Category Archives: Halestorm

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”

HALESTORM – Halestorm

Halestorm – Halestorm (2009, Atlantic Records)

1. “It’s Not You” … 2:55
2. “I Get Off” … 3:04
3. “Bet U Wish U Had Me Back” … 3:43
4. “Innocence” … 3:16
5. “Familiar Taste of Poison” … 4:04
6. “I’m Not An Angel” … 3:15
7. “What Were You Expecting?” … 3:34
8. “Love/Hate Heartbreak” … 3:19
9. “Better Sorry Than Safe” … 3:12
10. “Dirty Work” … 3:17
11. “Nothing To Do With Love” … 3:32

Band:
Lzzy Hale – Vocals, Guitar
Joe Hottinger – Guitar
Josh Smith – Bass
Arejay Hale – Drums

Produced by: Howard Benson

I don’t listen to the radio, in fact, I try to avoid it all costs, but apparently Halestorm is an up and coming act and “I Get Off” has been a hit on rock radio. How I came across this band is thanks to Steve at Heavy Metal Addiction, who listed them as a recent purchase. Believe it or not, I’m always on the look out for NEW bands. The album cover looked interesting, so I hit up their MySpace page and I was truly impress by Lzzy’s (yes, there is no “i” in Lzzy) voice and “It’s Not You” and “I Get Off”.

I decided to hit up Best Buy to pick up a few other CDs and kept my eye open for this one. Unfortunately, it was sold out and was on sale for $7.99. I ended up picking it up at Walmart for $9 (and getting the other CDs cheaper there than at Best Buy anyway, so it all worked out financially).

The most impressive thing about this band is Lzzy’s voice. I’m usually not into rock bands with female lead singers, but her voice is just too powerful and awesome to ignore. If her performances on “It’s Not You”, “I Get Off” and “What Were You Expecting?” don’t give you chills, I don’t know what will. This is one of the best female rock voices I’ve ever heard.

As for the music, it’s a mix of some great ready radio hard rock, some generic “post-grunge” rock (complete with weak “hit” ballads) and a few songs that sound like something Kelly Clarkson would sing. Lyrically, there’s just enough sleaze and bravado (yes, all of it coming from a female) to keep things interesting. Nothing is too bad, half of the album is just average modern hard rock at best, but there’s enough great rockers to balance it out. This album is well worth the $9 or $10 most places are charging for it.

I’m not a fan of any of the slower songs, but if “Bet U Wish U Had Me Back” gets released as a single, I see that blowing up on the pop and rock stations.

Highlights: “It’s Not You”, “I Get Off”, “Innocence”, “What Were You Expecting?”, “Dirty Work”, “Nothing To Do With Love”

www.halestormrocks.com
www.myspace.com/halestorm

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