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Maybe it seems like the wrong thing to say at the start of a largely positive review, but I never felt like Rainbow were a cool band. Of course the early line-up was pretty special, but they called themselves Rainbow for god's sake, so I'm thinking of unicorns and children's cartoons instead of the rock and roll and medieval fantasy that informed the band's lyrics. Following on from that, I always had the idea that these guys somehow weren't heavy despite frequently crossing the divide from hard rock into heavy metal. This album kind of exemplifies my attitude, especially since I feel nonplussed about the meeting of themes, lurching to pure imagination in 'Gates of Babylon' straight from the humdrum topic of taking a plane in 'L.A. Connection'. It's all held together with strong musicianship and feeling execution, but still comes as somewhat of a surprise.
The different themes are also accompanied by a shift in the style of music, though it isn't too dramatic, mostly cutting between striding rock shapes and more forward-thinking metal riots. As was par for the course with Ritchie Blackmore in the '70s, some of the guitar playing is masterful and progressive, while some simply attempts to do the same as everyone else, but better. The high energy that he puts into the rocking tunes is welcome and fun, with the rest of the band following him until the transition into leads arrives or a drum fill is necessary; however, it's his contribution to 'Gates of Babylon' and 'Kill the King' that seems most remarkable, as he first plays through grandiose Eastern scales and licks then leads the following song in a masterclass of style.
Dio was on his last Rainbow outing and balances the two types of song pretty well. What seems strange is that he manages to sound fairly standard in a kind of Brian Johnson way on 'L.A. Connection' yet really steps up a gear for the more dramatic and experimental songs. His pipes are strong at all moments, though you can't help but be caught up by him screaming out lines like "Sleep with the devil and then you must pay" or "Danger, danger, the queen's about to kill" like his life depends on it. Not only in terms of the vocals, it seems a shame to me that the band couldn't have taken more risks on the songs here, since everything they try that is even slightly different comes off wonderfully, whereas there is a distinct underwhelming feeling about the straightahead numbers, which just smack of playing it safe. Especially considering the calibre of the two aforementioned musicians, I kind of hope for more than a half measure.
Without having a look at several songs, it's perfectly possible that one could make the wrong judgment about Long Live Rock 'n' Roll. I've already mentioned the grandiosity of 'Gates of Babylon', which probably made more significant contributions to power metal than most acknowledge, while 'Kill the King' fits in somewhere between more traditional heavy metal, speed metal, and the kind of song Scorpions might have written around the same time, with Blackmore playing one long string of lead riffs and solos throughout the song. The pick of the conventional hard rock songs is surely the title track, though you might not kick 'Sensitive to Light' out of bed either. 'Rainbow Eyes' is an intimate closer that comes expectedly on this album, shutting off the excess of the other songs to whisper and drift through a languid ballad before slightly medieval sounding flutes lead us out of the album. While there are moments of genius scattered around, it's also frustrating how plain 'L.A. Connection' and 'The Shed (Subtle)' sound at times, while 'Rainbow Eyes' drags at an absurd seven minutes with the vocals failing to strike me in any sensitive spot. Also, the balance between adventurous and commercial exploits seems rather artificial at times, which seems to result in the divide between intriguing and banal.
How I feel about this album is thus quite divided, because I recognize the true greatness of some of the songs and contributions, yet can't help feeling disappointed that there was a lot more potential to be explored. It ends up as one of those '70s albums that risks a lot and also plays it safe, offering some "singles material" and more thoughtful compositions, making it seem like a short record with filler, which is certainly not a good sentence to be writing. Nevertheless, the great outweighs the annoying and there's no way I would recommend any fan of music to avoid 'Kill the King'.
After the very successful "Rising", Ritchie Blackmore decided to make a change in the musical direction of the band, since he was tired of the dungeons & dragons lyrics that Dio used in every single song of their previous albums. Furthermore, he wanted to use a more accessible sound for band's music in order to reach a higher number of sales. Obviously, Ronnie James Dio did not agree with him. He wanted to keep the style of their previous albums, and this change was such an issue since he decided to leave the band after the release of this album, and at that point the band was deadly injured.
This background can explain why the album is not as glorious as the previous, but not as bad as the further efforts with the new vocalists. Like in previous albums, the sound is basically inspired by 70's Deep Purple, mainly noticeable in guitar playing and some keyboards passages; however, due to their creative differences, the album contains songs inspired by Dio and songs inspired by Blackmore. Both types of songs seem to be good, but Blackmore is not exactly a good composer, and his stubbornness was not helpful for this album as none of his compositions were close to Dio's composing ability.
There are many heavy metal songs with an epic vibe which clearly represent the Dio standard. "Kill the King" is a brilliant speed metal number which was part of "On Stage" and is one of the best Blackmore's moments in the album, but the best song is "Gates of Babylon" which is a slower-paced piece, and besides Dio's epic vocals, guitar riffs give to the song an interesting arabic background which goes well with its pace. Then you have the closing song "Rainbow Eyes" which is a beautiful long-lenght ballad with a very emotive vibe.
On the other hand, there are also many bluesy songs which are an omen of the things to come after Dio's departure (except for "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" which is a pretty decent number), since they are exactly what Blackmore wanted even though Dio did some work on their lyrics. Although they are the weakest numbers of the album, they are rescued by the good musical ability of the band's members. Actually, these songs make of this album a step-down from its previous.
In general terms, the album has a very impressive musicianship. Powell did a great work at drums, and his ability to create interesting rhythms and tempos for the songs along with Blackmore's virtuous playing, make of this album a great and outstanding album. However, Blackmore's whims are a weakness for this album and actually for the rest of band's career. He made a bad decision when he tried to make his own version of Deep Purple in further releases. At this point, Rainbow became an influence for power metal bands on the beginning of the 80's, but Blackmore made everything to wreck-up this band. It is advisable to enjoy this one because this is the last good album of the band.
Ronnie James Dio may not have gotten the attention he deserved in the 70's if it hadn't been for Rainbow. The band was also meant to be a solo project for Deep Purple's ex-guitarist, Ritchie Blackmore, but Dio seemed to be getting more attention, and this displeased Blackmore to no end. As a result, "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" would be the final album made with the two musicians in the Rainbow lineup, and it's a perfect swan song for said lineup. Every Rainbow album after this would either be mediocre ("Straight Through the Eyes") or just downright bad ("Down to Earth").
Blackmore's and Dio's contributions to the music are clearly evident, as there are songs in two completely different styles. One is Dio's, with more mystical lyrics and classical influences. The other is Blackmore's, with songs that are more hard rock/blues based, much like when he was in Deep Purple. You can easily tell that "Sensitive to Light" is one of Blackmore's, cos it's got a bright, rowdy vibe to it. My favorite one of his, is "The Shed (Subtle)", cos it's got a hard, thumping drumbeat, thanks to the legendary Cozy Powell, and a hard rocking hook. That combination makes for a pretty meaty song, and to top it all off, it's got Dio singing in harsh, rough tone of voice, punctuating the song's mood. It also begins with Blackmore showing off some of his soloing skills. Personally, though, I think he does a better solo in "Kill the King", where he not only shreds like a maniac, but he also plays a sweet interlude before the third verse. His influence can also be heard in "L.A. Connection", which also has a hard rock-based riff.
Dio's influence is clearly evident in the songs that are not so bluesy and hard rock-like. His songs carry more variety, ranging from the haunting and somber "Rainbow Eyes" to the fast and aggressive "Kill the King". The former, in particular, closes the album, and all the hard rocking grinds to a halt in favor of a chillingly gloomy serenade featuring an entire string ensemble and a flute playing a more classical-based melody. Probably with a sigh, Blackmore plays a riff with a light guitar as well. The fact that the song is played in the key of F minor only adds to the fact that I get goosebumps every time I listen. Yeah, yeah, I get it, it's a love song, but they lyrics speak not of literal broken hearts, but of metaphors of fairs being taken down. That's another real talent of Dio; writing the perfect lyrics that add more flavor to the song. When all of this is put together, it creates an excellent and powerful, if not depressing, song that may or may not get you to reach for the nearest Kleenex box.
One of my favorites on this album, though is the mysterious "Gates of Babylon". The song is heavy with synthesizers, but they're used in the way they were intended to be used; to set the tone of the song rather than making the next "Mr. Roboto". In this case, the synthesizers add to the song's Middle-Eastern atmosphere by playing a haunting melody along with the guitar, and during the chorus, it plays a mysterious-sounding hook. They also play a bit of a solo in the beginning, bringing us a vibrant, eerie sound that has never been heard before (bear in mind that this is the 70's, when the mellotron technology still in its embryonic stages and before the days of the horrendous auto-tune). It seems that Blackmore had to adapt to the song's mystical nature by playing his solo using harmonic minor arpeggios, which give it a fresh and exotic feel as opposed to the stuff he's used to playing. He does a good job in doing it too, so it's a shame that he wanted Rainbow to be a more Deep Purple-like band rather than something fresh and new, like "Gates of Babylon".
It must be said that "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" is the last great Rainbow album, at least the last great one with Dio's voice. He and Blackmore would get fed up with each other, thus leading the former to pack his bags and leave. Everything would crumble into pieces after that, for Blackmore made Rainbow into a completely different band, one that would be born with Def Leppard's Disease. The two might not have agreed with each other, but man, when they did work together, they sure did manage to crank out some amazing stuff! Sometimes having an uncooperative person wouldn't be much of a problem when creating excellence... that is, until a breaking point is reached.
This is the last Dio-fronted Rainbow album. To an extent, you could argue no vocalist ever fronted a band with Ritchie in it. Looking back, it should surprise no one that this partnership didn't work. While it did exist though, excellent music was produced. A majority was just average however, and this album is no different.
The duo that this early line-up was built around don't disappoint. Ritchie riffs and solos like a possessed guitar hero. Overall, it's an excellent mix of blues and classical playing. Usually, the riffing consists of the former, and then he switches to the latter for the soloing. His playing is very melodic, and for the time, very fast. Ritchie was possibly the first shredder, depending on where you set the bar. Dio is also excellent on here. He doesn't seem to utilize his roar as much as usual, but he still impresses. His range, emotion, and bite are still evident to anyone with a pair of ears. Dio's lyrics are also pretty good on here. His mystical lyrics and his more down to earth lyrics co-exist perfectly on here. There are several songs on here that survive mainly because of these two guys.
There really isn't anyone else that stands up to these two guys on here. Cozy is a very good drummer, but not for his performance on here. Kill the King is the only special song from him on here. The rest of the time, he's pretty stock. I'm not saying he's overrated, just that this is not one of the albums that built his reputation. The rest of the instrumentation is solid at best. It seems likely that Ritchie did much of the keyboard and bass work himself, so they never take center stage.
As to the song quality, it's not very high on the whole. Gates of Babylon and Kill the King are metal classics. More bands than I care to count have covered those songs. They're awesome. The last two on the other hand suck, and that essentially ruins a quarter of the album. The other forty or so percent of the album is average or a little above. I am fond of L.A. Connection for its fun riff and good groove, but its far from the first two songs. This somewhat leads into my statement about Dio albums. They're never very consistent. They essentially throw various amounts of ballads, hard-rock, and metal to see what sticks. Generally the more metal tracks work, the hard-rock is hit or miss, and the ballads are boring. This is the rule on the Rainbow albums as well.
As an influence, this is pretty high. The top tracks on here inspired many power metal bands, and are some of the best songs these people ever did. This somewhat functions as a changing of the guard in a sense. As the 80's came in, Ritchie pretty much lost relevance. He ran Rainbow into the ground, and then he cashed in on a mediocre Deep Purple reunion. This is his last great performance as a meaningful force in rock music. Dio on the other hand went on to do a couple of praised albums with Sabbath, and then have a successful solo career. In a poetic way, this is their intersection. Does all of this make the album better? No, not really. There is a ton of mediocre or worse music on here, that the greatness can only do so much for. I would recommend the two great songs to any metal or hard-rock fan, but the album as a whole would only be interesting to fans of hard-rock, early, and power metal.
After bringing the genoma for future power metal (or expanding it, actually, as Deep Purple would be the primary ancestor in the bloodline of that cited genre) in the magical and overwhelming Rainbow Rising, Blackmore decided to slow down a little bit while keeping the feeling that turned his band into a major force (specially recognized, in that time, in Europe). That's why we can find in this record the same early metal touch with a bit of trying-to-sound like everybody. But, hey, Rainbow wasn't a band like other ones. Here we have Ritchie Blackmore, Ronnie James Dio and Cozy Powell and dude, that's a hell of a trio. The rest of the band is expendable. And actually, as far as we know, Blackmore did the bass work and a little bit of the keyboarding so, we are talking about a power trio, with the full letters of the expression in every semantic, metaphoric and literal sense, with a couple of guys filling the chartier.
Anyway, this is not as heavy as Rising, but stands still as an example of early power metal. And besides of it, we can find in here a couple of evergreen heavy metal anthems like "Long Live Rock n Roll" with Ronnie James shattering it with the catchy lines in the piece and "Kill the King", that unique song, with a resemblance of what has been created by Blackmore's previous band a couple of years ago and making a confirmation of the lines that would construct modern power metal. Yeah, from the keyboarding solo opening til the frenzy riff and Powell's insaniac drumming, this song is ahead of it's time. And then, we found after these brilliancies a couple of very good metal pieces: "The Shed" and "Gates of Babylon", both similar in many things but with a different approach. The first one has a beyond-earth-as-usual solo by Ritchie, with a ballsy beat by Cozy and singing by Dio. The lyrics are one of the best written ones by Dio. The second has a kinda atmospheric organ intro, picturing us the middle east moods and with Dio's singing as a top notch, lifts us to the finest examples of power metal in their time, oh yes it is.
