The title says it all! Opinions expressed here are those of the authors. Personal tastes may vary, and we are cool with that.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Underrated Metal Bands #7: Rainbow

Okay, some of you might be thinking, "How is this band underrated?", because a lot of people have heard of this band before. Well for one, Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P) needs no introduction at all, being one of metal's greatest singers of all time and also being one of my personal favorites as well. After all, he is the man that influenced Marco Hietala! Too bad he did not last too long with these guys before he was in Black Sabbath and his more famous solo project. His predecessors as vocalist (Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner, and Doogie White) could not even hold a candle to Dio, but they all have their own talents nonetheless. And of course the guitar legend Ritchie Blackmore, who was most notably known in the legendary rock band Deep Purple, who left them to form this band, and also his folk female-fronted rock project, Blackmore's Night. His influence on metal is beyond words as he really set the tone for future shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen, Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius), Jari Maenpaa (ex-Ensiferum, Wintersun), and many more. Rainbow consists of one of the most underrated drummers of all time in Cozy Powell, a solid bass player in Jimmy Bain(who also played for Dio in the years to come), and numerous keyboard players over the years as well (Tony Carey being the most influential of them all).

Some of you may also be thinking, "No way, these guys are hard rock, not metal!". If you do not think they are metal, look here! Well in my personal opinion, Rainbow was one of the big major pioneers of heavy metal in the mid-70s and into today as well. Listen to the song "Stargazer" which is the featured video below, and you will see what I mean. Their style was a hybrid of progressive rock like Deep Purple, hard rock like Led Zeppelin, and metal like Black Sabbath at that time. They can fall into the rock category too, but they have that edge that seperates them from many other bands in that era. Rainbow's sound was very revolutionary, fresh, and melodic for their time and contributed to the start of the "New Wave of British Heavy Metal" in the following years with legends like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Saxon, Def Leppard, Motorhead, and so on. One of my favorite finnish metal bands,Tarot, also credits Rainbow as being an inspiration for their band as well.

The reason I posted this is because I feel that Rainbow, though still moderately well known, has become shoved aside over the years and doesn't get the credit they deserve. This is one of Britain's greatest rock/metal acts along with Iron Maiden and Sabbath and is also perhaps one of the most underrated legendary classic bands of rock and metal. My personal recommendation is the album Rising. It features heavy metal masterpieces like "Stargazer", "A Light In The Black", and "Tarot Woman". For their time, they were a breakthrough band and gave Dio his claim to fame and rise to being a legend. But today, they are vaguely mentioned, which is a shame because they really did some amazing work in the 70's. Recommended for anyone into 70's hard rock/heavy metal, or just good music in general. Rock on! \m/


Rainbow's page


Sorcha said...

If you look at it in this way, they really are underrated. Although they do get a lot of airplay around here on some radio channels.

But Rainbow is a very good band wich deserves more credits for their work indeed.

Eric James said...

Sorcha, I agree. Rainbow really paved the way for heavy and even power metal in a way ("A Light in the Black" for example). I think that Dio's premature exit from Rainbow led them to not get the credit they deserved and they could not recover from that. Losing a key member of a band is huge and can leave a big gap on the sound as we all know.

The only Rainbow songs I heard on the radio that I can recall is "Man on the Silver Mountain" and "Stargazer", and it was only a few times. They deserve more airplay though like the way Led Zepp, Sabbath and Metallica does.

CanuckFan said...

This is a really good song, actually. Never heard it before now. The guitars are great!

Winterstorm said...

Dream Theater did a cover version of this on their latest album - the 3-disc Special Edition that is, which has a bonus disc with six (really cool, IMO) tracks - covers of Rainbow, Queen, Dixie Dregs, Zebra, King Crimson and Iron Maiden.

BTW, I'm not sure I'd call Deep Purple progressive rock ... Yes or Emerson, Lake & Palmer would be much better examples. And of course King Crimson (add old Genesis and Jethro Tull and you've got all the biggest bands in 70s prog). Or some Queen tracks even.