Dio – The Very Beast Of Vol. 2
(2012, Niji Entertainment)
1. Killing the Dragon
3. The Eyes
4. Along Comes a Spider
5. Better in the Dark
6. Fever Dreams
8. Feed My Head
10. Hunter of the Heart (live)
11. One More for the Road
12. Lord of the Last Day
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!
Black Sabbath – Mob Rules [Deluxe Edition] (2010, Universal Music/Sanctuary Records – UK Import)
Original Release: 1981, Warner Bros. Records
Disc One: Mob Rules
1. Turn Up the Night … 3:42
2. Voodoo … 4:32
3. The Sign of the Southern Cross … 7:44
4. E5150 … 2:54
5. The Mob Rules … 3:15
6. Country Girl … 4:02
7. Slipping Away … 3:42
8. Falling Off the Edge of the World … 5:03
9. Over and Over … 5:28
10. Die Young (Live – 12″ Single B-Side) … 4:04
11. The Mob Rules (Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version) … 3:14
Disc Two: Live at Hammersmith
1. E5150 … 1:18
2. Neon Knights … 4:37
3. N.I.B. … 5:16
4. Children of the Sea … 6:07
5. Country Girl … 3:53
6. Black Sabbath … 8:24
7. War Pigs … 7:40
8. Slipping Away … 3:18
9 Iron Man … 7:04
10. The Mob Rules … 3:35
11. Heaven and Hell … 14:24
12. Paranoid … 3:21
13. Voodoo … 5:45
14. Children of the Grave … 5:05
Mob Rules is an album I’ve spoken about before. That review was very brief, but really, what can you say? Looking back, it’s not my favorite of the Dio era (that nod would go to Heaven and Hell) but it’s still a classic that’s almost as good as the first album they did together. In addition to the original album of Mob Rules, Disc 1 features two bonus tracks: the original version of “The Mob Rules” (which was recorded for the Heavy Metal movie) and a live version of Heaven and Hell‘s “Die Young”.
The real pull for me getting this Deluxe Edition was to get the second disc which features performances taken from Dec 31, 1981 through January 2, 1982 at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. This entire disc was originally released as Live at Hammersmith Oden by Rhino Records with an extremely limited print run of 5,000 copies back in 2007. As you can imagine, copies of that album are expensive and hard to come by so it’s great to now have the entire album included as a bonus disc.
If you don’t already own Mob Rules, or even if you do, this is still worth the pick up just for Disc 2. The band is in top form but then again, the Dio line-up was never not in top form! There are four live albums to choose from this particular Sabbath line-up (two as Black Sabbath, two as Heaven & Hell) and all of them are classics but if you want to hear this group in their formative years with a recording that takes places even before Live Evil, here’s your chance! Great studio album, great live disc = great deluxe edition!
Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe (2010, Eagle Rock Entertainment/Armoury Records)
1. “The Mob Rules” … 3:47
2. “Children of the Sea” … 6:31
3. “I” … 6:17
4. “Bible Black” … 6:30
5. “Time Machine” … 4:40
6. “Fear” … 4:36
7. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” … 5:40
8. “Follow the Tears” … 6:12
9. “Die Young” … 6:42
10. “Heaven and Hell” … 17:49
11. “Neon Knights” … 5:45
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Scott Warren – Keyboards
Recorded on July 30, 2009 at the Wacken Open Air festival.
This is one of those albums that has so many titles, it makes you wonder what the real name of the album is. Neon Nights for sure, but anything after that appears to be up for grabs. It becomes even more confusing when you consider the sub-subtitle (“sub-subtitle”?) of Live In Europe is replaced with Live At Wacken for the European release.
If Dio was alive today, I suppose you’d be hearing a number of groans about yet another live album from these guys. This is the third live album they’ve released either as Black Sabbath or Heaven & Hell since 2007 (and fourth total), but given that the great Ronnie James is no longer with us and this album stands to document what came to be the band’s final tour, I think most Dio fans will give this album a warm embrace. It holds a lot of sentimental value for fans I think and Neon Nights does well to hold up the legacy this group started in 1980.
Right up to (and during!) the discovery of cancer, Ronnie was a phenomenal vocalist. For the most part on this album, he sounds just like he always has though with age his voice has gotten a bit gruffer. He’s was still sounding great, still hitting the notes and singing better than almost anyone else around though. Tony is playing great as well. For a guy that never seems to move around much on stage, it’s amazing to hear how fast he can fire off the notes. Even Geezer gets to stretch his fingers during “Heaven and Hell”. That almost makes me wish I did have the DVD, I’ve always enjoyed watching him play bass.
