on 5 April 2014
Ronnie James Dio passed away back in 2010 and ever since his impact has been felt across the heavy metal world and his music continues to inspire thousands all over the world and here, on this album some of those very people who were inspired by Dio pay tribute to the main man himself. This album is a collection of Dio's hits performed by some of the biggest names in Metal today. Metallica, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Scorpions, Slipknot, Tenacious D, Anthrax, Slipknot, Saxon, Steel Panther and more are all represented here.
The standout tracks for me personally are Metallica's Ronnie Rising (A Light in the Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer AND Kill the King mixed into a 9 minute long epic) which is hands down Metallica's best studio recording in years, Tenacious D's The Last in Line which features real vocal power from Jack Black and an oddly fitting recorder solo, Scorpions' Temple of the King which is easily the most emotional track on the album featuring the best guitar work and finally Halestorm who deliver a pure balls to the wall rocking rendition of Straight Through The Heart. The fact that this album closes out with Dio's own recording of "This is Your Life" makes quite an emotional impact and is certainly the perfect closer for this CD.
However, there are some tracks that don't quite work as well. Motorhead's Startstruck feels quite limp in comparison to the other offerings and similarly Rob Halford's Man on the Silver Mountain, whilst a solid cover, lacks the power you'd expect from the Priest frontman who produced Painkiller and Halford and thus feels like a bit of a letdown. That said, having Dio himself close out the track was a classy move.
All in all, this is an extraodinarily good album with many different takes on some of Dio, Rainbow's and Black Sabbath's best tracks. I am a little disappointed that there's no Heaven and Hell on this album but that just goes to show how great Dio's material really is.Anybody who was a fan of Dio should instantly pick this up, not only is it great music, but it's for a great cause with 100% of the profits going to the Stand Up and Shout charity for Cancer Research. Fans of Dio and metal in general won't regret it.
Bearing in mind what a great vocalist RJD was, it is extremely brave of the illustrious gathering here to even attempt some of these songs, but when even Tenacious D seem to be taking things seriously (or at least nearly seriously - I'm not sure about the flute solo!) then you know you have something worthy here. Of course the songs are well nigh classics anyway so it would take a special lack of talent to ruin them but it could also just as easily have been karaoke Dio by numbers. I am therefore glad to report that the artists here turn in some great performances, with Anthrax, Adrenaline Mob and Killswitch Engage perhaps rising furthest out of the pack for me. Loathe though I am to say it there is one track that doesn't quite work for me - I'm not sure that Glenn Hughes quite nails Catch the Rainbow - but really everyone gives it their all, displaying sufficient vim and gusto to show that they were treating the project with the respect that it deserves, both for the late great singer but also for the charity this album supports. I should really knock a star off for the daft cover but that would be churlish so all I will say is GET IT!
Like anyone who is into rock/metal the shadow of RJD casts large across the musical landscape. An instantly recognisable voice that defied his stature. When he died at a relatively young age I was deeply saddened to see the end of an era.
Here we have a wonderful collection of songs from RJD sung by a medley of heavy metal and rock stars. Unlike some so called tribute albums this one really is packed full of top class acts and it shows.
There isn't a duff track on here and the quality shines through. .All the tracks have been given the proper studio treatment and whilst of course they are covers, each artist/collective manages to put their own signature sound on them.
Standouts for me would have to be the Halestorm and the Metallica Medley. Top class. In fact it seems that Metallica are far better covering others music than their own if recent output is anything to go by....
Overall a fantastic record that anyone with a hint of metal in their veins should buy. If nothing else you will be supporting a worthy cancer charity.
I will guarantee that you will find at least one track on this CD that you enjoy, personally I enjoyed all of them, admittedly some more than others! Holy Diver and The Temple of the King are probably my favourites and The Last in Line my least favourite but that's because I'm not a huge fan of Tenacious D. It's sad to think that the world has lost a wonderful voice in Ronnie James Dio but at least we have his recordings and the proceeds of this CD go to his Charity, so BUY IT!!
on 1 May 2014
Well this is a pleasant surprise, given that most tribute CDs are awful (take Butchering the Beatles as a prime candidate - a title which ironically really does sum up the content of the CD).
Released to celebrate the life and work of the late legendary Ronnie James Dio, the great and the good of the heavy metal fraternity have had a crack at playing some of his large canon of work. So a quick summary of the highlights of what you can expect for your 10 quid, that is 100% going to charity.
