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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.