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Motivated by the radio success of “Down to the Earth,” Ritchie Blackmore renewed his line-up with the incorporations of Joe Lynn Turner (vocals) and Bob Rondinelli (drums) with the intention of polishing the new Rainbow‘s sound. Although the band kept the envisioned musical direction, differences are still noticeable in comparison with the album’s predecessor. At first glance, one can be able to identify here a softer sound somehow inspired by Head East and Foreigner whereas the predecessor mentioned above displays a harder and more rocking sound, with some small traces from the earlier works. Furthermore, Turner‘s clean high-pitched vocals allowed additional focus on melody, so as a result, the songs in this release are more emotional, pretty much identified with the cloying formulas used by the AOR bands at that time and reminiscent of the studio recording styles at the beginning of the 80s.
The opening track (a Head East cover), is one of the few shining moments here. Injected with a more hard-rocking feeling in the vein Blackmore is used to doing so, the number is one of the most Head East-inspired and a brilliant moment. As much brilliant is the next speedish number, with the interesting guitar-keyboards duel proposal. However, these songs do not seem to stick together. Even worse, such promise is vanished thereinafter when the band starts drinking from the jar of “what the fuck.”
One can’t question Blackmore‘s abilities with the instrument, but when it comes to making songwriting choices, he proves to be erratic in some passages. Perhaps, this should be due to his intentions of simplifying his style and avoid overwhelming the listeners with intricate riffs. Consequently, his guitar playing became unmemorable at all, and the songs were annoying. For instance, it is hard to stand for a long time listening to “No Release,” as the riffs are not attractive enough for a mid-paced number. Moreso, taking into account how silly the middle part of this number sounds.
On the other hand, the last number is disappointing at best, as it is criminally synth-drunk, not to mention how foolish are the tone choices for that instrument. It is weird and makes no sense in this album. Has Blackmore insisted on mandatorily including this number, then, he should have given more weight to his guitar playing to make it more attractive. Therefore, based on what is listed here, it seems that the Blackmore-Turner formula was wasted, and their abilities not adequately capitalized. The lesson Ritchie should have learned here is that the idea of picking four songs like a single, damages the essence of an album, unless the songs stick together with the rest, and are as good as the rest.
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