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I've read quite a few reviews slagging this one off as "mediocre" or worse but this is actually a step up from the lauded "Killing The Dragon" from 2002. "Moon" excels in terms of songwriting, vocals and the overall production. It's also an album with more variety than the deliberate throwback that was "Killing The Dragon". There's a satisfying mixture of Sabbath-like doom metal, some clever, melodic songs like the Dio of yore, and a little experimentation.
One thing is certain: Ronnie James Dio knew how to produce a big sound in the studio. The bass is fat, the guitars crisp, drums heavy and of course the vocals soaring. While the album's opener, "One For The Road", is a by the numbers uptempo track that's not in the league of other Dio kick offs like "Stand Up And Shout", "We Rock", "King Of Rock & Roll" or "Killing The Dragon", the disc strikes gold by track 2, "Master Of The Moon". A slow, heavy-bottomed doom track with a memorable refrain. Lyrically, it's full of Dio-isms about dreams, the night, shadows, darkness, in what appears to be a song about fighting conformity. Dio has said that, although he was never a lonely person himself, he preferred writing songs for the lonely; the outcasts. Despite the familiar lyrics the melody wins the day. Metal songs with an actual hook have become scarce.
"The End Of The World" is another midtempo number with a guitar riff that sounds like it was nicked from an AC/DC record. A catchy, commercial guitar like that's refreshing to hear on a Dio album instead of the usual galloping speed metal guitar lines. Despite being melodically thin this one's sold by the voice. "Shivers", which follows, is the next standout. A humorous, yet sinister piece where Dio sings that spiders, rats, bats, graveyards, voodoo, black cats don't scare him but the antagonist, probably a cold-hearted woman, makes him "shiver". This proves Dio was hip to his tendency of self-parody and had a sense of humor. His tongue is firmly in his cheek here. The music is heavy and dark but that just punctuates the punchline. His voice again shows no signs of wear.
"Master Of The Moon" was released in 2004 when both George W. Bush and the Iraq & Afghanistan wars were especially unpopular. "The Man Who Would Be King" is a thinly-veiled jab at Bush's America. Dio sings: "We laugh at your religion/You people of the sand...forgive me father for the change we bring/All for the man who would be king" then later "Don't leave a body standing/Not the holy not the small/Deliver us from evil/If it's yours we want it all". An unusually transparent song from Dio. Next up is the fan favorite, "The Eyes", a spooky, paranoid track with a robotic vocal effect croaking "The Eye-yi-yissssss" throughout.
Another nondescript uptempo rocker, "Living The Lie", fills up some space until the anthem "I Am" comes roaring with it's mighty refrain. Dio is such a masterful and charismatic singer he can take the simplest of phrases and ring every bit of power and emotion from them ("I", from Black Sabbath's "Dehumanizer" being a good example). "Death By Love" is retro-Dio that could fit snugly on "Dream Evil" from 1987. The closing "In Dreams" is another midtempo number with a soaring Dio vocal (just love the chest voice again. That's a powerful voice. No cheating with falsetto, nasal projecting or screeching. Dio is a meat and potatoes singer belting from the soul).
Again, "Master Of The Moon" succeeds because of it's variety. In many ways you get the full range of Dio on one disc. Like "Strange Highways", this is one of two underrated LPs in his canon. Just as "SH" has finally grown in stature and praise I predict the same will happen with "Moon".
It's really sad that one band can make so many shit song for one studio album. Although this release doesn't seem promising, no one can expect it to be so weak. It has its moments, and that's all. You have to be careful to capture those moments with your ear, otherwise they will easily slip away in the sea of this mediocrity. In most cases song which has name like the studio album has to be excellent one. That's so true here, 'cause besides that one two more deserve attention: The Prisoner Of Paradise and The Man Who Would Be King. Master Of The Moon shows beauty of Ronnie's voice with amazing refrain, doom metal riffs are cool, backing keyboards make nice and enjoyable ambient even though they are not lead instrument. With Japanese edition you can reward yourself with The Prisoner Of Paradise. It's faster than Master Of The Moon, but it has similar structure. Drums, rhythm guitar, bass guitar and keyboards created nice tempo and built this pleasant song. Ronnie sounds great too. The Man Who Would Be King gives power ballad feel, but it's just ordinary song with variable tempo. That's because of progressive metal touch, and after ballad intro, song gets standard doom metal heaviness.
