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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.