If you’re a big Dio fan, you’re probably going to get this disc no matter what. We all know what to expect from these guys in the studio and on stage and this is good album to close out the chapter of Heaven & Hell. They don’t put on bad shows and they get to show off just how good they can be on the epic 17 minute plus version of “Heaven and Hell”. You just can’t go wrong with these guys in concert.
A DVD version of this show was released simultaneously and features “E5150” and also “Country Girl”. Would’ve been nice to have those two extra tracks and the DVD was only $1 more than the CD but I just don’t have much use for live DVDs compared to CDs.
Highlights: “The Mob Rules”, “I”, “Die Young”, “Heaven and Hell”, “Neon Knights”
Jorn – Dio (2010, Frontiers Records)
1. “Song for Ronnie James” … 8:08
2. “Invisible” … 5:23
3. “Shame on the Night” … 5:21
4. “Push” … 4:00
5. “Stand Up and Shout” … 3:23
6. “Don’t Talk to Strangers” … 4:55
7. “Lord of the Last Day” … 4:50
8. “Night People” … 4:24
9. “Sacred Heart” … 6:26
10. “Sunset Superman” … 4:56
11. “Lonely Is the Word / Letters from Earth” … 5:28
12. “Kill the King” … 4:03
13. Straight Through the Heart (live)” … 5:05
Jorn Lande – Vocals
Tor Erik Myhre – Guitar
Jgor Gianola – Guitar
Tore Moren – Guitar
Nic Angileri – Bass
Willy Bendiksen – Drums, Percussion
Tommy Hansen – Keyboards
Producer: Tommy Hansen
This album was quite a surprise that shocked the metal world for a short time. I believe it was only a week or two after Ronnie James Dio’s passing that a press release was sent out announcing Jorn Lande’s Dio tribute album would be arriving soon. Many people were confused and upset over this. Was Jorn exploiting the memory of Ronnie James? How would he have recorded this album so quickly? Well, soon the word got out that this album had been in the works since 2009 and it had the blessing of Ronnie and his wife Wendy. So all was good in the world again and the metal community then began to anxiously await Jorn’s take on some Dio classics.
The album features a few Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell and Rainbow tunes but it mostly focuses on the Dio band. 5 songs come Holy Diver and the next in line (not an intentional pun!) is Dream Evil, which is represented with 2 songs. I was pleasantly surprised by the track listing. Do we really need another cover of “Holy Diver”, “Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll”, “Heaven and Hell” or “Rainbow in the Dark”? No. Instead, we get some less obvious, but still great, choices like “Push” (from 2000’s Magica album!), “Invisible”, “Lord of the Last Day”, “Sacred Heart” (maybe my favorite song from the Dio band) and “Sunset Superman”. I really would’ve liked to have heard something from the Killing the Dragon album as well, I think that’s one of Dio’s best albums.
If there are a few complaints I could make about the song choices, it’s that I would have liked to have heard Jorn cover some of Rainbow’s more epic songs like “Stargazer” or Dio’s “The Last In Line” (even “Stars” would’ve been fun). I guess those count as “obvious” covers but I really would have loved to hear Lande’s voice on those pieces. And what a voice! Though I’m not in love with much of Jorn’s original work, you can’t deny he has a fantastic voice. Had he been around in a previous era, he’d probably be considered one of the all-time great rock singers. In this day and age, if anyone can do Ronnie James Dio justice, it’s Jorn Lande. In fact, if Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler are interested in doing something other than a reunion with Ozzy, I would love for them to work with Jorn on some original material.
The songs are pretty straight-forward covers. There’s no experimentation being done here, which is fine. If you’re like me, you didn’t buy the album to hear them fool around with the songs. You bought it to hear Jorn’s voice and he doesn’t disappoint. Given the advances in technology since the originals came along, it’s also nice to hear re-recorded versions anyway. There is one original song: “Song For Ronnie James”. When I first heard it, I didn’t like it and thought it was very cheesy but it has grown on me.
If you’re a huge fan of either Ronnie or Jorn, I think this is an album you need to have in your collection.
