Category Archives: Dio

Last In Line – Heavy Crown [Album Review]

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Last In Line – Heavy Crown
2016, Frontiers Records

Buy the album

1. Devil In Me
2. Martyr
3. Starmaker
4. Burn This House Down
5. I Am Revolution
6. Blame It On Me
7. In Flames
8. Already Dead
9. Curse the Day
10. Orange Glow
11. Heavy Crown
12. The Sickness

Band:
Andrew Freeman – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

Producer: Jeff Pilson

If you bought this album expecting to hear music similar to the first three Dio albums, prepare your to be disappointed. Despite using their Dio connection for marketing purposes, Heavy Crown doesn’t attempt to make another Holy DiverThe Last In Line, or Sacred Heart. Instead, a lot of the music on Heavy Crown is quite modern sounding. While the group initially joined together to celebrate the music they created with Ronnie James Dio back in the 1980’s, the new material does not find itself dwelling in nostalgia or going for a “retro” feel.

These songs were not written for someone like a Ronnie James Dio to sing. Andrew Freeman sounds nothing like Ronnie. His voice is much more suited to a modern hard rock sound and that’s a lot of what Heavy Crown brings to the table — a more contemporary hard rock sound. There are a few old school moments with songs like “Devil In Me” and “Starmaker” almost seems a Dio-style sound brought into modern times. Other songs like “The Sickness” and “Curse the Day” could easily be heard on radio today. Some of this stuff songs like Alter Bridge or Shinedown.

Heavy Crown is a solid album but I think where it becomes a slight disappointment is in regards to the Dio connection. I mean, the band originally formed to play Dio songs and named themselves after a Dio album they all played. Then they release original material using that same band name, with an album cover that looks like something the Dio band might’ve had but the music inside really doesn’t sound like Dio at all. I think that’s a bit of an unfair game for the band to play with fans and it probably sells the band short a bit as well. No one is getting what they are asking for.

Also, there’s the lack of keyboards. Original Dio keyboardist Claude Schnell was originally part of the band, but was ejected when it came time to write and record new songs because Vivian felt keyboards weren’t needed. Great guy, that Vivian.

Taken on its own terms, Heavy Crown is a solid hard rock album with some definite leanings to the old school. It’s worth checking out for sure and perhaps it will grow on me more as I continue to listen to it. It seems I like it more with each spin I give it.

Sadly, this is last album to ever feature legendary Rainbow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain, as he passed away shortly after the album’s released. If there’s a tour or second album, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Pilson to step in since he not only produced this album but he was also a bassist in the Dio band for a few years.

Highlights: “Devil In Me”, “Blame It On Me”, “Curse the Day”, “Orange Glow”

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Dio – Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993 [Review]

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Dio – Live in London: Hammersmith Apollo 1993
2014, Eagle Rock Records

Disc 1:
1. Stand Up And Shout
2. Strange Highways
3. Don’t Talk To Strangers
4. Evilution
5. Pain
6. The Mob Rules
7. Children Of The Sea
8. Holy Diver
9. Heaven And Hell
10. Man On The Silver Mountain
11. Drum Solo
12. Heaven And Hell (reprise)

Disc 2:
1. Jesus Mary & The Holy Ghost
2. Hollywood Black
3. The Last In Line
4. Rainbow In The Dark
5. We Rock
6. Here’s To You

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Lead Vocals
Tracy G – Guitar
Jeff Pilsen – Bass, Backing Vocals
Vinny Appice – Drums
Scott Warren – Keyboards

Live in London was recorded on December 12, 1993 and is the Dio band’s third live release that’s been pulled from the archives since the passing of Ronnie James Dio in 2010. The set list isn’t all that dissimilar from what the Dio band has always played: a mix of their own material plus cuts from Ronnie’s run in Black Sabbath with the occasional Rainbow tune thrown in.

For this album, the band was touring for the release of Strange Highways and the set features no less than six songs from that album. It’s an album I own not but something I was ever too impressed with. The songs really don’t sound too different from the darker and angrier music Ronnie made with Black Sabbath on 1992’s Dehumanizer, just less memorable. In this live setting, I can appreciate the “Strange Highways” track much more. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on Dehumanizer or even Heaven & Hell’s The Devil You Know.

