Various Artists Holy Dio-A Tribute To The Voice Of Metal: Ronnie James Dio
Released: 1999, Century Media
On May 16th of this year, (2014) it will be the 4th anniversary of the death of Ronnie James Dio. In April Rhino records released a tribute album called THIS IS YOUR LIFE. The amount if media hype about this album was unbelievable and frankly a bit puzzling. This was just sixth (or seventh depending how you count) Dio tribute on the market. Why was everyone so excited about this one? How does it compare to the five previous ones? Of course being a true Dio fan I own all of them so I decided to pull them from the vaults and review them. They are, in chronological order of release…
HOLY DIO-A TRIBUTE TO THE VOICE OF METAL:RONNIE JAMES DIO (Century Media, 1999)
AWAKEN THE DEMON-TRIBUTE TO DIO (Dwell, 1999)
DIO (Jorn) (Frontiers 2010)
MAGIC-A TRIBUTE TO RONNIE JAMES DIO (Magic Circle Music, 2010)
TO HEAVEN THROUGH HELL-A TRIBUTE TO RONNIE JAMES DIO (Backstage, 2011)
RONNIE JAMES DIO-THIS IS YOUR LIFE (Rhino, 2014)
The Jorn album DIO was already reviewed by our very own Waspman back in July of 2010 so feel free to check out this review as well as part of this feature/tribute. Please feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this feature.
HOLY DIO is easily the biggest and best of all the Dio Tributes. It was also was, to the best of my knowledge, the very first Dio tribute, beating AWAKEN THE DEMON to the stores by a couple of months. I am reviewing the European Double Disc version that came out in 1999. There was a 14 track American version that came out in 2000, that dropped the covers by Dan Swano, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Grave Digger, Holy Mother and Stratovarious and it has revised the track sequence and slightly different cover art.
This tribute was spearheaded by RockHard magazine and had the full ensdorsement and participation of the Dio camp. The presentation is nice with a 14-page booklet in black and white. It has a Dio discography, liner notes about two dozens photos, and each artist get a few sentences to talk about Dio. Dio himself even writes the opening greeting giving the collection his blessing and of course Murray is on the cover.
The list of bands paying tribute to Dio is incredibly strong. It is a who’s who of European Metal. Of the 19 cuts on display, 15 were recorded by European bands (9 from Germany!) and the remaining four were done by American bands. From the stunning opener of Blind Guardian’s rendition of ‘Don’t Talk To Strangers’ to Axel Rudi Pell (the new Ritchie Blackmore) doing ‘Still I’m Sad to a strong finish with Angel Dust doing ‘Temple Of The King’ ,the whole album kills. The track selection is excellent a mix of Rainbow, Black Sabbath and of course Dio solo albums.
I’m a little more tolerant of the track choices as this was really the first big name Dio tribute. Still it is nice to see cool rarer cuts like Dan Swano and Peter Tatgren teaming up to do ‘Country Girl’. Another highlight is the German Power Metal, All-star, Rainbow tribute band, Catch The Rainbow doing their version of ‘Rainbow Eyes’. American doom-titans, Solitude Aeturnus do an excellent version of ‘Shame On The Night’. Perhaps the only blemish is that there are two versions of ‘Kill The King’, one by Primal Fear and one by Stratovarius. Don’t make me choose! Every song is a winner.
HOLY DIO sets the standard for Dio tributes and one that has yet to be matched.
1. Don't Talk To Strangers - Blind Guardian
2. Kill The King - Primal Fear
3. Egypt - Doro
4. Children Of The Sea - Jag Panzer
5. Sign Of The Southern Cross - Fates Warning
6. Rainbow Eyes - Catch The Rainbow
7. "Long Live Rock n Roll - Gamma Ray
8. Country Girl - Swino/Tgtgren
9. Gates Of Babylon - Yngwie Malmsteen
10. We Rock - Grave Digger
11. Man On The Silver Mountain
12. Holy Diver - Holy Mother
13. Kill The King - Stratovarious
14. Still I'm Mad - Axel Rudi Pell
15. Heaven And Hell - Enola Gay
16. Neon Knights - Steel Prophet
17. Shame On The Night - Solitude Aeturnus
18. The Last In Line - Destiny's End
19. Temple Of The King - Angel Dust