RAINBOW — Rising

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RAINBOW - Rising cover
4.50 | 164 ratings | 11 reviews
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Album · 1976

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. Tarot Woman (6:04)
2. Run With the Wolf (3:43)
3. Starstruck (4:08)
4. Do You Close Your Eyes (3:02)
5. Stargazer (8:32)
6. A Light in the Black (8:10)

Total Time: 33:40

2011 Remaster Tracklisting:

Disc 1:
1. Tarot Woman (New York Mix) (6:05)
2. Run with the Wolf (New York Mix) (3:45)
3. Starstruck (New York Mix) (4:08)
4. Do You Close Your Eyes (New York Mix) (3:00)
5. Stargazer (New York Mix) (8:31)
6. A Light in the Black (New York Mix) (8:11)
7. Tarot Woman (Los Angeles Mix) (6:04)
8. Run with the Wolf (Los Angeles Mix) (3:45)
9. Starstruck (Los Angeles Mix) (4:04)
10. Do You Close Your Eyes (Los Angeles Mix) (2:58)
11. Stargazer (Los Angeles Mix) (8:22)
12. A Light in the Black (Los Angeles Mix) (8:11)

Total time 67:04

Disc 2:
1. Tarot Woman (Rough Mix) (6:06)
2. Run with the Wolf (Rough Mix) (3:49)
3. Starstruck (Rough Mix) (4:04)
4. Do You Close Your Eyes (Rough Mix) (3:04)
5. Stargazer (Rough Mix) (9:08)
6. A Light in the Black (Rough Mix) (8:12)
7. Stargazer (Pirate Sound Tour Rehearsal) (8:33)

Total time 42:56


- Ronnie James Dio / vocals
- Ritchie Blackmore / guitar
- Tony Carey / keyboards
- Jimmy Bain / bass
- Cozy Powell / drums

Additional musicians:
- Munich Philharmonic Orchestra / Orchestra
- Rainer Pietsch / Conductor
- Fritz Sonnleitner / Concert Master

About this release

Full length, Polydor (UK)/Oyster (US),
Release date: 17th of May 1976.

Photography, Art Direction: Fin Costello
Artwork: Ken Kelly
Producer: Martin Birch

Recorded at Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany, February 1976.

Remastered and re-released by Universal Music in 2011. This remaster includes two discs, and the rough mixes and the Los Angeles mixes of the album. The New York mixes are the ones that were used on the album.

Thanks to Pekka, diamondblack, 666sharon666, adg211288, Unitron for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

siLLy puPPy
Considered one of the pinnacles of 1970s hard rock and one of the primary impetuses of the world of power metal that would take off in the 1980s, Ritchie Blackmore unleashed RISING his second release with RAINBOW (after truncating the longer moniker Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow) in the spring of 1976 which played a pivotal role in ushering the hard rock 1970s into the heavy metal 80s. While building on the bluesy rock riffs infused with classical elements from the debut and previous Deep Purple experiments, Blackmore decided to start from scratch and fired his entire band with the exception of lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio. The new lineup recruited drummer Cozy Powell best known for playing with Jeff Beck, newbie Jimmy Bain on bass another newbie in the form of American keyboardist Tony Carey.

The album is often simply called RAINBOW RISING, a phrase used in the fantasy fueled subject matter of the album’s 8 1/2 showpiece “Stargazer” which tackles the theme of a wizard turned to the dark side by enslaving humanity to achieve his self-serving ways. The track featured epic crossover progressive rock attributes such as symphonic influences, extended solos of the guitar, keyboards and drums and a series of interesting musical scales. The original vinyl release featured only four songs on side A and two songs that extended past the eight minute mark on the B side. The album was fairly short at only 33 1/2 minutes but packed with all those well established hard rock sounds of the 70s laced with the extra elements that made RAINBOW RISING one of those foundational albums that took the world of heavy metal to the next level.