With the nice ballad "Rainbow Eyes", a return to the roots planted in Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, we witness a very good and solid album. The main issue here is the weaker perspective taken by Blackmore, leaving the metal-at-all-costs style and trying to return slowly into the hard rock patterns. That's what happens with songs like "Lady of the Lake", "Sensitive to Light" and "L.A. Connection". They have nices riffs, nice singing and "Sensitive to Light" is even a speedy one. But they simply fail to deliver and that's because they were not for intending traditional heavy metal. Au contraire, Blackmore reduced Dio's influence and dragon-medieval themes to the minimum, so they could try to reach a larger audience. That's why precisely, "L.A. Connection" was a single release even before "Kill the King" in some places. If there is a weak spot among these nice but overall-weak fillers, it's precisely this. Trying to look cool and failing in the attempt. Blackmore would later hit it, with Bonnet and Turner, releasing maybe three or four hit singles in both sides of the Atlantic, but that's not heavy metal and that's not of our concern. We would have to wait until 1996 for a little bit of Rainbow's classic power metal. Ronnie James disliked the musical direction taken by Blackmore and left. Cozy didn't stand for very long either. And this is the last great album by the band, talking metally and creatively. As stated before, they reached a middle range popularity later, doing AOR stuff, but that's not of our business. Long Live Rock n Roll, Long Live Ronnie James Dio and hail to the string sorcerer, Ritchie Blackmore. Heavy metal world misses you, is waiting for the Rainbow Eyes to return.
Fresh off the heels of their strongest studio album and the excellent live release On Stage, it was not yet known by 1978 whether Rainbow would settle into a pattern of releasing consistent, quality albums or not. Would the writing team of Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio continue to deliver, or fade away into one-hit-wonder obscurity? Would they recreate and expand on the masterful Rising, or aimlessly plug away with nothing worthy to show for it? Thankfully, Rainbows third release Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll is not only a great album, but resides among the (admittedly expansive) collection of the best albums Dio has performed on. The songs are all focused and fairly heavy for the time, and there is the same pleasing experimentation and versatility on display that the band’s previous albums featured as well.
First things first: the fan-fucking-tastic songs. The evolution of traditional heavy metal energy and attitude can be directly traced to “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll”. It moves along at an above-midpaced clip, the verses supported by Blackmore’s brilliant, bouncy riff and Cozy Powell’s steadfast drumming. However, Dio steals the show here (as he is wont to do), because the man’s singing is so passionate here I have no choice but to sing along every goddamn time I hear this song. The guitar solo is amazing to boot; there’s no mistaking these leads for bluesy nonsense or stoned jams. This is a dead-on, completely over-the-top heavy metal mayhem styled guitar solo that tops off the track. You’ll wish that the chorus goes on forever, and it nearly does! “Live! LIVE! LIIIIIVE!!”
After a song that more or less defined the ethos of heavy metal (soon to be found in everything from Running Wild to Razor), it’s hard to believe anything else would stack up: thankfully, two more tracks to reach the standard of perfection set. “Gates of Babylon” is this album’s epic: a vaguely Middle Eastern-tinged track with a main riff filled with mystique and an extremely powerful chorus. Boasting a keyboard intro similar to that of “Tarot Woman”, the track puts new member David Stone to good use here, as his keys both set the exotic mood present and return in the hook to bolster Blackmore’s riffs. On the other hand, “Kill the King” is less foreign in approach, but just as effective. Introduced a year earlier on 1976-77 tours, it’s a song everyone loves, from Lee Altus to Ralf Scheepers to my own mother. Fast as all hell, with that great, original riff and keyboard lick, it definitely is one of Blackmore’s most overwhelming “metal” creations, and damn does he do it well. More screaming heavy metal solos and an even more intense vocal performance from Dio are backed up by the return of Powell’s destructive double-bass patterns, making a return from “A Light in the Black” on the previous album. These three songs are all among Rainbow’s best songs, demonstrating the band’s undeniable influence on the slowly evolving metal scene: you won’t find anything more reminiscent of power metal by 1978 than “Kill the King”.
