If you want to talk about scares during the month of October, when it comes to music, it’s hard not to think of the legendary Ronnie James Dio. From his days in Elf and Rainbow, through to his seminal albums with Black Sabbath and then in his own self-titled band, Dio always portrayed himself as a badass, the Wizard of Rock and Roll, holding the Devil Horns in the air while wailing that unmistakeable banshee wail. Dio may have been diminutive in stature, but when it came to heavy metal, the man ruled over all.
Earlier this year, the folks at Eagle Rock released Dio: Live In London Hammersmith Apollo 1993, which found the metal master ruling all he surveyed. Dio was coming off the arguably failed Black Sabbath reunion that resulted in the Dehumanizer album, which at the time met with lacklustre results but in the ensuing 20+ years has gone on to become a bit of a hidden metal classic. Dio vacated the singer’s seat after refusing to open with his Sabbath bandmates for the then-retiring Ozzy Osbourne (probably the right choice, seeing how long Ozzy’s retirement actually stuck for). Instead, Dio returned to his own band and released Strange Highways, considered a return the form for the man. Following the album’s October 1993 European release, the band hit the road, the final night of which has become Live in London.
The band on this release features drummer extraordinaire Vinny Appice, alongside bassist Jeff Pilson and guitarist Tracy G. Live, the band is in incredible form. They rock hard on tracks from Strange Highways, which are among the darkest tunes Dio ever recorded. At the same time, the band also excels playing classic from Sabbath, Rainbow and the earliest days of the Dio band.
It’s easy to be biased if you’re a Dio fan – the man possessed one of the most powerful voices in the history of metal, and his shadow looms large years after gis death. Eagle Rock continues to mine the archives of the man to release classic metal moments. Live In London Hammersmith Apollo 1993 is yet another prime example of the man, and the genre, at its finest.
We rock, and Dio rocks, and always will.