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Rainbow Falling - 78%

MEGANICK89, September 24th, 2010

After making three stellar albums with Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore wanted to take a new approach with his band Rainbow. Dio exited the group and in came Graham Bonnet who started Blackmore's mission of hitting Top 40 on the charts. Bonnet brings in a more soulful and gruffer style to the band and fits the aptly titled “Down to Earth” perfectly.

As the first chord churns in “All Night Long” it can already be heard that this is a radical departure from the Dio records. With a riff resembling that of “Burn” from Ritchie’s Deep Purple days, the song is a catchy, up-beat tune. While it reeks of commercial excess, it is still very enjoyable and a solid start to the album.

While “All Night Long” shows what the new direction Rainbow is going in, “Eyes of the World completely swerves the other way. The song begins with some spacey, futuristic keyboards from the new maestro in Don Airey and bursts into a lead by Ritchie. The track has an epic feel to it and could have easily fit onto a Dio album.

This album meanders from being really good at times and also being really bad at times. The Jekyll and Hyde nature of “Down to Earth” is what prevents this album from reaching its potential. Ritchie delivers standout tracks in “Love’s No Friend” and “Lost in Hollywood”, but then he comes back with total stinkers in “Danger Zone” and “Makin’ Love.” “Danger Zone” has one of the dumbest choruses with “Looking for love is a danger zone.” It just sounds so stupid and unfortunately the rest of the song can’t save it.

“Love’s No Friend” could be called Rainbow’s version of “Mistreated.” It has the melancholic, bluesy riff accompanied by a brilliant, soulful vocal performance from Bonnet. “Lost in Hollywood” is a great closer with a driving riff and vocals with a rapid vocal hook by Bonnet just before the chorus. The solo is what really shines on here though and if Ritchie just let it rip on the rest of this release; it could have been something special.

I could not talk about this album without mentioning “Sine You Been Gone.” This was the song that showed Rainbow was serious about going commercial. The Russ Ballard penned tune is addictive and undeniably catchy and it did exactly what it was supposed to do. It got Rainbow noticed and on the charts. I find enjoyment in the track, but it is not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

“Down to Earth” saw the entry of Roger Glover into the fold the new bass player for the group. With the talent this man has, there are unfortunately not too many awesome bass lines. The only one worth mentioning is “Eyes of the World.” That is the only track where he shines. It is the same case with Cozy Powell. Again, he has extraordinary talent, but his drumming was effectively neutered on this album.

As stated before, it is the Jekyll and Hyde nature of “Down to Earth” that dampens the listening experience. The album has its shining moments with “Lost in Hollywood”, “Eyes of the World”, and “Love’s No Friend”, but a couple tracks bring it “down” a couple notches. However, it is still an enjoyable record and worth the listen. This release saw the band take a dip into commercial territory, but the next album would see them take the plunge.