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Ronnie James Dio - This Is Your Life Award winner

Ronnie James Dio
This Is Your Life
by Dan Mailer at 26 March 2014, 8:35 PM

One of the mightiest and most legendary singers in all of Rock N’ Roll, let alone Metal, Ronnie James Dio’s legend lives on in his hefty discography of epic tunes, from RAINBOW, to BLACK SABBATH, to his own solo material. Dio was able to capture a certain atmosphere at all times, with fantastical lyrical themes, and passionate and powerful vocals, and he will always be held in the minds of true rock and metal fans. This is a fitting tribute to the man, from legendary acts such as METALLICA and ANTHRAX to some slightly lesser known up and comers like HALESTORM.

ANTHRAX kicks things off here, with a great cover of “Neon Knights” that captures the essence of the original, blended with that signature ANTHRAX aggressive sound. Joey Belladonna rips through the vocals with a great sense of passion and devotion to the original. “Last In Line”, performed by TENACIOUS D is an awesome version, with lots of cool vocals from Jack Black and great overall approach. “The Mob Rules” is covered by ADRENALINE MOB, and at first I forgot I was listening to a cover! Russell Allen’s vocals really are that great on this track, it’s an uncannily similar performance to the man himself, and it is a really well performed version too with a nice bass sound in addition to those godlike vocals. “Rainbow In The Dark” is a collaborative effort from various musicians, most notably Corey Taylor from SLIPKNOT / STONE SOUR and Satchel from STEEL PANTHER. Whilst this is well performed and played, the production is a little way off from the previous three tracks (as expected on a tribute album from various bands) and the passion just doesn’t seem to be there from the vocal performance here, despite hitting most of the notes well. HALESTORM gets a lot of hype in the Metal scene at the moment, and their cover of “Straight Through The Heart” does a good enough job of covering the song, but it feels like the musicians have taken a backseat to the singer rather than playing “with” the frontwoman, and the production reflects this. Still a good enough cover though!

Starstruck” is performed by MOTORHEAD  featuring SAXON’s singer Biff Byford and this one does a great job of capturing a really old school sound, with a great gritty sounding performance from Biff. This one’s really cool and well done, with plenty of attitude as you’d expect. SCORPIONS do a great version of “Temple Of The King”, capturing a nice old school feel with plenty of emotion in the lead vocals too, supported by some nice guitar playing. Doro injects her own style into “Egypt (The Chains are On)” and it’s a nice and well performed version of the song, with a very “80s” feel. KILLSWITCH ENGAGED’s version of “Holy Diver” has made a return for this tribute album, there’s not much I can say that hasn’t been said before as this has been around for years now, but it would have been nice to have heard them do another song considering their recent changes in lineup and sound. “Catch The Rainbow” is performed by Glenn Hughes and Rudy Sarzo among others, and it’s a very well done rendition, plenty of bluesy guitars and the powerful emotive vocals of Glenn Hughes really kick it up a notch here, thanks to his own unique style that stands alongside such singers as Dio in a very different way, yet capturing the soul of the man’s vocals nicely. “I” is performed by Oni Logan and Jimmy Bain with some other great musicians, and they’ve given it a nice sound here with a really well performed and accurate vocal too.

The last three tracks really crank it up a notch here, with Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren covering “Man On a Silver Mountain” really well with a great feel to this version, nice big riffs and a great vocal from the JUDAS PRIEST frontman’s mighty pipes. METALLICA make an already well publicised performance of a medley of Dio tracks, from “A Light In The Black” to “Kill The King”. This is a really solid and tight performance that has been well produced with some nice vocals from James Hetfield, with some awesome harmonies thrown in too. The playing is awesome here, even the much maligned Lars who many expect to be somewhat sloppy sometimes performs really well here as you’d expect from a man as steeped in old school rock and metal as he is. Kirk Hammett and Rob Trujillo perform great here too, with solid playing and some cool guitar harmonies too. The album finishes fittingly with a song from Dio himself, “This Is Your Life”, from “Angry Machines”, and this is a powerful and emotive song, especially relevant lyrically now that Dio is gone from our lives, with delicate piano and strings lending to the sound. After all these singers performing his songs from various eras, having a song from Dio himself end it all is a real emotive punch, reminding us what the global Rock / Metal scene truly lost, and there may never be another singer quite like Ronnie.

Overall, this really is a fantastic tribute to Dio, with lots of passionate renditions of classic songs, no overplaying and showing off, and it’s all for a good cause too (Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund) so it really is worth checking this out for the cause and in memory of the might Ronnie James Dio.

5 Star Rating

1. Neon Knights (Anthrax)
2. Last In Line (Tenacious D)
3. The Mob Rules (Adrenaline Mob)
4. Rainbow In The Dark (Corey Taylor Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher)
5. Straight Through The Heart (Halestorm)
6. Starstruck (Motorhead With Biff Byford)
7. Temple Of The King (Scorpions)
8. Egypt (The Chains Are On) (Doro)
9. Holy Diver (Killswitch Engaged)
10. Catch The Rainbow (Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren)
11. I (Jimmy Bain, Oni Logan, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy)
12. Man On A Silver Mountain (Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff 13. Pilson, Scott Warren)
13. Ronnie Rising Medley – Metallica
14. This Is Your Life – Dio
Various Artists
Record Label: Rhino Records


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