To be in a great hard rock or heavy metal band that stands the test of time, influencing generations of musicians to come, is no easy task. Few musicians can say they’ve done it and even fewer can say they’ve done it three separate times with three separate bands. But Ronnie James Dio was no ordinary musician. Not only did he reportedly invent the universal hand signal for metal, he may have invented heavy metal.
Dio first gained popularity as the lead singer for Rainbow. Their 1975 debut album, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, is one of the classic albums that laid the early foundation of heavy metal. The opening track, Man on the Silver Mountain, will grab you by the throat and never let go. Equally as impressive is the debut album of another Dio fronted band, appropriately titled Dio. Dio’s 1983 debut album, Holy Diver, is the musical equivalent of lightning bolts shooting out of stereo speakers.
The third band to feature Dio’s soaring vocals is arguably the most recognized band in hard rock history, Black Sabbath. When Ozzy Osbourne left Black Sabbath to pursue a solo career in 1979, the only man with a big enough voice to fill his shoes was Ronnie James Dio. Black Sabbath’s first release with Dio on vocals, Heaven and Hell is one of metal’s greatest albums. It was the perfect counterbalance to Ozzy’s first release without Sabbath, the equally great Blizzard of Ozz.
34 years later, Ronnie James Dio is still the only person man enough to follow Ozzy Osbourne. It is only fitting that Dio’s posthumous album, Magica : Deluxe Edition debuted June 25th, 2013, exactly a week after the much-anticipated Ozzy fronted Black Sabbath reunion album, 13, made worldwide headlines.
Magica : Deluxe Edition is an extended re-issue of Dio’s 2000 concept album, Magica, and is arguable Dio’s best work released in the last 2 decades. The Deluxe Edition includes a second disc, featuring six live recordings of original Magica tracks, and one previous unreleased track, Electra, the last song Dio recorded before he passed away. Other stand out songs include both the studio and live recordings of Fever Dreams, Feed My Head and Losing My Insanity, as well as the original studio recording, Eriel. Dio’s vocals fly as high as ever, but never overshadow Craig Goldy’s driving guitar riffs and screeching solos. Do yourself a favor, take a break from Sabbath’s 13, and buy a copy of Magica: Deluxe Edition.
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