Friday, April 15, 2016

Throwback Thursday: Rising, by Rainbow

Guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore just had a birthday! What better a way to celebrate than by doing a retrospective review of Rising, one of the absolute greatest albums he ever did with Rainbow and as an artist overall? Released in 1976, Rising was where Rainbow truly established themselves as the heavy rock/metal giant that they were to become remembered among fans of the genres for many years to come. The second side of the record alone is enough to make someone's jaw drop.

Rising is a massive departure from the sound of the band's first album Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow which had been released a year prior. This is due to the fact that Blackmore wanted musicians that could keep up with him and make the kind of heavy music he wanted to make at the time. The only person he kept was vocalist Ronnie James Dio, who did an AMAZING job lyrically and vocally. It may not have been his favorite Rainbow record, but it's still the one where he shines through the best in my opinion. Rising is an incredibly grandiose album, to say the least. This is where I feel power metal was born. Mix medieval, with classical, with metal, etc. and the magic of Ritchie Blackmore and you have something often imitated but never duplicated.

Tarot Woman is one of those songs that will raise the hairs on your arms and the back of your neck the moment the first note from the synth is laid down. Keyboardist Tony Carey does NOT hold back here. When the build -up to the rest of the band coming in begins you just KNOW you're in for one hell of a wild ride. When it takes off, you're not let down. From start to finish you're taken on a whirlwind of mysterious electric guitar melodies, pulsing rhythms, gypsies, and synthesizer gods. Bassist Jimmy Bain did an absolutely fantastic job thundering away on bass in this tune while also keeping things subtle enough for the softer parts.

Stargazer is without a doubt Ritchie Blackmore's crowning achievement as a musician. This composition is grand and powerful. Hell, Blackmore even brought in the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra to back the band on this track. It feels like you are being taken on a mysterious magical journey into the desert. Its opening drum solo done by the late Cozy Powell and main guitar riff are iconic. There is this warmth to it that is unimaginable unless you hear it for yourself. This is where the magic of Ronnie James Dio's writing and vocal talent truly came alive in Rainbow as well. Even if you normally don't listen to music about wizards and magic, Stargazer might still be the exception. It's a rather long tune, and for good reason.

Rising is an absolutely essential album to have for anyone looking to get into Rainbow, 70's hard rock/metal, or looking to hear the influences and origins of their favorite modern bands' sounds. I've only just scratched the surface of the wonder contained in this album. I'm definitely not ashamed to say this was the first album I ever bought on vinyl. You might not think you like music about gypsies, werewolves, wizards, etc. but you'll change your mind after listening to this Ritchie Blackmore masterpiece.

Rising, by Rainbow receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Tarot Woman
2. Run With the Wolf
3. Starstruck
4. Do You Close Your Eyes
5. Stargazer
6. A Light in the Black

Buy the album on Amazon:

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