This one could have been excellent, 'cause intro is really nice, Ronnie sings great, it has well-done mood changes, but close to the end song becomes a bit boring. That ending part decreased its chances to be the third excellent song. It's very good anyway. They Eyes has nice drums, electric and bass guitar rhythm. That combination made really enjoyable tempo and ambient, but the rest is nothing special at all. One More For The Road has nice classic heavy metal riffs, and faster tempo. This song is not slow like many others, and it probably stands as opener of this release which supposed to amaze listener, and make him keen on the rest of the album, but it didn't happen. Ronnie didn't make some greater performances, besides the fact that he fits well in songs Master Of The Moon, The Prisoner Of Paradise and The Man Who Would Be King. Generally speaking guitar solos are not impressive at all. There aren't many memorable riffs, but power chords with doom metal distortion. Also, lyrics are totally weird. You need to have a Dio's book beside you in order to understand the meaning of the lyrics. I can recognize his topic about good and evil, but the rest is too complicated for ordinary people who can't guess what went through his head while he was witting the lyrics.
Good sides of this release:
Besides two excellent songs Master Of The Moon and The Prisoner Of Paradise, and one very good song The Man Who Would Be King. If you want to fill your collection with this release, at least somehow find Japanese edition.
Bad sides of this release:
If you're not fan of Dio, or you want to try to give this band a listen, avoid this release, and don't waste your money. Majority of these songs are faceless, and they can't offer not a single good thing. There aren't many songs which will blow your mind or make you bang your head. Guitar solos are average, no interesting riffs and lyrics are hard to understand or don't have deeper meaning. Generally, this release is boring, faceless, not exciting or interesting.
Master Of The Moon and The Prisoner Of Paradise.
Unless any "Magica II" recordings ever see the light of day, I guess this 2004 effort is the last studio album Dio ever released while its bandleader was still a part of this life. This was also the first album to feature guitarist Craig Goldy since "Magica" as well as the first to feature bassist Jeff Pilson since "Strange Highways."
While 2002's "Killing The Dragon" suggested that the group would be going for a lighter direction, this release returns to the doomy sound of albums past. The songs move at a slower pace and the atmosphere is overwhelmingly dark in a way that hasn't been seen since "Strange Highways." But while that effort was driven by an angrier outlook, this album is often more laid back and driven by smoother hooks that have more in common with the 80's efforts. In fact, this album's style seems to foreshadow the attitude that would drive Heaven And Hell's debut/comeback five years later...
The band's performance also remains solid in spite of the changes. Ronnie himself puts on a fantastic performance though his singing became more noticeably subdued around this time. While a few skeptics would interpret this as a sign of weakness, it goes along with the music quite nicely and helps with the hypnotic feeling. The rest of the band is also pretty good though I wish the bass performance stood out more. Pilson is a good bass player but he seems to get the shaft in comparison to the popular Jimmy Bain. Must be the Dokken connection...
The lyrics also provide some nice moments of duality and appear to be more topical than previous efforts. While songs such as "End Of The World" and "In Dreams" are driven by bits of cynicism, there are some moments of determination in "I Am" and the title track. Also worth noting are the twists of "Shivers," the paranoia of "The Eyes," and the Iraq War fueled quips on "The Man Who Would Be King."
With these changes/restorations at work, the songs still manage to put out some great variety. You've got a few fast rockers ("One More For The Road," "Living The Lie"), sweeping borderline epics ("Master of the Moon," "The Man Who Would Be King"), upbeat tracks ("End of the World," "Shivers," "Death By Love"), and a few more hypnotic numbers ("The Eyes," "I Am," "In Dreams"). I think "One More For The Road" makes for a particularly blistering opener though I also appreciate "Shivers" and "The Eyes" for the former's driving riff and the latter's spooky guitar effects.
Of course, this album isn't entirely perfect. While the first half is mostly strong, the second half seems weaker with some songs like "I Am" and "In Dreams" coming off as slight filler. It's also another one of those albums that may get crap for being slower, but people should really be used to it at this point...
"The Devil You Know" may be Ronnie James Dio's glorious swan song but this album manages to end the Dio catalogue on a pretty strong note. Definitely worth checking out though it may be a little slow...