The remaining five songs range from great to mediocre, yet enjoyable. “Lady of the Lake” has some stop-start riffing that owes more to rock music than proto-metal, but it’s still a good song which would be worth it’s time in a live Rainbow set. “The Shed (Subtle)” is just incredibly fucking cool when you get down to it: the song opens with a sexy guitar solo, and gets mean as hell in the verses, featuring an aggressive, stomping riff which is guaranteed to force you into a headbanging rhythm. Again, Powell puts up a notable performance, as his drumming is powerful and drives the song along with gusto, hammering his bass drum and snare deep into your memory banks. Although “The Shed” doesn’t quite fit in with anything Rainbow has done before, it’s probably my pick for the band’s most underrated song and one of my personal favorites.
In true Rainbow fashion, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll does indeed sport a few pedestrian, more traditional numbers as well, although I would rate them above the songs of that sort on Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. “Sensitive to Light” resembles “Black Sheep of the Family” from their debut, and I like this one more due to an unexpected melodic break in the middle of the song. Blackmore injects a few good melodies into the song, and prevents the track from falling into complete boogie-rock-n-roll oblivion. “L.A. Connection” is a bit awkward as well, despite sporting a particularly spirited performance by Dio; he’s clearly way into this specific song, for some unknown reason. I don’t know if it’s about drugs, prostitutes or what else, but the song’s slow pace and repeating riff do get tiring faster than the other songs here. However, neither of these songs are embarrassing to listen to, and nothing here mandates cruel and unusual usage of the skip button.
All that is left is the most unique and versatile song here, the album closer “Rainbow Eyes”. A lengthy, quiet song influenced by classical/folk/medieval music (whatever the hell is the right term, it certainly isn’t rock music), it’s a fitting end to the album. Here Blackmore and Dio trade in their raucous, energetic performances for contemplative, emotional ones, and the songs’ quality is difficult to determine. The flutes and other archaic instruments give it an intriguing, Renaissance-esque feeling, but the complete lack of a climax of any sort may put off listeners. Imagine something akin to “Stairway to Heaven, but with more solos and no mindfuck of a finale. I generally enjoy the lucid “Rainbow Eyes”, but some may feel disappointed with its bare-bones songwriting.
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll is easily Rainbow’s second best album. After this release, Dio would leave and join Black Sabbath, a collaboration that would produce some of metal’s utmost finest releases. Without Dio’s influence, Rainbow would become solely Ritchie Blackmore’s project, and would stagnate in a rather hilarious manner as it headed in a more commercial direction. So here ends what was one of both rock and metal’s most promising outfits, not to mention the band that catapulted Dio to the front of heavy metal glory. And Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll is a more than adequate chapter to ends this book: a consistent and rewarding combination of the proto-power metal of Rising and the rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Let it live!
It was pretty obvious in the time period leading up to this album that the band was probably going to splinter soon. Aside from the fact that Richie Blackmore is notoriously difficult to work with is the constant rotation of band members. Fortunately this means that Tony Carey and his terribly outdated keyboards have been replaced by the more traditional Hammond organs of David Stone, which fit the music much better.
Song-wise, this is probably their most consistent album. The title track, despite the cliche title and lyrics, is a foot-stomping rocker. The oft-covered "Kill the King" is an example of early speed metal and is one of Rainbow's finest songs. "Gates of Babylon" is a worthwhile mini-epic with some fine guitar work by Richie Blackmore. There are also a bunch of accessible rockish songs like "Lady of the Lake" and "L.A. Connection" which are aimed at mainstream audiences. The closer, "Rainbow Eyes" is a frustrating listen because it has the potential to be a magnificent, breathtaking finale. The folk-ish, medieval sounding first half is spruced up with a flute and a string-quartet, but the song flounders and goes nowhere in the second half. There is no payoff, which was disappointing for me. Others may like how laid-back the whole thing is.
Ronnie James Dio again gives an outstanding performance, whether it be the singing on the rockers, snarling on more metallic songs or crooning on the quieter moments. Even though this is Blackmore's band, the real reason to hear this album is because of Dio's fantastic vocal work. The two virtuosos, Blackmore and Cozy Powell, are very restrained, probably in an effort to keep everything simple and accessible. I see this as a waste of talent; the live versions of these songs far surpass their studio counterparts (this is true on all three of the Dio-fronted albums).
Also, the production of this album, even on the remaster, is very rock-sounding. The guitars lose that heavy-blues sound that Richie brought to his live performances and makes everything seem too polished and safe. There's no bite to any of the instruments, as well as no feedback or guitar-squeals. This is another reason why the live recordings of Rainbow songs far surpass the originals, the guitars sound raw, like they should.