Highlights: “Song For Ronnie James”, “Push”, “Stand Up and Shout”, “Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “Sacred Heart”, “Sunset Superman”
Black Sabbath – The Dio Years (2007, Warner Bros. Records/Rhino Records)
1. “Neon Knights” … 3:51
2. “Lady Evil” … 4:23
3. “Heaven And Hell” … 6:59
4. “Die Young” … 4:44
5. “Lonely is the Word” … 5:50
6. “The Mob Rules” … 3:13
7. “Turn Up the Night” … 3:42
8. “Voodoo” … 4:32
9. “Falling Off the Edge of the World” … 5:03
10. “After All (The Dead)” … 5:42
11. “TV Crimes” … 4:02
12. “I” … 5:12
13. “Children of the Sea” (live) … 6:12
14. “The Devil Cried” … 6:01
15. “Shadow of the Wind” … 5:40
16. “Ear in the Wall” … 4:04
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Bill Ward – Drums (Tracks 1–5)
Vinny Appice – Drums (Tracks 6–16)
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards (Tracks 1–13)
I’m becoming quite the completist when it comes to Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath. I never gave much thought to this album until recently. I own all of Sabbath’s albums so why would I need a compilation of the Dio years? For the three new songs: “The Devil Cried”, “Shadow of the Wind”, “Ear in the Wall”.
As a representation of Sabbath’s Dio era, this is a near perfect release. The only songs I think they missed the boat on are “The Sign of the Southern Cross” from Mob Rules and “Computer God”, “Master of Insanity” and “Time Machine” from Dehumanizer. What can I say? I’m a huge fan of Dehumanizer. It’s one of Sabbath’s most underrated albums alongside Born Again and Headless Cross.
But let’s get back to the new tracks. The story goes that the label had informed Iommi & Dio that they were putting together this compilation and asked if they had any unreleased songs they could use. They didn’t but Tony and Ronnie got to talking and decided to try to work together again on some new stuff for the album. The rest is history and the third go-round of this fantastic partnership lasted up until Ronnie’s unfortunate passing due to cancer.
The new songs don’t really sound like anything they might have done on Heaven and Hell or Mob Rules. The songs here sound more powerful, darker, and gloomier. Much more in line with Dehumanizer, though not quite as heavy. Anyone who likes The Devil You Know will like these tunes as well. “The Devil Cried” is the best of the bunch but truthfully none of these songs are classics but it is all still solid & enjoyable Sabbath. It’s mid-tempo, plodding doom metal (“Ear In the Wall” picks up the pace a bit) with Dio in as good as form as ever. As time went on, his voice never wavered in power but got slightly deeper and richer in sound.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with the Dio years and wants to dip their toes in the water, this is a great way to do so.
Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot
I’m surprised this album is showing up on so many “best of 2009” lists because upon its release, I didn’t see a lot of glowing reviews. In some ways, this album is exactly what I expected — a competent yet lifeless release. Not that anyone believed him, but Sammy did the band no favors by claiming Chickenfoot was creating music as good as or better than Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. Perhaps he was referring to Van Halen III. Because, yeah, I’ll give him that — this album is better than Van Halen III. These guys are are professionals and rock legends and I think its great the album has gone gold, but it just didn’t gel for me. I didn’t hear any magic or chemistry. I’m thinking maybe Satriani is the problem and that the band needed someone who had a more loose, rock ‘n’ roll style.
Bon Jovi – The Circle
Okay, so I guess I shouldn’t have been disappointed because the last two Bon Jovi albums have been really lame, but I always hold out hope for these guys considering they’ve one of my favorite bands of all time. The fact that Jon was touting The Circle as a “big rock record” and a return to form really got my hopes up. In one interview, he even likened the album to the band’s ’80s stuff. Um, okay, Jon, what are you listening to because you definitely weren’t spinning New Jersey or Slippery When Wet when trying to get inspired for The Circle. You’ve lost it, man. You can’t write a catchy hard rock stadium anthem to save your life, can you? Richie’s lost it too and I’m starting to think so has Desmond Child.
Tim Ripper Owens – Play My Game
I debated whether to consider this “disappointing” or not but what the heck — it isn’t bad, but it isn’t what I hoped for either. Considering the talent involved, this should’ve been much better and in the long run, there just weren’t many memorable songs (trying to sound too modern) and I don’t think Owens’ voice was properly utilized.
The Last Vegas – Whatever Gets You Off
The Last Vegas is a shining example of the future of rock ‘n’ roll being strong but this release was just plain lazy with six of the eleven songs released just one year prior on the band’s self-released album. The songs are good and I can understand the band wanting to show off some of their best self-released work once getting signed to a label but did they really need to eat up half the album to do that?