My Current Favorites:
"One More For The Road," "Master Of The Moon," "Shivers," "The Man Who Would Be King," and "The Eyes"
Master of the Moon is certainly a step up from Killing The Dragon in quality and songwriting even boasting a few progressive metal moments. Dio decided to bring some older ideas to the table this time around mainly the much more doom metal oriented tempo and atmosphere. Master of the Moon is probably Dio’s most melodic and atmosphere oriented album he has ever released, even his voice is less of a focus here. Guitar work is also less of a focus, instead repeating slow-tempo and mid-tempo riffs drag the album along literally.
The songs themselves are filled with a heavier keyboard use than on any other Dio release. Melodic doom metal as said above is certainly the main focus on Master of the Moon and I can safely say because of this factor this is Dio’s heaviest album to date. Most of the songs are solid unlike Killing The Dragon which had some really good standouts but a lot of throw away songs. Like usual Dio starts off a few songs in a ballad type format like on The Man Who Would Be King.
Dio unfortunately gives one of his worst vocal performances of his career he is old so I will give him that but he just can’t compare to his younger self. Craig Goldy solos less here than on any other album with Dio and really doesn’t use to many leads mainly slow and galloping riffs. Jeff Pilson bass is very audible considering the songs have a very low end bass feel to them. The rest of the member’s performances are solid but nothing special.
Master of the Moon does have some big problems mainly in the enjoy ability factor. While most of the songs are entertaining they also repeat themselves to much and lack that epic sound that Dio is known for. Solos, leads, and choruses that were so important to Dio’s previous albums are almost entirely non present on Master of the Moon. Finally no speed metal numbers are present which a disappointment is considering Dio always wrote strong speedy songs.
Master of the Moon while far from an excellent album should be praised manly because of the new take on Dio’s sound and the heaviness which is unequaled compared to any other Dio release. Best songs are One More For The Road, Shivers, Living The Lie, and Death By Love. I recommend this release only to diehard Dio fans and doom metal aficionados.
-5 points no speed metal songs present
-5 points much more repetitive than on other Dio releases
-5 points Dio’s trademark epic ness is not present
-5 points leads, solos, and choruses suffer on this release
The primary characteristic of doom metal that separates it from all the other genres in the metal umbrella is a combination of socially conscious lyrical pursuits and an emphasis on a slow, heavy, and atmospheric approach musically. In this respect, Dio has not been a consistently doom oriented band, but on this album they come closer than they ever have without sacrificing the quality of sound. “Master of the Moon” most resembles the musical complexity found on “Magica”, though lyrically it is closer to the darkness of “Strange Highways”.
If there is any real drawback in the approach taken on this album, it is the de-emphasis on the guitar as a lead instrument, something which is quite disappointing to me as Craig Goldy is my favorite guitarist of all the ones Dio has worked with since Sabbath. His solos are extremely short, they tend to focus on minimalist riffing, and they lack the flair and energy that was heavily present on “Magica”. Consequently, the songs tend to emphasize two aspects of the band more than others, and that is Ronnie’s lyrics and Scott Warren’s keyboard playing.
Although mostly a slow and heavy album, Ronnie and the guys have not forgotten how to put out a couple of decent up tempo songs. “One more for the Road” is a typical opening track, its fast and fun, reminding me heavily of “King of Rock and Roll”, minus the lyrics which seem to draw a bit from the title track of “Killing the Dragon”. Lyrically this song is probably among the more witty compositions Ronnie has put forth, save “TV Crimes” off of Dehumanizer. “Living the Lie” is also up tempo, but is not quite as energetic as the opening track.
Most of the remaining tracks on here are doom oriented. Some tracks such as “Death by Love” and “Shivers” borrow heavily from earlier Dio material, the former being lyrically similar to “Overlove” off of Dream Evil, the latter reminding heavily of a couple of tracks off of “Strange Highways”. “The End of the World” and “I am” are slower rock oriented and have some decent riffs, but are also mostly driven by Dio’s vocal delivery.
The real standouts on this album are the remaining songs on here. “The man who would be king” and the title track are quite catchy and lyrically thought provoking, although the former got caught up in the politics of the time and will probably lose its intended meaning over time. “The Eyes” is the heaviest track on here and by far the spookiest sounding. The effects on the lead guitar sounds almost like a person nervously trying to form words to articulate the sense of paranoia found in the lyrics. “In Dreams” is a solid track with a lyrical message about drawing borders between reality and the imagination, not quite as good musically as the other 3 standouts, but solid.
