Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

An Exercise of Self Indulgence - 80%

Ritchie Black Iommi, May 19th, 2012

After releasing one of the finest albums by Deep Purple (The Battle Rages On) and with a bit of dissapointment because of the disregard it recieved mostly from massive media because of the crappy grunge movement, that pest from America and after major misunderstandings with Ian "I Hate You" Gillan, our favourite guitar sorcerer decides to summon his Rainbow for the definitive last time.

Now, the momentum and things implied into this were totally different from the environment that surrounded Blackmore's band more than 10 years ago. Somehow, Blackmore learnt from his mistakes and figured out that, since Ronnie James Dio's departure, nothing worthy for memories and future appraisal was made in his band. Yes, he achieved a bunch of top-10 hits, both in the UK and in the mainstream rock charts of US with some singles, but the name "Rainbow", far from being recalled worldwide as a popular rock band, actually was only remembered by that hardcore mass of fans, lovers of the now long and distant heavy metal period, when Blackmore, with a little help of Dio and Powell were developing (or highlighting Deep Purple's previous works) what would become later modern power metal, in the half-seventies. Notwithstanding, Blackmore, who enjoyed the taste of major fame and glory in DP, couldn't avoid from his mind the hope that in any moment and for any reason he could hit it hard and return to the spotlight.

That's why this album, far from being a "return to the roots" remains a hybrid attempt to look "hard but cool". From the bunch of guys he hired for the job, only Doogie White gained a name throughout time and was talented enough to share the line with Ritchie. Being this said, the content of the record lies between brilliance and, above all, mediocrity.

The opener "Wolf to the Moon" gives us no glimpse of the real intentions here. We get a nice intro opening, not a masterpiece but nice enough, and then Blackmore riffs and Doogie sings. The metal spirit can be felt here, we are sure about it, but there are dark reminiscences of pop Rainbow era here. This thing anxiously tries to look and sound mainstream. It never gets away from this. "Cold Hearted Woman" and "Too Late for Tears" are lingering around the same spot. Enjoyable, but hybrids, without defined shapes. An erratic Blackmore plays them without gràce and the rest of the crew do not provide very much to save this. And it is hard to admit it, specially if you are a diehard fan of the string sorcerer.

"Hunting Humans", without being a heavy metal masterpiece, shows us a brighter side of this album. It's about a seductive tune, with seductive lyrics and a nice tempo and beating. If versatility was the thing in here, clearly, Blackmore has it. But then, we get "Stand and Fight", definitely the worst piece in here. I mean, I have no problem with country sounds and using harmonica as an instrument but, ¿really? I mean, Ritchie, my idolized, ¿is that you? This track is the perfect proof of that hybrid feeling I'm talking about. Of course, this can be a way to be creative and to think outside the box, most of us, metalheads, detest to admire another styles of instrumentation besides the classic ones. But, hey, believe me, this was not the way and here Ritchie Blackmore shows us that he is human, after all. "Ariel", then, is a nice jewel. A song driven by that mid-eastern-like riff, it gains strength with Doogie White's singing, which is the finest one in the whole album.

Then "Too Late for Tears" returns us to the feeling produced by the first songs. An uninspired riff with correct but uninspired performances make this a totally forgettable piece. And almost the same would have happened with "Silence" if it wasn't for that riff, which makes us think about a possibility that Ritchie Blackmore, the wizard and guitar god of all times, could have been ripped off this from Metallica. To me, well, there is no posible way that Ritchie could have stolen this. No and no and no and no. And let's not talk about it anymore (and it is a mellow and weak song, by the way, disposable).

"Black Masquerade" is the top guy here. Powerful, filled with feeling and with a legendary solo by Blackmore, here we return to hope. Here we remember why Ritchie is Ritchie. And of course, here we started to know this dude Doogie White, delivering the best. A masterpiece worthy of "Stargazer" or "Kill the King". Maybe not as good, but worthy enough.

For the closing, "Hall of the Mountain King" and a cover by Yardbirds "Still I'm Sad". From the latter one there are not many words to say. But the first one has some unique-ness. It's like an ode to the classic influences Blackmore recieved during his lifetime, the riff based in the famous ouvre by Edvard Gireg "Peer Gynt" is a blast and this song, which has lyrics written by the female I-shall-not-name, stands strong as a nice creation by Ritchie.

In any case, Ritchie looked for indulgence with this record. From his fans and specially from himself. Maybe, for a couple of reasons, we shall never know if he found it or not. Well, we are most sure that he actually found something during that time, but wasn't precisely the way for returning to the metal realms. An evil spell corrupted Ritchie's mind and we, probably, are going to die without knowing what could have happened if he kept on playing his Fender instead of those medieval things. ¿Can someone perform an exorcism on Ritchie and deliver him from the devil, if you know what I mean? We will really thank your help.