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Once Upon a Time... - 87%

Ritchie Black Iommi, May 8th, 2012

There was a band led by a talented sorcerer, a guy who could almost give life to his guitar. This guy, who pioneered the genre we all love, met in strange circumstances a crafted swordsman with a sharped and edgy voice. Together with a couple of musicians (notably, Cozy Powell amongst them), Ritchie Blackmore and Ronnie James Dio created a trio of majestic albums which, until today, amazes us with their power and unique sound. Everything was a spillover of magic and craftsmanship. The finest metal band of their era.

Even if Blackmore himself claimed that Rainbow was like a second-handed band, we fans know that this affirmation probably rests on the fact that it never reached the popular status achieved by Deep Purple and this, most likely, hurted Blackmore's ego. Notwithstanding, the influence and importance of the band is as much as the importance of DP in heavy metal.

Blackmore and Elf gathered and Dio gained automatic sympathy from Ritche. Medieval stories and metal approach, that's what our favourite arrogant guy wanted and Ronnie James was the exact guy for doing it. Without excesive efforts, "Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow" was born and still today sounds as a solid startpoint for the evolution of NWOBHM.

Similar to Smoke on the Water, "Man on the Silver Mountain" has a catchy riff and a solid lyrical line. The atmosphere of the song is well defined by the contribution of the organ sounds and, well, the only problem is the weak drumming and bassing. But, anyway, it's a great opener and reflects the spirit of the whole record. "Self Portrait" follows a classic formula crafted by Ritchie Blackmore: the heavy bluesy song. Here, besides of the powerful riff by RB, the only worthy thing is Dio's singing. Yeah, this song is far from other victorious heavy bluesy pieces like Lazy or Mistreated. Lacks of feeling, specially because of the other members of the band, weaklings in a far inferior position comparing with the guitar player and the vocalist in what's about musical talent. And the whole album will be filled of this thing. There are a couple of nice non-metal covers in this album: "Black Sheep of the Family" and "Still I'm Sad", they are completely enjoyable and forgettable, I'll say no mre about them.

The high pitches of the album are the two ballads in here. "Catch the Rainbow" and "The Temple of the King". The feeling here, forwarded by Dio's singing with the always witchy guitar work by Blackmore are beyond any dimension. There wasn't anything impossible for Ronnie James and Blackmore knew it. That's why he did this songs precisely the way they are now and they are the finest examples of Dio's magic voice, now that he is gone. Of course, he did brilliant work in other songs, but here, he was like a greek god of music.

The weaker songs of the album are "Snake Charmer" and "If You Don't Like Rock n Roll". They are total fillers, created for being fillers and they do their job, but justly, without inspiration or light. Though, the riff in Snake Charmer is a very intricate one.

Finally, "Sixteenth Century Greensleves", one of the major masterpieces by Rainbow. This song does a lot and still can do it. The lyrics are a masterful creation of a genious and sounds so traditionaly heavy metal that you can't do other thing but smiling and banging your head listening the song. Perfect, Blackmore and DIo.

This nice fairy tale kept on going for a long and irregular time. It's fair to say that one of the finest albums by Rainbow is this one, by far. Usually, people thinks that Dio's Rainbow is the finest one. I tend to take that opinion as a right one, even if there are good things in the other line-ups. This story kept on going for two more albums and remains as one of the finest ones in the history of the genre. If you thought this album was a good one, well, get ready for the couple next to come. Buy this record, it won't dissapoint you.