8. Difficult to Cure (1981) This release feels like the weakest band effort. Great rhythm driven and riff heavy tracks like “I Surrender”, “Midtown Tunnel Vision”, and “Spotlight Kid”. The latter being one of the better Blackmore riffs. But outside of the aforementioned songs the album overall feels real average and uninspired.
7. Stranger in Us All (1995) Stranger in Us All, the most recent Rainbow release, is a hard rock album with Renaissance themed instrumentals. Almost a throwback to the Dio era Rainbow. Overall a solid hard rock album featuring great tracks such as “Wolf to the Moon”, “Ariel, and “Black Masquerade”. A great album recapturing early Rainbows energy.
6. Bent Out of Shape (1983) The third and final album to feature Joe Lynn Turner, this album is a more progressive feeling release. With songs like “Snowman”, “Fire Dance”, and “Anybody There” keeping the album feeling inspired while songs like “Drinking with the Devil” and “Street of Dreams” sound like an attempt to capture what arena rock band were putting out, e.g. Van Halen and AC/DC
5. Straight Between the Eyes (1982) A more guitar driven album with great vocal performances by Joe Lynn Turner. A great album front to back. The opening track feels like a throwback to “Highway Star”, a great “revving” guitar riff featuring a roaring vocal delivery by JLT. This album finishes with “Eyes of Fire” a mostly lead guitar track with some vocal passages it feels very “proggy” with metal influences. The last Rainbow effort that sounded good with every track.
4. Down to Earth (1979) This album has great songs trying to capture the commercial arena-rock feel. Songs like “Since You’ve Been Gone”, “All Night Long”, and “Danger Zone” really hit that sound well, meanwhile “Eyes of this World” and “Lost in Hollywood” are more instrumentally pleasing tracks.
3. Long Live Rock n’ Roll (1977) The final Rainbow album of the Dio era. This is a frenetic album with great guitar riffs and solos by Blackmore and great operatic vocals by Dio. Kicking off with “Long Live Rock n’ Roll”, a riff driven song, followed by “Lady of the Lake” on the a side. This really opens the album and shows you the direction this album is going. “Gates of Babylon” finishes the a side, a great thematic song with a Mediterranean feel and probably the best song to come out by Rainbow. Features a god tier solo and beautiful vocal parts by Ronnie James Dio. “Kill the King” is an almost metal sounding track with an uptempo riff and a driven rhythm section.
2. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow (1975) This album has its highs and lows. When Rainbow is on their best the songs can be great, with a few duds here and there. This album features “Man on the Silver Mountain”, “Self Portrait”, “Snake Charmer”, and “Still I’m Sad” which are guitar driven tracks that belong in any classic rock playlist. “Catch the Rainbow” and “Temple of the King” are ballad-esque tracks that really hold the album together, sheer greatness from these two songs. A great debut that showcased the talent between the Blackmore and Dio duo.
1. Rainbow Rising (1976) Not only the best Rainbow album but one of the greatest albums in general. This album offers everything. Phenomenal songwriting and vocals, great guitar work, and heavy drumming by Cozy Powell. This album is more thematic and prog than the other Rainbow releases. With “Tarot Woman”, “Run With the Wolf”, and “Starstruck” following each other it really sound great and sets up the album. Only does the track “Do You Close Your Eyes” really throw off the pace of this album. “Stargazer” and “A Light in the Black” sound like a continuation of the same song. Starting with an energetic drum solo and a heavy guitar with possibly the greatest Blackmore solo. This whole song is an epic telling of a wizard building a tower with which he can fly only to fail and die. It follows with “A Light in the Black” which is a metal sounding song with a roaring guitar riff and heavy rhythm section.