Niji Entertainment’s Re-Issue Of Dio’s ‘Master Of The Moon’ Is One More Strong Tribute To Dio’s Legacy

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

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:

 

 

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

 

 

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Niji Entertainment’s Re-Issue of Dio’s ‘Killing The Dragon’ Cannot Be Killed

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

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:

 

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

 

 

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Niji Entertainment’s Re-Issue Of Dio’s ‘Angry Machines’ Will Make Dio Devotees Very Happy

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

Ronnie James Dio’s classic 1996 album Angry Machines is available again.  The album – the seventh of his 10 total studio recordings – was received to mix reception in its original release.  Now with what is at least its second re-issue – it was also re-issued in 2018 by Niji Entertainment (which is owned by RJD’s wife) – the album is certain to get more cheers than it did in its original release.  That is due in large part to the bonus content featured with its presentation.  This will be discussed shortly.  Speaking of content, content also is the source of the re-issue’s one negative.  The content in question is the presentation’s primary content.  This will be addressed a little later.  While there is one negative to the presentation, it is not enough to ruin this re-issue.  There is one more positive to note, that being the production of the bonus content.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Niji Entertainment’s latest Angry Machines re-issue.  All things considered, they make this take on the album its best presentation to date.

Niji Entertainment’s 2020 re-issue of Dio’s 1996 album Angry Machines is the record’s best presentation to date.  That is due in large part to the bonus content that is featured with the re-issue.  The bonus content in question is a series of live recordings captured during Dio’s 1997 “Angry Machines Tour.”  Audiences get in this bonus content what was at the time, a healthy cross section of Dio’s catalog up to that point.  The 12-song compilation reaches all the way back to Dio’s debut album Holy Diver and as then recent as Angry MachinesStrange Highways is represented, too, with a performance of ‘Jesus Mary and the Holy Ghost – Straight Through The Heart.’  Dio’s own work with Black Sabbath is even represented here with a live performance of ‘The Mob Rules’ and ‘Heaven & Hell.’  As if that is not enough, even RJD’s work with Rainbow is represented with a live performance of ‘Man On the Silver Mountain.’  Simply put, audiences get in this bonus content, a good portrait of RJD’s career.  At the same time, this collection of live performances also serves the purpose of giving audiences something live in a time when every scheduled live performance right now is on hold around the globe.  It serves as a positive enjoyable live recording in itself, and one that was not featured with the recording’s 2018 re-issue.  To that end, it becomes that much more valuable to the whole of this presentation.  It makes this re-issue that much more worth the price whether audiences already own the album’s previous presentations or not.

While the bonus content featured with this new re-issue of Angry Machines does so much to make it appealing, the release’s primary content brings up its lone negative.  The negative here is that whether this is the record’s second re-issue or more, it is notable that the bonus track featured in the album’s Japanese release – ‘God Hates Heavy Metal’ – is once again absent from the album.  Perhaps there is a copyright issue preventing its inclusion in the album.  That the album was released via Mercury Records in Japan and through Mayhem Records in the U.S. in its original release, that would seem to be the only feasible possibility.  That’s even with Niji Entertainment being owned by Ronnie James Dio’s wife.  Given, the song is readily easily to find online thanks to YouTube, but if even for the sense of completion, it would have been nice to have had the song at some point featured with the American release of this record.  That’s especially the case considering the value in the song’s collective musical and lyrical content.  The song’s musical arrangement is a full, heavy horn raiser that sarcastically goes after the religious right that had at that time (and sadly still does today) claim that Dio was in league with Satan.  That obviously is anything but true for anyone who knows anything about him and his career.  Keeping all of this in mind, the lack of that one song in this latest re-issue is not enough to ruin the re-issue by any means.  It is just a minor negative that hopefully when and if this album receives another future re-issue, will be addressed at that point.

