DIO – Magica & Killing the Dragon

Dio – Magica & Killing the Dragon (2007, Snapper Music – German Import)

Fantastic import because it is a two-disc set featuring Magica (2000) and Killing the Dragon (2002) and I picked it up online brand new for only $10. These albums had been on my “I”ll get to it someday” wish list since they were first released. I hadn’t had a full sampling of Dio’s music yet earlier this decade and I knew both albums had positive reviews at the time of their release. I couldn’t pass this up when I saw it listed. I like the album art, incorporationg both albums, but I would have also liked a more prominent representation of the original albums’ art. All we get are two TINY thumbnails of each album’s full cover on the back of the booklet insert!

Let’s break down each disc…

Disc 1: Magica (Original Release: 2000, Spitfire Records)

1. “Discovery” … 0:54
2. “Magica Theme” … 1:16
3. “Lord of the Last Day” … 4:04
4. “Fever Dreams” … 4:37
5. “Turn to Stone” … 5:19
6. “Feed My Head” … 5:39
7. “Ebeil” … 7:25
8. “Challis” … 4:25
9. “As Long as It’s Not About Love” … 6:04
10. “Losing My Insanity” … 5:04
11. “Otherworld” … 4:56
12. “Magica (Reprise)”… 1:53
13. “Lord of the Last Day (Reprise)” (Dio) … 1:44
14. “Magica Story” … 18:26

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Simon Wright – Drums
Scott Warren – Keyboards

Produced by: Ronnie James Dio

Magica is a concept album, a “science fiction tale of the future”. It’s good vs. evil and Dio’s singing about it. What more do you really need to know to get on board?

I personally think the album is a bit bogged down with instrumentals, reprises and spoken word pieces (there’s only 9 legit songs here), but all of the songs are rock solid and at least the tracks that are there only to flesh out the “concept” are fairly short. Well, “Magica Story” is extremely long. It’s Ronnie telling the tale of “Magica”. That’s interesting, but thankfully, it was included as the last track in order to skip it quite easily. =)

Overall, this is definitely one of Dio’s finer moments. I think it is similar to Master of the Moon in that it doesn’t have a lot of fast rockers, but these trudging numbers are so heavy and scream “classic Dio” so loud that it doesn’t even matter.

Veteran Dio guitarist Craig Goldy made his return with this album.

Highlights: “Lord of the Last Day”, “Fever Dreams”, “Turn to Stone”, “Feed My Head”, “Ebeil”, “Challis”

Disc 2: Killing the Dragon (Original Release: 2002, Spitfire Records)

1. “Killing the Dragon” … 4:25
2. “Along Comes a Spider” … 3:32
3. “Scream” … 5:02
4. “Better in the Dark” … 3:43
5. “Rock & Roll” … 6:11
6. “Push” … 4:08
7. “Guilty” … 4:25
8. “Throw Away Children” … 5:35
9. “Before the Fall” … 3:48
10. “Cold Feet” … 4:11

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Doug Aldrich – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass, Keyboards
Simon Wright – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Scott Warren – Keyboards (“Before the Fall”)
King Harbour Children’s Choir — Chorus (“Throw Away Children”)

Produced by: Ronnie James Dio

This isn’t a concept album, but a bit of Dio’s fascination with the future & technology carries over from Magica as he has said the dragon in “Killing the Dragon” is meant to be technology.

Anyway, this album is another great moment in Dio’s career and one of his top albums, in my opinion. Not sure where guitarist Craig Goldy went, even though he has a few songwriting credits here. He played on Magica, skipped out on this album, then came back for 2004’s Master of the Moon. Doesn’t really matter though because his replacement here is the amazing Doug Aldrich. I was fortunate enough to catch Doug live with Whitesnake in 2009 and he’s gotta be one of the rock’s top active guitarists.

Back to this album, maybe Dio realized Magica was a plodding beast (heavy and solid, but plodding) because Killing the Dragon doesn’t have that problem. The tempo is a bit faster and some of Dio’s best numbers roost here. “Killing the Dragon” is a great opener and “Scream” is just too catchy. Who wouldn’t love a song featuring Dio screaming “SCREEEEAM”?

“Cold Feet” is my favorite song from the album (yes, I know it is a mid-tempo number). It’s got a great classic rock vibe and I like the use of keyboards in it.

An even better release than Magica. And Magica is nothing to stick your nose up at.

Highlights: “Killing the Dragon”, “Scream”, “Better in the Dark”, “Push”, “Guilty”, “Cold Feet”

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Posted on September 3, 2009, in Dio and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Replacing the great Tracy G with the less than mediocre Craig Goldy was the worst mistake that Dio could make … Doug Aldrich changed things for the better though …

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