The album begins with the sounds of distant keyboard sounds that offer a nice electronic contemplation before breaking into the guitar, bass and drum fueled hard rocker “Tarot Woman” which immediately launches the album into the mystical world of the occult and fantasy which would essentially become the subject matter for the world of much of the metal music that would dominate the 1980s and beyond carried on by Ronnie James Dio himself when he launched his own band Dio. In fact many of the tracks on RAINBOW RISING gave hints as to what Ronnie James would sound like on albums like “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line.” It’s uncanny how RAINBOW RISING revisited the past glory of Blackmore’s Deep Purple years while prognosticating the future simultaneously and while transitional albums can often sound stilted, RAINBOW RISING pretty much stands on its own as a masterwork of the era.

The highlights of the album are without a doubt the sole two songs that make up the second half of the album. “Stargazer” is perhaps the most famous song of RAINBOW’s decade long existence and rightfully so as it perfectly embodies the stylistic approach Blackmore was striving for, that being an artful blend of razor-sharp heavy rock instrumentation infused with classical elements, ethnic folk flavors and symphonic prog sophistication without sacrificing the immediacy of a harder leaning rock band. The closing “A Light In The Black” begins with that hard boogie stomp that Blackmore made ample use of throughout his career. Stylistically this track isn’t really different the average Blackmore penned composition but rather simply extended and infused with excellent guitar, keyboard and drum heft and perhaps one of the most energetic outbursts of heavy metal up to this point.

Considered one of the true masterpieces of the ages by many, personally this album took me a while to warm up to. Most likely due to the fact that it is similar and less dynamic than Dio’s own stylistic interpretations from his solo releases. Let’s fact it, Vivian Campbell added a fiery virtuosic energy that Blackmore was never able to achieve but alas i must consider this album for the time it was rendered and simply accept it on its own terms. In that regard, RAINBOW RISING is indeed an excellent album that is chock full of instantly addictive early heavy metal guitar riffs, organ swells and drum rolls made all the more viable by Ronnie James Dio’s spot on metal vocal style. Despite it all this just doesn’t resonate to me on the same level that many make it out to be. While “Tarot Woman” and the two longer tracks are certainly 5-star masterworks, the triumvirate lesser songs of “Run With The Wolf”, “Starstruck” and “Don’t Close Your Eyes” are fairly standard of the day. Personally i find the band’s following album “Long Live Rock ’n’ Roll” to be superior and their crowning achievement however this is obviously an essential album for anyone into rock or metal.
Vim Fuego
‘Rising’ was not predestined to become the 70s metal monster it became. Hell, Rainbow wasn’t even supposed to be a band.

Ritchie Blackmore was in the process of leaving Deep Purple in the early months of 1975. Deep Purple seemed to have developed a revolving door line-up, attracting stray musicians like a black hole sucking in passing planets. His initial intention was to record a solo album. In the process, he recorded a song with Ronnie James Dio and his band Elf. The result so impressed Blackmore he decided to make a band of it. Combining forces into a band called Purple Elf would have been career suicide, so Rainbow was born, the name inspired by the legendary Rainbow Bar and Grill venue. The album ‘Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow’ followed.

Blackmore reckoned the band could be better, so he sacked all the elves except Ronnie, which turned out to be an inspired move. What to do for a rhythm section? Just pull in Cozy Powell and Jimmy Bain. And what about that 70s rock staple, the keyboards? Blackmore and bassist Bain were busy auditioning possible band members while a band called Blessings was rehearsing in the studio next door. Blackmore was impressed with Blessings’ keyboard player Tony Carey, so asked him to audition. Since his own band was going nowhere fast, he joined Rainbow, and the rest, as the hoary old cliché goes, was history!

So what did the Ritchie and Ronnie collaboration come up with? Six tracks of essential 70s metal, and one of the most iconic albums in all of metal and rock, that’s what. The mists of time may have faded the impact of this album somewhat. It’s not going to blow the socks off a teenage Bring Me The Horizon fan. However, anyone with an interest in the history of metal, a love for guitar wizardry, or an ear for soaring rock vocals will love ‘Rising’.

