his compositions. He has a full-bodied, fluid style, most effectively displayed here on "A Light in the Black," and he can stutter and wail with the best blues-rock guitarists. Unfortunately, on Rising the setting is too distracting. In a less gloomily banal context, his playing might shine.

Robert Duncan, Rolling Stone - July 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Oyster/Polydor)

Wow, a new Ritchie Blackmore album! Hot off the trots and ready to guitar-masticate your mind until even the whole rest of you is just one big blob of ABC gum. I mean, you gotta admire Ritchie. Why? Because he's a total asshole. Pouts, snits, wears black leather like it means something and even brags about it.

"I wear black leather and I don't give a damn," he told interviewer Cameron Crowe in the pages of this very magazine last year. So you can see that this palooka is no chump to bait. He also told Crowe he keeps his business offices in Germany because he empathizes with the real deal the Germans got in World War II. The very sight of his nose epitomizes danger. A tiger. A wolf-schmidt. A guitar wiresurd now trying to be a true star.

So how does he stand up in the image/media/public-personja sweepstakes? Well, he could pull crows to a cornpatch at sunset. Because he be mucho macho tough mean biznez badass. Look at the evidence. Throws steaks around restaurants if they miss his specifications by even one ion. Alienates just about everybody around by similarly abrasive sans rationale behavior. Gives better than average interviews because like Ted Nugent he has nothing good to say about anybody or anything.

Now, Deep Purple, Ritchie's old venue, were (I'm assuming that, as I've heard, they broke up. These days you never know.) a formula band in it for the money pure and very simple. Jon Lord was the only one of them with any brains, in fact he was smart enough to realize from the top that this whole D.P. gig was just a shuck to cop big bread, which at the time I interviewed him he of course could not admit for obvious reasons so instead he copped off with "Of course we're journeymen, and what's wrong with that?"

But Ritchie. Well, Ritchie was famed for, among other cakewalks, laying his guitar on the stage and strolling up and down the length of its strings. With jackboots yet. He treated his fretboard like huey Long would a recalcitrant Negro. Which was fine by me. I mean, haven't we all had it up to here with guitars, aren't there at least 230.000 too many electric guitars in the world, weren't you glad even in '65 when Townshend first smashed his to smithereens? Sure.

But you'd be surprised what happens when you go to interview these guys. When I asked Ritchie why he liked to take constitutionals on his fretboard, he responded straightfaced with nary a hint of irony: "Yeah, I always wanted to play with my toes... I thought it would feel good. I should imagine a person if they had no hands might get into something... You know Django Reinhardt? He was my idol. He could only move his hand, and created fantastic music."

Deed he did. But Ritchie saying that, in the light of his music, is Kind of like Kiss letting on they been bigly fluenced (if not financed) by Alban Berg. I mean forget it. When D. Purp were still alive, lots of people thought Ritchie was a hot hailstromming guitarro, much better perhaps than the sonic schlubs he had da work with, and I imagine Ritchie was not the last person in the world to come to this conclusion, so here's the second big rave-up from his OWN group Rainbow, the very title of which most aptly demonstrates the man's gift for imagery.

And yeah, he is quite a hot mashdown metal marksman, he doth cook both in D. Purp and hereabouts, but one cooker on any axe duz not a great Rock And Roll Band make, which is why I am not going to comment on any of the individual songs on Rainbow Rising, because they are not in truth songs at all but merely excuses for Ritchie to go apeshit and trod upon his fretboard with his palms, sweat-beaded forehead, belt buckle, dropped hangnails, dislocated ribs, etc. I think he also does something with his fingers but we gotta sell this magazine in supermarkets and you know how those housewife/mothers are.

Ritchie plays herein like he was being chased by a blowtorch-wielding PLO terrorist and that guy with the flesh mask and saw in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And I think they're chasing Ritchie into the heart of the Cold Center. Because if right and left are both after your ass and you can't leave the stage where the fuck do you go but upfront and center and solemn?

