DIO's Concept Album Magica
by Paul Bibeau (Spitfire Records)
DIO's Concept Album Magica Rocks on 3/21/00
Critics Hailing The Album, Describing It As "Holy Diver meets Long Live Rock N Roll"
Ronnie James Dio, arguably metals most enduring and well-regarded heavy metal vocalist returns with his first new work in four years, a concept album which is surprisingly his first in 35 years as a recording musician. But do not expect a concept record in the standard sense of the word. Having seen many attempts amongst his metal compatriots through the years, Dio has something special in store. As is befitting his proven literary stature, the critical mass of the album itself is cloaked in allegory and metaphor, abstraction to the point where little of the plot can be ascertained within the flow of the songs. Such illumination is left for the booklet, as well as the twenty minute narration from Ronnie that caps and brackets the record.
Ronnie explains: "Not ever having done this before, and wanting to take some time with it, I didn't want to be foolish about it. These things can turn out pretty strange. It has its peaks and valleys of course, but it has to tell a story. I didn't want to do it all in verse. So it tells the story in music as well, with lots of high relief, shade and light. It's much more involved than the things we've done before, but again, it retains the character of Dio music. As well, the songs can be removed from the whole process and stand on their own, so much so, that I've provided the narration. I'm trying to tell as much as I can in the music, but I want something extra. But in essence, it's a journey that should be consumed beginning to end." Musically, Ronnie's band has turned in a regal, self-assured, timeless performance as befits their veteran status within metal's upper echelons.
On guitar, Dio welcomes back Dream Evil axeman Craig Goldie. Simon Wright also returns to the fold, having pounded the skins for 1990's Lock Up The Wolves. Keyboardist Scott Warren, a Dio loyalist for years, also returns. And last but definitely not least, Magica marks the return of bass legend Jimmy Bain, the man instrumental in the writing of Dio's first four records, as well as having worked with Ronnie during Rainbow's golden era. So everything points to a return: a reunion of personnel, a reinvigoration back to the roots of Dio's creative high points (Ronnie feels the record specifically invokes the spirit of Holy Diver, Mob Rules and Long Live Rock 'n' Roll), and given the weighty grooves enclosed, a return to the critical and commercial stature Ronnie commanded through much of the 1980s. Magica awaits...
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