Heaven and Hell – The Devil You Know
How could this be? The Devil You Know landed at #9 on my Top 10 of 2009 list! Yes, but given that this is the same band that released Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules and Dehumanizer as Black Sabbath, I couldn’t help but think this album was way too slow and not heavy enough. It’s a respectable effort but doesn’t come close to previous works.
It was pretty tough for me to come up with a top ten for this year. There were so many good releases in 2009, but only a handful of them were special so I changed my mind quite a bit when coming up with this list. 2009 seemed to be the year of the “grower”. Meaning, many albums on this list (and many others that I liked that didn’t make this list), didn’t grab me at first but upon repeated listening, I started to appreciate them.
Overall, 2009 was another good year for rock and metal even if it wasn’t the star-studded affair that 2008 was (Crue, Metallica, AC/DC, GNR, Priest, Def Leppard, Alice Cooper… WOW!). Anyway, most veteran acts with new releases continued to deliver and newer acts stepped up to release quality music as well.
Dio – Stand Up and Shout: The Anthology (2003, Rhino Records)
1. “Hoochie Koochie Lady” … 5:34
2. “I’m Coming Back for You” … 3:28
3. “Carolina County Ball” … 4:47
4. “Man on the Silver Mountain” … 4:39
5. “Starstruck” … 4:07
6. ” Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll” … 4:21
7. ” Neon Knights” … 3:53
8. “Children of the Sea” … 5:34
9. ” Heaven and Hell” … 6:58
10. “Turn Up the Night” … 3:42
11. “The Sign of the Southern Cross” … 7:45
12. “The Mob Rules” … 3:15
13. “Voodoo (live)” … 5:30
14. “Sacred Heart (live)” … 6:28
1. “Stand Up and Shout” … 3:18
2. “Holy Diver” … 5:51
3. “Don’t Talk to Strangers” … 4:55
4. “Straight Through the Heart” … 4:32
5. “Rainbow in the Dark” … 4:16
6. “We Rock” … 4:35
7. “The Last in Line” … 5:45
8. “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” … 7:01
9. “King of Rock and Roll” … 3:51
10. “Hungry for Heaven” … 4:12
11. “Dream Evil” … 4:24
12. “All the Fools Sailed Away” … 7:13
13. “Lock Up the Wolves” … 8:33
14. “Strange Highways” … 6:52
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
(No, I’m not listing 30+ years worth of musicians. You know the bands, you know who played what.)
Spectacular career retrospective of Ronnie James Dio and it isn’t just his solo work that’s featured. This two disc collection covers his work in Elf, Rainbow and Black Sabbath as well. All that’s missing is a few doo-wop songs from his days with the Red Cap and the Prophets! Disc one covers his time in Elf, Rainbow and Sabbath while disc two focuses entirely on the band Dio.
This is hardly the first Dio compilation, but to my knowledge, it is the first to not focus exclusively on his solo career. All of the original songs by the original bands are here (meaning these aren’t re-recordings by Dio and his band), which is awesome. Getting the Sabbath songs on the album probably wasn’t too hard because Rhino is a part of Warner Bros. (the longtime label of Black Sabbath), but Elf was released under Epic Records (owned by Sony) and Rainbow comes from Polydor Records (owned by Universal). So Kudos to Rhino Entertainment for working with three separate labels to give us a truly wonderful career overview of one of rock’s most amazing singers.
It’s evident from “Hoochie Koochie Lady” to “Strange Highways” that Ronnie’s voice has not faltered through the decades. Ronnie James Dio defies time itself! In fact, if anything, his voice has better more rich and powerful as time soldiers on. The only gripe I can have about this album is that “Computer God” is the only song from Dehumanizer. That album was great! “Voodoo” is from Sabbath’s Live Evil and I’m assuming the live version of “Sacred Heart” comes from Intermission.
I wanted to pick this album up when it was first released because I was just then beginning to take an interest in Black Sabbath and Dio, but I held off because I think the album was $25-30 at the time and I wasn’t sure if I would even like it. I picked it up a year or two later at Walmart for $13. I’m sure this album can probably be found for that same price or maybe even less these days.
Sometimes referred to as The Dio Anthology: Stand Up and Shout or Stand Up and Shout: The Dio Anthology.
Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer (2008, Rhino Entertainment)
Original Release: 1992, Reprise Records
1. “Computer God” … 6:10
2. “After All (The Dead)” … 5:37
3. “TV Crimes” … 3:58
4. “Letters from Earth” … 4:12
5. “Master of Insanity” … 5:54
6. “Time Machine” … 4:10
7. “Sins of the Father” … 4:43
8. “Too Late” … 6:54
9. “I” … 5:10
10. “Buried Alive” … 4:47
11. “Time Machine” (Wayne’s World Version) … 4:18
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards
Produced by: Reinhold Mack, Black Sabbath (Track 11 only)
A 2008 re-release of the album, meant to cash-in on and promote the band reuniting with Ronnie James Dio as Heaven and Hell.
I keep reading this is one of Sabbath’s most underrated albums… But how can that be if virtually EVERYONE these days is saying it’s underrated? Maybe it was unrecognized by the mainstream upon its release (the height of “grunge”) but it seems like time has been kind to Dehumanizer. The album has taken its rightful place amongst the rest of the band’s classic material.
It’s no secret that I prefer the “off years” of Black Sabbath: those dark and poorly financed, poorly managed times when the band found itself on death’s door seemingly every month. There’s a lot of charm and high quality stuff to be found on those albums back when Iommi only had compromise with Iommi. After all of that mish-mash, the Dio era comes in 2nd place. I’m honestly having a tough time deciding which is the better Dio release because I have to say Dehumanizer is right up there with Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules (The Devil You Know, released under the Heaven and Hell moniker is good too, but too slow).
This is certainly the heavier album of the three, it’s pure heavy metal. Dehumanizer is angry, pessimistic and dark. That’s something not all of the songs on the two previous Dio Sabbath releases brought to the table.
It’s hard to pick a favorite out of the bunch. All of the highlights I list below I enjoy pretty equally. I really love the sound of “I” though. It’s heavy, but at the same time it’s has a bluesy classic rock vibe too. Ronnie James Dio himself has said it’s his favorite song from the album.
“Time Machine” is on here twice. There’s really not much difference between the regular album version and the version that was include in the movie Wayne’s World. The production is better for the Wayne’s World version, but that’s all I can hear.
Though this is a great Sabbath release, it’s a shame that Iommi so quickly dropped singer Tony Martin in favor of getting Dio back. Supposedly, Warner Bros/Reprise wanted either Ozzy, Dio or nothing at all, but it really seems like it was the also-returning Geezer Butler who got the ball rolling and Dio back in the band as he was the go-between initially for Iommi and Dio. The fact that the entire Mob Rules lineup reunited was pure accident because Black Sabbath’s then-current drummer Cozy Powell was all set to drum, but got injured so Vinny Appice was brought back in.
The night before the band’s final gig of this tour, Dio quit. They were supposed to open for Ozzy at his “retirement” concert, but Dio refused to do it (yes, Ozzy was threatening to retire as far as back 1992). So the SECOND Dio era came to an end. Rob Halford was brought in for the show and Tony Martin found himself back in Black Sabbath again by 1993…
Highlights: “Computer God”, “After All (The Dead)”, “TV Crimes”, “Master of Insanity”, “I”, “Buried Alive”, “Time Machine” (Wayne’s World Version)
Courtesy of RollingStone.com:
Ozzy Osbourne has filed a lawsuit against Black Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi, claiming Iommi illegally assumed 100% ownership of the band’s name.
Ozzy is seeking a 50% stake in the “Black Sabbath” trademark as well as royalties Iommi has already earned. The suit suggests it was Osbourne’s “signature lead vocals” that brought Sabbath its “extraordinary success.” The suit uses Sabbath’s decline in popularity post-Ozzy as proof.
This suit follows an $80 million suit Iommi filed against Live Nation last year, claiming the company sold Black Sabbath merchandise despite a deal that expired in 2006.
Someone’s jealous of Heaven and Hell…
There’s no doubt Sharon is 100% behind this and I doubt Ozzy really has a clue what is going on, but who cares? Ozzy is pathetic these days and was always overrated, in my opinion.
Though it’s sad that Sharon/Ozzy can’t just let Iommi be, this can only further solidify the bond between Dio & Iommi and that’s good news to me. Hopefully, in another 2 years or so, we’ll be seeing a new Heaven and Hell release because Zeus knows it would be 1,000 times better than anything involving Ozzy.