At the end of the day only Ronnie James Dio could sing the songs that Blackmore could write and in 1975 RAINBOW released their critically acclaimed and magnificent “Rainbow” debut album. The addition of Dio’s fantasy and medieval lyrics to Blackmore’s intricate and quite dazzling riff and solo play was instrumental in laying down the grass roots of the Melodic Power Metal movement of today. Of course there are no crashing riffs and thundering drums to be found here nah RAINBOW consisted of two master craftsmen who weaved dazzling patterns of ingenious light and dark into hard edge music that has lasted exceptionally well after all these years.
Kicking of with the classic ‘’Man On The Silver Mountain’’ (a song that has endured well into its fourth decade and still a part of DIO’s live set) and leading onto ‘’Self Portrait’’ a quirky but hugely catchy song with Ronnie James’ fine voice. ‘’Black Sheep Of The Family’’ is a dip in form and harks back to Ronnie James’s days in ELF which starts well but soon descends into a bad idea. However “Catch The Rainbow” a six minute ballad that has Ronnie James, once again, grabbing all the lime light (a precedent that was to ultimately split the band) His voice is serene and compassionate yet very powerful showing his versatility on softer songs but not forgetting his dynamics on harder cuts like ‘’Snake Charmer’’ and ‘’Sixteenth Century Greensleeves’’. The album’s outstanding track must be ‘’Temple Of The King’’ that is a pre-cursor to Blackmore’s future dabbling in Renaissance music some twenty-five years later but the song is an absolute gem and a long forgotten masterpiece.
What makes this debut album so strong and therefore so memorable is the writing partnership between Dio and Blackmore. At long last Blackmore had found a vocalist that could match his vision of technical yet melodically inspired music and Dio could belt it out with the best but at the same time reduce his voice to emotive passages that gave Blackmore much scope to develop the unique RAINBOW sound. Last but not least the guitar playing by Blackmore has rarely been equalled. It is imaginative, technically demanding and the work of a genius.
Great minds think alike and on ‘’Rainbow’’ both Blackmore and Dio had left a lasting impression that is still felt today. (Online April 9, 2005)