Anthrax kick things off in brash style with a surprising point perfect version of 'Neon Nights', which vocally and delivery wise is barely distinguishable from the original (with possibly a bit more bass and a chugging finale). This is surprising as I thought that this would be a more oblique take given the bands credentials and quite frankly I didn't think the singer had it in him (I presumed it was Bush but its actually Joey B) - in simple terms, of the other Dio band members need a singer to front up a tour they couldn't go far wrong with Joey. Tenacious D have a go at a sincere version of 'The Last In Line' - to be fair, it adds a bit of light relief to the CD as the Medieval sounding flute solo had me crying with laughter. Normally you'd want this left off (from a pure quality control perspective, given the level of musicianship on display here) but it works because, like Ronnie, you can't take everything too seriously and also it's obviously done with 100% respect and total love for the guy.
Corey Taylor does the impossible and improves 'Rainbow in the Dark' over the Dio version (with a smoother and slightly more contemporary twist) and the Scorpions lay down a very laconic 'Temple of The King', which swings the pendulum from Tenacious D's humour to the other end of the spectrum. Noticeably they ooze old school style and quality, which puts this song as a high water mark on this tribute. They are closely followed by fellow German Doro, who puts in a great version of 'The Chains Are On', which she has been keeping warm on her recent tours as a live favourite. Top marks go to Kill Switch Engage, who smash 'Holy Diver' out of the ball park with a thrashy and turbo charged bruiser of an interpretation, whilst the prize of `can I sing better than Dio, can I , can I?' goes to Glenn Hughes for his slightly over the top 'Catch the Rainbow' (sounding not a million miles away from Robert Plant). Also 'I' by some bloke marginally fails to hit the essence of the song that Dio gives it, simply due to the fact that Dio lives the persona of 'I' in the song - When Dio roars 'I am anger' or 'I'll smash your face in', you know he means it from the very depths of his soul. Don't get me wrong - both songs are excellent (particularly the guitar work on CTR, but there is a high bar to achieve particularly on these two.
Rob Halford trys to put lipstick on a pig with the dreary 'Man on the Silver Mountain', but I would suggest that he doesn't quite make it work as its delivered almost wholly at the lower range of his impressive vocal range. Biff Byford is in fine voice as ever on a breezy run through of 'Lady Starstuck', with Lemmy hovering uncharacteristically in the background, however it is the mighty Metallica who win hands down as the stars of the show. 'Kill the King', which is played in its entirety in the medley, is BRUTAL, delivered in the high octane and enthusiastic style of all their other successful cover versions (which often out do Metallica's own originals and the original originals) - this a Kill Em All `shock and awe delivery' of quite breath taking proportions and is worth the price of the CD on its own (it just keeps coming...). Also worthy of note are Adrenaline Mob who give it all on 'The Mob Rules' and a sultry rock performance by Haelstorm on 'Straight Through The Heart'.
The whole CD is then capped off with a sad piano epitaph from Dio himself (surprisingly an 'Angry Machines' song)- this a quite moving peroration to end on, as it draws together nicely the varied and excellent music on the CD, which cleverly mirrors his life - the old school 80's style (Scorpions), the wry and affectionate humour (Tenacious D), the classic and historic (Glenn Hughes), the world wide influence (Doro) and the young turks (KSE) etc etc.
The only questions that remained unanswered as I finished listening to this were - where was Geoff Tate (who I'd have thought was an obvious choice given the collaboration on Mindcrime 2 and the fact that Neon Knights was covered on Queensryche's lacklustre covers album) and why is there nothing covered from Dio's solo career after the Last In Line? What about Geoff Tate doing `All the Fools Sailed Away', now there's a thought from his ex band members.. Also, 'Heaven and Hell' is a somewhat surprising omission - but, perhaps somethings are best left untouched.
Worth every penny! Only regret is that Ronnie never heard it as I reckon he'd have been blown away.
on 19 April 2014
I should say I spent my (now fairly distant youth) being fed on an audio diet of rock, metal and thrash and punk with all the offshoots in between. Dio amongst others were part of the meat and veg of this diet, the music you put on often and didn't mind you only had it two days before. Since then my taste has slackened shall we say, allowing my ears to wander off into pop music, alternative this and that's and even into the dim and distant world of Country and Western !
Browsing for something to listen to (at work the next day) on Amazon I bounced around and around (as you do) and was reading through track listings of "the best running songs" and "101 BBQ hits" (I said my taste had gone on its own journey with little control from me) when I spotted the Dio album, read what was on it.. The D and Metallica and thought its worth getting just to hear those, and then to re-live the Dio days. Glad I did, hadn't spotted Doro was on there, another blast from the past. As long as you accept its a tribute and not a competition for a Dio sound-a-like, then this will please you on many levels :-)