A Decade Of Dio 1983 - 1993

(Rhino Records)

     When vocalist Ronnie James Dio was unceremoniously ousted (or, depending on the veracity of the source, willingly departed) from Black Sabbath during the Mixing process for Live Evil (1982), the future appeared immensely bright for the erstwhile Mr. Padavona. Having already been offered a solo contract by Warner Brothers prior to his departure, rehearsals began in earnest with ex-Sweet Savage guitarist Vivian Campbell, former Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain and ex-Axis/Black Sabbath/WAMI drummer Vinny Appice in tow. The resulting full-length debut Holy Diver (1983) and it's subsequent predecessors (most notably the similarly Platinum-selling The Last In Line (1984) and the Craig Goldie-fueled Sacred Heart (1985) would ultimately lay the foundation for an entire generation of like-minded brethren that would follow in their wake. Now, six years after his untimely passing, courtesy of the 'all-encompassing' box set compilation A Decade Of Dio 1983 - 1993.

     On the brilliant A Decade Of Dio 1983 - 1993 (2016), an expertly assembled six disc, forty-eight (!) song collection of groundbreaking Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the thunderous opener “Stand Up And Shout” the swaggering lyrically convoluted 'instant classic' “Holy Diver” and the iconic, hook-laden “Rainbow In The Dark”, instantly commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Deftly chronicling nearly every aspect of the frontman's justifiably fabled Warner Brothers and Reprise Records era, the group unleashes a genre-defying blend of soaring, multi-octave vocals, razor-sharp fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. The veritable wealth of impossibly diverse sonic excursions that would invariably followed in their wake (regardless of their respective levels of chart and sales successes or a total and complete lack thereof) served as a fiery catalyst for the genre as a whole.

     Continuing with the maddeningly infectious statement of intent “We Rock” the synth-driven lament “Rock 'N' Roll Children” and the uniquely exhaustive codex “All The Fools Sailed Away”, the unnervingly airtight combination of ex-Black Sabbath/Elf/Rainbow vocalist Ronnie James Dio, guitarists Vivian Campbell, Craig Goldie and Tracy Grijalva (Tracy G of Love/Hate, Swift Kick and WWIII 'fame'), bassists Jimmy Bain, Teddy Cook and Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Lynch/Pilson, Foreigner), keyboardists Claude Schnell and Jens Johansson and drummers Vinny Appice and Simon Wright (AC/DC, Operation: Mindcrime, Rhino Bucket) steamrolls ahead with a truly sickening ease. Wisely maintaining a detailed focus despite the inescapable presence of the group's impending decline, the re-visiting of lesser-known material such as “Sunset Superman” and “When A Woman Cries” from Dream Evil allows the listener to obtain an appreciation for the depths of the frontman's solo métier.

     Adorned by new artwork courtesy of the acclaimed Marc Sasso (Cage, Death Dealer, Rob Halford), other standouts, including the relentlessly pummeling “Lock Up The Wolves” the emotionally overwrought jewel “Jesus, Mary & The Holy Ghost” and the delightfully menacing tale of corporate greed' run amok “Evilution”, only further reinforce the group's legendarily well-deserved reputation as bona fide creative and commercial force not to be ignored. Also available in a limited vinyl incarnation (to be released on 10/04/16, MSRP $99.98) featuring a bonus seven-inch containing the 1983 version of “Evil Eyes” (originally released as the b-side of the “Holy Diver” single, offers the opportunity to digest the finest aspects of the frontman's career at an undeniably affordable price. An absolute 'must-have' for any self-respecting Metalhead, particularly those with a genuine and sincere interest in re-living the finer points of Heavy Metal histories, this is quite possibly as good as it gets.

     While we're certainly 'late to the game' in regards to our unequivocal praise of the mighty A Decade Of Dio 1983 - 1993, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly exhaustive wares contained herein are entirely deserving of praise regardless of the particular time frame. Even if you somehow find yourself less than enthralled with the omission of the oft-overlooked Intermission EP (1986) or the inclusion of the arguably lackluster Lock Up The Wolves (1990), the opportunity to partake in an encapsulated variation of the improbably resilient vocalists career is seemingly guaranteed to appeal to both die-hard completists and clueless newcomers alike. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a proverbial stroll down memory lane that doesn't involve wholeheartedly re-embracing a morbidly obese expanse of hairspray and mascara-encrusted Velveeta, then this, my friends, might just be the high-octane cerate for what it is that ails you. Trust me, you won't be disappointed.

Select Discography

A Decade Of Dio 1983 - 1993 (2016)

Finding The Sacred Heart: Live In Philly 1986 (2013)

Master Of The Moon (2004)

Killing The Dragon (2002)

Magica (2000)

Inferno: Last In Live (1998)

Strange Highways (1993)

Lock Up The Wolves (1990)

Dream Evil (1987)

Intermission (EP) (1986)

Sacred Heart (1985)

The Last In Line (1984)

Holy Diver (1983)


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