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Better than the band named after it! - 89%

Empyreal, July 5th, 2008

Dio, being the legend that he is in the Rock and Metal scenes, needs no introduction, and this, his fourth solo album, shouldn't need one, either. This was the first album without guitar virtuoso Vivian Campbell backing our favorite metal dwarf up, and here was ushered in Craig Goldie, who is no slouch on the strings himself. Fans of the previous Dio albums (and even his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath) won't be disappointed by this one, as it is more of the same rockish, melodic Heavy Metal that the metal world had come to expect from Ronnie James Dio. His raspy wailing is in fine shape here, and he's backed up by acrobatic guitarwork and perky, upbeat drumming that makes this a very "alive" album. It does not offer anything really new to the standard Dio sound base, but that isn't what Dio was about in the 80s - he was just about making good, solid Heavy Metal to headbang to.

The material here is still very Hard Rockish, with a distinct synth presence, some vocal layering and a nice, laid back sort of groove, but that doesn't change the fact that the riffs here just rule. "Night People," the creepy, atmospheric title track, the anthemic "Sunset Superman," album highlight "All the Fools Sailed Away," with its epic overtones and buildup, the groovy "Overlove," which packs the best guitar solo here, and the excellent, catchy "When a Woman Cries," which ends the album with a classy Hard Rock organ and a great riff. There's no excuse for not liking this one if you're a fan of Heavy Metal in the slightest. Mandatory.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com