As to the political message of “The man who would be king”, 2004 will probably go down in history as the year that everybody felt the need to express themselves politically yet didn’t bother to apply any intellectual curiosity. Where Dio succeeds in separating himself from most of the halfwits who thought they knew what they were talking about (*cough* Green Day and Disturbed) is that he is intelligent in his application of poetic metaphors. However, much as is the case with Queensryche, he doesn’t give us any clue as to what alternative we should take to Dubya and his brand of Nationalism. If he wishes to imply that electing John Kerry, Ralph Nader or some wacko Green party guy would make things any better, I am afraid I may have under-estimated his mind. But thankfully, I don’t see him doing a lot of campaigning for politicians so I can give him a pass on what seems to be an absurd viewpoint, despite how annoyed I was at being preached at by the metal bands I love during that time period. Bush will be gone in 2 years and all you guys will have a new moron to complain about, this guy won’t even be a memory in 4 years.
In conclusion, pretty good album, although not quite up to the same caliber as his last two. I recommend it primarily to fans of “Strange Highways” and “Magica” as it sounds like a combination of the two. Lyrically it is quite an interesting listen, although it is a tiny bit lacking in the riffs department and it is quite slow compared to your average metal album
Dio is like a machine going on for eternity, ever releasing records, ever singing like a god with built-in speakers and double amps. Master of the Moon is his best album for a long, long time and while it's not better than the debut and just questionably better than Last in Line, it's the release that's hardest to grow tired of. We miss the usual highlight (which has become synonymous with the title track), but then there have never been so few and so small fluctuations in quality between the songs before.
The sound feels like Strange Highways revisited, compared to Killing the Dragon the music is much slower, darker and heavier. Yet it doesn’t lose the energetic, pumping beat to back it up. And that’s what Master of the Moon is – a splendid, crushing beat back there, as well as guitars and bass that have been made more audible than ever before. It’s rasping and hard, imagine the dark, pounding bass rhythms with gleaming power chords… It’s nice to have Craig Goldy back again. He makes the guitar sound stay dark and heavy; yet let it change forms over the songs. It goes through the full scale from raw and menacing to somber and thoughtfully pondering to exploring, searching and feeling. And that’s a hell of a difference when comparing with the dry stick that Doug Aldrich was.
Perhaps it’s a little too few riffs, but it just adds to the atmosphere. The tapping solos are simpler than what he uses to do, but oh, boy do they fit. Keyboards are just there to provide the sound with some extra atmosphere every now and then; they’re more remote than apparent. The songs end slowly, fading away, keeping their punchiness, heaviness and catchiness all the way to the end.
As always Dio’s voice makes for the most important and prominent instrument. One seriously starts wondering if he’ll ever have a bad day, if he’ll ever do badly. He didn’t this time, after all. Instead we get what might be one of his best performances. We get the best range and power that metal can offer packaged in that tiny body. As with Strange Highways, the sadder and more introspective songs, give his voice this thick twist, bringing a mercantile of emotions into the listener’s ears.
Many have called Master of the Moon a doom metal album. It’s exaggerated. Even End of the World, which basically deals with the doomsday, is more about sadness and fright than the final fall of the Earth. This is just some dark heavy metal, where ‘dark’ is just a describing aesthetic, no genre classification.
I like it. Whereas none of the songs will ever take the titles away from Holy Diver, Last in Line, Rainbow in the Dark and so on, the album still is more quality-work than any of his earlier records. There could’ve been some faster song, raising the tempo a bit, but the way it’s now will definitely pass. There’s more room for the melodies and rhythms to mellow, ripe, blossom than ever before – they can live their own life, in a sense. It’s like Dio didn’t feel that every song had to have a catchy chorus, like one can experience from a few of his earlier productions. They just happened to be this time. It’s questionable whether Master of the Moon really is the best Dio album, but I know for sure that it’s the hardest to grow tired of. I can spin this cutie an infinite number of times.
