A TRIBUTE TO DEEP PURPLE & RAINBOW
LION MUSIC LMC079 (Release Date: 11 November 2003)
1. Mister Kite - Bloodsucker
2. Transcendence – Perfect Strangers
3. Arabesque – Stargazer
4. Lars Eric Mattsson – Self Portrait
5. Reign of Terror – Sixteenth Century Greensleeves
6. Iron Mask – Gates of Babylon
7. Headline – The Battle Rages On
8. Condition Red – Black Night
9. Torben Enevolden – Space Truckin'
10. Eric Zimmermann – Man on the Silver Mountain
11. Winterlong – Highway Star
12. Jason Richardson – Lazy
13. Condition Red – Still I'm Sad
And here we go with another Tribute album. This time we're in for something different. Most of the tribute albums released involving Rainbow songs in the past were more or less good to perfect copies of the original songs with most of the time weak vocals. So do we get here good vocalsfor a change. No, unfortunately not. It's not an easy job to tackle the vocal excesses of someone like Ronnie James Dio. All the Rainbow songs on this tribute are from the Dio era and nobody gets close to the little man with the huge voice.
Musically it's most of the time fine but there are some rare exceptions. This album has a mix of extreme heavy, trash, techno and even folk and industrial music. So we get to hear a lot of heavy riffin', thundering basses & hard hittin' double bassdrums. There are 7 Deep Purple and 6 Rainbow covers which takes over 72 minutes.
First Rainbow song is "Stargazer", one of the band's classic tracks, spoilt here by a weak female singer. Another Rainbow classic "Gates of Babylon" gets a better version, after a weird heavy intro we get a fine version, the singer is sometimes on the top of his toes but does a fair job. At the end there's a fine soft keyboards prelude. Lars Eric Mattsson who is the executive producer of this album does a good version of "Self Portait" and Reign Of Terror guitarist Joe Stump has a great intro to "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves" including some classical stuff we heard Ritchie doing in the past. After the intro there's a good heavy version of the song itself. One of the worst tracks is the industrial version of "Man on the Silver Mountain", the vocals are not too bad, or is that because the rest is? The last Rainbow song is an instrumental version of "Still I'm Sad", a bit like on Rainbow first album, but with some extra surprises like some bass soloing, guitar and keyboard duels. A fine track to end the album played by Condition Red, the only band who does two cuts on this CD. The other Condition Red track brings us to the Deep Purple stuffs. It's a folk-rock version of "Black Night". Nice vocals, violin, acoustic guitar but also some heavier instrumental parts including a spacy electric guitarsolo. Might give Blackmore's Night some inspiration to do a proper version live ;)
Torben Enevolden (guitar, bass, keyboards) does a great version of "Space Truckin'". Mats Levén does the vocals and Anders Johansson on Drums (both ex-Yngwie Malmsteen). A fine trio. Also the version of "Highway Star" is a good one with some superb guitar stuffs. Just like the great heavy blues version of "Lazy" by Jason Richardson. Headline with a female singer are doing a decent version of "The Battle Rages On". Mister Kite gives us a very heavy "Bloodsucker" and Transcendence has their weird version of "Perfect Strangers".
If you think the original Deep Purple/Rainbow songs are heavy, then you've got another thing coming. This is in general a hard, heavy 'n' mean kicking ass album. We could have done with some better vocals work but that will always be the problem with tribute albums if you start tryin' to step in the spotlight of the great Ronnie James Dio. Is this interesting enough to buy a copy? You can have a listen first! Melodic Rock has one minute samples of all the tracks on their site.