This was also the era when the controversial Tracy G played guitar in the band. Honestly, I’m not sure why people say he wasn’t a good fit. He looked like your typical metal-head and is obviously a gifted guitarist. I think maybe he caught all of the negativity just because he was the guitarist for two albums (Strange Highways and its follow-up Angry Machines) that were musically and lyrically darker affairs from what Dio usually put out. All you have to do is check out his guitar solo on “Pain” and you’ll know this guy was worthy of following in the footsteps of

Here’s where I would put out that even in 1993, Ronnie James sounds just as powerful as ever, except you can say that for every year he was on the planet up until he started getting ill! The guy was truly the most gifted rock/metal vocalist of all time. Never lost a step no matter the year, no matter the song. Amazing to think he never had to warm-up either. Simply legendary.

If you’ve kept up with the last two Dio live releases, this isn’t essential listening but fans of Strange Highways will probably want to hear songs from that album performed live (or even buy the DVD or Blu-ray of this concert).

Highlights: “Stand Up and Shout”, “Strange Highways”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “The Mob Rules”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Man on the Silver Mountain”, “The Last In Line”, “We Rock”, “Here’s to You”

Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life [Review]

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 Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life
2014, Rhino Records
Buy the album at Amazon.com

1. Neon Knights – Anthrax
2. The Last In Line – Tenacious D
3. The Mob Rules – Adrenaline Mob
4. Rainbow In The Dark – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher
5. Straight Through The Heart – Halestorm
6. Starstruck – Motörhead with Biff Byford
7. The Temple Of The King – Scorpions
8. Egypt (The Chains Are On) – Doro
9. Holy Diver – Killswitch Engage
10. Catch The Rainbow – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren
11. I – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy
12. Man On The Silver Mountain – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren
13. Ronnie Rising Medley (A Light In The Black / Tarot Woman / Stargazer / Kill The King) – Metallica
14. This Is Your Life – Dio
Bonus Track:
15. Buried Alive – Jasta

Well, there certainly hasn’t been an absence of Dio-related releases since Ronnie’s passing. In the 4 years that Ronnie has been gone there have been two compilations, two live releases (a third is due shortly) and at least three tribute albums by my count. Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life is the third tribute album that I am aware of. The first two tributes were Jorn’s Dio (which Wendy Dio gave her blessing for) and Joey DeMaio’s Magic (which Wendy did not approve of), though I’m sure there’s probably more out there.

As far as star power and  talent goes, you won’t find a better Dio tribute: Anthrax, Halestorm, Metallica, Scorpions, Rob Halford, Motorhead, Biff Byford, Vinny Appice, Doro, Doug Aldrich… the list goes on and on.

Most these songs are played fairly straight and faithfully but it’s still interesting to hear Dio covered by other well-known artists and the songs cover his years in Rainbow, Black Sabbath and the Dio band. The majority of these tracks range from good to excellent. Even Tenacious D (who I normally can’t stand) do a decent job.

There are a few tracks I do have an issue with though. For one, Killswitch Engage’s “Holy Diver”. I don’t like metalcore and never needed to hear a metalcore version complete with unnecessary pinch harmonics that would make Zakk Wylde proud. I give them credit for trying to make the song their own, but it doesn’t make it a good cover.

Then there’s the cover of Black Sabbath’s “I”. There’s a good line-up of musicians on the track and Oni Logan is a good singer but he lacks the power to really put that song over the top like Dio did. He doesn’t sound bad, but I don’t think he’s the right fit for a song like this, if that makes any sense.

Then there’s “Man on the Silver Mountain”. Again, great musicians here. It’s Rob Halford backed by a collection of former Dio band members. Doug Aldrich’s presence is felt throughout the song and while he was in Dio before he joined Whitesnake, the song is given a slight makeover and comes across like a modern Whitesnake song. Halford sounds fine, but again, he doesn’t have the proper voice to be covering songs sung by Ronnie James Dio. Or songs sung by Ronnie James Dio that have been given a Whitesnake makeover. I’m liking this take on the song musically, I just think Halford’s vocals are out of place.