Master of the Moon. A come back for Dio? No, seeing as how he is still up there in the metal world, and that he never has come down. Master of the Moon is a good album nonetheless. It seems as though Dio has gone back to his Doom side, which explains why most of the songs are slow.
There are two types of guitar riffs on this album. The frist type is the slow, doom like kind. There are a couple of songs that are super slow. Some examples are The Man Who Would Be King and The Eyes. These are your typical doom metal songs. Slow, crunching riffs, that are filled with evil. The other type of guitar riff is a medium paced guitar riff. These riffs are crunched with some pretty cool palm muting. The Shiver displays this style the best. In fact, these three songs I have mentioned have some pretty memorable riffs. Some other good riffs are the main verse to Living a Lie and chorus to One More For the Road.
There are some other driving forces to this album. Adding Jeff Pilson’s style of bass guitar is a plus for this album. There are a lot of driving forces behind the bass guitar, some nice bass leads, and Pilson does what he does best –support the music. The drumming is well done, and so is the keyboards. The only time that the keyboards actually leaped out at me was in the song The Eye. It does this cool effect now and then in the song that gives it some more characterization.
The best thing about this album is Dio’s singing. The man hasn’t lost it. Dio’s voice is just like Dio on Holy Diver. So if you like Dio’s style of singing then you will like this. The best way to describe this album is like tacking Dio’s Black Sabbath work, mixing it with Killing the Dragon. So If you like the slow, evil, doom metal style of Dio, or you just like Killing the Dragon, then you will enjoy this new piece of heavy metal.
Yes, from the other two reviews you can probably tell that this album is goddamn slow. But Dio never did an entire album of "Stand Up And Shout"-type songs, there's always been your midtempo "Invisible" and "Shame On The Night" type songs, it's just that on this album these slower tunes are far more dominant than on Dio's classic material, and these songs are not quite as good as his mid tempo classics like (think "The Last In Line" or "Egypt (The Chains Are On)"). This one's also quite heavily keyboard influenced, but it's for the most part used to quite good effect- see title track. The biggest problem I have with this new Dio CD is not the lack of speed metal ferocity, when I want that I'll go to Sodom. The thing is, the guitarwork here is rather pathetic for the album of a Heavy Metal legend such as Ronnie James Dio.
Many of the songs have a pretty solid base of guitar riffs and nothing that stands out as awkwardly bad, but nothing that blasts out and make you go "Fuck yeah, that's metal!" either. The guitars mostly stay in the background and don't do much at all, and there certainly seems to be something lacking all through the album.
Still, songs like "The End of the World" and "One More For The Road" has enough solid guitarwork to keep the song rocking, it just isn't enough to create any metal classics. That's pretty much what this is, just another metal record among them. Nothing groundbreaking, no modern classic, just another fun addition to your metal CD collection.
I'd start with pointing out the definite highlights of the album. Two songs stand out above them all - First off, the rocking opening track "One More For The Road" is possibly the fastest song on here, catchy as hell, vintage Dio, with his classic powerful vocals delivering punchy, memorable vocal lines that stick easily to your mind. "Nice day for a crucifixion!" Hell yeah, it is. And the other standout being "I Am", a midtempo track with an overall great mood and the catchiest chorus on here, a blast to sing along to. "I am, I am stronger than the wind!" Nice lyrics too, and overall a powerful track.
Also, "Master of the Moon" is pretty fun. The opening is bizarre with a bunch of different effects before the song starts going into an odd heavily synthesized vers accompanied with Dio's as usual very good and insightful lyrics, and overall this song has a pretty cool atmosphere and is a real grower. So is the whole album, in fact, it's gotten alot better since my first listen.
"The End of the World" also kicks ass, and has one of those melodies that just Dio can make, that just somehow makes you feel real good, although the lyrics seem to have a pretty depressive perspective on rock n' roll these days, which makes sense since Dio somehow has failed to notice that it's all alive and well. But still, a damn good song.
There's quite a bunch of odd songs here, like the heavily synthesized "Shivers" and also "The Eyes", mostly remarkable for the bizarre and rather annoying guitar effects. These aren't bad songs, but rather mediocre.
Overall, there's good stuff and there's less good stuff, but nothing I'd say is downright bad, except possibly the slow "The Man Who Would Be King", which just doesn't get anywhere, and features the most boring guitarwork on here.
