Released: 2013, Niji Entertainment
Reviewer: Robert Williams
Niji Entertainment has just posthumously released the deluxe edition of the immortal Ronnie James Dio's "Magica" album with a second disc that includes some exclusive bonus tracks and live recordings and the previously unreleased "Electra" originally intended for Magica 2 & 3.
First off, you will recall that Ronnie James Dio's brilliant studio offering "Magica" originally released on March 21st, 2000 was going to be a three part trilogy. Dio had planned to record "Magica II and Magica III" after his touring obligations with Heaven and Hell wrapped up. Tragically, this was not to be in the end as Ronnie succumbed to stomach cancer on May 16, 2010.
Both guitarist Craig Goldy and bassist Jimmy Bain worked with Ronnie on 1987's "Dream Evil" full length, but Jimmy Bain also went all the way back to Ronnie's Rainbow days as well as the Hear N' Aid project Ronnie assembled in 1986 for the "Starz" single. Drummer Simon Wright was a monster player in his own right previously pounding skins for AC/DC, Rhino Bucket and U.F.O. to name a few. So keep in mind that Dio was in his prime and surrounding himself with one of the heaviest hitting lineups of his career on "Magica".
As for the packaging this slick fold out double disc digipak comes with a cool sticker of the man, the myth, the legend Ronnie James Dio and a huge booklet crammed with liner notes, photos, lyrics, a foreward by celebrated rock scribe Mick Wall and even the elaborate Magica storyline for the first time in print.
Onward towards the special second disc of bonus material, the first track "The Magica Story" is a narrative spoken word by Ronnie with accompanying medieval like minstrel backing music for dramatic effect. The slowly, haunting shadow-like grip of "Annica" was originally heard only as a Japanese bonus track. "Electra" as was previously mentioned, was intended for Magica Parts II and III, is very much in line with it's predecessor musically which speaks volumes to the lasting longevity of the Magica concept as a whole considering by this point "Killing The Dragon" and "Master Of The Moon" had been released, this was a story that Ronnie had planned and intended on revisiting. The live material is of excellent quality, offering a rare glimpse into this period of the Dio band. (I saw this tour in Dallas with Sebastian Bach and Enuff Z' Nuff in tow, and Dio absolutely decimated the Bronco Bowl)
I'd definitely recommend this deluxe edition of MAGICA to all fans of Ronnie James Dio and heavy metal in general. Do yourself a favor and spend some quality time with arguably heavy metal's greatest singer and frontman of all time.