Glenn Hughes turns in a fantastic soulful performance on “Catch the Rainbow”. He is also backed by a collection of former Dio players. Motorhead & Biff Byford do a great job on “Starstruck” and I initially thought that was the Glenn Hughes track when I first heard it. “The Temple of the King” by Scorpions is wonderful as well. It’s a faithful cover of the original but it’s very cool to hear Klaus Meine on vocals.

The track that is garnering the most attention, obviously, is the Metallica track. I’m glad they are on this project because there’s no doubt they have brought eyes to this album that might not have given it a look otherwise. They do a good job covering four of Rainbow’s best songs.

The physical CD closes the album with the ballad “This Is Your Life” which is pulled from Dio’s 1996 album Angry Machines. The song is given extra weight considering the circumstances. Jasta’s “Buried Alive” is a digital album exclusive bonus track and is actually pretty good. Once again, Japan gets more material than North America because Stryper’s cover of “Heaven and Hell” and the Dio Disciples’ take on “Stand Up and Shout” appear on pressings over there. Seriously, what’s up with Japan always getting bonus tracks that never see the light of the day in the United States? I’ve never heard anyone actually address why that happens so often!

A few minor quibbles, but this isn’t a better Dio tribute album out and there probably never will be. Must have for Dio fans!

Highlights: “Rainbow In the Dark”, “Straight Through the Heart”, “Starstruck”, “The Temple of the King”, “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”, “Catch the Rainbow”, “Ronnie Rising Medley”, “This Is Your Life”

Dio – Snapshot [Review]

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Dio – Snapshot
2013, Niji Entertainment/RED Distribution

1. Holy Diver (live)
2. Push
3. Fever Dreams
4. We Rock (live)
5. Long Live Rock N’ Roll (live)
6. Stargazer (live)
7. Heaven and Hell (live)
8. Children of the Sea (live)
9. Eat Your Heart Out (live)
10. Killing the Dragon

Stumbled across this album as it was a generated recommendation for me on a website… I hadn’t heard anything about it but Wendy Dio’s Niji Entertainment is listed as the label for it so I was curious as to what it was and why it seems like there’s been zero press on it.

Did some digging around and turns out that Snapshot is going to be an entire line of budget compilations for artists whose music was distributed through RED Distribution at one time or another. For example, Anthrax will be getting their own Snapshot release. These compilations seem to rely on newer tracks (from albums that RED had distributed) and live cuts of classic tracks. As the cover says, each Snapshot release comes with 10 tracks and four “snapshots” of the artist.

Personally, I don’t care for budget compilations. I think if you’re going to package someone’s music as a “best of” or “greatest hits” then you need to give it the proper care and respect in terms of packaging and song selection. That said, I also understand a casual fan is probably much more likely to pick up a $7 compilation at Walmart rather than purchase a $30 two-disc set from a music store or Amazon.com.

For Dio’s entry into this series, there are 7 live tracks and 3 studio cuts. “Fever Dreams” is from Magica while “Push” & “Killing the Dragon” are from Killing the Dragon. They are good tracks and I would agree that they are highlights from the second half of Dio’s career.

Most of the live tracks are a ripoff. “Stargazer” is only 1 min 42 sec and “Children of the Sea” is 1 min 24 sec.  “Stargazer” is completely cut off just as it’s starting and “Children of the Sea” doesn’t even start at the beginning before it randomly stops. “Heaven and Hell” is pitifully reduced to 3 min 18 sec with another abrupt ending.

I have no clue when and where these live songs were done. If I ever find out, I’ll post the information in this review. “Holy Diver” sounds like a soundcheck to me, but I’m sure most of these songs are taken straight from Dio’s previously released live albums though “Eat Your Heart Out” (Has this one ever appeared on a live release before?) has a poorer sound quality than the rest of the songs.

Even by budget standards, this is an awful compilation. I understand using the work-around of including a few classics by making them live versions but why cut them so pitifully short? I’d rather they just included another late-era Dio studio track than do that.

