Search This Blog

Friday, November 9, 2012

Dio – The Very Beast of … Vol. 2 album review

Dio – The Very Beast of … Vol. 2 review
Released through: Niji Ent. Group. Release Date: Available now.
I for one have been a big Dio fan, Ronnie James Dio that is, since his Rainbow days, all the way through Black Sabbath, Dio the band and his final Heaven and Hell band and yes of course like so many others, I was devastated when the world learned of his tragic passing two years ago.
The man really was THE legendary voice, to me and I know many other rock fans, in far surpassing what Ozzy Osbourne did in Black Sabbath and no, I am not knocking Ozzy’s classic work with Sabbath, I just think Dio’s voice has been and will remain, superior to anything Ozzy does. Period! - Er, that's like full stop for my good old UK readers!

Ed’s comment: I can feel the backlash coming now!!!

So what of this second volume of ‘The Very Beast of Dio – Vol. 2’ then?
For starters, the cover is awful, there I said it!!!

For one thing, to many folks around the globe this comes as a surprise release, especially since 'Volume 1' was only ever released officially in the USA and Canada … Perhaps there could’ve been a repackaging of the first to capture both versions, I think personally that would’ve been better, let’s face it, new ‘Best Of’s’ of artist's are issued again and again anyway, so why not get this one done right?
That’s just my take on it and to be completely honest, that request is twofold …
     Why? It’s like this, put simply and again I love the voice of R.J.D., but the selection for 'Volume 2' is simply nowhere near as strong as 'Volume 1,' I wish it was …
I don’t believe Ronnie would’ve agreed with the track selection for release.
'Volume 1' contained from the first album alone, ‘Stand Up and Shout’ – The ultimate! – ‘Holy Diver’ – Killer! – ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ – A crossover track that fans of many genres accepted and enjoyed. – and ‘Straight Through The Heart’ – Just monster!
Then absolute unforgettable gems like ‘We Rock,’ ‘The Last In Line,’ ‘Mystery,’ ‘King of Rock and Roll’ and it just goes on for the other eight masters, all taken from the first six studio albums and the live ‘Intermission’ release.
'Volume 2' is compiled of tracks from the last three official Dio studio releases in ‘Angry Machines,’ ‘Killing The Dragon’ and ‘Master of the Moon’ and a few bonus goodies. 
Now and forgive me Ronnie (RIP) but … These last few studio albums have some great material and absolutely great players including guitarists the likes of Doug Aldrich, Craig Goldy and Tracy G, as well as Jimmy Bain and Jeff Pilson (Bass), Scott Warren (Keys) and two great drummers in Vinnie Appice and Simon Wright, but I just don’t feel the songs are overall quite as strong.
Very good, but I think I think the majority missed a lot of the hooks and melody from the earlier albums.
All that said ‘Killing The Dragon,’ I think is certainly of the better material on the compilation which includes four cuts here from the album of the same name.
It’s a great song to open any Dio album, Dio fans will know it well no doubt …
‘Push’ is next again from the same album and this became a popular track, quite possibly helped by the entertaining video that accompanied it at the time featuring a certain Jack Black in his Tenacious D guise.
Indeed again a very good studio and live track.
Next up ‘The Eyes’ I think is a bit of a cult favourite, of course a great vocal performance from Ronnie and quite a dark number, but I felt it was OK personally, it's not one of my fav’s and is taken from the ‘Master of the Moon’ album.
‘Along Comes A Spider’ next from the ‘Killing …’ album grabs my attention once more, great up tempo Dio number.
The last material here from ‘Killing …’ is ‘Better In The Dark,’ which whips along nicely too in classic Dio fashion. Love it!
‘Fever Dreams’ from ‘Magica’ next almost follows a ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ song structure through the verses.
It’s a track that I feel isn’t one of the Dio’s better songs and yes I still like it, it’s just it feels a little like it’s missing something.
From possibly my least favourite Dio album ‘Angry Machines’ comes ‘Black,’ and it’s just too weird for me, I’ll leave it there.
‘Feed My Head’ from ‘Magica’ really doesn’t do too much for me either really, but then ‘Magica’ was a concept style album, which perhaps was in a little too much of a Prog rock / metal type direction.
I’m sure it’s someone’s favourite, it’s just not mine!
‘Shivers’ next from ‘Master of the Moon’ is a dark, creeping up on you style track, nice guitar solo but kind of doesn’t go that far for me. It’s a steady chug along rocker.
A live version of ‘Hunter of the Heart’ from ‘Angry Machines’ up next … It’s really not a Dio classic to me …
It’s a prime example of why I don’t think the track selection for the compilation is the best.
There’s nothing wrong with Ronnie’s voice on any of the songs that aren’t favourites of mine, they just don’t feel like – to me – that they are the ‘best of’ or ‘Beast of’ Dio’s latter work.
The opening track from ‘Master of the Moon,’ ‘One More For the Road’ is next and it’s a pretty steady rocker.
Still enjoyable to me!
‘Lord of the Last Day’ from ‘Magica’ is chug along rocker, if somewhat plodding …
So to the first of the ‘Bonus tracks’ and ‘Electra’ is first which it says in the albums sleeve notes is taken from ‘Magica 2’ … I cannot find any record of a ‘Magica 2’ having been released anywhere …?
Anyway, it’s a slower paced rocker which I like, but it does feel a little directionless and really does go around and around on itself to be honest. Certainly feels appropriate to be a part of a concept release.