So he ends up as stultified as he ever musta felt in Purple, even though he's supposedly calling the shots. Nobody in this band can write, the singer whose name I don't know and why bother to find out might even be Ritchie himself is every lame Rob Plant/Oz Osbourne/Jack Bruce/Ian Gillian limey stereotype squealayakoff you ever heard, which maybe is why Ritchie reserves side two for two extended pieces where he extends his guitar until it begins to resemble a taffy pull performed by Washington while crossing the Delaware with one stooge standing back on shore holding the other end. Plus which all the good stuff he played on Deep Purple in Rock I'd swear was copped straight out from the MC5, Fred Smith and Wayne Kramer who really were rock'n'roll wether they wore jackets of any kind because they certainly gave a damn. SO do I, but not about Blackmore, his ego-tripping guitarists trying to build mystiques by living totally infantile anal-agressive lifestyle and bragging about it while putting out music as slop-ridden as the walls of whatever restaurant housed Ritchie's worst temper tantrum.

Lester Bangs, Creem Magazine - August 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Oyster 0Y-1-1601)

Ritchie Blackmore, the world's loudest musician, sees an amazing new role for himself as a medieval minstrel. Hard to believe, right? Like Lou Reed campaigning in support of Real Ale: or George Harrison opting for atheism; or Tony Blackburn playing music; or Bob Harris shouting.

Well there it is in black and white. "An interest in medieval music... reflected in the Rainbow sound," says the press handout. "Many of the songs make use of medieval modes." You gotta be joking. If Ritchie had to get the Sword out of the Stone, you can be sure he'd use a pneumatic drill.

Blackmore pours out the notes like burning oil from battlements. The band's menace suggests the rack rather than the maypole. Their unhinged attack is enough to dissolve the monasteries all over again. The sound is fat, powerful and brutish, like Henry the Eight. Domesday Book? Doomsday machine, more like. Medieval modes or not, the important thing is that with one album, Blackmore has transcended anything he did with Deep Purple.

It was Blackmore, with Ian Paice, who kept Deep Purple from being Shallow Sepia. Paice is sadly still with Purple, but on hand (and feet) is the great Cozy Powell, hammering away like the sort of octopus that could inspire a new Peter Benchley bestseller. The combination is the hottest heavy in years. Lots of snarling riffs snapping at you, compelling, ferocious presence.

Blackmore is never gonna be a new Hendrix. He's not into that sort of frenzied inspiration. It's a sense of dramatic effect and dynamics that he's built his reputation on, and those instincts have rarely been put to better use than here.

"Stargazer" is the track that says it all, taking up half of one side, with a satanic majesty and a perverse epic grandeur that make it a classic. Blackmore turns in one of his most stunning solos on "Stargazer", precise, calculated, soaring and shimmering over the melee. And the song thunders for the exits with the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra taking up the riff. Well done Koncert Meister Fritz Sonneleitner, you and the boys sound just like a rampaging synthesiser. It's amazing what they can do with orchestras these days.

Not content with one goldplated monster cut, Rainbow turn to "A Light in the Dark," the sort of crazed, flat-out blitzkrieg the Purple tried for on "Machine Head". When this baby rumbles out of the speakers, there's not a grey cell left intact within a five-mile radius. No matter. Who needs grey cells to review this kind of mind-mangler?

Rainbow is different to Purple, and it's not just the range of musical colours they produce. Most of those are varying shades of black, anyway. What this band have created is a bad guys' mutant of orchestral rock, the perfect antidote to the pious mysticism of Yes and other yesmen. Proof at last that rock music doesn't have to be twee to be ambitious.

Bob Edmands, New Musical Express - May 29, 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Oyster 0Y-1-1601)

The long-awaited recording debut of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow is the powerhouse production everyone expected - and much more. The former Deep Purple guitarist has gathered some excellent musicians to his side, spent a long time getting everything together and gives us a truly potent new rock supergroup.

