As of writing, Rising has a mere three reviews beneath the 90% mark on the Metal Archives (one of those is 89%) and the accumulated average of 93% is entirely understandable. Rainbow’s sophomore full length is one of the most iconic albums in the history of metal, and a work of beauty, art and magic. Black Sabbath might have given birth to heavy metal as we know it, but everything symphonic and powerful goes back to this album and the epic soundscape it paints with Ritchie Blackmore’s best guitar licks to date and Tony Carey’s massive keyboards to fill out the skies. Taking all the rock n’ roll influences and elevating them with an electric touch that never stops, Rising climbs to all the skies so many would try to reach years later.
A ‘mere’ 33 minutes long it’s got all the elements exactly right to make a classic, and one of the most highly regarded metal albums ever. The magic, epic vocals of the legendary Dio soar on starlight throughout the album, highlighting Blackmore’s electrical, melodic riffing and sweet soloing. All throughout, the feel is electrifying and mystic, thanks to the swirling keyboards adding that wizardly sound atop the rollicking guitars which are every bit as technically proficient as anything Blackmore’s done elsewhere, but heaps more atmospheric thanks to the magnificent production surrounding him. All this makes for an album and experience entirely unmatched by anything any of the members would continue to do in other avenues, save perhaps for the equally strong Heaven and Hell (1980), where Dio would reinvigorate and take Black Sabbath to new heights.
The A side is good enough; four delicious rockers with lots of groove and melodic punch to go around, but the B side is where the magic really sends shockwaves. All time classic Stargazer opens the side up, one of the greatest songs ever written; an epic symphonic rocker that’s got all the trademark Blackmore twists and riffing, classic keyboards and Dio poetry. A Light in the Black is no less epic; a faster number it continues the tale of the stargazer, and packs some of the most driving, rollicking guitars ever. The second, instrumental half of the song is just Blackmore goodness all through and through and some truly magnificent drumming from the legendary Cozy Powell. A collection isn’t really complete without this album, one of the finest and the bridge between classic ‘70s hard rock and symphonic metal, pumping the epic scope up to eleven throughout its short runtime. Thrilling, epic and magic; Rainbow Rising.
Standout tracks: Tarot Woman, Stargazer, A Light in the Black