On the 16th May 2010 Ronnie James Dio, who was more commonly known to you and I as just Dio, passed away and we lost one of the greatest vocalists in rock and metal. In memory of Dio, three deluxe editions of his classic albums, 'Holy Diver' (1983),'The Last in Line' (1984) and 'Sacred Heart'(1985), have been released with live recordings and previously unreleased material.

Listening to these CDs, it is very easy to compare Dio to 80's metal. The truth of this is 80's metal sounds a lot like Dio. With a career spanning fifty years(!), some of which was with Rainbow and Black Sabbath (following Ozzy Osbourne's departure), Dio remained an influential figure, and it is not uncommon for a musician to cite Dio as being an influence.

One of Dio's most remarkable qualities was his incredible vocal range (which Dio claimed was from the breathing techniques he learned in playing the French horn). He is one of the most versatile and was one of the most powerful vocalists in the metal genre, and later coined the phrase “power metal”. This swiftly becomes apparent in listening to these albums, as Dio's impressive vocal ranges is by and far the stand-out elements of these albums.

Structurally time has not aged these albums well. This is not because it they were in any way weak, but that Dio's influence has been felt across the length and breadth of the metal and rock scene. Thus what was impressively ground-breaking at the time has since influenced musicians and evolved to what has become the modern-day rock and metal scene. Thus what may seem dated is more accurate to say as being the grandfather of modern metal.

The CR versions of these albums include not only the original cover artwork from the initial release of the albums (with the ubiquitous metal-horns which Dio was credited as popularising), but also included are booklets offering background on the albums as well as Dio's career.

The bonus content that is included with these albums is more than what we have come to expect of having a couple of extra tracks added at the end of the CD. Instead we are provided with a second CD, with tracks from live-recordings from 'The King Biscuit Flower Hour' in 1983 ('Holy Diver'), 1984's Pink Pop Festival ('Last in Line'), and the 1985 Intermission at San Diego's Sports Arena ('Sacred Heart'), as well as tracks from various Eps.

For me, 'Last in Line' was the strongest album, with the anthemic opening track of 'We Rock' and the stunning 'One Night in the City'. Possibly the weakest album was 'Holy Diver', which suffered from only a limited variety in the tracks across the whole of the album.

The average established fan of Dio will already have these CDs in their collection, which add nothing new to their Dio experience other than the live recordings. Where these CDs will be undoubtably be appreciated, it is with new fans and the completists who want to finish off their Dio collection with the live recordings that only had a previously limited release.
















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