RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE
As much as I want to take this at face value, it's hard to not at least wonder just how many times Wendy Dio is going to visit the Dio well and mine more material culled from his past work. There's already been multiple live releases, deluxe reissues, an officially sanctioned band playing the music of Dio...and now second tribute collection of music from people other than Dio performing his work (the first being Jorn Lande's DIO release). I'm almost expecting a release of special rare interviews or voice mails to come at this point. Still, it's their business what they put out, and ours to merely judge it. So that said, we now have RONNIE JAMES DIO: THIS IS YOUR LIFE. While it has some real heavyweights performing on it, it's pretty much like every other tribute album you'll get. It's a hodge podge of covers. Some are good. Some aren't. Big surprise, right?
The easiest way to review this is to simply look at it and say what's good and what's not. The song with the most attention on it is, without question, Metallica's "Ronnie Rising Medley". Comprised of pieces of "A Light In The Black", "Tarot Woman", "Stargazer" and "Kill The King", Metallica does themselves proud on this tribute that's not so far over the top as to become a parody. Anthrax does a very nice job opening the disc with "Neon Knights". Slipknot's Corey Taylor does a solid job singing "Rainbow In The Dark", even if his backing band (and specifically guitar player Satchel of Steel Panther fails miserably at recreating the keys on guitar here) doesn't. "Catch The Rainbow" is probably the best track on the disc, featuring Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo and Scott Warren. "I" was a surprising addition to this release, and it is worked out well by Lynch Mob vocalist Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson and Brian Tichy.
So that's the good. Sadly though, it's balanced out by a lot of dreck that would otherwise never be done. Even more tragic is the players that performed some of these craptastic covers. Most disappointing of the entire disc is "Man On The Silver Mountain". Judas Priest vocalist Rob Halford seemingly sleeps his way through this song. It's really a bummer to hear Halford so flat and lifeless here. In fairness, guitarist Doug Aldrich does a great guitar solo on this track, but it's Halford that surprisingly and disappointingly kills this one. One of my favorite bands of the moment, Halestorm, also offer up a fairly drab effort with their rendition of "Straight Through The Heart". Lzzy Hale is so much better a singer than this, and generally has proven to be solid at doing covers...but she and her band fail here. Another surprisingly blah song comes in the form of "Starstruck" This one features two of my favorites of all time, Motorhead and Bif Byford of Saxon, and yet it does absolutely nothing. It really feels thrown together and has very little energy to it at all.
PITRIFF RATING - 35/100 - This is NOT Dio's life. He did far more, was far better, and deserved much better than this as a tribute to his legacy. A mish mosh of decent to dull, this tribute to Dio is simply not very good. If Dio was alive, no one would care at all about this collection, much like they didn't care when Century Media put out the two disc HOLY DIO covers collection (which, to be honest, was 500x better than this one). We all want to celebrate Dio, but lets face it folks. The way to do that is to pull out HOLY DIVER, RAINBOW RISING or HEAVEN & HELL and remember the true greatness.