‘Rising’ may seem a bit short, at only six tracks, and just over the half hour mark, but there is a lot packed into that space. Carey’s keyboards swirl in from the silence as an intro to “Tarot Woman”. Blackmore offers a sharp, almost industrial reply, and then Powell and Bain thunder in, and the song takes off. Dio tells his tale of fairground witchcraft. There really isn’t much more to say. The recipe is made to sound simple, but there are hidden depths, proving the execution has been anything but simple. It is vintage metal, made for metal fans, while avoiding the worst excesses of 70s progressive rock.

The introduction to “Starstruck” has had air guitarists fiddling away at nothing, and real guitarists throwing their hands up in frustration, ever since 1976. The song has a groove which was once the exclusive preserve of Deep Purple, but had been commandeered by Rainbow, and put to great use.

“Run With The Wolf” and “Do You Close Your Eyes” both have memorable metallic riffs and almost pop-metal hooks, punctuated with guitar magic and sing-along choruses.

Powell’s intro to “Stargazer” would have had drummers the world over scratching their heads as to how he did it. The song has an epic main riff, like Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir, only more mystical. Dio’s fantastical lyrics and clarion call vocals soar over the mythic miasma. Blackmore also lets rip, releasing all shackles, a six string maestro at the height of his powers. His solos are technically impressive, and seethe with vitality. The song takes on further dimensions still, with the backing of the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra.

And then to finally nail this album to the wall, closing track "A Light in the Black" basically wrote the blueprint for power metal. Up-tempo, and hard driving, the song is also a melodic masterpiece. Keyboardist Carey and Blackmore trade licks through the song. Cozy’s kickdrums underpin the whole thing.

The pairing of Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio sounds like a match made in heaven on paper (and a bit of a mangled metaphor!), and there was no better combo at the time. However, the age old problem of creative differences reared its ugly head, leaving “Rising” as a one-off for this line-up. Dio joined Black Sabbath, and the enjoyed a lengthy solo career. Blackmore and Rainbow found commercial success with the singles “Since You’ve Been Gone” and “I Surrender”, and headlined the first Donnington Monsters of Rock festival. However, Rainbow never maintained a steady line-up, and has had periods of hiatus when Blackmore’s interests have been elsewhere.

No matter. Just be thankful “Rising” exists, as a snapshot of one of the great combos of all time.
This landmark Rainbow proved to be a turning point in the careers of all involved, but most particularly of Ritchie Blackmore and Dio; it not only established Rainbow as a credible band rather than a mere vanity project of Blackmore's, but it also saw Dio join the front rank of metal frontmen from the era. It would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that most of Dio's subsequent career would be based around refining and perfecting the fantasy metal blueprint provided by this album, both in terms of his Dungeons & Dragons lyrics and the driving proto-NWOBHM sound on display.

I do not say that to denigrate Dio - quite the opposite. The fact that he was able to base so much of his future career on what was accomplished with this album just goes to show the rich creative vein tapped by it. As well as Dio's stalwart vocal performance and Blackmore's usual virtuoso guitar playing, major kudos has to go to the rhythm section of Jimmy Bain and Cozy Powell, whose driving fast-paced playing provides a rock-solid base for Blackmore and keyboardist Tony Carey's solos and Dio's quasi-operatic proclamations.

Although it's of obvious historical interest, on a purely musical level I wouldn't count the album as an unadulterated classic. Tony Carey's keyboard playing, aside from the intro to Tarot Woman, is usually upstaged by the rest of the band and doesn't seem to add much to the compositions beyond the odd bit of texture here and there, to the point where it feels as though he's present solely because artsy rock bands in the 1970s were supposed to have a keyboardist. In addition, the songwriting flags a bit after the first half of the album, with Stargazer getting repetitive to the point where I never want to hear Dio yelling "Whips and chaaaaaiiins" ever again. In addition to this, fans of more brutal and aggressive metal styles - or even harder and heavier Rainbow-influenced variants of NWOBHM, traditional metal and power metal - may find it to be rather tame. But still, when I'm in just the right mood for a Dio fix and I don't want something as heavy as his Sabbath material or as quintessentially 80s as his best solo work, Rising hits the spot.
Rainbow rising over 70s metal.

