SIMON WRIGHT - Beastly Feast Of Dio's Best
by Martin Popoff

The passing of Ronnie James Dio continues to linger on the minds of metalheads the world over, but Wendy Dio has put in place a series of moves to keep Ronnie's memory alive. First and foremost there's the forthcoming autobiography, but immediately available right now is the continued live majesty of Dio's music through the ongoing Dio Disciples tour as well as the new compilation, The Very Beast Of Vol. 2.

"I think this compilation is really cool," begins drummer Simon Wright, a mainstay with Ronnie during the latter days of the Dio band and anchor to the killer Dio Disciples band as well. "There's some really great stuff from this period that has been overlooked. I think it covers sort of 1996 into the 2000s. And it's also got things like 'Electra,' which was the very last track we worked on, sort of a preview of what Magica II and Magica III were going to look like. It was recorded as a one-off, because we did a reissue of Holy Diver Live, and we thought we'd have something for that. There's 'Metal Will Never Die,' which is the very last thing Ronnie ever recorded, with his cousin Rock Feinstein. And there's 'The Prisoner Of Paradise,' which was a really hard-to-get track, a Japanese bonus track for Master Of The Moon. There are still four or five other things, in demo form that Ronnie sang on, that we'll let Wendy decide what to do with."

To be sure, these rare an' rockin' jewels are reason enough to get the new compilation, but all told, it's illustrative of the high quality output the band was making during those years away from the major label limelight. Fact is, Ronnie always surrounded himself with major talent, from Wright to Vinny Appice, from Wyn Davis at the sonic end of things through all those flash guitarists...

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