Blog Archives

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

51r8mP4notL

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

Black Sabbath – Mob Rules [Deluxe Edition]

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
Bonus Tracks
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!

http://heavenandhelllive.com/
http://www.blacksabbath.com
http://www.facebook.com/BlackSabbath

Amazon.com

Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition]

Black Sabbath – Dehumanizer [Deluxe Edition] (2011, EMI Records – UK Import)
Original Release: 1992, Reprise Records

Disc One
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

Disc Two
1. “Master Of Insanity” (Radio Edit) … 4:08
2. “Letters From Earth” (B-Side Version) … 4:42
3. “Time Machine” (Wayne’s World Version) … 4:18
4. “Children Of The Sea” (live) … 6:23
5. “Die Young” (live) … 2:16
6. “TV Crimes” (live) … 4:23
7. “Master Of Insanity” (live) … 7:39
8. “Neon Knights” (live) … 5:34

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards

Produced by: Reinhold Mack

Yet another Black Sabbath deluxe edition release and yet again, it was a must have when I learned of its upcoming release. Dehumanizer is one of Sabbath’s best albums (for my original album review, click here) so it’s great to see it getting remastered and an extra disc of goodies.

Compared to the extras on the deluxe editions of Seventh Star and The Eternal Idol though this collection falls a bit short. The first three tracks on Disc Two are merely alternate versions of the songs from the album. While I don’t think the radio edit of “Master Of Insanity” or the B-side version of “Letters From Earth” have appeared on disc before (I may be wrong), the Wayne’s World take of “Time Machine” was on the original release of Dehumanizer. Here, it’s now considered a bonus track.

Nonetheless, what really interested me with this reissue were the five live tracks. All were taken from a show on July 25, 1992 at the Sundome in Tampa, Florida. I mean, it’s Sabbath live. You really can’t go wrong, especially with Ronnie on the vocals. I don’t think this would be an essential pick up for most Sabbath fans, but for the hardcore fans of Dio/Dehumanizer, it’s a good purchase. You get the typical nice packaging that comes with these deluxe editions, a booklet featuring some backstory to the reunion with Dio, plus the extra disc of bonus tracks.

www.blacksabbath.com

Buy the Deluxe Edition 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
www.facebook.com/officialronniejamesdio
www.myspace.com/dioofficial

Heaven & Hell – Neon Nights: 30 Years of Heaven & Hell – Live In Europe

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

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

Additional Musicians:
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”

www.heavenandhelllive.com
www.myspace.com/heavenandhellmusic

Black Sabbath – Live Evil

Black Sabbath – Live Evil [Remastered] (2004, Sanctuary Records)
Original Release: 1982, Warner Bros. Records

1. “E5150” … 2:21
2. “Neon Knights” … 4:36
3. “N.I.B.” … 5:09
4. “Children of the Sea” … 6:05
5. “Voodoo” … 6:07
6. “Black Sabbath” … 8:39
7. “War Pigs” … 9:19
8. “Iron Man” … 7:29
9. “The Mob Rules” … 4:10
10. “Heaven and Hell” … 12:04
11. “The Sign of the Southern Cross”/”Heaven and Hell” (continued) … 7:15
12. “Paranoid” … 3:46
13. “Children of the Grave” … 5:25
14. “Fluff” … 0:59

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Geoff Nicholls – Keyboards

Producer: Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler

The album that broke the band. The Iommi & Butler/Dio & Appice Mix Wars that went on with this album are well documented so I won’t even comment further. If this was to be the final album of the Dio Sabbath regime, it’s a great note to go out on. After the excellent Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules, Live Evil was a great way to document this newly energized version of Sabbath and it’s interesting to hear Ronnie James Dio’s take on some of the Ozzy songs.

As I’ve said elsewhere though, only Ozzy can really do Ozzy. I’m not saying Ozzy is a better singer than Dio, Gillan, Hughes or Martin — what I’m saying is Dio, Gillan, Hughes and Martin are too good of singers to pull off the poor whiny vocals required to make the Ozzy material work but I do quite enjoy the Dio version of “N.I.B.”.

Anyway, it’s Sabbath live with Dio. It’s going to be a great show. They run through a great collection of Dio and Ozzy tunes with gusto and this is rightfully an essential Sabbath release and it’s the very first official live album in their discography as well. What else can I say? It’s a metal classic!

Highlights: “Neon Knights”, “N.I.B.”, “Children of the Sea”, “The Mob Rules”, “Heaven and Hell”, “The Sign of the Southern Cross”/”Heaven and Hell” (continued)

www.blacksabbath.com
www.heavenandhelllive.com
www.myspace.com/heavenandhelllive

BLACK SABBATH – The Dio Years

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

Band:
Ronnie James Dio – Vocals
Tony Iommi – Guitar
Geezer Butler – Bass
Bill Ward – Drums (Tracks 1–5)
Vinny Appice – Drums (Tracks 6–16)

Additional Musicians:
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.

www.blacksabbath.com
www.heavenandhelllive.com
www.myspace.com/heavenandhelllive

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

%d bloggers like this: