Magica: An age-old story of good verses evil where the struggle for the souls of men are fought with blood and steel.
With a proud return to the poetic beauty that honed Ronnie James Dio into the master craftsman of his trade, Magica awakens the beast and fills its lungs with fire. A full-blown epic ripe for Hollywood provides the backdrop for DIO to launch a campaign into Ronnies classic past without sacrificing a push to the future. Having spent eighteen month assembling a splendid ensemble with the return of AC/DC drummer Simon Wright, Dream Evil guitarist Craig Goldy and Raindow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain, the power is unmistakable. My dad always said to me, remember this one thing in life, before you do something ask yourself, Is this going to make your parents proud of you? Dio said reflecting over his illustrious thirty-year career as Metals primer vocalist. Ive spent a lot of time with my parents this past year, their health and all, and I know theyre proud of me .that means a lot.
Ronnie looked content sitting in a uptown Manhattan restaurant as we spoke. There was more than just a little magic that went into makeing this record, offered Dio. Jimmy Bain, whom I hadnt heard from in years, called the office and announced that he was an active member of AA been clean and sober for a couple years. Part of his twelve-step program was to call and apologize to those he may have offended in the past. After we spoke he came down and jammed with the band. Fit in like a glove like hed never stepped away as powerful as ever. Craig was originally invited in to be a second guitarist with Tracy G. But Tracy felt uncomfortable with the situation and opted out. He left on very good terms. The split was not only amicable but very friendly.
Once everyone was in position, Dio states the passion for the music and the project itself moved quickly and seamlessly. I explained the concept to Craig and you could just see him light up with ideas. says Dio. We worked for five months steady, late into the evenings, weekends and holidays. I think I took one day off. But we were all excited about the direction and the power in the songs.
Once recording was finished, Ronnie applied the refiners fire producing what can only be described as metal cast in stone. From the slow durge of "Lord Of The Last Day" and "Otherworld" to the thick riff of "Turn To Stone" and "Feed My Head", twenty years peels away in the wake of Dio-era Sabbath. Rainbow influences shine more than occasionally as heard in "Eriel", "Challis" and most eloquently in the minstrel-laced "Losing My Insanity". A pleasant surprise is the inclusion of what Ronnie terms the unballad, a sensitive haunting that goes back to Rainbow Eyes with a Jim Steinman/Meatloaf lyric, called "As Long As Its Not About Love". In all, a tremendous return for the legend.
But thats not all, this has been a very busy year for Ronnie and Company. Aside from the monumental tasks of recording his own project the idea for an Elf album has been bantered about. Rock, (David Feinstein, Dios cousin and original member of Elf) was out in LA for a couple weeks writing for what, by years-end could be the most blistering boogie-blues hard rock album since Savoy Browns Hellbound Train. Ronnie states that piano-boogie extraordinaire, Micky Lee Soule will be on the ivories, thunder will be provided by none other than Manowar (and Elf alum), bassist Joey DeMaio, who demanded to be on the record!
Out now is Deep Purples Live at the Royal Albert Hall which features two tracks by Dio, 'Sitting In A Dream' and 'Love Is All', both from Butterfly Ball. It was the most magical, wonderful feeling of my life, says Ronnie of the London event. The feeling of love and family Ive never experienced that before from the orchestra, to the backup singers to the stage hands, the road crews, all the families, everybody. Ive known those guys for thirty years and to see them and their families all grown up was really something very special.
Dont miss picking up a copy of A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio CD. It is, hands down, the best in the recent rash of tribute CDs. Classic bands, classic songs and Doro kills on "Egypt (The Chains Are On)".
Portrait of Ronnie James Dio by Alex Soloa