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Released: 2000, Spitfire Records
The voice of metal, his majesty Ronnie James Dio, has returned with a new album. As you probably already know, this is the first ever Dio solo CD that was written as a concept album. Magica has been getting a lot of attention and push and it's about time. Considering Dio's 40 year musical career, the man deserves A LOT more respect than he gets. All these years of staying true to metal, inspiring countless musicians and lyricists and staying METAL for the entire journey. Dio is like the pyramids - he has always been here and he always will be. Another great thing is that Dio's voice is to this day awesome! Even on some of his less interesting albums, his voice has always shined through. He has never lost his magic or touch.
Magica is Dio's first studio release in four years. Back working with Dio on this CD is Simon Wright (drummer for Dio's "Lock up the Wolves") and bassist Jimmy Bain (Rainbow). Gone is guitarist Tracy G and back is "Dream Evil" Dio guitarist Craig Goldy. Considering that many consider Dream Evil to be one of Dio's best (along with Holy Diver) I figured this would result in a return to the Dio sound of old but it does not. It is clearly a step in the right direction and is better than either "Angry Machines" or "Strange Highways." You can expect plodding, slow and heavy tunes from "Magica." If you we're looking for stuff like "Holy Diver", "Hungry For Heaven" or "We Rock", well you might not be as into this. I'm not saying this CD doesn't have it's charms, it's just not what I personally had hoped it would be. As mentioned, this is a concept CD and the story is kinda cool. I'll leave that for you to uncover when you get a copy and sit with the lyrics. There are a few spoken sections between songs that are done in a robotic voice...not a cool robotic voice either. We're talking a cheesy one that sounds like a Cylon (yeah I remember Battlestar Galactica). The strong points on the CD for me are "Lord of the Last Day" which for some reason reminds me of the tune "Lock up the Wolves." I also like "Fever Dreams" and "Turn To Stone" which are about as upbeat as the music gets on the CD. The only track that left a sour taste in my mouth was "Challis (Marry The Devils Daughter)" which has a main riff in it that sounds too much like "Cat Scratch Fever." Of course Dio's vocal line is still great and the song's only saving grace. If you don't pick up on the story line then don't fear - the last track on the CD is called "The Story" and it features nearly 20 minutes of Ronnie telling the story of Magica.
All in all, this is a good CD, but for me it doesn't live up to the Dio classics because it still relies on the newer Dio sounds. If at least a couple of the songs were more upbeat it would of grabbed me more. If for some unknown reason you have newer heard any Dio CD's, than I'd advise you start with either Rainbow or "Holy Diver."
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