Album review: Rainbow, Bent Out of Shape (1983)


By Steve Newton

While not as impressive as last year’s Straight Between the Eyes, Rainbow’s new album is still likely to please old Deep Purple diehards like myself, who can’t seem to get enough of Ritchie Blackmore’s furious and fast Stratocations.

“The man in black” is back with ten songs–two of which are instrumentals–that give him ample opportunity to stretch out and blow away any doubts concerning his title as the reigning master of metal madness. There is nothing as exciting as “Death Alley Driver”, from last year’s album, or “Spotlight Kid” from 1981’s Difficult to Cure, but his solos on “Fire Dance”, “Desperate Heart” and “Drinking with the Devil” still hold the magic that had me wearing out the grooves of Made in Japan way back when.

Most of the songs on Bent Out of Shape were co-written by Blackmore and vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, who has taken over the songwriting chores from bassist, producer, and former Deep Purpler Roger Glover. Drummer Chuck Burgi, who has played with Hall & Oates and Aldo Nova, makes his first appearance as a Rainbow member on the album as well.

I must admit, though, that if it weren’t for Blackmore’s unbridled guitarwork–and his more subtle fretting on the instrumentals “Snowman” and “Anybody There”–the album would be a dud. There wouldn’t be anything to differentiate it from the majority of today’s commercial-sounding hard rock.

When you compare Bent Out of Shape to Rainbow’s earlier albums–like Rainbow Rising and Long Live Rock and Roll–it appears the band is selling out for radio airplay. But as long as Blackmore keeps dealing his trademark frenzied riffs, you can bet I’ll still be listening.


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