The last studio release from Dio is set for a deluxe picture-disc reissue on June 5, courtesy of Niji Entertainment Group. This is the first time that 2004’s Master of the Moon, which included the Ronnie James Dio favorite “The Eyes,” has ever been issued as a picture disc in North America.
Niji previously released of a deluxe picture disc of Rainbow’s Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll, the group’s final album with Dio, for Record Store Day 2012.
Formed in 1982, the Dio band released four albums over its first five years. After breaking up and reforming in the 1990s, Dio found new momentum in the following decade — recording 2000’s Magica and 2002’s Killing the Dragon in quick succession before Master of the Moon. Dio subsequently collaborated on a project with former Black Sabbath bandmates Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice, under the moniker Heaven and Hell. Their lone studio album, The Devil You Know, was released 2009 — just a year before Dio died of stomach cancer.
Master of the Moon, Featuring artwork by horror/science fiction artist Marc Sasso, also marked the return of guitarist Craig Goldy, who had earlier appeared on 1987’s Dream Evil and Magica with Dio. The band is rounded out by Jeff Pilson (formerly of Dokken) on bass, Simon Wright on drums and Scott Warren on keyboards.
“Unlike many in the aging metal community, Ronnie James Dio still possesses the same powerful voice that fueled the genre through its late-’70s and ’80s heydays,” said AllMusic’s James Christopher Monger, “and the reigning dark prince of Elfdom and two-time Black Sabbath frontman is still capable of writing a killer song or two.”
Dio said before his death that “The Eyes” was one of his all-time favorite Dio tracks.
Tracklisting for Master of the Moon:
‘One More For The Road’
‘Master Of The Moon’
‘The End Of The World’
‘The Man Who Would Be King’
‘Living The Lie’
‘Death By Love’
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Ronnie James Dio. Click through the titles for complete reviews …
DIO – HOLY DIVER REISSUE (2012): The first of three seminal Dio solo albums — with Last in Line, and Sacred Heart to follow — that are getting the deluxe reissue treatment, with the endorsement of widow Wendy Dio. 1983’s Holy Diver, a platinum-selling metal staple, featured the underrated young Irish man Vivian Campbell on guitar and a pair of legacy-making standout songs, the title track (No. 40 on the mainstream rock charts) and “Rainbow in the Dark,” which Dio said reflected his feelings on leaving Black Sabbath. The original CD has been re-mastered, and the album includes a bonus CD of outtakes and extras along with an expanded booklet with notes from Malcolm Dome, the well-known English metal writer. Dio’s all-star rhythm section here included fellow Sabbath alum Vinny Appice and veteran bassist Jimmy Bain.
HEAVEN AND HELL – LIVE AT RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL (2007) I think it’s pretty cool that the band opted to not carry the Black Sabbath moniker for their tour in support of the material Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi and Co. recorded as Black Sabbath in the early 1980s, then again in the early 1990s, and once again this year for The Dio Years Sabbath compilation. The CDs are what you’d expect — the 15 tracks from the show — and the DVD adds about 35 minutes of extras in the form of a short overview of Radio City Music Hall, a short featuring the fans waiting in line for the show, another about the band itself, and a 20-minute documentary about the tour itself.
DIO – THE RONNIE JAMES DIO STORY: MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD; SACRED HEART; THE LAST IN LINE REISSUES (2011): For some reason, I’ve never been a huge fan of Sacred Heart. It’s one of only a few records throughout the course of Dio’s career away from Black Sabbath that’s just never clicked with me. The Last in Line, on the other hand, is a completely different story. It’s one of Dio’s finest moments, and is every bit a match for his classic Holy Diver. The other record is a two-disc collection that spans Dio’s entire career, though I think the song choices really shortchange his solo work.
BLACK SABBATH – THE DIO YEARS (2007): While I was aware of the Ronnie James Dio-fronted version of the band, I just never got around to checking them out. I moved on from being a metal die-hard for a while to other things, but in recent years have been slowly re-integrating a lot of older metal material. What we’ve got here is five tracks from Heaven and Hell, four from Mob Rules, three from Dehumanizer, one from Live Evil, and three brand-new songs that Dio wrote. So, finally, after all this time, the Dio-era Sabbath is finding a home in my collection.
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