Niji Entertainment’s new re-issue of Dio’s final album Master of the Moon is a fitting tribute to the band and to the legacy of its namesake founder, Ronnie James Dio. Re-issued Feb. 21, the album’s latest presentation will appeal just as much to the most devoted Dio fans as its counterparts – Angry Machines, Killing The Dragon and Magia – which were re-issued alongside this recording. Just as with those noted albums, the primary reason for that appeal is the re-issue’s bonus content, which will be discussed shortly. The production of the bonus live content plays its own important role in the presentation of this re-issue and will be discussed a little later. The presentation of the primary album content couples with the secondary content and its production and mixing to make the album’s presentation whole. Each item is important in its own right to the whole of the re-issue. All things considered, they make Niji Entertainment’s new re-issue of Master of the Moon one more work that the most devoted fans of Dio will appreciate. Together with the company’s other re-issues, it makes the group in whole a welcome addition to not just any truly devoted Dio fan’s music library, but that of any hard rock purist.
Niji Entertainment’s re-issue of Dio’s 2004 album Master of the Moon is yet another positive offering for the band’s most devoted fans and for any rock purist. That is due in large part to the bonus content featured with the re-issue. The bonus content in question is a group of four live recordings captured during Dio’s tour in support of Master of the Moon as well as one studio song – ‘Prisoner of Paradise.’ The latter of the material is important to note in that previously, it was available only in the album’s Japanese release. So, to have that song finally available for audiences in the U.S. and elsewhere is something in itself that is certain to appeal to those noted audiences. Two of the four live songs featured in the bonus CD – ‘Heaven & Hell’ and ‘Rainbow in the Dark’ – are featured in Niji Entertainment’s re-issues of Angry Machines and Killing the Dragon, but audiences should once more remember that even with that in mind, the performances themselves are different from one another, because each was captured at a different point in the life of Dio. The other two songs – ‘Rock and Roll Children’ and ‘The Eyes’ – are not featured on any of the other three Dio re-issues. ‘The Eyes’ is one of the songs from Master of the Moon, so not only do audiences get a studio performance of said song here, but a live performance to boot. ‘Rock and Roll Children’ is featured in Dio’s 1985 album Scared Heart. ‘Rainbow in the Dark’ is from Dio’s debut 1983 album Holy Diver. ‘Heaven and Hell’ is a work that Dio recorded with the members of Black Sabbath. All of this is important to note because while maybe not illustrative of Dio’s catalog up to the point of Master of the Moon, the cuts featured in the bonus disc still give audiences a clear picture of the band’s catalog regardless. What’s more, having that material in a live setting serves even more of a bonus for audiences. Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why the bonus material featured with Niji Entertainment’s Master of the Moon re-issue is so important to its presentation. The production and mixing that went into the live cuts adds even more engagement and enjoyment to that material.
The production and mixing that went into the re-issue’s bonus live content creates a largely engaging and entertaining experience for audiences. The keyboards, guitars, drums and vocals are well-balanced in the band’s performance of ‘Rainbow in the Dark.’ Much the same can be said of the presentation of ‘Rock and Roll Children.’ Audiences get the best seat in the house in this performance. It is easily the most well produced and mixed of the bonus live performances. The only one of the performances that stands out for the wrong reason is the band’s performance of ‘Heaven and Hell.’ That performance sounds, sadly, like it was a bootleg in every sense of the word. Its audio was questionable in terms of its quality. Why that is the case is anyone’s guess. Luckily though it is, again, the only negative presentation of the re-issue’s bonus live performances. The bonus Japanese bonus track ‘Prisoner of Paradise’ proves to be its own engaging and enjoyable power metal style studio track that is just as well-produced and mixed as its live counterparts. All things considered here, the quality of the presented bonus content builds on the foundation formed by said content and makes the bonus content that much more important to the whole of the album’s re-issue. Keeping all of this in mind, the bonus content is just a portion of what makes the re-issue of Master of the Moon another positive presentation from Niji Entertainment. The album’s primary content rounds out its most important elements.
The primary content featured in Master of the Moon is so important to discuss because stylistically, it is such a change of pace for Ronnie James Dio and his fellow musicians. There are a number of slower, sludge rock style arrangements throughout this album than are present in past Dio albums. That is not to say that all of the album’s entries present that sound, but the majority do take that approach. ‘Death By Love,’ which comes late in the album’s 46-minute run, is a bit more up-tempo than its counterparts. Lyrically, it seems to deal in that all-too-familiar topic of a woman’s power over a man. ‘One More for the Road,’ the album’s opener, is another of the album’s rare up-tempo works. This work really takes listeners back to Dio’s early days a la Dream Evil and Sacred Heart. ‘Master of the Moon’ is another of those slower, sludge rock works, but it also boasts a lyrical theme that is familiar in its mystical theme. Between all of this and everything else featured in Master of the Moon, the whole of the album offers audiences just as much to appreciate as the bonus content that comes with the album’s re-issue. Sure, the album is a stylistic change for Dio as a band, but it is a change of pace that works. Considering this and the impact of the already discussed bonus content, the whole of Master of the Moon becomes a fitting tribute to Ronnie James Dio that hard rock purists will appreciate just as much as Dio’s most devoted fans. When it is considered with the new re-issues of Magica, Angry Machines and Killing the Dragon, they collectively become a fitting tribute to the never-ending legacy of Ronnie James Dio.
Niji Entertainment’s new re-issue of Master of the Moon is a work that hard rock purists and Dio’s most devoted fan base will appreciate. That is due in large part to the bonus content that is featured in the album’s re-issue. The production and mixing of that material adds to its own appeal. The presentation that is Master of the Moon’s primary content adds even more engagement and enjoyment to the album’s re-issue. Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue. All things considered, they make Master of the Moon’s re-issue another positive offering for audiences. When it is considered along with the re-issues of Magica, Killing the Dragon and Angry Machines, they collectively become a strong statement about RJD and a fitting tribute to his legacy and that of his fellow musicians. All four albums are available now. More information on these albums is available online along with all of the latest RJD news at:
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