Dio - Killing The Dragon

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Spitfire Records
Catalog Number: 5199-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:01:00

All hail Ronnie James Dio - "solo" album number 11 (including live stuff) and this album, Killing The Dragon, follows the very successful Magica album of 2000.

The title track opens up the album and is everything you'd want on a Dio track - heavy hitting melodic guitars, catchy riffs, haunting ambience and a vocal god in RJD. And it sounds so 80s, too! Logic dictates that this track is going to kick some major arse due to its placement on the CD - the very first song. I just wish he could have kept up that intensity and ingenuity throughout the whole album because Killing The Dragon, the album not the song, has the highs and lows of the Swiss Alps.

Just quickly, joining RJD is Simon Wright (d - ex-AC/DC) and Jimmy Bain (b) and the newest member, guitarist Doug Aldrich (who replaced Craig Goldy). Doug, for those not in the know, has had a well-respected career with bands such as Lion, Hurricane, Bad Moon Rising, and House of Lords so his sphere of knowledge has been in the melodic rock area. Doug shapes up quite well on this album and he plays old-school metal just the way Dio would want it. It's also great that for such a named band that a guitarist can have so much freedom to create and not be stifled by the main man. If I had a criticism of the guitars though is that sometimes they come off too clean ("Guilty" and "Killing the Dragon"). It works on the latter song but not on the former. In general though, Doug's blues-based rock melds nicely with historical Dio.

Dio himself is in fine vocal form and sounding quite aggressive in parts. His melodic singing still influences many singers and his age hasn't stopped him at all. The main problem on Killing The Dragon is the less than average song-writing that makes the album less interesting and exciting. It's a competent album but one that never really pushes itself to exceed. There are some good songs to be had here like the effervescent "Better In The Dark" and the choir backed "Throw Away Children" but Dio always manages two or three songs that don't make the grade and on here we can include the unbalanced "Scream," the weak "Before The Fall" (although it's got a great key leads by Scott Warren) and the totally horrendous "Guilty." By track 10, "Cold Feet" Dio sounds like he has trouble singing and the song is another weak effort. Some of the songs are TOO familiar and whilst this is not necessarily a criticism, it is something to be aware of nonetheless.

Dio is a master - we all know that. But I know that he is capable of not only Killing The Dragon, but slaying it. But this album doesn't showcase the best of Dio, rather the average of Dio.

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Killing The Dragon / Along Came A Spider / Scream / Better In The Dark / Rock And Roll / Push / Guilty / Throw Away Children / Before The Fall / Cold Feet / Bonus Tracks on the ltd. tour edition: Fever Dreams (live; RJD w/Deep Purple) / Rainbow In The Dark (live; RJD w/DP)

Ronnie James Dio - vocals
Simon Wright - drums
Jimmy Bain - bass
Doug Aldrich - guitars
Scott Warren - keyboards

Elf - Elf (1972)
Elf - L.A./59 (aka Carolina County Ball outside US) (1974)
Elf - Trying To Burn The Sun (1975) Rainbow - Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow (1975)
Rainbow - Rainbow Rising (1976)
On Stage (1977)
Rainbow - Long Live Rock N' Roll (1978)
Black Sabbath - Heaven & Hell (1980)
Black Sabbath - The Mob Rules (1981)
Black Sabbath - Live Evil (1982)
Holy Diver (1983)
The Last In Line (1984)
Sacred Heart (1985)
Dream Evil (1987)
Lock Up The Wolves (1990)
Black Sabbath - Dehumanizer (1992)
Strange Highways (1994)
Elf Albums (1994)
Diamonds: The Best Of Dio (1994)
Angry Machines (1996)
Black Sabbath - Under Wheels Of Confusion: 1970-1987 (1996)
Rainbow - The Very Best Of Rainbow (1997)
Inferno: Last in Live (1998/2000*)
Magica (2000)
The Very Beast Of Dio (2000)
Rainbow - 20th Century Masters - The Millenium Edition (2000)
Black Sabbath - Best Of Black Sabbath (2000)
Killing The Dragon (2002)
Rainbow - Catch The Rainbow: The Anthology (2003)
Stand Up and Shout: The Dio Anthology (2003)
Master Of The Moon (2004)
Sacred Heart - The Video (1986/2004)

* Japan, bonus tracks

Genre: Melodic Metal

Origin US

Added: December 11th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website: www.ronniejamesdio.com
Hits: 1802
Language: english


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