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CD REVIEW: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life

| 17 April 2014 | Reply

CD REVIEW: VARIOUS ARTISTS – Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life
Nuclear Blast
April 2014
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar

Dio - This Is Your Life cover

Assembled by Ronnie James Dio’s widow Wendy, This Is Your Life is a quite staggering collection of music that constitutes a mere drop in the ocean of the man’s full life’s work and influence.

In most cases, the cream of his classics are present here, though there’s plenty of scope for another one or two volumes with no dimming of quality. Awesome cover too, with all the artists herein depicted wielding weapons in a full on assault.

In addition to that, in selecting the artists to stand up and shout, Wendy has ensured that there’s not a flash in the pan or novelty artist to be seen: many true legends who knew the man are here, as well as a clutch of newer bands who have proven their mettle already, and everyone gives it their all.

It’s not perfect, however: Rob Halford’s Man On The Silver Mountain lacks passion and fire; and debate will rage whether Metallica should do a medley of 5 songs or concentrate instead on doing the nearest to definitive cover of just one, but even those are just minor quibbles.

The bands all pretty much play it straight – no-one is out to do an acoustic or dub version of any of Ronnie’s work this time round. (Come to think of it, a couple of acoustic takes might be a nice idea for part II, if such a thing is being considered…?)

The real standouts – on an album full of them – are Anthrax’s mighty Neon Knights, Tenacious D’s faithful take on The Last In Line, Adrenaline Mob’s excellent The Mob Rules, The Scorpions trippy Temple Of The King (harkening back to their proggy early days) and Jimmy Bain’s majestic I.

It’s worth bearing in mind that it’s harder than it looks to cover a classic song with dignity and grace and have it hold up beside the original. While no-one here apart from Glenn Hughes can rival Dio’s voice (and he slightly overcooks Catch The Rainbow with his soulful yelps), the record is thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish and an excellent and respectful tribute to a truly influential legend of rock.

Finally, there’s Ronnie’s posthumous track – the title track of the record. Just his majestic voice, a poignant and sad lyric, and a piano. It’s a fitting end to the record and a gorgeous and emotional tribute from Wendy to her late husband. She could have got a band in to bash out a metal track behind this vocal, but it works so much better this way – a sad reflection on a life well lived by someone not yet ready to relinquish that gift.



Category: CD Reviews

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