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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!

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Buy the album at Amazon.com

DOKKEN – Under Lock and Key

Dokken – Under Lock and Key (1985, Elektra Records)

1. “Unchain the Night” … 5:17
2. “The Hunter” … 4:06
3. “In My Dreams” … 4:18
4. “Slippin’ Away” … 3:46
5. “Lightnin’ Strikes Again” … 3:47
6. “It’s Not Love” … 5:01
7. “Jaded Heart” … 4:13
8. “Don’t Lie to Me” … 3:38
9. “Will the Sun Rise” … 4:09
10. “Til the Livin’ End” … 3:56

Band:
Don Dokken – Lead Vocals
Georgy Lynch – Guitar
Jeff Pilson – Bass
Mick Brown – Drums

Producer: Michael Wagener

What a difference a year makes! Almost 12 months ago I gave an extremely brief and less than glowing review of Dokken’s Tooth And Nail and stated that 2009’s Lightning Strikes Again (a title that gives a nod to a song off this very album) was more of the same. Well, despite not being the biggest Dokken fan in the world, I knew enough to know that Under Lock and Key was generally considered to be their best work so when I saw it along with Back for the Attack at Barnes & Noble for $5.99 each, I had to pick it up because I had money to burn.

I was really surprised by this album. I was already familiar with “In My Dreams”, “It’s Not Love” and “Unchain the Night” but the rest is completely new to me. Don really pushes his voice on this album and in a good way. I didn’t realize he ever had it in him!

I like most of these songs. They range from great to decent but there is one that sticks out like a sore thumb: “Slippin’ Away”. Just a bad hair ballad. Ballads are not this band’s strong suit but they excel at dirty rockers like “It’s Not Love” (probably my favorite Dokken song of all time) and “The Hunter”.

Funny side note – I was playing this album in my car and my girl noticed the cover. She picked up the jewel case and said “who are these losers?” I had to remind her that was Dokken!

“Who?”

“Dokken! Multi-platinum artists!”

Then she asked for their names and referred to George Lynch simply as “girl” based on his cover appearance.

Anyway, I’ve been cranking this album a lot since finally listening to it (it saw here for a few weeks without me even sampling one track) and I’m really glad I bought it. Another classic album joins my collection!

Highlights: “Unchain the Night”, “The Hunter”, “In My Dreams”, “Lightnin’ Strikes Again”, “It’s Not Love”

www.dokken.net
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