Friday, June 2, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Long Live Rock n' Roll, by Rainbow

In 1978 a short lived but amazing era of music came to an end when Rainbow put out their final studio album featuring the god of metal himself Ronnie James Dio on vocals: Long Live Rock n' Roll. In their time Rainbow had been building up higher and higher as one of the greatest hard rock/heavy metal bands in the entire world; each album better than the last. When the Dungeons and Dragons fantasy era was reaching its end, it culminated in one hell of a final album.

Long Live Rock n' Roll is arguably the birth of the power metal sub-genre as we know it. It's heavy, melodic, and is filled with fantasy themes like the Tower of Babylon, the Lady of the Lake, dethroning a king by force, and more all while staying in medieval sounding chord and song structures. It features some of classic Rainbow's best known songs such as Long Live Rock n' Roll, Gates of Babylon, Kill the King, and more.

Gates of Babylon in my opinion is one of the single best tracks on Long Live Rock n' Roll. It has this mysterious foreboding middle eastern atmosphere to it, much of which is provided by David Stone's synth playing. Ritchie Blackmore of course adds another layer on with his ripping and running guitar playing in the verses and then lightning fast but melodic soloing. However, Dio really steals the show with how much he wails on the mic and paints a word picture for you with his lyrics.

Kill the King is the song where in my opinion power metal began. It has everything: dual harmonized melodic guitar solos, a thunderous rhythm section, and a powerhouse vocalist striking fear into the heart of a doomed tyrant king. It's fast paced, loud, and at the same time still sounds like music. Rainbow used to open all their shows with this one, and for good reason. It will suck you in right from the first note and you'll be pumping your fist and throwing up horns.

It's a shame that this was the last album with Dio, but in all honesty I'm glad that the classic era of Rainbow that metal fans know and love could end on a high note. In a time of music history where most people were shaking their butts to disco, Rainbow dared to give them the finger and make passionate heavy music with substance that would stand the test of time and outshine anything in the Top 40. This was the first Rainbow album I ever bought, and it ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. You won't regret picking it up either.

Long Live Rock n' Roll, by Rainbow receives 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Track List:

1. Long Live Rock n' Roll
2. Lady of the Lake
3. L.A. Connection
4. Gates of Babylon
5. Kill the King
6. The Shed (Subtle)
7. Sensitive to Light
8. Rainbow Eyes

Buy the album on Amazon:

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