‘As Long As It’s Not About Love’ from ‘Magica’ is certainly still of the concept styling with the first two and a half minutes being a beautifully sung ballad like intro and then wham! In crash power chords, actually in doom laden style, before the song gets back on the song track and the epic style of the song continues to drive the track home.
The saving grace perhaps from ‘Angry Machines,’ is the beautiful and almost Queen like ‘This Is Your Life.’
It’s a truly moving piano and vocal track; I love it, perhaps ironic for Ronnie too ...
‘Metal Will Never Die’ is a track that was unearthed by Ronnie’s cousin and former band mate in Elf, David ‘Rock’ Feinstein.
It’s a solid, steady rock anthem like track that sadly could have been finished better on Ronnie’s vocal mix.
It seems as though the vocal was pushed up in the mix, but not done right as it distorts as the track gets heavier. Shame …
The final track here is ‘The Prisoner of Paradise,’ which was originally only available on the Japanese release of ‘Master of the Moon.’
It’s actually a really enjoyable track to close to compilation with.
So overall, I’ve already told you that – IMHO - I don’t think it was the best overall choice of tracks for the ‘Very Beast of Dio – Vol. 2.’
I’d love to say that everyone on here, like on the first ‘Very Beast of Dio,’ was a winner, but really the first three Dio albums were the first lineup of Dio, perhaps the classic lineup?!
The fourth Dio album ‘Dream Evil’ was really equally as good to me to be honest too, where Craig Goldy had stepped in for Vivian Campbell to play in a classy style, which is something I think he’s always done.
After that I think with the frequent lineup changes Ronnie’s own band had, it was hard to keep the consistency of the songwriting, but of course there was still plenty of class work.
If you’re a Dio fan, then of course you’re going to want this, for the bonus tracks alone.
As a Dio fan of old, I was disappointed by the horrible cover; I thought Uriah Heep’s ‘Abominog’ cover was bad for looking pretty gruesome. This certainly tops that!
Shame it couldn’t have been a little more tasteful, maybe with a rainbow somewhere there, Ronnie always loved to sing about ‘em!
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – For poor choice of track listing.
I cannot knock the musicianship at all though, so your call there folks!
Also folks, if you are a fan of the music of Ronnie James Dio, please, I urge you, go and check out Dio Disciples - Not so sure on name choice, but it shows dedication I guess?! - the band made up of Ronnie's former Dio bandmates, of course with the exception of the vocalists involved and the bassist.
The current lineup features:
Tim "Ripper" Owens (Judas Priest, Yngwie Malmsteen) and Oni Logan (Lynch Mob) on Vocals 
Craig Goldy - Guitars (Ex-Dio)
Bjorn Anglund - Bass (Yngwie Malmsteen)
Scott Warren - Keyboards (Dio,Heaven & Hell)
Simon Wright - Drums (Dio, AC/DC, UFO).
 Dio Disciple tour dates can be found at the below Dio website.
Official website:

No comments:

Post a Comment