He presents his fellow musicians as equals, giving them full head, thus creating unrestrained, electrifying rock. His band includes Ronnie Dio, an excellent vocalist. Cozy Powell, already a drum legend. Tony Carey, a talented keyboardist; and Jimmy Bain, a solid bassist. Blackmore wrote all the music. Dio wrote all the lyrics.

The manic, solid basic rock, almost overwhelms you from the opening shot "Tarot Woman", which seeths with intensity and fervor. But that is merely a warmup for the next piece, probably first hit from this album the searing "Run With the Wolf," which goes right into the killer "Starstruck".

The Times (Munster, Indiana) - August 29, 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Oyster 0Y-1-1601)

Ritchie Blackmore and his Rainbow are at it again, and I think they mean business. "Rainbow Rising" is an impressive offering aimed at the progressive market and this Rainbow's right on target. Side two is composed of two long and ambitious pieces which emit waves of rock 'n' roll energy that are sure to grab all heavy-metal devotees by the toenails. Watch this LP for considerable FM play and super sales.

Cash Box USA - May 15, 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Polydor 2391 224)

RainbowFlame's Metal Domain Review

Every once in a while an album will come along that will raise the standard for its genre of music. 'Rainbow - Rising' was and still is such an album. When you consider that this album was released in 1976 it makes it even more phenomenal that it is still such a big influence and a release by which others are rated. 'Rainbow - Rising' defines epic metal in its 6 tracks and 33 minute running time. Everything about this release is near utter perfection - Ronnie James Dio's soaring vocals, Ritchie Blackmore's supremely confident guitar work, the bone crushing rhythm section of Cozy Powell [RIP] on drums and Jimmy Bain on bass, all this is iced perfectly by Tony Carey's keyboard work. Overall this is a monster of an album from the opening hurricane of 'Tarot Woman', to bounce of 'Starstruck' not to mention perhaps the best metal track ever in 'Stargazer'. Everything you need to know is here and is as good every time you listen to it. The production by Martin Birch is superb, Cozy's drums have an air to them that is rarely heard while Blackmore's Strat slices your head off majestically, whilst Dio's vocals are enough to make you forget near enough every other vocalist. Its magical album that thoroughly deserves all the praise its ever received.

1. TAROT WOMAN (5.58) - Mystical ' Mini Moog' keys open the track and pulls you into the spell right from the off. The swirling sounds build to a climax before Ritchie Blackmore enters with a simple but enticing riff before Cozy Powell assaults your eardrums with a drum fill that leads into the main verse. Here the instruments interact so well that it is impossible not to be hooked to this 'gothic smeared mystical groove' (thanks Alanna). Dio comes roaring in with 'I don't wanna go, something tells me no no no. The traces in the sand, the lines within my hand say go go go'. The conviction of Dio's voice of these vocals is eerie to say the least and that's part of his magic that makes him so good. The chorus is again enticing 'Beware of a place, a smile on a bright shining face, I'll never return how do you know? Tarot Woman'. This paves way for Blackmore's first solo on the album and it is up there with his very best, at first relatively restraint before building through a melody of the chorus then into overdrive with some stunning licks and phrases that are among the best he has committed to tape - STUNNING. The track goes through another verse and chorus before Tony Carey sees the track out with more 'Moog' excess over the pounding rhythm.

2. RUN WITH THE WOLF (3.48) - The pace drops slightly for this moody, blues medieval laced track. Again Dio is pure magic while Cozy's drums continue to pound your internal organs with every beat of the skins. "There's a hole in the sky, something evils passing by, what's to come when the siren call to go, to Run With The Wolf". The track has an upbeat quality that keeps the dark lyrics from making you too withdrawn into yourself , while Blackmore's throws in a slide solo which defines the word 'moody'. Chills down the spine ever time.... A bit of an odd track to describe but a very strong one again. The outro sees the pace pick up with Blackmore, Powell and Dio getting more worked up, before....

3. STARSTRUCK (4.06) - A bouncing riff opens the track before the groove settles down for the verse - "If I'm high on the hill she would still be looking down on me". The lyrics tell the story of a woman who follows you everywhere you go, not in body but in spirit - "I could fly to the moon but she would still find a way to be there", "The lady's Starstruck, she's nothing but bad luck, coming after me". The solo is quite simplistic and full of melodic charm i.e. perfectly suited. A good track that is perhaps the most upbeat on the album.

4. DO YOU CLOSE YOUR EYES (2.58) - The most straightforward track on the album, the chorus is quite commercial and again features a great vocal performance. The simple riff is reminiscent of Blackmore's work in Deep Purple. Overall its a good track but the weakest on the album.

5. STARGAZER (8.26) - I shouldn't have to really tell you folk about this track I hope?! Quite simple one of the best tracks ever, its all here from the spellbinding riff to the powerhouse vocals, this track is quite simply THE majestic epic. Not once does the track bore, all eight and a half minutes are so magical and captivating that you will not quite believe the power this track has. Everything is perfect - the drums, the bass, the parping keyboards not to mention the solo - which comes searing through your ears on every spin. Dio's vocals soar as expected but even here they manage to sound that bit more magical. Special praise must go to Cozy's drumming which in my view helps make this track what it is - listen to that double bass drum assault, the distinctive snare sound - its sooo good!! The lyrics tell the small story about a wizard, a man who takes people and makes slaves of them. He has them build a huge tower to the sky and the stars - hence the title 'Stargazer'. This track is everything you want in metal and that really sums it up the best stunning.

6. A LIGHT IN THE BLACK (8.12) - Cozy's drumming again opens the track for this pulsating track. This is one of the hardest hitting Rainbow tracks along with 'Kill The King' and 'Death Alley Driver', the riff is relentless and takes no prisoners and many a metal band have used this track as a basis for their own [WASP's 'Arena Of Pleasure' anyone?]. Tony Carey throws in an impressive Moog solo that works well over the intense rhythm before a scalding neo-classical section that sees Carey and Blackmore trading lines. Blackmore's lone solo is full of his distinctive runs and licks all with that great Stratocaster tone again. The production from Martin Birch helps keep the sound cemented together and the speakers grown at the pummeling they receive. A great track from a great album.

This album is one of those very rare things - near perfection from start to finish. None of the tracks disappoint, 'Do You Close Your Eyes' is the weak link personally but this doesn't char the overall impact of this album. 'Rainbow Rising' is a breath of fresh air every time you play it, from the stunning vocals, to the musical interplay, practically everything about this album is so right, even the cover perfectly represents what is inside.

Many of Blackmore's best cuts are here - 'Tarot Woman', 'Stargazer' and 'A Light In The Black' all have that special something that connects your ears to your heart and permanently etches these tracks into your soul. This album is that good, and its down to the fact that no-one overpowers the other. Each member works together to create the sonic powerhouse heard throughout. Only one word can describe this album and that is - ESSENTIAL.


Andy Craven, RainbowFlame's Metal Domain Review 2000

RAINBOW RISING (Polydor 2391 224)


Ritchie Blackmore decided to leave Deep Purple last year, because he no longer agreed with the musical direction that had changed through all kinds of changes in the Deep Purple line-up. He wanted to continue with his own group. That became Rainbow with Jimmy Bain on bass guitar, keyboards Tony Carey, solo guitar Ritchie Blackmore, drums Cozy Powell and singer Ronnie James Dio. Their debut album 'Rising' contains six compositions by Blackmore and Dio, which should show what Blackmore meant by 'his' music.

If you compare it to Deep Purple's music, it matches work by this group on albums like 'Fireball' and 'Machine Head'. Exciting hard rock with 'screaming' vocals. With singer Dio, who we all know from the famous cartoon number 'Love is all', Blackmore has achieved that the old-fashioned Purple sound is revived again. On side 1 you will find 4 measured rock songs and side 2 delivers monumental hard rock with colossal background choirs in two long compositions.