One of the great Rainbow albums with fantastic musicianship throughout. Dio is in wonderful form along with the incredible drumming of Cozy Powell and the definitive fret melting lead work of Blackmore. He is fantastic on songs such as 'Tarot Woman' and 'Stargazer'. He uses a slide on the mid tempo 'Run With the Wolf' to great effect.

There are so many highlights including the brilliant 'Starstruck' with great classic lyrics such as "it used to be a game now I can't repeat my name at all, She seems to believe that I never can refuse her call, She wants a souvenir, To everyone it's clear, She's hooked, one look She wants a photograph, And everybody laughs But not me, 'cause I see She's creeping like a hungry cat, Seen it before and I know it can mean that the ladie's starstruck..."

'Stargazer' is a symphonic classic including a terrific drum intro and killer riff, awesome lead break and a melody that stays with you; "We built a tower of stone, With our flesh and bone, Just to see him fly Don't know why, Now where do we go".

Another treasure is the rocking fast paced 'A Light in the Black', "I'm coming home...", with amazing synth solo, and there is so much more on this album. This is one to buy if you see it, especially on vinyl with that iconic cover.
Phonebook Eater
For sure one of the best hard rock/proto metal albums ever. A true classic, a masterpiece that must be listened to anyone who loves this genre. Rainbow includes some of the worlds greatest musicians, such as Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) on lead vocals, Ritchie Blackmore on guitars, Cozy Powell on drums. Not to forget Tony Carey, that thanks to this album shows his talent, especially in songs like "Tarot Woman" and "A Light In The Black". The style of the album is typical hard rock, even though there are some very original moments and elements, like the already mentioned virtuosity of the keyboardist Carey, making the record prog related. We also fond though traditional elements of proto metal, such as enlivened and heavy guitars that play some simple but effective riffs, and magnificent solos. Many consider Rainbow's "Rising" or even the band very similar to Deep Purple, actually they think they are pretty much the same. They couldn't be more more wrong, in my opinion. Both bands have a very original sense of songwriting, different from each other. Sure, they do have a lot in common, but I wouldn't consider them identical.

The album stars with "Tarot Woman", one of the best hard rock songs ever. It also has one of the most original intros of the genre, played only with the keyboards. The rest is extremely catchy, with great vocals by Dio and amazing guitar by Blackmore. Fantastic. "Run With The Wolf" is a great hard rock song, very traditional, with a simple riff, but played with great energy and heart. The same can be said for the two following tracks, "Starstruck" and "Do You Close Your Eyes", other two fantastic pieces. "Stargazer" is the bands masterpiece, one of the very best hard rock songs ever written. Mysterious, epic, energetic, powerful, enigmatic, here we probably find Dio's best performance. "A light In The Black"'s best moment in my opinion is Carey's solo, a true hymn to virtuosity and real music. The rest never appealed to me much.

A fantastic album, absolutley essential for any hard rock fan, I recommend it to EVERYONE!!

Members reviews

Rising was my first Rainbow album (still on vinyl), and I loved it immediately. Though Jimmy Bain on bass and vocalist Ronnie James Dio have never been the most talented musicians, and Ritchie Blackmore has proven later that he is at his best with an acoustic guitar, they somehow managed to compensate this by something they never achieved again: playing as a real band.

