Oyster/Polydor, 1976


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Following the release of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in 1975, the former guitarist from Deep Purple decided that change was in order. Gone was almost his entire backing band, except for vocalist Ronnie James Dio. In was what we now would look at an abundance of riches in terms of musicianship—bassist Jimmy Bain, keyboardist Tony Carey and drummer Cozy Powell.

Rising, the band’s 1976 effort, is one of those few albums out there that aims at perfection and absolutely nails it. Over the course of an all-too-brief 33 minutes, Blackmore and crew tear through six songs and, in the process, redefine what hard rock was and could be. Whether or not this proved to be Rainbow’s finest moment, we can discuss later over a plate of nachos.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

For such a brief album, there is not a wasted note or moment found therein. From Carey’s opening keyboard riffs on “Tarot Woman” to the absolute rollicking good time of “Starstruck,” or the middle-of-the-road successes of “Run With The Wolf” and “Do You Close Your Eyes,” Rainbow keeps the musical pedal pressed completely to the floor, and they never let up.

The highlight of the album is the eight-minute opus “Stargazer,” quite possibly the best-known track from Rising—and for damn good reason. Simply put, nothing Blackmore ever recorded prior to this, or afterwards, can top the mastery of this track. The instrumentation is perfect, Dio’s vocals are perfect, the songwriting is perfect… it truly is a legendary song.

The disc’s closer “A Light In The Black” keeps the power going as Powell’s frantic drumming pushes the song through the motions, all the while Dio crooning in the background. And, before you know it… it’s over.

In fact, that’s the only complaint I have with Rising—it’s too damned short. Perhaps I wouldn’t feel as strongly about the disc had it contained a few other tracks that paled in comparison to the six offered here, so it’s entirely possible that Blackmore knew exactly what he was doing. Still, one can only dream.

Rising is the kind of album that belongs in the collection of any card-carrying rock music fan, and remains the definitive album from Rainbow.

Rating: A

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