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Down to Earth (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

The departure of Ronnie James Dio gave Ritchie Blackmore a chance to reinvent Rainbow, which he does to a certain extent on Down to Earth. Adding former Deep Purple colleague Roger Glover as bassist and Graham Bonnet as vocalist, Blackmore tones down some of the excess of the Dio years, particularly in terms of fantastical lyrics, and turns to straight-ahead hard rock, only occasionally adorned by prominent synthesizers. In general, their material is fairly solid, and "Since You Been Gone" easily ranks among the band's best songs, but overall the record is a little generic and sounds very much of its time — namely, the late '70s, when album rock still ruled the arenas. Nevertheless, Rainbow have a distinct idea, primarily through the guitar artistry and mystical sensibility of Ritchie Blackmore. He sounds invigorated on the album, turning in muscular performances and strong solos on each cut; clearly, the reunion has revitalized him. Unfortunately, Bonnet tends to oversell his vocals, screaming a little bit too often, but he doesn't distract from the fact that Blackmore, Glover, and drummer Cozy Powell turn Down to Earth into a fine hard rock platter. It might not offer anything unique, but it delivers the goods. [A Deluxe Edition of the album was reissued in 2011, featuring a second disc of previously unreleased tracks and instrumental outtakes.]


Formed: 1974 in England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

The brainchild of former Deep Purple guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, Rainbow quickly developed into one of the '70s most successful heavy metal bands behind charismatic front man Ronnie James Dio. Together, the duo would produce a string of acclaimed albums which are still considered classics of the genre. But the group would change their musical approach numerous times following the singer's departure, eventually confusing and alienating much of their audience. Releasing eight albums during it's decade...
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