So is this album worth owning? Sure, especially if you have a keen eye and can find the remaster at a low price. However, money-conscious people can just get the Rainbow Anthology without really missing out on much. Dio is the main reason to hear "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll;" everything else is passable but not exceptional. Dio would soon leave after Blackmore wanted him to sing a song about cheating in a relationship (another attempt at a hit single) and would go on to join Black Sabbath and release the landmark "Heaven and Hell," which would far surpass everything Blackmore would release afterward.
The last album featuring the the powerhouse trio of Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore, and Cozy Powell is one hell of a way to go out. All three turn in stellar performances and make this a top notch release. What separates this record from the previous two of the Dio era are the more complex, unconventional song structure and guitar parts of Blackmore.
Ritchie Blackmore is a great guitar player. That was probably the most obvious statement one could make, but the songs "Gates of Babylon", "The Shed (Subtle)", and "Kill the King" separate Blackmore from any othe guitarist. From the unique opening to "Gates of Babylon" to the walking, thumping of "The Shed"; these are cuts that not too many guitarists can emulate or achieve. The man is one of a kind and one of the best and there is no better vocalist to complement the Man in Black than Ronnie James Dio.
Dio does it all on this album. He can do aggressive vocals like in "Kill the King" or melodic, catchy vocals in "Lady of the Lake" or "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll." He can go along with a fast number like "Sensitive to Light" or carry a number like "Rainbow Eyes" with his smooth and mesmerizing voice. The man can nail every note and can sing any kind of a song that Blackmore throws at him. He excels in voice control and perfectly sings off of Blackmore's riffing. This is truly a magnificent performance from Dio.
The other member of the tremendous three of course is the one and only Cozy Powell. The calculated way he attacks the drum kit is remarkable. He found a balance to not do too much and attacks at the most opportune times. The perfect example of this is "Kill the King." The sound is so fierce and accelerating that the head-banging will make your neck sore and that is a fact.
This album would be perfect, but a couple of songs just do not live up to what these three men can do. While "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" is a good opener and very anthemic, the chrous does become a little repetitive and should have been shortened. "L.A Connection" is a poor, plodding rocker that is an obvious song to get into the mainstream. It is a big disappointment, especially considering the other cuts found here. The last song that falls on its face is the odd closing "Rainbow Eyes." I mentioned before of the remarkable performance Dio gives on the song, but that is all there is...just Dio. There is no guitar or drums throughout the seven minute song. The only instrument is a violin and flute and that is unacceptable!
This release is a shooting star for metal and has many enjoyable moments to take in. It is very unfortunate that this lineup could not stay together because there could have been many more incredible releases from this powerhouse, but then there would have been no Heaven and Hell, so there are some positives out of that breakup. One thing is for certain though and that is: Long Live Rock 'n' 'Roll and Long Live Rainbow!
This is THE definitive metal/rock album, certainly the best classic metal release studio album ever, in my opinion. It has the perfect blend of songs. The vast majority being hard rockin', drivin' metal pieces, with some blues influence, though far less than bands like Led Zeppelin, for example. In fact, the classical influence is far more prominent here (although not as much as on 'Rising'), and the thrilling, remarkably fresh-sounding songs (well, most of them are) are because of that classical influence. Blackmore was classically trained in the guitar, and it shows. His solos are mindboggling in their speed and sound, he uses some very interesting scales to add spice to them, which is why, for me, this album and Rising would both be in my top 5 list (no. 1 would be this album) of great rock guitar albums. Ritchie simply oozes class and sounds very comfortable. Of course, riff-wise, he was never as inventive as Jimmy Page, but he does pull some remarkably good riffs out of the bag here. Anyway, on to the songs.
1. Long Live Rock N' Roll - This is a great up-tempo rocker, does exactly what it says on the tin! Extremely fun, and it's so catchy without being just a pop song, like later Bonnet- and Turner-era songs (btw, I don't actually hate the later era material either). Great guitar solo, too.
2. Lady Of The Lake - This sounds vaguely Led Zeppelin (Physical Graffiti, Houses Of The Holy era), and the plodding riff is very heavy-sounding. The chorus is very memorable. One of the high points of the album. Very smooth, effective Guitar solo.
3. LA Connection - I think this is the weakest song on the album, though not a bad song per se. A mid-paced rocker, has some nice piano lines to accentuate the jazzy, classy sort of sound. A good song to fill the much-needed gap between the slightly dark subject matter of 'Lady...' and the even darker lyrical content of 'Gates Of Babylon'.