The most dominant feature of Rising is the intensity of the songs. It is no wonder and quite fitting that Rising contains no ballad. The six songs, however, are nowhere near similar or even monotonous. Though it is evident that Ritchie Blackmore dominated the songwriting, of course letting Dio write the lyrics, similarities to Deep Purple are subtle. Blackmore's solos sound like they always did, but that's it basically. Drummer Cozy Powell and keyboarder Tony Carey prove that they are in the same league as Iain Paice and Jon Lord. Who would have thought that Carey would later become famous for a pop ballad like Room With A View?

It is not easy to point out single songs as better or weaker, although Dio once stated in an interview that he wished A Light In The Black had never been written. I strongly disagree, as it is my second favourite song of the album. It is only surpassed by Stargazer which is the reason why I didn't write impossible at the beginning of this paragraph. Stargazer is definitely a five and a half star song with tendencies to six stars, although it never made my personal Top 10. But this is not Stargazer's fault but simply due to the even higher quality of the other songs I rated above it.

The rating for Rising is simple: 5.0 stars.
Rainbow’s Rising is the epitomy of traditional heavy metal. Dio’s stylized, dramatic tone of voice is ideal for the genre. Cozy Powell’s unambiguously thundering drumming style anchors each track perfectly. Guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore’s neo-classical riffs and extended melodic solos are class. Jimmy Bain’s bass provides the consummate level of heaviness to proceedings. Tony Carey’s keyboard playing beautifully enhances the fullness and symphony of the band’s sound, and provides some great solos of his own. In particular Carey sets the mood with a solo at the start of the album. The tracks are full of the requisite epic melodies and themes reinforced by the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra in the case of Stargazer where the album rises to its summit.
Way back over thirty years ago, Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple guitarist fame united with Dio's band Elf (at first, as a side project; for this album he would replace the rest of the musicians accept for Dio) to form a new group Rainbow that would revolutionize the world of metal, especially Rainbow's sophomore effort, Rising. This album in many ways has achieved historical merit regarding it's influence on the direction hard rock and metal would take in the future, and that influence reverberates throughout the metal community today, especially with power metal and prog metal acts. So exactly what about it made it so influential?

Well, nothing like it had really been done before. And it still sounds remarkably unique and well aged all the way to the incoming another decade of the millennium. Blackmore's guitar work is some of the best (if not the best) he had and has ever recorded, at least in the sense of how he'd progressed out of the blues style into what would help define hard rock/heavy metal guitar playing, with heavy hitting riffs, sweeping (guitar pun not intended) solos, and even hints at what would be the basis for power metal guitar playing (especially in A Light in the Black). The synth work is a big thing that separates this from your standard rock album as well. There is also an overall slight complexity to the composition, though not that it's nearly enough to considered progressive. Dio's vocals fit the music remarkably well, adding the the wholesome and almost mystic feel the album has. The drumming is interesting enough, and I think it could have been made very cluttered had Powell had a more complicated playing style, thus rhythm patterns he plays only contribute to the solidity and heaviness of the album. All of the instruments just fit so well together, like a puzzle that just fits nearly perfectly.

What surprises me most is just how catchy all the tracks are without loosing hardly any musical integrity whatsoever. This is definitely an album that wasn't created just to make money, these guys are writing exactly the music they want without compromise, and it well paid off as that mentality created an album that has endured the test of time. Unfortunately I can't say the same for pretty much any of the group's following albums. Had they kept on the role they were on with this album, they could have easily been my favorite band, as this is definitely one of my favorite hard rock (or on this site, traditional metal) albums. Head banging hard rock, to the level of awesomeness as Uriah Heep, some Rush, and obviously Deep Purple.

As far as the actual tracks go, it's pretty hard to determine the best, for all are so powerful and splendid in their own ways, but I think Stargazer takes the cake. It seems as though in the main chorus, at the part of the lyrics "I see a Rainbow Rising," a magical aura falls around the band, a feeling caused by the introduction of the moving string lines that add to the already magical feeling the song presents, especially with the male choruses (I'm pretty sure they're keyboard settings...). It is seriously and literally epic. "I'm goin' home, Oooooh!!!" Everyone who listens to rock, especially metal should hear this epic track at some point in their lives. My least favorite tracks are actually the first and last, though for relatively minor reasons, as they're both still amazing.