Still, hardcore Dio fans should get this, if you can tolerate the obvious lack of speed metal on here and give the midtempo tunes some time to sink in. Nothing extraordinary unfortunately with the tenth Dio studio album, the best part is probably the awesome album cover which reminds me of this old video game, "Illusion of Time", which kicks ass. But I'll find some more nerdy place to rave about that.
First, let me say, there are no filler tracks on this album and second: This album will not grab you right away! Give it 6 or 7 spins and you will love it, not fasted paced, but certainly a masterpiece. Now to the review:
Opening with "One More For The Road" which is a fast paced rocker. Fantastic start, and as stated by Warlord, it would be great opening live. The lyrics are about the Witch Hunts, but could easily be applied to modern day society with our eagerness to condemn people for crimes before trial etc. Just alternate interpretation though, as Ronnie himself said it was about the Witch Hunts.
Then onto the title track. Have you ever heard a weak title track by Dio? No? Well then you may continue waiting as this one ROCKS! Strong Magica influences, and could easily fit on Magica II. Slow pace, fantastic song, great lyrics, everything is amazing (just like the rest of the album). I really like Jeff's bass on this song in particular though I think his bass is great the whole way through.
Track Three is probably the weakest in my opinion because the music isn't really doomy enough for the lyrics, and I'm not so keen on the AC/DC-ish riff (which doesn't dominate the second half, which I find much more enjoyable as a result). I say it is the worst, but it by no means bad, just less memorable than the others (but the end is great). It is a good song, but it just isn't my thing for one reason or another that I can't put my finger on.
Shivers is next and it has a great chorus. Slow/Mid pace with a killer riff and excellent keyboards by Scott Warren. The lyrics could be considered a bit cheesy I suppose, but I love them, especially at the end. An excellent track, and I'm sure it would be a strong contestant for best on the album.
The Man Who Would Be King is another slow paced song (good thing I LOVE slower paced songs) that deals with a certain American president we all know, but it doesn't have to be taken that way, as it could also deal with the crusades in the middle ages (as it was originally written).
The Eyes!! I was lucky enough to hear this song live in Glasgow on his tour an it blew me away. The studio version has the same effect. I'll have to agree with everyone else who has written a review and say that it is destined to become a Dio classic and hopefully a live show staple. Lyrics deal with a very paranoid person and the end is very geared toward live shows. Personally I think the end isn't as good in the studio version as it drags just a tad too long for me personally, but it doesn't detract from the song as a whole.
Living the Lie is another fasted paced song. Ronnie puts allot of effort into the vocals of this song and it probably has one of the most "air-guitar" solos on the album (at least I find myself playing along with it lol). Don't know what I can say about the rest of the song. Solid riff, great bass and drums, just an all round good song.
I Am is the little brother of I from Dehumanizer lyrically, but not as heavy musically. Another Slow/Mid paced song with a really strong chorus and good solo by Craig. [As a side note, while all of Craig's solos are very good, very few of them jump out at you like Doug's, which I think is better, but if you listen to them you hear they are enjoyable!!]
Death by Love is another stand out track for me. Mid paced song that just rocks! I adore the riff and the chorus. The lyrics are very "Lady Evil" and slightly Alice Cooper-esque. I can't say much more about it other than I love it.
In Dreams is the closer and it is very good. It's much stronger than Cold Feet from KTD as a closer. It is not one of the best songs on the album, but still a very solid rocker and an excellent closer.
In closing I would say that MOTM is my favourite DIO album, and may in time overtake the Dio-Sabbath albums and Rainbow albums, but it has yet to do that. The secret weapon of this album is Scott Warren. He adds atmosphere to all of the songs and fits in very well. My compliments to him for a fine job done!!! I liked this album on first listen, giving it a place in the top half of all Dio's releases i.e. good, but not a masterpiece, but on second and third listens it jumped WAY up that list and is now the best of his releases with DIO. KTD was quite weak in my opinion with only 3 songs that held any interest, but I expected good things from this album and it payed off.A far cry from KTD and Sacred Heart (two rather boring albums with the exception of a few songs.)
The style is not really all that similar to Strange Highways or Dehumanizer, or even Magica or Dream Evil. It is just the combination of all of the albums he has ever done. It is, to my mind at least, a new sound unto itself, though if you didn't like the above named albums for their slower pace, then this may not be your cup of tea, though I'm sure you will still enjoy it if you pick up a copy and give it a few spins to get into it.