4. Gates Of Babylon - Centrepiece of the album along with 'Kill The King'. Song about walking through the gates of Babylon and the devil and stuff. An amazing song, could be Rainbow's best ever, especially with the orchestra and the guitar solo. And what a guitar solo! My favourite guitar solo ever, Ritchie's very finest, even including Deep Purple-era songs. You just have to hear it to believe it. Malmsteen loves this too, but butchers his version. The original is so subtle and builds up on an arabian/eastern scale solo and then, ... BAM! The most amazing and original rock guitar part you'll ever hear. This song and solo deserves so much more recognition. (like in Japan, where it is recognised as a classic)
5. Kill The King - On the original vinyl, you heard the amazing 'Gates Of Babylon' and thought 'hey, the second side can't be nearly as good as what I've just heard on the first' and so you don't expect much (''Kill the King'? cool song title, probably just another storming rocker.'), but boy, does this surpass all expectations. This is the complete version, unlike the version played on the 'Rising' tour, and for me, this is so much better. The opening guitar part is just genius, simple but so effective, and deceptively hard to play. Dio's vocals hit the spot, so aggressive without resorting to shouting. Cozy Powell's drumming is so powerful and incredible, the blueprint for so many drummers today. He more or less pioneered the double bass drum technique, I think. The solo is very rapid, and the ending is perfect, you can see where Iron Maiden took the basis for their driving sound in the last 5 bars of this song. It does sound a bit like Aces High, for example. One of the original Speed-Metal songs (along with Deep Purple's 'Fireball', though Fireball came first)
6. The Shed (Subtle) - Bizarre title, as it doesn't mention sheds, and it's not a very subtle song either, a heavy rock/metal tune to follow another. The intro guitar solo is just cool, and a good song to boot. Tends to be overshadowed by Kill The King, but it's still a good song.
7. Sensitive To Light - Very competent rocker, a party tune, in the vein of 'Do You Close Your Eyes' from 'Rising'. The skill of Rainbow is blending the epic with the rockin' on the same album. I actually really like this song. Dio's vocals are great, and great lead guitar work from Ritchie. A great groove will hook you in this song.
8. Rainbow Eyes - Depends on whether or not you like ballads, I really do, but you'll love this or hate it. I, personally, love it as one of the high points of the album. Very emotional, and a great vocal delivery from Ronnie. The guitar is so beautiful it makes me want to cry. Flute and String quartet combine to give this a mediaeval feel, and makes it the second song on the album to feature a classical ensemble. A real treat for people who appreciate good music, and an excellent way to finish an overall heavy album.
An absolute classic, has my vote as the best rock album ever. No bad songs on the album, ends (arguably) better than it starts (maybe not, actually), and that's why it's such a satisfying experience to listen through end-to-end. If you're even mildly interested, but it now. You will not be disappointed, I guarantee it. Something for everyone. For metalheads, Kill The King and Sensitive to Light, for lovers of darker music, Lady of the Lake and Gates of Babylon, for those who like ballads, Rainbow Eyes, and for Ritchie fans, evry song, but especially Gates of Babylon, Kill the King and Rainbow Eyes. I only don't give it 100, as a matter of policy. so treat the 99 as a 100
Shit. I hate it when this happens.
You know that feeling you have when you wake up in the morning and you think it's just going to be another normal day, so you get dressed and gulp down some liquid caffeine (coffee) and you head out the door to over where you work? And then you sit down, ready to do your job, and just as you're about to start concentrating, your asshole sadist co-worker next door starts playing That Song on his computer . . . the one that you can NEVER EVER EVER EVER get out of your head once you hear it? You know, like I Will Survive (and you can never remember any of the verses, just that damn chorus), MacArthur Park ("Someone left the cake out in the rain!") or Enter the Glade (you may not get this one, but Power Metal freaks are nodding their head as they read this)?
That's what happens to me when I hear this album. Specifically, when I hear the title track. That bitch just grabs you by the ear and rocks your ass off. And GODDAMN it's catchy! "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll! Long Live Rock 'n' Roll! Long Live Rock 'n' Roll!" Just try to listen to this without singing along with the chorus. Go ahead--I dare you.
Anyway, the album. To be short and sweet, it rocks. This is Rainbow at its absolute finest hour, and boy can they do it right. One of the other reviews of this album (I can't be bothered to actually check which one) mentions how the album "bridges the gap between rock and metal," and I could not have put it better myself. What you have here is classic Rock 'n' Roll mixed in with key elements that later flesh out into the styles of metal pioneers like Metallica, Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Rainbow is most certainly a major metal influence, and this album is the corenerstone of that influence.
Obviously, the real standout is the title track, which has thrashed, riffed and ass-kicked its way into metal legend. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll features very nice guitar playing by Ritchie Blackmore with loads of cool riffs and a very well-done solo. The beat provided by Cozy Powell is simple yet timeless and strong, and the vocals by Dio are just unbelievable. Rainbow doesn't get any better than this headbanging, anthem-singing masterpiece right here.