Essential for any self-respecting metal head out there. If you like ANY hard rock or early metal AT ALL, especially bands like Deep Purple, Scorpions, Savatage, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, etc., this is an album you MUST buy, period. Oh, and the remastered version (or at least the one I bought) tweaked some things and added effects where they weren't really appropriate, especially with the cymbal crashes; just a fair warning to any of you that actually decide to buy the CD version of this remarkable piece of work.
Consider that illusive rainbow (almost) caught!

Rising is clearly more adventurous and progressive compared to Rainbow's promising, but slightly immature, debut album. We have here a new line up of the band featuring in addition to masters Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio also one of the best drummers of all time in Cozy Powell. I would say that Rainbow Rising is the definitive achievement of these three amazing musical talents. (Yes, I think this is much better than any Deep Purple album!)

The remaining two band members Jimmy Bain (on bass) and Tony Carrey (on keyboards) also do an excellent job here. The keyboards, which are dominated by swirling synthesizers rather than the Hammond organ we are used to in Blackmore's previous band, gives this album a very fresh and timeless sound and the keys sound particularly good on Tarot Woman and Light In The Black. The former starts with a very captivating synthesizer, slowly building up the melody until, the drums, guitars and bass kicks into the main riff of the song. A truly amazing opening song and a Rock classic in its own right!

Light In Black features one of those very rare moments of total musical bliss. At 3:41 into the track an excellent, melodic, very structured guitar part; then some more improvised, wild soloing; then at 5:42 the excellent part is repeated, this time doubled on Moog synthesizer. All accompanied by Cozy's thunderous drumming. This part is pure musical ecstasy for me. I always play this part of song at least twice every time I listen to the album! The symphonic Stargazer is also a fantastic song and an instant Rainbow classic. The remaining songs, however, even if very good too, are fairly straightforward Hard Rock songs that would not be out of place on the two Deep Purple albums made just prior to Ritchie leaving to form Rainbow.

On the down side, Rising is a bit less varied and diverse than the band's debut album. There are no real ballads to speak of this time like the beautiful Catch The Rainbow or the wonderful, folky Temple Of The King both from the debut. I cannot help thinking that they could have made a complete masterpiece album had they taken the best tracks from the debut and put them together with the best tracks from the present album to make a single cohesive and varied album (preferably, with the drum and keyboard sound of Rising); keeping the fantastic (and very progressive) tracks Tarot Woman, Stargazer and Light In The Black and replacing the remaining three tracks with Catch The Rainbow, Temple Of The King, Man On the Silver Mountain and Sixteenth Century Greensleeves from the debut. This imaginary album, had it been a reality, would have recieved the full five star rating from me and be one of my most highly regarded albums of all time! However, as it now stands, I have to deduct a half star.

Rising is clearly a timeless Rock classic and an excellent addition to any Rock (Metal or otherwise) collection.
Sean Trane
It did not take long for Blackmore to start building his dream group by keeping the awesome-voiced Dio and by firing the rest of the old Elf group (which certainly deserved a better treatment from Blackmood), and bringing in one of the best hard rock drummer in the business, the mercenary Cozy Powell. Powell's sound and powerful, inventive and dramatic playing will be the main ingredient that was to build Rainbow's legend. With those three "beasts" in the band , it was difficult for the other two to find their spaces, with Bain just being apt and Tony Carey as a supporting KB to the group (his soloing in concert was simply very poor, and he would get fired soon, albeit Tony learned from his mistakes as he is still around nowadays), but this album is one of the bests in its category and graced with one of the most phantasmagoric artwork ever.