This album costs so little to buy because it obviously cost so little to produce. It’s cheap. It’s a disgrace to the memory of Ronnie James and Wendy should be ashamed of herself for allowing this misrepresentation to exist. She needs to better protect Ronnie’s memory and work. I have a feeling things are only going to get worse though.

Buy the album at Amazon.com (if you’re a glutton for punishment)

Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 [Review]

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Dio – Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986
2013, Eagle Rock Entertainment/Niji Productions

Disc 1
1. Draco Ignis
2. King of Rock and Roll
3. Like the Beat of a Heart
4. Don’t Talk to Strangers
5. Hungry for Heaven
6. Medley: The Last in Line/Children of the Sea/Holy Diver
7. Drum Solo
8. Heaven and Hell
9. Keyboard Solo
10. Guitar Solo

Disc 2
1. Sacred Heart
2. Medley: Rock ‘n’ Roll Children/Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll/Man on the Silver Mountain
3. Time to Burn
4. Stand Up and Shout
5. Rainbow in the Dark
6. We Rock

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 is Dio’s 5th live album and the second to be released posthumously. As becoming common with live releases (and I think this is a cool idea), not only does is this 1986 concert at the Philadelphia Spectrum presented in audio form but it is also available on DVD and Blu-ray. Truth be told, this show was released on VHS and DVD years ago but those versions were edited down to 60 minutes. Here, you get the entire concert. This is the first time the concert has ever been released as an album.

I watched the DVD a few years ago. It’s quite an enjoyable show and features Dio at the peak of his powers and flashy theatrics. Lasers, smoke and Dio fighting Denzil the dragon… what more could you want ?! Plus, I’ve always had a really soft spot for the Sacred Heart album, which the band was touring behind at the time. That’s probably my favorite disc from this band.

This is a great live performance. Most of the hits you’d want to hear from Dio are presented: “Rainbow in the Dark”, “We Rock”, “Sacred Heart”, “Heaven and Hell” and then there are three medleys to satiate the Black Sabbath and Rainbow fans even more.

Finding The Sacred Heart catches Dio going through a hair metal phase but it’s still a great release and features one of the better line-ups for the band. Well worth seeking out, as is this show in video form.

Highlights: “King of Rock and Roll”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “The Last In Line/Children of the Sea/Holy Diver”, “Sacred Heart”, “Stand Up and Shout”, “We Rock”

http://www.ronniejamesdio.com
http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Buy the Blu-ray at Amazon.com
Buy the CD at Amazon.com

Dio – The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 [Review]

Dio – The Very Beast Of Vol. 2
(2012, Niji Entertainment)

1. Killing the Dragon
2. Push
3. The Eyes
4. Along Comes a Spider
5. Better in the Dark
6. Fever Dreams
7. Black
8. Feed My Head
9. Shivers
10. Hunter of the Heart (live)
11. One More for the Road
12. Lord of the Last Day
13. Electra
14. As Long as It’s Not About Love
15. This Is Your Life
16. Metal Will Never Die
17. The Prisoner of Paradise

Dio is no stranger to compilation albums (I’ve already reviewed one of them before). According to Wiki, this is the 12th (!!!) Dio compilation. The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 I believe is the first to focus exclusively on Dio’s career post-1994. Predictably, it picks up where Warner Bros/Rhino Records’ The Very Beast of Dio left off by representing material from Dio’s last four studio albums: Angry Machines (1996), Magica (2000), Killing the Dragon (2002) and Master of the Moon (2004). Inferno: The Last In Live (1999) is also represented with a live version of the Angry Machines song “Hunter of the Heart” and Dio’s last recorded song, “Metal Will Never”, from cousin David “Rock” Feinstein’s Bitten By the Beast is here as well.

The last three Dio albums were all solid releases, Killing the Dragon particularly. The track list here is very well done though I would’ve included “Guilty”, “Cold Feet” and “Scream” (all from Killing the Dragon). But the real hook here isn’t that the final Dio albums are getting their own compilation. Nope. What’s notable about this release is the inclusion of the song “Electra”, an epic that was originally released on the extremely limited edition Tournado box set and was later meant to be included on Magica II (Ronnie had planned a Magica trilogy). It’s a classic slow evil Dio song and it’s great that it’s finally available to a larger market. That’s really the main reason to get this album if you’re already a hardcore Dio fan.