Popshop, Holland - July 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Polydor 2391 224)

Rainbow is the group of Richie Blackmore, Ronnie Dio (the one of the 'Love is all' song) and drummer Cozy Powell, but also bassist Jimmy Bain and keyboardist Tony Carey should not be forgotten. Especially the latter can be heard clearly on this LP. It is music that is a bit rougher than that of Deep Purple in the past and despite a somewhat lesser first album from Rainbow last year, this LP can withstand the critics. Especially because the music is a true unity, not a single instrument is out of tune, it is nice and rough, exciting and fast. What more do you want.

It all starts a bit slow on the synthesizers in 'Tarot man', but soon the five reaches the required speed and also 'Run with the wolf' is definitely put well together, with Richie Blackmore's excellent guitar in it. It is amazing that there are there is no slump on that side 1 because 'Starstruck' and 'Do you close your eyes' are tight, rough and excellent songs.

Side 2 consists of 2 long pieces, namely 'Stargazer' and 'A light in the black'. In 'Stargazer' is mainly the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra that plays its sounds between the violence of the music, through which some background vocals come through. Without those orchestral gusts through it is 'A light in the black' with good guitar work in it while Cozy Powell beats everything out of his drum kit. It won't be long before Rainbow has supplanted Deep Purple.

Muziek Parade, Holland - July 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Polydor 2391 224)

First it was 'Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow', now it's 'Blackmore's Rainbow' and if all goes well next time it will be just 'Rainbow'. If everything goes well, that is, if the group breaks through to the top. Blackmore did not leave Deep Purple at the time to play in a second-rate band. Rainbow must match or surpass Purple in fame. I have a hard time. Not that Rainbow's music is that bad, it is even more enjoyable and vital than what Purple has released in recent years. However, more is needed to become a world group. A good dose of luck, but also: a completely unique sound. 'In Rock' was a revolutionary record at the time it was released, exciting, new, hardly comparable to anything else.

Rainbow's music is very reminiscent of the music of albums 'In Rock' and 'Machine Head'. Exciting, energetic, but not new. We work within an existing and very often applied idiom. The paths are a bit trodden. What once sounded revolutionary now seems more conservative. That is my main criticism of this Rainbow. It all feels dated.

This second Rainbow record is better than the first. 'Tarot Woman' opens with a synthesizer intro that immediately reminds of Jon Lord. I wonder what Blackmore's musical objections to Lord were, because what the new Rainbow keyboardist Tony Carey does on this record is straight from Lord's school.

Compared to the first album, the group has changed a lot. Only Blackmore and singer Ronnie James Dio are left from the previous line-up. New mentioned are T. Carey and further: bassist Jimmie Bain and drummer Cozy Powell. The latter in particular is a huge reinforcement of the group. I would like to see them 'live'. That might sound good. This album is particularly convincing in the two long pieces on side two. 'Stargazer' is such a typical hard rock brew, refined working towards a climax, essential guitar riffs and a monumental solo by Blackmore. The guitar prince, always dressed in black, lives up to his reputation. His solos on this record prove his enormous technique and seem straight from hell. What a profoundly general musician that is. That the police don't prohibit that. Be warned. A Rainbow means disaster.

Bert van de Kamp, Muziekkrant Oor no 11 - 2 June 1976

RAINBOW RISING (Polydor 2391 224)


Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow has delivered a formidable hard rock album with "Rising". The emphasis is mainly on the instrumental. The music is excellent, fast and flashy and Blackmore (rightly) allows himself ample time to prove his worth in elongated soloists. However, the vocal of Ronnie Dio also deserves an honorable mention. Dio, who in terms of voice shows a lot of resemblance to ex-Purple singer lan Gillan, shouts his lungs out. Even more than Gillan, he knows how to create a cool atmosphere.

Beautiful twists and turns, desperate passages are performed by Dio with verve. Especially on the very long song "Stargazer" he pulls like a madman in leather. Overall, the music on "Rising" is very reminiscent of Deep Purple in the days of the album "In Rock". Only Rainbow is brighter, more flashy and more interesting than Purple. In short, the whole is like a hard rock house. Energetic, easy on the ear. Good for parties and parties. And otherwise.

Elli, Muziek Express - June 1976