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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow

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Album Review

Perhaps the first example of "dragon rock" — a style perfected by bands like Iron Maiden and Dio in the early to mid-'80s — was Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, a 1975 collection from the guitarist's first post-Deep Purple project. Fittingly enough, a young Ronnie James Dio provides the goblin-like frontman presence required by the increasingly Baroque Blackmore. The young Dio is at his best when he fully gives in to his own and Blackmore's medieval fantasy leanings in hard-rocking tracks like "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" and "Man on the Silver Mountain." The dark, trudging doom rock of "Self Portrait" most clearly showcases what they were capable of. The album's ponderous lyrics are occasionally punctuated by poetic phrases such as "crossbows in the firelight." Although Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow provides a few listenable tracks, its primary value is historical. Look to Rainbow's next album, Rainbow Rising (1976), to grasp the heavy metal potential that is only hinted at here.


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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Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, Rainbow
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