Fleeing Deep Purple after the anaemic 'Stormbringer' enabled Ritchie Blackmore to mould a version of the band which was nearer to his own musical persona. 'Man On The Silver Mountain' opens this album like a blueprint for what was to follow, a Gothic take on hard rock. Even so, this is a fairly diverse album, featuring the soft, beautiful 'Catch The Rainbow' and 'The Temple Of The King,' which has a slightly oriental slant. Rock, though, is still the main order of the day. There is one curious inclusion, a cover of The Yardbirds hit, 'Still I'm Sad.' Where the original was a slow, cavernously echoing song made portentous by a Gregorian-style chant, Rainbow's version is a fast instrumental, recognisable only by Blackmore's jazzed-up take on the melody.
As for the rest of the band, though Elf, as they were, do a fine job, only vocalist Ronnie James Dio remained for the 'Rising' album, suggesting that Blackmore was only interested in him. Certainly, Cozy Powell coming in on drums would give their music more steel than it already had. Rainbow's debut isn't perfect but contains so much great rock that it rates as a classic.