The other song to entice hardcore fans is the inclusion of “The Prisoner of Paradise”, which had previously only appeared on the Japanese pressing of Master of the Moon. This is another good track and it sounds like it could have come from Killing the Dragon.

The Very Beast of Dio Vol. 2 is a great companion for Warner’s original Very Beast compilation. Ronnie James Dio still had a lot left in the tank throughout the 2000s even if sales from these albums don’t really express that. Certainly, I’d recommend a compilation of ’80s classics to anyone looking to get into Dio but you can’t go too wrong here either. “Electra”, “The Prisoner of Paradise” and “Metal Will Never Die” (for those who missed it) more than make up for the die-hards who feel compelled to buy this album. Recommended pick up for those three songs alone. Everyone else should already have all the other albums represented!

www.ronniejamesdio.com/
www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio
Buy the album at Amazon.com

Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987

Dio – Dio at Donington UK: Live 1983 & 1987 (2010, Niji Entertainment Group)

Disc 1: 1983
1. “Stand Up And Shout” … 3:50
2. “Straight Through The Heart” … 4:49
3. “Children Of The Sea” … 6:16
4. “Rainbow in the Dark” … 4:38
5. “Holy Diver” … 5:09
6. Drum Solo
7. “Stargazer” … 1:43
8. Guitar Solo
9. “Heaven And Hell” … 11:06
10. “Man On The Silver Mountain” … 3:33
11. “Starstruck” … 0:47
12. “Man On The Silver Mountain (Reprise)” … 2:30

Disc 2: 1987
1. “Dream Evil” … 4:56
2. “Neon Knights” … 4:44
3. “Naked In The Rain” … 7:29
4.” Rock and Roll Children” … 2:47
5. “Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” … 4:39
6. “The Last In Line” … 4:12
7. “Children Of The Sea” … 1:22
8. “Holy Diver” … 1:28
9. “Heaven and Hell” … 3:18
10. “Man On The Silver Mountain” … 4:29
11. “All the Fools Sailed Away” … 4:23
12. “The Last in Line (Reprise)” … 1:12
13. “Rainbow In The Dark” … 5:12

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar (Disc 1)
Craig Goldy – Guitar (Disc 2)
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Another great document and testament to the power of Dio live! This collection of two live Donington shows is the first album to be released under Ronnie & Wendy’s Niji Entertainment Group label. The album was in the works before Ronnie’s death (he gets executive producer credit) but sadly he did not get to see the release of this album. Disc One was recorded August 20, 1983 while Disc Two was recorded on August 22, 1987. These shows are available to us today thanks to the BBC archiving them (along with a couple of the other bands) for the purpose of a few radio broadcasts. Now they’ve passed the savings onto us!

And what a release it is! Very nice digipak foldout featuring some cool pics from the shows (the album cover is the best shot), promo art, a bit of history on the band leading up the shows, plus two mock-laminate passes for these ’83 and ’87 Monsters of Rock shows. Also, if you pre-ordered from Ronnie’s official site, included is an exclusive Dio VIP backstage pass. I’m not sure if the passes were from random tours but my pass is from the 1990 Throw ‘Em to the Wolves tour which of course had the band supporting the Lock Up the Wolves album. If the pre-order pass isn’t authentic and something they found in a warehouse somewhere, they really did a heck of a job with making it look so.

Disc One features a hungry band on fire and with something to prove. Ronnie was coming out of Sabbath and had just released Holy Diver the month before and the group was placed early on the bill. Ronnie and his gang had no choice but to throw down the gauntlet and show the world they could make it just fine, thank you. Half of the set list features songs from the then-new Holy Diver album while Ronnie also makes use of his Rainbow and Sabbath days to further win over the crowd. The worst part about this set? We are only teased with way-too-short versions “Stargazer” and “Starstruck”! But there is another lengthy and epic version of “Heaven and Hell” to make up for it while the band shows all kinds of flash, power and pizazz on their shiny new songs. A lively crowd throughout (even cheering on the new and soon-to-be classics) helps makes this an even better show.

