Album Review: Various Artists – Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life

Ronnie James Dio - This Is Your Life

Various Artists
Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life
2014
Compilation
Rhino Entertainment
Heavy Metal

It has been 4 long years since the passing of Dio, and numerous tributes to the legendary voice of heavy metal have sprung up, with Jorn‘s album Dio being one of my personal favourites. This year see the release of Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life, a comprehensive tribute to Dio including songs that were previously unreleased, and featuring a rather impressive lineup which includes Anthrax, Metallica and Scorpions.

The compilation kicks off rather strongly with Anthrax‘s cover of Neon Knights, and the band manages to make the song even more memorable with the high energy that is exuded in their interpretation of the band. Tenacious D carries on with The Last in Line, and knowing them more for their comedic antics and their preference for acoustic performances, it was nice hear how they manage to pay homage to Dio, without losing any of the emotions that were on the original. Scorpions‘ cover of Temple of the King also left a rather deep impact, and Klaus’ vocals and the melodic playing of Rudolf Schenker and Matthias give a nice emotional touch to the track. But the track that really took the cake was Metallica‘s Ronnie Rising Medley, which included A Light in the BlackTarot WomanStargazer and Kill the King, and the band proves their experience and improvisation skills through the weaving of the four tracks together into one coherent, and kickass 9-minute odd track.

There are also surprises contained on this tribute. For instance, while Slipknot isn’t a band that I would usually turn to, Corey Taylor‘s vocals on Rainbow in the Dark was a pleasant surprise, and the band backing him also help do the track justice.

On the flip side, there are some tracks that are not so strong, with Halestorm‘s contribution Straight Through the Heart (one of my personal favourite tracks) being a simplified, and consequently weaker version than the original, and there are even moments that sound rather mechanical, losing the charm that the original had. But the main disappointment was perhaps Rob Halford‘s version of Man on the Silver Mountain – almost expecting a full-blown Painkiller styled vocals on the track, Halford instead sounded rather lethargic on the track, as I waited for the climax that never came.

Amidst the newer tracks are also some tracks that were already released before, such as Adrenaline Mob‘s cover of Mob Rules and Killswitch Engage‘s Holy Diver. Closing the album is Dio‘s This is Your Life, a fitting and melancholic end to this release.

Sure, there may be some not-so-good moments on the album, but overall, Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life is a pretty decent tribute to Dio, with some nice highlights on the album as well.

[xrr rating=3.5/5]

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