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Rainbow really knocks you off your feet with their 1976 release, "Rising." The album includes six awesome tracks of pure rock and roll typical of the 1970s. This is also its weakness though, in my opinion. It is too short of an album. By today's standards, this is an EP. This doesn't take away any of the enjoyment though, it just leaves you wishing you had more Rainbow to listen to.
The album kicks off strong with the opening to, "Tarot Woman," a song with a great keyboard intro by Tony Carey. It builds up into a great hard rocker that's up there with some of the bands best. The flow of songs continues with the often-overlooked track, "Run With the Wolf." Blackmore plays a great lead that is totally him in every way. He plays an incredible solo and the drumming of Cozy Powell and the playing of bassist Jimmy Bain keep the song moving in a nice temp.
The material gets familiar with the next track, "Starstruck." The song includes a great Blackmore riff and Dio has a perfect voice for it. Cozy Powell's thunderous drumming plays throughout the song and is incredible. Blackmore pulls out another great solo that is, well, Blackmore. The next track is a track that is often forgotten as well, "Do Your Close Your Eyes?" The song has a fantastic Blackmore riff and Tony Carey really provides fantastic keyboard work and gets a great effect with them. Powell, though slowing down a little on this track, still has that thunderous effect on his drumming. The lyrics are great as well, rather commercial, but the instruments take this feeling away.
The final two pieces of the album are epics. "Stargazer," is exactly that. You can sit there for hours and hours and the song still has you wondering what it's exactly about. Dio's vocal is completely unmatched on this song. He sings the entire piece with a passion, never letting up once. Blackmore's playing is incredible on the track and inspired a whole generation of bands that came after him. The track single-handily created the, "Neo-Classical," style of metal. Blackmore's playing starts off on an easy riff, then explodes into a tremendous solo that includes everything a fan could want. Powell's distinctive drum sound shines throughout the song and is a key element to the feel. Tony Carey plays an incredible keyboard part and plays well with Blackmore. Jimmy Bain keeps the song flowing, and the entire Munich Philharmonic Orchestra strengthens the rest of the playing.
The final song (and the second epic) is entitled, "A Light in the Black." The piece has a great Blackmore riff that plays through the song, giving it fire. Powell's drumming isn't as loud on this track, but sure does keep it going. Dio's vocals are great, but not as powerful and capturing as they are on, "Stargazer." Keyboard can be heard, but on this piece it's lowered to a rather low level. Jimmy Bain continues his awesome bass playing and continues to help the piece flow.
"Rising," is a great album by any expectations. Usually considered Rainbow's greatest album, very little of the album made it into the band's live shows, with only, "Stargazer," and, "Do You Close Your Eyes?" being shown in the bands 1976 world tour. Blackmore's genius shines throughout the entire record and Dio is unmatched. The powerful drumming of Cozy Powell, in my mind, was never captured ever again as it is found on the, "Rising," album. Jimmy Bain and Tony Carey really should have been kept on for at least one more album, but as Blackmore doesn't like to work with the same people all the time, this was changed. The only reason I don’t' give this album a 100 is because it is too short and, of course, left me wanting more.