Disc Two finds Craig Goldy stepping in for Vivian Campbell. An extended set list is here as well now that the band had graduated to “Special Guest” for their second Donington appearance playing second to last on the bill (Bon Jovi headlined this year). Dream Evil was the new album to promote that year (also coming out in the previous month) and it’s a good album so I have no problems with some of those songs making appearances but I would’ve loved to have heard “Sunset Superman” (in place of “Naked In The Rain”) and even “Sacred Heart” from the 1985 album of the same name. At least Sacred Heart‘s Rock and Roll Children made it! One of my favorite Dio songs. I’m also surprised “Holy Diver” got the short end of the stick but oh well. Still, with Dio now being able to call up on four albums of his own and adding a few more Rainbow and Sabbath nuggets to distinguish this set from the 1983 show, this is yet another great concert. Funny how “Rainbow In The Dark” had worked its way up to becoming the band’s closing number.

I won’t even get into the highlights this time. The first disc is full of fire and energy and the second disc thankfully does not repeat too much of disc one and is a fine total performance in its own right. Dio fans must own this album!

www.ronniejamesdio.com
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www.myspace.com/dioofficial

DIO – Intermission

Dio – Intermission (1986, Vertigo Records – German Import)

1. “King of Rock and Roll” … 3:41
2. “Rainbow in the Dark” … 4:42
3. “Sacred Heart” … 6:23
4. “Time to Burn” … 4:25
5. “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children” Medley: “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”/”Man on the Silver Mountain” … 9:40
6. “We Rock” … 4:55

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Vivian Campbell – Guitar

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

Intermission is a fantastic live EP which features one new studio track. All of the live songs were taken from a performance on 12/06/85 at the Sports Arena in San Diego, CA. I’ve read a couple of different theories on why this EP was created. One theory states that it was an attempt to boost sales for the previous year’s Sacred Heart album (which found itself not doing quite as well as Dio’s first two efforts). The other theory is that it was meant to introduce new guitarist Craig Goldy to the world. Goldy had replaced Vivian Campbell in the middle of the Sacred Heart tour.

Vivian was still in the band at the time of the recording of the live songs so they actually had Goldy re-record some of those guitar parts. The new studio song “Time to Burn” was recorded entirely with Goldy on guitar. It’s a good song that is on par with some of Sacred Heart‘s better moments but anyone in 1986 who was hoping it would be a return to the Holy Diver or The Last In Line albums would have been disappointed… even more so since half of this EP is compromised of Sacred Heart songs. I’m a big fan of that album though so I think this EP is great. The live performances are typically very good. You can’t go wrong with Dio live. I especially enjoy “King of Rock and Roll”, “Sacred Heart” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” (which features a medley of “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll” and “Man on the Silver Mountain”).

I’ve had this album on my want list for a long time but it was always a low priority because it was a live EP. With the unfortunate passing of Ronnie, I decided there was no time like the present to get it. I tried to order it used on Amazon’s Marketplace but two or three days after placing my order, the seller told me they did not have it in stock and probably would not be getting it in stock again. So I went to my usual online stop CD Universe where they had it on backorder but I knew that was normal because every time I looked at the listing in the past it was always listed as such. I went ahead and placed the order anyway and hoped for the best. The CD finally shipped about a week and a half after I placed the order.

Highlights: “King of Rock and Roll”, “Sacred Heart”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”

www.ronniejamesdio.com
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

DIO – Sacred Heart

Dio – Sacred Heart (1985, Vertigo Records – West German Import)

1. “King of Rock and Roll” … 3:49
2. “Sacred Heart” … 6:27
3. “Another Lie” .. 3:48
4. “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” … 4:32
5. “Hungry for Heaven” … 4:10
6. “Like the Beat of a Heart” … 4:24
7. “Just Another Day” … 3:23
8. “Fallen Angels” … 3:55
9. “Shoot Shoot” … 4:20

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

Alright! I own a Cold War-era import! I’m guessing the U.S. pressing (where it was released on Warner Bros.) is out of print? Doesn’t matter, owning imports gives you an extra bit of credibility and cool and this is one of the last few Dio album I needed to acquire to make my collection complete.