The other anthem song is Kill the King, and there is a huge amount of style here as well. The sound is much more distinctly that of old-school Power Metal, and you can definitely hear some early Iron Maiden sounds in here. The vocals are cool, and the solo work is fantastic, not to mention the very original riffage here.
Nothing is really that weak on here. Gates of Babylon features some of the infamous "Middle-Eastern-sounding riffs," along with some fantastic keyboard work. The Shed is a real headbanger with a very cool opening guitar solo. The most Rock 'n' Roll-sounding song on here is Sensitive to Light, and there's nothing wrong with that; it's still a good song.
This is some fantastic music right here. It's old, but the production is good and the playing is even better. It's definitely worth a purchase. By the way, if you're looking for some good covers, there are two covers of songs on here that are quite well done: Gamma Ray's cover of Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (featured as a bonus track on Powerplant) and Stratovarius's cover of Kill the King (on Intermission). I leave you with this thought:
LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL!!
LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL!!
LONG LIVE ROCK 'N' ROLL!!
LET IT LIVE! LET IT LIVE! LET IT LIVE!! LET IT LIVE!!
Hells yeah. Rock 'n' Roll forever, bitch.
Well, put the "tr00 Rainb0w" debate to one side for a minute. This can be seen as a continuation of what was done on Rising, as it is by far more consistant that the variety of styles on the debut and less commercial that the tat which followed it. A hark back to the debut is made in the form of Rainbow Eyes, a severely mellow song comparable to Catch The Rainbow in terms of being long, slow and severely mellow. A beautiful, emotive piece of music to some; a dull, wimpy pile of poo to others. Take your pick.
The other epic of this album is The Gates Of Babylon, which is definately more Rainbow's forte. Some classic keyboard/guitar experimentation (read: arty-farty effects) and severely atmospheric - think of something like Nomad by Iron Maiden for the Eastern feel. It's all here.
The rest of the songs are straightforward rockers with varying degrees of quality. The title track and Kill The King are generally regarded as favourites, and rightly so, for they are probably the most rousing and anthemic songs on the album. Lady Of The Lake and The Shed show Ronnie James Dio's apptitude for slippery, shifting lyrics that twist and turn with their rhymes. The former's outro and the latter's intro are, funnily enough, the highlights of each song. The Shed also shares are funky beat with L.A. Connection. This leaves Sensitive To Light, a cheery upbeat song which, in my opinion, is about the only bum song on the album. There is little in here to really stand out compared to the rest of the songs.
While perhaps more consistent than Rising, it generally lacks the soaring highlights of that album and its fantastic displays of musicianship (which is not to take away from the musicianship on this album). The keyboards are also a lot less prominent on this album, but where they are, they are made to count. Overall, definately worth a place in any Rainbow fan's collection.
Long Live Rock N' Roll is a classic rock/metal album, with loads of catchy and fun rocking music. It's definitely stronger than the previous Rainbow release Rising, not to say that was a bad album.
On the previous, there were more epic influences, while this one is more fun rock n' roll all over, except for the awesome epic Gates Of Babylon, which is in my opinion Rainbow's second best song ever. It's a mystical song with an amazing atmosphere, and a really cool keyboard intro and a brilliant, atmospheric guitar solo.
Ritchie's guitarwork is all over the album, with lots of groovy riffs and blazing solos, and he is accompanied by damn great musicians.
First, of course we have vocalist Ronnie James Dio, and he does a great vocal work on this album, adding alot to the feeling of each song.
Bassist Bob Daisley, also known from Ozzy Osbourne, does a very good job, and the bass sound is just loud enough.
Drummer Cozy Powell can drum like few other men, but sadly he rarely ever gets to display his true talents on this album. To see what he can really do, check out the drum intro to Stargazer (Best Rainbow song).
And keyboardist David Stone, who does some solid keyboard effects, although I think that Tony Carey on Rising did a much better job.
The album doesn't really have one weak song. The title track is a classic rock anthem, Gates Of Babylon is just amazing, Rainbow Eyes is a beautiful ballad, and of course the fast and catchy Sensitive To Light, and all the rest rock just as much.
Except for Kill The King, which is another awesome track, it's right there below Stargazer.
An amazing guitar intro leads into a speedy power metal-ish song, with some unusually great guitarwork, even for Ritchie Blackmore.
Each song of the album rocks in it's own way, and all through this is a very solid album. Some great, catchy rock/metal can be found on here, and this is definitely recommended for fans of this style of music.