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It was back in 1982 that one of the greatest vocalists and personalities of heavy metal, R.J.Dio, was practically kicked out of Black Sabbath after being their singer for two excellent albums, Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules. Shortly after he formed his own band and his answer to Sabbath were two, also great albums, Holy Diver and The Last in Line.
Having found a steady line-up, Dio released another album in 1985, called Sacred Heart. All the members of Dio, referring to them as a band and not as a single person, were very good musicians with great skills, so this release was awaited by metal fans with big expectation. And even though it did not come-up to the standards of Holy Diver, they were not let down.
Dio’s style hadn’t changed and Sacred Heart followed the footsteps of The Last in Line. Ronnie James’ abilities as a singer were not questionable and indeed, the short man with the magnificent voice is once again in great form. His unique vocals are a match for only a few other singers. He also wrote all the lyrics himself. The only problem of the album is that, not all compositions are of the same quality.
In here there are some heavy metal diamonds such as the opening track, King of Rock and Roll. A perfect introduction to the album that rocks your ass with a beautiful riff line by Vivian Campbell. Many rock fans know him from Def Lepard but his playing in Dio was superb. There is also the, known to all, metal hymn Rock ‘N’ Roll Children. The melodic keyboard lines add a wonderful feeling to the song. They are accompanied by the excellent drums of Appice and the strong bass performance of Bain.
One step below, are the songs Just Another Day and Another Lie. The first one is a fine piece of genuine hard rock/metal. With a little more than three minutes in duration, it is probably the fastest track of the album. The familiar vocals of Dio and the beautiful guitar solo place it among the top moments of the album. Another Lie is somewhat slower in speed but equally good. It has a nice break somewhere in the middle and an exploding finale. These two tracks complete, what we can say, the better half of the album.
The other half is filled with more mediocre though not bad songs. The self-titled song is the longest one, with six and a half minutes of playing time. A typical Dio melody is what you’ll find in this one. It could be useful if you wanted to make a compilation of Dio’s best songs but nothing more.
All the remaining tracks are there to fill the album. Stuff that you have heard in the releases prior to Sacred Heart. They are not horrible but it seems as if they begin to lose their inspiration as time goes by. Especially the last song, Shoot Shoot could have been left out. You can listen to them if you are doing something else at the same time but not if you want to be excited.
In general, Sacred Heart is a good album that has its great, good and bad moments. I was not disappointed but not thrilled either. I am sure that they didn’t make new fans with this one and on the other hand their old dedicated fans did not lose the faith in this great band’s abilities.