Ronnie James Dio is truly a living legend within metal, and “Master of the Moon” is a milestone for the band. It is his 10th solo studio album and I certainly had high hopes for it – most thanks to the excellent cover and title. But sadly the music didn’t reach my hopes; “Master of the Moon” is a rollercoaster, ups and downs and plenty of strange twists.
The first track doesn’t let you down for a second though. “One More for the Road” is a middle-fast rocker, which is easy listened and fun.
Track number two is a much sadder story – the title track is actually really unbearable. It is slow, with taunting guitars, which tries to set a certain mood, but fails instantly. The vocals from Dio are also totally worthless – he sounds bored, which I become too, and I can’t hear one interesting melody through the whole song. The guitar riffs continue in their slow, boring, uninteresting style and never stop to irritate me.
“The End of the World” is a much more joyful piece of music. It’s slow, but still much better vocals, some nice melodies and the guitar riffs are set straight again.
Then we hear “Shivers”. I love this song – it’s friggin’ wonderful. The cool guitar/synth riffs which appear in the chorus are brilliant, and the regular drums and guitars give the song a very appealing drive.
“The Man Who Would Be King” starts with some singing and a piano, which sounds like David Bowie. Very good! Then comes the guitar riffs and the drums, which shows that we’re going to hear a mid-tempo song once again. This is a very disturbing song to listen to; the verses contain boring riffs, pale drumming and weak singing, but the bridge and chorus is very nice with very good melodies. It feels like two different songs, the verses and choruses are completely different.
“The Eyes” is opened with some modern strange guitar sounds, and I hate it! They pop up now and then in the song, which otherwise is quite boring (my god, just boring songs on the album?). This song faces the same problem as the others: good choruses, but bad verses. I can’t figure out why Dio does it so, but it’s problem all right.
The album is saved by another fast song. “Living a Lie” is started with great, fast guitar riffs. The whole song is great – this is Dio in his right element! He should skip all those mid-tempo stuff and just go straight for the fast stuff. This shows what he can do.
Track number eight is another mid-tempo song, which I by now have been fed up with. “I Am” is one of the better ones though, which finally sound like “one” song. It’s not anything very memorable, but I still like it.
“Death by Love” is not very good either. A short description could be: boring, just like so many other songs on this album. By now I am really fed up with all these med-tempo songs, need I say more?
The album is closed by “In Dreams” and can you guess what!? Another mid-tempo track, just as boring as any other. I just shake my head in disbelief. How can Dio – the metal legend – set himself in this position?
I have mentioned one word more than any other and that is a perfect description of the album; boring. Most of the time there are boring riffs, no cool and rocky melodies and just a slow, dull tempo. It feels as if the album never really starts, it just stands still and doesn’t reach anywhere. Even though there are one or two good mid-tempo and slow songs, most of them are not living up to Dio’s normal standard.
There are some really good songs – “One More for the Road”, “The End of the World”, “Shiver” and “Living a Lie”, but only four songs can’t save this album. I am disappointed, really disappointed…
The mere fact that few would be able to recall Dio's more recent discography sure shows that the legend latest albums failed to to make much an impression. But a Dio fun never gives up.
Master of the Moon is an uncomplicated effort with direct songs and a straighforward production that I appreciated very much (because it is easy to get tired after so many overproduced metal albums). Dio's voice is high on the mix, but he is singing very well. The band is strong, but never occupy the spotlight. Craig Goldy's solos, for instance, although excellent, fail to impress those looking for guitar magazine pages. Simon Wright is very predicable, as always, but nonetheless a solid pair with Rudy Sarzo's bass wich comes very contained.
The album is short at 46 minutes (and there is a sensation that the last song was a filler to make it at least over 40). But the truth is: as the fashion points again to 40 minutes albums, the condensation certainly makes Master of the Moon better than it would be on a 70 minutes album. It is just a very decent effort, absolutely metal, loud, but at a slow place.
Opener is the quickest one and after just a few bars you have the chorus, which means Dio was looking for memorable melodies. After the third spin, I could say that this objective is achieved and I kept Master of the Moon on my player for half a dozen more spins before offering the place to a newcomer.