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Guitar virtuoso Ritchie Blackmore formed Rainbow after growing more and more frustrated with Deep Purple because of the fusion of funk and blues elements brought by new bassist Glenn Hughes and new vocalist David Coverdale. Ritchie left and formed his own band featuring a the little known Ronnie James Dio on vocals. Combining these two equals a formula to success.
When the opening riff to "Man on the Silver Mountain" starts, you know its an instant classic. The addicting riff has the same effect like "Smoke on the Water" and the powerful chorous belted out by Dio makes this one of the best songs of all time. Another one of the classics on here is "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" with the pounding, marching guitar riff and the melodic and soothing vocal line of Dio talking about a damsal in distress locked up in a castle back in the 1500's.
Fast and short rockers like "If You Don't Like Rock 'n' Roll" and "Black Sheep of the Family" are nice and speed the pace of the album. They are not spectacular, but they are nice little numbers. "Self-Portrait" is a nice mid-paced rocker with a great vocal number and the chorous is just magnificent. The "down, down, down" part is phenomenal and strikes a chord in me. I love it.
A couple of the more obscure tracks on here are "Catch the Rainbow" and "Temple of the King." The former has been known to be a great live number with the distinctive subtle guitar tone of Ritchie with the crisp vocals of Dio. Its a slow number and has more of an effect on the live then in the studio. "Temple of the King" has an acoustic guitar flow that comes straight from the Eastern European Renaissance style that Blackmore is doing nowadays. Its a cool track and there is certainly no other Rainbow song like it. Dio gives a masterful performance on both these tracks as Joe Lynn Turner could not touch "Catch the Rainbow." Turner is a good singer, but when hearing him sing this song watching a Rainbow concert, he is simply not better than Dio on it.
This album is definitly a must have for fans of Dio, Blackmore, and hard rock/metal. The tandem of both these musicians is awesome and created a classic. From the riffs and solos of Ritchie, to the powerful and melodic voice of Dio, this is a true winner. So buy it. Like it. Love it.