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Welcome to the Temple Of The King - 90%

Vaibhavjain, July 28th, 2008

So here I am, reviewing an album, which was released when my father was slightly younger than what I am now! The band in picture here is Rainbow, a band that defines the word legendary because it did its own part to shape and mould the heavy metal genre. Rainbow was just another fish in the sea called 70’s hard rock but what made them stand out was the fact that heavy metal’s legendary guitarist Ritchie Blackmore of Deep Purple formed it.

Rainbow was formed when Ritchie Blackmore did not like the direction in which his band, Deep Purple was going because of the soul and funk elements bought to it by vocalist David Coverdale. When Blackmore saw Dio for the first time he was impressed by him and asked him to join his band and thus Rainbow was formed.

“Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow” was the debut album by this band and is a classic blend of 70’s hard rock and heavy metal. The album opener “Man On The Silver Mountain” was the first hit single of the band and its success was the reason this album could be labeled as a mini hit. The first thing that strikes your mind when you listen to this album is the amazing range and versatility on the album. While albums of 70’s hard rock bands tend to sound similar through out the entire record, this album has everything from heavy metal to covers to ballads.

While the band became popular because of Ritchie Blackmore’s presence in the band, I must tell you that he in fact isn’t the hero here. It is in fact Ronnie James Dio, who was unheard of till then by the masses. It is not often that you see iconic legends like Ritchie Blackmore being over shadowed, but with Dio’s performance on this album it cannot be said in any other way. Dio who is unarguably the greatest heavy metal vocalist in heavy metal now has a range that has to be heard. Dio’s vocals soar to whichever destination he intends them. Rarely do you find a vocalist whose vocals suit heavy metal, hard rock, acoustic based ballads, progressive rock and blues and that too in the same album! But this is exactly what Dio does, his vocal chords not once succumbing to the strain.

A track that deserves a special mention is the acoustic guitar based ballad “Temple Of The King” which is my favorite track on the album. It’s ironic actually that a guy who sets the standards for heavy metal vocalists far and wide actually sounds best on an acoustic ballad! This track is 4 and half minutes of pure bliss. I just cannot find words to describe Dio’s performance here; it’s better just to stay mum, as there actually are no words to describe his performance!

Of the 9 tracks on this LP, 2 are covers. The first of them is a cover of the track “Black Sheep Of The Family”, which was progressive rock band “Quatermass’” greatest hit. The second cover is an instrumental “Still I’m Sad” by blues rock band, “The Yardbirds.” Both of these covers have been done wonderfully well with Ronnie James once again showing his amazing range and his voice suiting both the genres (progressive rock and blues) amazingly well.

I would have given this album a complete 100, but I’m deducting 2 points because in my opinion the album just has an extra cover, one should have been enough. Apart from that this album is an elegant blend of heavy metal’s most iconic figures i.e. Blackmore and Dio. Every self respecting heavy metal fan should try out this album as soon as possible because he knows not what he is missing.