This second album is one of the most emblematic of 70's hared rock/heavy Metal from the 7O's and certainly one of my fave, even if it was quite short. From the start of the synth intro of the outstanding Tarot Woman to the enthralling Run With The Wolf and implacable Starstruck, the first side is simply flawless until the last track, which appears to be a throwaway track: the awful but thankfully short Do You Close Your Eyes. This is rather un-understandably the most often plated track live, often used as an encore where Blackmore destroyed his guitar. Anyway, the trio of opening track is one of the best trilogies of the genre and all three could've made major airplay (with Tarot Woman without the intro).

The second side is made of two long tracks, the first of which Stargazer is Rainbow's major achievement and the apex in dramatic singing. Dio's voice rises and soars (like he was capable until his stint with Sabbath later on) while Blackmore descending riff and Powell's power drumming are over-powering. There is a slight Arabic feeling pervading throughout the track and this adds to the grandeur of it. The second track pales a bit in comparison, but A Light In The Black does conclude capably a very excellent album even it is a bit repetitive especially given its length. Had Kill The King been added to the album track list (and thus shortening ALITB), this album would've been a perfect affair.

Surely one of the most endearing album of the 70's, I don't know any proghead that does not like this opus, and I must say that Rainbow's apex came unfortunately too soon, as I wish they'd duplicated the formula on this album.
Rainbow's second album, released not even one year after their debut, is widely considered as one of the masterpieces of hard rock, as well as one of the cornerstones on which Symphonic Progressive Metal was founded. Though somewhat short for today's standards (not even 35 minutes long... about half the length of your average Dream Theater CD), it is nevertheless packed with breathtaking performances by a dream-team of musicians such as incomparable guitar wizard Ritchie Blackmore, diminutive yet iron-lunged vocalist Ronnie James Dio, and powerhouse drummer Cozy Powell (RIP - one of the saddest losses for the rock world). Keyboard player Tony Carey and bassist Jimmy Bain (later to join RJ Dio's eponymous band, with which he plays to this day) are no slouches either - the band is incredibly tight, as attested by the numerous live performances recorded at the time.

As in the case of 'mother' band Deep Purple, keyboards play a large role on this album: opener "Tarot Woman" is introduced by atmospheric synths, before the rest of the band kicks in with a crushing mid-tempo above which Dio's vocals soar. "Run with the Wolf" is another mid-paced song, quite a typical example of the Dio-era output; while the dynamic "Starstruck", undoubtedly one of Rainbow's most popular songs, features intriguingly unusual lyrics about a female stalker. The catchy yet undistinguished "Do You Close Your Eyes", possibly the only item on the album to be considered as filler (and the shortest too), closes what on vinyl was the A-side. The best, however, is yet to come...

There are only two tracks on what was the B-side, but what tracks! Accompanied by a full orchestra, the 8-minute-plus epic "Stargazer" is without any doubt the blueprint for all Symphonic Prog Metal bands, a staggering tour de force sprinkled with dazzling guitar work by the Man in Black himself, and a stellar vocal performance by RJ Dio. His delivery of the sword-and-sorcery-themed lyrics is nothing short of amazing, and makes one wonder at the staying power of his lungs (which continues to this day, when he is closer to 70 than 60).

On closing track "A Light in the Black", the fastest song on the album, Tony Carey's keyboards really come into their own. However, this track is also a showcase for Cozy Powell's incredible double-bass drumming, a powerful wall of sound propelling the song along - clearing the ground from any doubts that he was John Bonham's natural heir, the archetypal hard rock drummer. Dio and Blackmore's performances are also immaculate.

Though "Rising" is one of my all-time favourite albums, my five-star rating does not only stem from matters of personal preference. A richly textured, flawlessly performed, album, bombastic, operatic and pretentious enough (in a thoroughly positive sense, of course!) to appeal to lovers of vintage progressive rock as well as metal fans, this is no mind-numbing, bludgeoning, run-of-the-mill metal opus - but rather a genuinely ground-breaking effort that sounds as relevant today as it did 34 years ago.

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