This album was part of the stack of stuff Mike gave me, innocuous-seeming, at the time…
I don’t swear much, generally, and hardly ever in these pages. But after hearing this record today, all I can say is HOLY SHIT! THIS WAS SO FRIGGIN’ GOOD!
Seriously, why have I not had this album in my life forever? Oh man, this one blew me away.
There follows my field notes, written as things occurred to me while I listened…
The title track, as album opener, is a full-on blues rocker. Holy crap, that was awesome, just a monster of a song. The guitar solo, the drums throughout (and yes this time I shout-out Cozy Powell, as I should have last time), you’ve got Dio’s vocals… the works.
Lady Of The Lake keeps up the rawk assault, this time a heavier start-stop riff that was built for headbanging. The chorus gets more melodic yet it still fits. Great instrumental bit in the middle. And, as testimony to what a geek I am, I did not immediately think of Arthurian legend here. No, I thought of Monty Python’s bit about “just because some watery tart threw a sword at you…” Incrongruous with the might of the song, I know, I know.
L.A. Connection is a bluesy stomper with Dio in full wail. This is fully drenched in that heavy blues rock that only a few bands ever mastered. An excellent track.
Gates Of Babylon, once past its synth intro, takes off at a good clip with a slinky riff. It has the feel of a proper rock epic track. “The devil will take you away!” Of course he will! Glorious track.
Kill The King is a track I heard (for the first time) recently, on the On Stage live album (see review). The studio version here ups the ante… it make me want to just go really fast and yell and revel in the release of it all. So great. Am I wrong for hearing Maiden in the instrumental bit, here? (1:45 – 3:06) Ah who cares, this is a gigantic track.
The Shed (Subtle) isn’t all that subtle, is it? Another straight-up blues rock stomper that’s actually pretty in-your-face. “Out of my way!… Streetwalkin’… Nightstalkin’…” Oooo yeah. And I love Blackmore’s slide guitar solo, here.
Sensitive To Light ramps it up again with another sweaty barroom blues rocker that is just unrelenting. I just loved this.
… and as if all of that wasn’t enough…
Rainbow Eyes is seven minutes of gentleness, beautiful and melodic. Flutes! It’s all proof that our man Ronnie James Dio could really do it all, vocally. Damn. Despite being the only quiet track here, this totally fits. A superb closer.
In sum? It’s clear to me that the band was swinging for the fences, with this record. All killer, no filler. An instant place-of-honour favourite.
My HUGE thanks to Mike for bringing this incredible collection of songs into my life.