Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow - Stranger In Us All (Expanded) album review

Step back in time two decades and you’ll nearly hear Dio

Cover art for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow - Stranger In Us All (Expanded) album review

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Rainbow’s unloved final album (of eight) was released in 1995, fully 12 years after the seventh following Ritchie Blackmore’s nine loveless years married to the re-formed Deep Purple. It failed to chart Stateside, and only reached 102 in the UK. The trouble was that if Rainbow were to re-form, hardcore fans wanted Ronnie James Dio as the singer. No one cared about a line-up of unknowns fronted by Doogie White.

Today, though, White sounds like the next best thing. While at times (Too Late For Tears and Black Masquerade) he seems to be channeling Rainbow’s 1980s singer Joe Lynn Turner… mostly he sings very much like Dio.

Hence this plays like an album nearly 20 years out of its time, the missing link between the two eras as Blackmore heads back in the direction of Rainbow’s mid-70s heyday. Stand-outs Hunting Humans (Insatiable), Stand And Fight and Ariel could all have been recorded then. So too a great new version of The Yardbirds’ softwareuiphraseguid=“6c8a06c9-9ce7-4e77-9290-2f2d87ad97df”>softwareuiphraseguid=“6c8a06c9-9ce7-4e77-9290-2f2d87ad97df”>SOFTWAREmark” gingersoftwareuiphraseguid=“6c8a06c9-9ce7-4e77-9290-2f2d87ad97df” id=“a894a0ca-07e8-49cd-9ef8-e6e935bdd902”>Still I’m Sad, a rocked-up take on Grieg’s 19th-century Hall Of The Mountain King, and a live Temple Of The King among the three bonus tracks.

For Dio fans, this tops any album featuring JLT and comes close to matching Long Live Rock’n’Roll.

Neil Jeffries

Freelance contributor to Classic Rock and several of its offshoots since 2006. In the 1980s he began a 15-year spell working for Kerrang! intially as a cub reviewer and later as Geoff Barton’s deputy and then pouring precious metal into test tubes as editor of its Special Projects division. Has spent quality time with Robert Plant, Keith Richards, Ritchie Blackmore, Rory Gallagher and Gary Moore – and also spent time in a maximum security prison alongside Love/Hate. Loves Rush, Aerosmith and beer. Will work for food.