A perfect record by a perfect lineup at a perfect moment in metal to release this - one of the purest assemblages of metal talent in its prime. Dio on vocals, Blackmore at his most metal, and Cozy Powell delivering arguably the greatest recorded metal drumming on album. Martin Birch capturing every note with dead on gravitas (OK, so maybe Do You Close Your Eyes isn't technically gravitas, but the song still kills). Rising doesn't necessarily have all the best Rainbow songs either - tho there's no weak tracks. Half the songs never even made it into their live show, though Rainbow live were very prone to drawn-out soloing and jams, and I guess it's hard to wedge a whole new album into a 10 song 90 minute set when that is the case. No, there is just something about the sound, the feel of this record that perfectly distills the essence and power of Metal. Maybe it is the drumming that just takes it over the top. Sad that we have lost both Cozy and Dio now, and with Blackmore off in Renaissance Fair-y-land, it's safe to say we'll never experience the likes of this again. Even the album cover screams "power"; "metal". I get the chills just thinking about listening to Rising. I tend to save it for when i really need it. Easily in my Top 10 alltime metal studio records, maybe Top 5.
Dio had something to prove and must have been holding some songs back - or he got them from Jimmy Bain or new guitarist Vivian Campbell, who never killed again the way he did on this record. Campbell's guitar sound was a revelation here. Back in the early 80s every few months a new hard rock guitar god would emerge, though most of them (John Sykes, Jake E Lee, Warren De Martini just off top of my head) peaked on their first few records. But I digress - anyhow Holy Diver is a killer pound-for-pound slab of metal genius - the music still too fresh to slide into cartoon-land, as Dio's work would become soon enough. This is one of those records that decades later, I'll listen to one of the "lesser" tracks like Gypsy or Invisible and still get a total charge - the guitar and vocals are still so fresh, the energy bristles out of the speakers.
When this came out (pre-Metallica, more or less pre-Venom), it was just about the heaviest thing on earth. Contains 2 anthems of thrash - Turn Up The Night and The Mob Rules - proving that Iommi could riff fast and loud (he literally invented slow and doom, but until this record the closest the Sabs came to thrash were Paranoid or maybe Symptom of the Universe) with the best of them. For some reason Mob Rules hasn't gotten the respect that Heaven and hell got - but what I like about it is how different it is from its predecessor. Also has by far the best album cover either Dio or the Sabs have ever been involved with (granted, that's not saying much, except for Rainbow Rising, LLR&R and Live Evil).
Some ears might find it a bit meandering and sloppy - when I was younger i didn't appreciate the slower passages as much - but this is a pretty epic live album. Yardbirds cover Still I'm Sad is epic, as is the version of Catch The Rainbow, and Mistreated. And the Kill The King opener . . well . . . kills.
A great debut, but this band really hit their stride live (check out Kill The King in this live version embedded here, as well as Still I'm Sad and Catch The Rainbow on On Stage), and on their next studio record. Still, the studio version of Man On The Silver Mountain is as good as it gets.
The lyrics are starting to veer towards cheeze (We Rock is a monster of a song otherwise), but this band is still in their prime, and the tour with the Egypt theme was hella great (I couldn't say that about the tour the next time around with the dragon).
A little more hit-and-miss, but still an excellent effort for the last Dio Rainbow album. Some of the songs have more of a "rock and roll" than metal vibe - dare I saw a few like LA Connection even "swing".
Live From Radio City Music Hall
This was an excellent surprise comeback tour, as evidenced in the recording here. My memories of the Heaven and hell show I caught at the LA Forum circa 2007 are basically "s**t eating grin all night". My only negative is that they could have unearthed a few more never-played-live stone classics such as Turn Up The Night, especially when they came around for another round the next year. Minor, minor squibbles - Sabbath have always been "setlist conservatives", as many older metal bands annoyingly tend to be. Pick this up if you are an old school Dio fan and want to hear some re-energized versions.
Live in Germany 1976v
Ranked lower cuz mucho overlap with On Stage, but this is great stuff from a band in their prime, and if like me you gotta have all the different versions, pick this up for sure.
Vid embed is from a commercially available DVD that I highly recommend (though I think the DVD is Germany 77 not 76) for a dose of the famed "Rainbow lighting rig" (you can see on the cover of On Stage above) stage set, pretty badass especially for the 70s.
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