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If I ever needed a proper entry into the wild world of Mr. Dio, it would be this one, brought on to me by an old high school chum who said "THIS is heavy metal!". This was what followed after my ear drums took a savage beating with NILE's "Black Seeds of Vengeance", and was musically akin to jogging half a block after enduring a four-minute mile; not nearly as powerful as was let on. I understand the classicness of this album, especially the title track, but in complete and utter honesty this doesn't quite live up to its legendary hype.
Of course, most of the attention is lumped into the title track, where the fans feel Dio hit his high note (how depressing to have had done so on the FIRST SONG...), an unloaded magnum opus that at best squirts water. Sure, the guitars have a good melodic hook, the keyboard intro is nice and epic, and Ronnie-boy letting loose the slightly captivating, sober drawls that made him such a hit with BLACK SABBATH, but the song itself just kinda plugs along, with three minutes of material stretched longer than it should. And unfortunately the rest of the album suffers the same fate, only at differing lengths. The over-all delivery is still competent and very traditionally 80s sounding, wherein the guitar lines meld with the vocals and simplistic drums quite nicely, but the music itself lacks the punch it should, and instead sorta beats the hooks and melodies into your head through repetitious chord arrangements, from the mild (“Don’t Talk to Strangers”, “Invisible” and “Shame on the Night”) to the extreme (the title track, “Rainbow in the Dark” and “Gypsy”). I’m sure this was great in the 80s, but nowadays this comes off as slightly bland.
So all in all this isn’t really a worthless album, just overhyped. DIO definitely had big shoes to fill in the albums hence, as it all comes back to this. As for me, I’d like to thank Ronnie for the offer I unfortunately have to refuse, and will stick to some MERCYFUL FATE instead.