Yo ho! Nightrider here.

Ritchie Blackmore kept Ronnie James Dio from Rainbow’s first album Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow and recruited drummer Cozy Powell, keyboard Tony Carey, and bassist Jimmy Bain. They created Rainbow’s second album Rising and released it on 17 May 1976. Even though the album had only six songs, the content became legendary: a fantasy about magic and dragons while expressing these themes in a heavy metal journey. Let’s take a tour of Rising and see what stories are told:

“Tarot Woman” opens the album with a story: a man goes to a tarot woman to find out about his future. She tells him about a “smile of a bright, shining face” and to beware of such a person. What does this mean to the man: his next partner in life will deceive him and lead him to his demise.

“Run With The Wolf” tells the tale about how evil prevails against an unlucky soul. An evil entity enchants someone to join them. Perhaps it’s a werewolf due to the title.

“Starstruck” is the real-life story of an obsessed fan who pestered Blackmore and Dio.

“Do You Close Your Eyes” addresses a test of fidelity. You have that potential love of your life in your arms but wonder if they’re fantasizing about someone else when making love.

“Stargazer” and “A Light in the Black” both make a two-part epic story about morality, enslavement, “magic” and freedom.

The first part, “Stargazer,” is about The Wizard, a being that wants to see the stars and fly amongst them no matter the cost. He enslaves an untold amount of people to build a tower to the stars. However, after too many people suffered and died for him, The Wizard is ready to fly to his star but instead plunges to his death. The slaves cry for their freedom when they see a rainbow rising beyond the horizon. The Munich Philharmonic Orchestra contributed to the epic musicianship of the band’s composition.

The second part, “A Light in the Black,” continues where “Stargazer” left off; the people have no sense of identity after the fall of The Wizard and his false mission. Now that they have freedom, what will the slaves do? There are two interpretations of the lyrics. The first interpretation is that the slaves now see that they are indeed free to return home after a lifetime of torment from The Wizard; the “light in the black” represented false hope (i.e. hope existing in a situation where none should be). The second interpretation is that the slaves died shortly after The Wizard due to over-exhaustion and wounds. The “light in the black” symbolizes that the heavens took pity on the slaves and gave them eternity in the sky; here they finally see the star that The Wizard coveted but never reached.

Rising is considered by many to be one of the best Metal albums of all time. “Stargazer” stands out as an epic example of how fantasy elements can be used in Heavy Metal.