Review: Stranger In Us All

During the late ’90s, Deep Purple was set to explode. The band had swapped Ian Gillan for Joe Lynn Turner and back again in the space of one album. On top of that, Ritchie Blackmore decided he had enough of the group and quit in 1993. Now without a band, Blackmore set out to rebuild Rainbow and released Stranger In Us All in 1995.

Stranger In Us All features an all new line up, nothing particularly new for Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. On vocals is Doogie White, a good singer who would later go onto make some great music with Yngwie Malmsteen and Michael Schenker. Keyboardist Paul Morris has played with Doro Pesch and Trans-Siberian Orchestra with drummer John O’Reilly, who was in fact replaced for the band’s album tour by previous Rainbow drummer, Chuck Burgi. Bassist Greg Smith has since worked with Alice Cooper and is a mainstay in the Ted Nugent band.

Together with Ritchie Blackmore, this group of musicians put out an album that is worthy of the Rainbow name. The music has the same heavy rock sound, the same fantasy elements and showcases a lot of the same kinds of music found in the band’s late ’80s period. Fans will enjoy tracks like Ariel, Black Masquerade, Silence and Cold Hearted Woman. The weakest song on the album by far is the mind numbingly dull, Hunting Humans (Insatiable). The song has an overly simplistic beat and goes absolutely nowhere for nearly six minutes. It is easily the weakest element out of the entire ten song track list.

The albums production gives the group a nice slick sound. It is very similar to their early ’80s output and fits nicely with the catalogue. Ritchie Blackmore utilises a few different guitar tones, his rhythm playing features a nice clean crispy sound that really sounds great with a lot of the heavier songs. His soloing has his trademark guitar tone all over it. The drums are a little too thin in terms of sound but it has a very nice snare drum sound. it gives the songs a satisfying snap. It is just a shame the bass drum and tom toms are a bit buried in the mix. The lacking drum sound is made up by some solid bass runs. Greg Smith certainly holds down the fort in terms of rhythm and fills the gap between guitar, keyboards and drums perfectly.

Stranger In Us All may not be as good as Rising or Down To Earth, but it is a very good album its own right. This line up had a lot going for it and it’s a shame that they didn’t hold together long enough to make a second album. Die hard fans of Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow will likely have this album already, but those who haven’t moved past the classic Dio era will find a lot to like here.

Rating : 8 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Wolf to the Moon
  2. Cold Hearted Woman
  3. Hunting Humans (Insatiable)
  4. Stand and Fight
  5. Ariel
  6. Too Late For Tears
  7. Black Masquerade
  8. Silence
  9. Hall of the Mountain King
  10. Still I'm Sad (cover)