I’ve read a lot about this album not stacking up to Holy Diver or The Last in Line and that may be true but it doesn’t make Sacred Heart anything to stick your nose up at! In fact, this is pretty good stuff. It’s Dio! How can you go wrong? Just his voice alone makes his albums worth the price of admission and sure he’s criticized for using the same themes over and over again but honestly — what’s wrong with angels, dragons, rock ‘n’ roll and evil women? I’ve listened to this album 4 or 5 times in full since buying it and I haven’t gotten tired of it.

There are a few keyboard-heavy commercial efforts here. Seems a if Dio was trying to replicate “Rainbow in the Dark” with songs like “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children” and “Hungry for Heaven” but that’s okay because I happen to like the songs. They’d be better though without the keyboards and that goes especially for “Hungry for Heaven” which is a catchy rocker but it totally loses its balls when the keys come in.

Dio’s first two albums went platinum and this one only went gold (500,000 copies sold). None of his albums have been certified gold or platinum since. If this is the beginning of any popularity “downfall” for Dio there’s still more than a few good notes here for him to go out on. Quality certainly isn’t the issue as far as I’m concerned. Sacred Heart is a solid release in a long history of them from Dio.

In addition to being Dio’s last flirt with mainstream success, this was guitarist Vivian Campbell’s last album in the group. Vivian joined Whitesnake in 1987 and has enjoyed a cushy job in Def Leppard since 1992.

“Shoot Shoot” is often cited as one of Dio’s worst songs but I don’t see it that way. It’s not great and the lyrics are silly but I don’t think the song is terrible. I guess I’m just not that hard to please when it comes to Dio.

Highlights: “King of Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Sacred Heart”, “Another Lie”, “Rock ‘N’ Roll Children”, “Hungry for Heaven”

www.ronniejamesdio.com
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

DIO – Dream Evil

Dio – Dream Evil (1987, Warner Bros. Records)

1. “Night People” … 4:06
2. “Dream Evil” … 4:26
3. “Sunset Superman” … 5:45
4. “All the Fools Sailed Away” … 7:10
5. “Naked In The Rain” … 5:09
6. “Overlove” … 3:26
7. “I Could Have Been a Dreamer” … 4:42
8. “Faces in the Window” … 3:53
9. “When a Woman Cries” … 4:43

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Craig Goldy – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Claude Schnell – Keyboards

Producer: Ronnie James Dio

I’m not really sure why I put off buying Dio’s solo albums for so long. I’ve never had a problem with the music or the man and I’ve become a HUGE Black Sabbath fan over the last two years. I basically figured Ronnie’s Stand Up and Shout collection was pretty much all I’d ever need but boy was I wrong! Dio is going to be one of those artists for me where I eventually plan on collecting all of his studio albums.

I bought this album the same time I bought Lock Up the Wolves. For whatever reason, I was drawn to Lock Up the Wolves first but now that I’ve backtracked chronologically to this album — I can say as much as I liked Lock Up the Wolves, Dream Evil is much better. Dream Evil is right up there with Holy Diver and The Last in Line as far as classic Dio goes. Perhaps if 1986’s Sacred Heart had stuck to the traditional Dio sound a bit more closely, Dio wouldn’t have already seen such quickly diminishing returns by the time this album was released.

Their really isn’t any filler to be found on this album in my opinion but I have to admit the album’s second single, “I Could Have Been a Dreamer”, is a guilty pleasure. Definitely the slickest most radio-ready song of the bunch but it peaked at No. 33 on the U.S. rock radio charts.

It’s a shame this album started Ronnie’s spiral into obscurity (though it was the gold-status Sacred Heart that did the damage, really) when it comes to the masses because this is a great heavy metal album that stands shoulder to shoulder with the group’s first two efforts.

Highlights: “Night People”, “Dream Evil”, “Sunset Superman”, “All The Fools Sailed Away”, “I Could Have Been a Dreamer”

www.ronniejamesdio.com
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

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