The Dissident

Ancient Mariner

Rising - Rainbow

Tarrot Woman - A majestic keyboard intro leads into Blackmore's roaring guitar and Dio's unreal vocals. This band is tight as fuck and this song is a clear indicator of what is to come. The fantasy lyrics are perfectly executed and absolutely are exemplified by the sheer talent of the band. - 10/10

Run With The Wolf - A slow song, Dio has some strong vocal performances on this song, the band plays well. But it doesn't quite jive as perfectly as the previous track. That being said I think that it is a really strong track just overshadowed by the genius of the previous track and the 2nd half of the album.... 8/10

Starstruck - Starstruck features some wonderful guitar work again from Blackmore, the lyrics are delivered amazingly by Ronnie expertly detailing Blackmore's stalker from a previous tour. Another really strong track - 9.5/10

Do You Close Your Eyes - A solid rock track, lyrics are a little cringy especially coming from Dio. But the vocals really mesh with the band. -8.5/10

Stargazer - A brutal drum intro leads into one of Blackmore's greatest riffs and in turn my personal favourite track by Blackmore and a strong contender for my favourite Dio track. On vinyl the keys are much more prominent than on CD/Digital and the track which already was unreal is sent to further heights. If I allowed myself to rank above 10/10 this song would have it. Anyone who hasn't heard Rising should do so solely for this song. - 10/10

A Light In The Black - Following Stargazer is a task that very few rock songs can live up to. A Light In The Black is a song that does a solid job at it. It in itself is a really strong track, Kill guitarwork from Blackmore and Cozy puts in work on the drums. This song is another easy rating - 10/10

Overall 93%



Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow - Rainbow

Man On The Silver Mountain - Amazing riff, Dio's vocals and lyrics at his finest. Amazing song that brought Ronnie into the spot light - 10/10

Self Portrait - Midtempo with Dio singing in a fairly mystical way Blackmore has a decent riff in this one, the solo section really fits the song quite well. A solid track. - 7.5/10

Black Sheep of The Family - More upbeat a fun cover which was the entire reason this album was recorded so for that reason alone it would be a 10/10 however thats not how reviews work. This song is fun, but not amazing. - 8/10

Catch The Rainbow - This ballad took a very long time for me grow to appreciate it. But now that I do I am happy to say it is an elegant masterpiece on behalf of Ronnie and Ritchie. Absolutely amazing - 10/10

Snake Charmer - An ok track, it doesn't hold up to the masterpieces before it or even the rock tracks. Not a bad song just not amazing. - 7/10

Temple of the King - The second ballad of the album is different from the first but by no means any less amazing, Temple of the King is an absolutely outstanding track once again showing Dio's softer side as well as the beauty of Blackmore's guitarwork. - 10/10

If You Don't Like Rock N Roll - Another song that is fun but it really doesn't go anywhere, It has a nice pace to it and it is short which help it in the long run. - 7/10

Sixteenth Century Greensleeves - I'm not entirely sold on this song but Dio puts in a great preformance and Blackmore's solo is quite strong. It doesn't reach any amazing heights for me. The slow pace makes for a nice change. Overall a solid song - 8/10

I'm Still Sad - That intro riff is great, and the band plays really well, if only Dio could be singing this would be absolutely unreal. Overall another solid track - 8/10

Overall 84%


Game time started.
Sooo… When I said "later this week" I apparently meant "next month". Boy, time flies.


All Night Long
- Musically, Down to Earth starts off the same way its predecessors did, with a killer riff, very similar to "Man on the Silver Mountain", but every bit as good. As well all know, Dio has left the group at this point, leading Blackmore to reshuffle the entire deck once more with only Cozy Powell staying for one more round behind the drums. Instead, we have a familiar face/name in Blackmore's old Purple-bandmate Roger Glover, who has taken over both bass, producing and lyric-duties. And let's be perfectly honest right away: anyone expecting Dio-esque lyrics will be pretty disappointed; Down to Earth is a departure from the previous records in that it primarily consists of songs about love. Which makes sense, since it has been said that Blackmore was hellbent on breaking the American market, and tunes about makin' love and whatnot seemed to be the best way to achieve that. This makes "All Night Long" a pretty good representation of the album in general - nothing bad can be said about the performance itself; the band, in particular Blackmore and Powell, plays as good as ever, new lead singer Graham Bonnet sounds great, and the song sure is catchy, but there really isn't any deeper meaning behind the lyrics. It's just dumb fun, all night long indeed. I can't give it a perfect score, but it's pretty close. 9/10.

