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The mid-80s was essentially the peak of Dio as a commercial force, and like many who hit their zenith in sales, what follows is often a fall from the top. In the case of this particular outfit, what feel off was their original guitarist, who many hail as the greatest of all the ones that Ronnie has brought into this particular project. But before going, he left the old guard of Dio fanatics who never accepted anything past “Sacred Heart” one more little gem before going the way of the glam rock switcheroo, and that is the famed “Hide In The Rainbow”, a song written for the motion picture soundtrack of “Iron Eagle”. This release is basically the first place outside of the soundtrack where this song could be obtained.
From the airy, dream like keyboard intro, it is obvious that Dio was bound for a different direction, a direction that would yield the more mature though often misunderstood “Dream Evil” album. Although the keyboard presence is equally as high in the arrangement as it was on “Sacred Heart”, the riff work is a good deal heavier and a bit on the doom side. It’s uncharacteristically slow and dissonant for most of this band’s previous efforts, save perhaps for “Egypt (The Chains Are On” and “Shame On The Night”, both of which were also included on here as b-side material. The resulting effect is a song and an EP that listens almost like a Solitude Aeternus release but with 80s sounding keyboards.
The only real flaw in this release is the inclusion of “Hungry For Heaven”, which is much more of a radio oriented single sort of song and listens a lot lighter that the other 3. The lyrics are extremely straightforward and the various riffs and melodic material are pretty cliché for the time period. Granted, the lyrics of “Hide In The Rainbow” are pretty much a metaphorical description of the main character of the movie it was written for and his various trials and tribulations launching a one fighter plane assault against an entire military complex in the Middle East, but the flow of the EP is definitely interrupted by the outlying song in question.
I rarely rant and rave about the differences between experiencing music via vinyl or compact disc, but I don’t think you can really experience Dio until you’ve heard at least one of his releases on vinyl. Of all the various vinyl releases that he put out in the 80s, this is the one that is probably the easiest to track down and is also the most worthwhile as it has a great song that can’t really be found anywhere else save the “Diamonds” compilation, which is not widely available in the USA and will set you back a bit on import charges. It’s most particularly a catch for all of you purists who can’t stand Dio without Vivian, I’m not crazy about his attitude of late, but I have to hand it him here, this is one hell of a catchy song.