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I must admit that I?ve been looking forward quite a lot to Dio?s new album Killing The Dragon, especially since I?m still not very impressed with his previous release Magica, which although being quite a solid release and a definitive improvement over Angry Machines, grew boring all too quickly due to what seemed like a lack of fresh ideas and energy (and a utterly boring concept story to accompany all of this).
The biggest change between Killing The Dragon and Magica is of course the arrival of new guitar player Doug Aldrich, who replaces Craig Goldy, and manages to do an excellent job at doing so as well. Honestly speaking Doug is probably one of the better guitar players that Dio has worked with so far, and at least manages to recapture a small part of the old magic with his excellent playing and blistering solo?s. Of course it doesn?t have to be said that both Dio?s vocals as well as the performance of the rest of the band are first class like usual.
Musically, this album reminds me most of a cross between Sacred Heart and Dream Evil, and holds up fairly well in comparison too. The main problem however is that once again, the main bulk of the material consists of slow and/or mid tempo songs, which grow tiresome after a couple of listens and makes you yearn for something a little bit more up tempo.
That doesn?t have to say though that Killing The Dragon is rubbish, and at least for me tracks like "Killing The Dragon", "Along Comes A Spider", "Push" & "Throwaway Children" (with a cute child choir at the end) easily beat anything Dio?s released over the past 6 years or so. A fairly solid but unspectular album as it stands, but it could have been so much more better with a bit more diversity brought in. Still certainly well worth having if you?re a Dio fan.