Dio’s classic album Killing the Dragon has officially been resurrected again. The album, originally released in 2002 through Spitfire Records and again in 2007 with Niji Entertainment’s re-issue of Dio’s 2000 album Magica, was re-issued Feb. 21 through Niji Entertainment, which is owned by Ronnie James Dio’s wife. The latest re-issue marks at least the second time that Killing the Dragon has been re-issued. Its latest release is marked most notably by the inclusion by a handful of live performances that will be discussed shortly. While the bonus content featured with the re-issue does a lot to make this presentation appealing, it is just part of the recording’s positive. The production and mixing that went into each of the lives tracks is worth noting, too. It will be addressed a little later. The concept at the center of the album itself is yet another key to the whole of the presentation and will also be addressed later. Each item noted here is important to the whole of the re-issue’s presentation. All things considered, they make this latest re-issue of Killing The Dragon another work that the most devoted Dio fans will appreciate.
Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Dio’s Killing The Dragon is another pleasing presentation for the band’s most devoted fans. That is due in no small part to the bonus content that is featured with this re-issue. The bonus content in question is a group of live performances that was captured during Dio’s 2002-03 “Killing The Dragon Tour.” The collection is short, featuring six songs at a total of 25 minutes. While the collection is brief, it should be pointed that that this material was also not featured in the 2007 re-issue of Killing The Dragon. That re-issue, in fact, was a companion release to Niji Entertainment’s re-issue of another of Dio’s albums, Magica. Also, of the six bonus live recordings featured here, two of the featured songs – ‘Holy Diver,’ Rock and Roll’ – are repeated here from any of the other three new Dio re-issues. The only of the re-issues that features the songs is Angry Machines. ‘Heaven & Hell’ is featured on that recording and as a bonus live performance on the new re-issue of Master of the Moon. The thing is that while the songs are repeated, the performances are not repeated. The performances were captured during different tours, meaning the performances themselves are different despite the songs being the same. The other three bonus live recordings featured with this re-issue ‘I Speed at Night,’ ‘Killing The Dragon’ and ‘Stand Up And Shout’ come from different points in Ronnie James Dio’s career. ‘Killing the Dragon’ obviously comes from Killing The Dragon. ‘Stand Up and Shout’ is taken from Dio’s very first album Holy Diver. ‘I Speed At Night’ Dio’s 1984 album The Last in Line. Here is what is important to note here: When comparing this collective content to that of Dio’s other latest re-issues, that cross section, brief as it may be, makes even richer the overall picture of RJD’s life and career. To that point, this bonus content – again as brief as it may be – proves in the immediate picture to be valuable, but in the bigger picture, far more valuable. To that end, this bonus live content gives audiences, actually, a whole lot to appreciate.
While the bonus live recordings featured in this re-issue of Killing The Dragon does a lot to make the presentation appealing, it is just one of the positives of this presentation. The production and mixing that went into each performance makes each performance engaging and entertaining. Everything that has already been noted of the bonus live material by this critic in the reviews of Niji Entertainment’s other new Dio re-issues applies here, too. Each element of each performance is expertly balanced throughout each performance. The sound levels in whole are at just the right volume to the point that listeners will rarely have to adjust the volumes whether on their computers, smart phones, CD players or even stereos. In other words, the sound balance was handled with expertise in every aspect of that element. Keeping that in mind, the content and its aesthetics go a long way toward generating plenty of engagement and entertainment for audiences in this bonus material. It makes the bonus content, again brief as it may be, still valuable in itself and in the bigger picture of Niji Entertainment’s latest Dio re-issues. Again, it is only part of what makes this re-issue so important to the whole of this album’s re-issue. The lyrical concept at the center of Killing The Dragon proves invaluable in its own right.
The lyrical theme at the center of Killing the Dragon focuses on the dangers of technological advancements, according to Dio himself in an interview about the album. He pointed out in the noted interview, that the songs that make up the body of the album are focused on the damage that technology will pose to the world. Of course he was not the first person to ever make such statement. Even in 2002, it was a familiar theme, considering that Isaac Asimov warned the world about the dangers of technology decades ago, as did the late physicist Steven Hawking and famed industrial metal outfit Fear Factory in every one of its albums. Even other bands have addressed the matter before in records that preceded Killing The Dragon. That aside, it is as relevant today as it was almost two decades ago. He even went so far as to point out in the noted interview, that one part of the album was a warning against humans becoming essentially slaves to technology. That is exactly what has become of society. Just look at how humans have become so dependent on social media in order to emotionally and physiologically survive on a daily basis. Keeping that in mind, that underlying lyrical concept in the album (and the album’s musical content) does more than its share to make the album engaging and entertaining. When this is considered alongside the value in the re-issue’s bonus content, the whole of the re-issue proves to be one more work that the most devoted Dio fans will appreciate.
Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Dio’s Killing The Dragon is another welcome addition to the music library of any of the band’s most devoted fans. That is, as noted here, due in large part to the bonus content featured with the album’s re-issue. Both by itself and along with the bonus live recordings in the company’s other Dio re-issues, it presents its own share of engagement and entertainment value. The production and mixing that went into that bonus live material proves important in its own right. The primary content in this album joins with the previously unreleased bonus live content to make the whole even more enjoyable for the noted audiences. Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Killing the Dragon. All things considered, they make this re-issue one more offering that is certain to appeal to Dio’s most devoted audiences. More information on this and Niji Entertainment’s other new Dio re-issues is available online along with all of the latest Dio news at:
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