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Tales from the bargain bin (part 5) - 40%

hells_unicorn, April 25th, 2009

This is yet another Dio compilation that I was able to rescue from the diabolical clutches of the omnipotent Walmart, and it was no small task let me tell you. Its tentacles were forbidding, its jaws deadly, and its prices were simply irresistible. I had called in my Democrat US House Representative to help me do battle with the beast and rescue this little trinket, but despite his fantastic rhetoric on the evils of unfettered capitalism and his expertise in the art of socialist sorcery, he succumbed to the beast and spent his entire wallet maintaining the decrepit state of the 3rd world, promising not to be as rough on the scale-covered corporate leviathan during his next reelection campaign in exchange for a meager contribution and a free trip to Thailand. But I was undeterred and fought gallantly and came away with my prize without giving my entire life savings to the insidious monster.

Just like with the other treasure I rescued while fighting the insurmountable Walmart dragon “The Very Beast Of”, I got my $3 worth. I should probably also note that although this was worth what I paid for it, unlike the other compilation I would not have paid $4 for this one. From what I understand the actual retail price of this collection is $6, which would be a pretty good deal for a collection of Dio songs, but not necessarily this one. It’s biggest problem has to do with track ordering, but song selection also plays a pretty large part in making this one of the worst compilations to ever carry the Dio name, thus making this determined crusader for musical justice feel as if he had fought in vain.

There is no established chronology established here, nor is there any actual accounting for pacing and transition, but instead a completely random grab-bag approach to track ordering. It starts off with two obligatory “Holy Diver” songs, which can be found on basically any other compilation with songs by this band. It probably would have been a better idea to put the “Holy Diver” title song first since it has that extended keyboard intro, but most tend to be familiar with the straightforward crowd pleaser “Rainbow In The Dark” so it’s not the worst song to put at the beginning. Then we get a really random back and forth between the Vivian Campbell’s pinch harmonic drenched mayhem and fill happy riffing in “Evil Eyes” and “The Last In Line” and Craig Goldie’s catchy minimalist riffing and expressive lead guitar storytelling in “Night People” and “Dream Evil”.

One thing that I will definitely say to this album’s credit is that they had the good sense not to just throw in a few token songs from Craig Goldie’s and Tracey G’s contributions to the Dio franchise and give the Campbell years their 6th time at the helm on a Dio compilation. Say what you will for the peculiarity of the song’s title, “Sunset Superman” is a brilliant riff monster with an excellent keyboard performance out of Claude at the beginning. Likewise, “Evilution” and “Hollywood Black” run parallel to the dark Doom landscapes of “Dehumanizer”, though Tracey G’s lead playing tendencies go a little bit more towards Vivian Campbell.

Ultimately this is not worth seeking, the only reason I can think of why anyone would is because they’ve only got $6 to their name, which begs the question of how they scraped together the money to get a CD player. Every song on here is a classic, but they do not paint an accurate picture of how Ronnie Dio evolved as a musician and composer in the way they are presented here. The content in the booklet is also woefully brief and unhelpful, reading like an over-generalized middle school textbook summary of a man whose career and exploits could fill the encyclopedia Britannica. In 2002 Dio killed the dragon, and in 2005 it resurrected to taunt our beloved hero once again. Unsheathe your swords mates, something Walmart this way comes!!!

Originally submitted to ( on April 25, 2009.

Cheap But OK - 80%

CraiggyOats, June 24th, 2007

Dio – Metal Hits is one of those cheap Flashback Records releases. Each Flashback CD only has ten tracks. However, Metal Hits makes up for this with good song selection. You get two tracks from Holy Diver, two from The Last in Line, three from Dream Evil, one from Lock Up the Wolves, and two from Strange Highways. I’m glad that songs with guitarists Craig Goldy, Tracy G, and Rowan Robertson are on this compilation as Dio doesn’t begin and end with Vivian Campbell, as great as he is, on guitar.

Personally, I think Dio’s keyboard playing on “Rainbow in the Dark” is pretty good but a lot of people say it is crap. I really like the bass lines on “Holy Diver” and “The Last In Line”. Of course this package has the big three Dio hits I just mentioned, but the other songs are also worthwhile. The songs have good variety from the slow, doomy durge of “Hollywood Black” to the more up-tempo “Night People”. Lyrically the songs vary to an extent but have similar themes about the individual, the outcast, the anti-hero, society in general.

Overall, worth it is for six bucks (less than a dollar a song). For a cheap greatest hits package, it’s generally well done. This album is an OK starting point for someone looking to get into Dio who doesn’t have much cash on hand.

Favorite Tracks: Holy Diver, Rainbow in the Dark, Night People, Last In Line, Evil Eyes, Sunset Superman, Dream Evil, Hollywood Black.