Eyes of the World - Another song with a moody keyboard-intro before the rest of the band enters - Rainbow sure loves this trope! This song could very well have been a continuation of "Gates of Babylon" from the previous record, in that it has a similar, albeit slower groove, and at times a Middle Eastern-vibe to it. The verses are very atmospheric and melancholic, with Bonnet lamenting all the injustice in the world, and a killer solo section where both Blackmore and new keyboardist Don Airey (a familiar name to most) trade off leads. Lyrically, "Eyes of the World" is also a lot more interesting than "All Night Long". Sure, the toll war and religion takes on people is a very rehashed theme, but it fits well with the darker music, making it a definite highlight on this album. I think it's good enough to receive the highest marks, so it's a 10/10 for me.

No Time to Lose - Aaaand we're back to the love songs with a rocking, up-tempo tune. The highlight of this one is once again the middle section - it's short, but both guitar and keyboards get a solo part, and Glover's bass is tight and tasty underneath. Otherwise, I'm not exactly spellbound - since I've been comparing the previous songs a lot to Rainbow's earlier material, I might as well to it here too: "No Time to Lose" seem to have a lot in common with "If You Don't Like Rock n' Roll" from the debut. Neither song is anything special, but it's enjoyable enough. Bonnet sounds great on this one too, his voice is just perfect for this kind of tune. The sun is shining, it's weekend and I'm in a good mood, so I think it manages to be a 7/10.

Makin' Love - Despite being a contender for the worst title of any Rainbow song, this is actually a lot better than one would think. I won't hide the fact that love songs aren't my cup of tea, but "Makin' Love" builds up a great moody feel in the verses, almost melancholic, which does a lot of good for the general atmosphere. The lyrics are still pretty, eh, dumb, but at least this way it could be interpreted as being about someone reminiscing about a lost love, adding another dimension to the song. Blackmore's playing is once again very good, from the twinkly intro to the muted guitar lines throughout, and another melodic, but way too short solo. With a better set of lyrics this could be one of the best songs on the album, but in the end I'm gonna go with another 7/10.

Since You Been Gone - Probably the album's most famous track, I won't say much about this Russ Ballard-penned cover. It's just a very decent pop-rock song, nothing more, nothing less. A simple, catchy riff, sweet verses and a great chorus that'll get stuck in your head for a while. It doesn't represent Rainbow at their best in any way, in my opinion at least, but it works perfect for what Blackmore was trying to achieve at the time - and once again he performs brilliantly, really showing his versatility. The song lands firmly at 8/10 in my book.

Love's No Friend - I like the slower, bluesier playing on this track - taking the tempo down a notch compared to some of the other songs on the album allows Bonnet to play a bit more around with his voice, and he gives a great performance - during the breaks in the chorus he really shows what he's capable of. The keyboards are subtle all the way through, primarily staying in the background but adding a lot of colour and atmosphere. For once I think the lyrics fit the song very well; a bluesy tune like this sometimes doesn't need anything deeper than "my woman left me, I feel down", so I'm fine with that. I do kinda miss something different happening in the middle section, though the short part with a rising flurry of frantic notes is a nice touch. This is another 7/10 for me.

Danger Zone - This song is a bit messy at first, going through a couple of verses and a chorus. Nothing special happening, but then the middle section kicks in - now we're talking! Blackmore and Airey duel for a bit, playing both in unison and trading off solos, before we head back for one last verse and an extended chorus/outro-part that fades out eventually. Once again Bonnet sounds very good, but I gotta admit the song as a whole is my least favourite of the bunch. If the middle section was one separate track, I would put it very high, but I'm going with a final score of 6/10.

Lost in Hollywood - The album closes with another up-tempo track that sounds like something off of one of the 80's Deep Purple albums. I think this is one of the better songs on the album - the bands sounds really fired up, with yet another extended guitar/keyboard-section reminiscent of "A Light in the Black". I could've sworn one of the keyboard-melodies was lifted straight from that track, which is by no means a bad thing. The lyrics are bland and doesn't really do anything for me, but I can't put a finger on the performance itself. It's tight, the atmosphere and mood is great, and it's all in all a good way to end the album. I'm going with 8/10 for this one.

Average album rating: 7,75.

Rainbow's first venture post-Dio is a strong effort overall, continuing with a sound not too far from Long Live Rock 'n' Roll, perhaps with a few more commercial tendencies than before. I personally think this lineup of the band was very strong, and they're only let down by the lack of a proper lyricist - for all the respect I have for Roger Glover and his songwriting, the weakest element of virtually every song here is the lyrics. Down to Earth is still an album I enjoy very much, representing a Rainbow that has taken one step towards radio-friendly ground, while the other one remains firmly planted in early neoclassical soil. It was to be the only record with Graham Bonnet, who I think did a terrific job, but perhaps wasn't the right singer for the band in the long run.

It felt good to get this review done - hopefully it won't be as long before the next one is ready. I'm still determined to go through all the albums, however long it will take, so let's see what happens.