Moving on from the one minor negative that is the lack of the bonus track ‘God Hates Heavy Metal,’ it is a minor con to the whole of this re-issue.  Moving back to the positive, the production and mixing of the re-issue’s bonus live content couples with the songs themselves to add even more appeal to the collection.  As with the live material featured in the re-issues of Magica, Killing The Dragon and Master of the Moon, the sound of each performance is spot on.  Dio’s vocals expertly compliment the guitars of then band mate Tracy Grijalva.  Grijalva’s works is just as well-balanced with drummer Vinny Appice’s time keeping and bassist Jeff Pilson’s low-end.  That is the case just as much in the collection’s more upbeat performances and the slower works.  Each performer’s work gets just as much attention as that of his bandmates throughout the course of the 72 minute compilation of live performances.  If one closes one’s eyes, it’s as if one is right there.  If a live DVD or Blu-ray has not already been released that compliments this set, then it certainly needs to be released.  Doubtless that top notch production and mixing will join with the set list itself to make for just as much of an enjoyable presentation.  Keeping this in mind, the production and mixing that went into these live performance recordings couples with the expanse of content to make this bonus disc more than enough reason for the most devoted Dio fans to own this re-issue, especially if said fans do not already own the album’s previous releases.  Even taking into account the lack of that one bonus track with the main album, the recording in whole is still that worth the addition to any Dio devotee’s library.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Dio’s Angry Machines is a presentation that is certain to appeal to the most devoted of Ronnie James Dio’s fans.  That is due in large part to the extensive and well-recorded live content featured with the album.  That 72-minute (one hour, 12-minute) collection of songs presents a rich picture at that point, of Dio’s career.  Its production and mixing add even more engagement and enjoyment to the collection.  Even with the lack of one bonus track to the recording’s primary album, that bonus content couples with the primary album to make this a fully appealing presentation for Dio’s most devoted fans.  The re-issue is available now.  More information on this and other RJD releases is available online now along with all of the latest RJD news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

 

 

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‘The Face of Fear’ Shows Artillery Still Has Plenty Of Ammunition

Courtesy: Metal Blade Recprds

It’s hard to believe, but in a little more than a month, 2018 will officially over, and 2019 will be here.  It goes without saying that this year has been another impressive one for the metal community, with powerful new releases from acts, such as Soulfly, Tesseract and Nonpoint just to name a few acts.  Though the year is almost over, the year’s stream of new releases is not yet over.  Veteran metal outfit Artillery released its latest album The Face of Fear on Nov. 16, and it will make critics’ decisions on their year-ender lists that much more difficult.  That is because the Danish band’s ninth full-length studio recording’s far-reaching appeal among thrash and metal fans alike.  This is evidenced right from the album’s outset in its opener/lead/title single.  ‘Sworn Utopia’ does just as much as the album’s title track to support that statement, and will be discussed shortly.  Much the same can be said of ‘Preaching To The Converted,’ which will also be discussed later.  Each song shows in its own way, what makes The Face of Fear yet another strong addition to this year’s already outstanding list of new hard rock and metal albums.  When they are considered along with the album’s other songs not noted here, the whole of the record’s 11-song, 45-minute a work that every thrash and metal purist will appreciate.

Artillery’s latest full-length studio recording, The Face of Fear continues what is for the veteran Danish metal outfit, a long-running tradition of success.  It is a work that will appeal to a wide range of thrash and metal purists from the band’s homeland to America and beyond.  That is proven in part through the album’s opener/title track/lead single.  ‘The Face of Fear’ is an important opener and addition to the album considering the state in which the world currently exists.  As the band noted in a discussion on the song’s lyrical content, “the song is about dealing the end of man by himself.  We create our own phobia about the destruction of the world, but remain disrespectful to the globe.”  Front man Michael Bastholm illustrates that message here, singing right off the top, “The world is gonna fall,” adding in the chorus, “Under crimson skies/Our hopes and dreams, they die/This reality/Why can’t we see.”  Additionally, he sings, “No heeding the signs/No wait for tomorrow/Ready between the lines/the face of fear/The scenes will be erased/The trials that we face/Miasma amber mist/the face of fear/It whispers in your ear/It all will end in tears.”  From here, Bastholm reprises the song’s chorus, driving home even more, the song’s blatant warning of what we as a species are doing to the planet.  The song’s official video serves to illustrate Bastholm’s message even more, featuring images of warplanes dropping bombs, missiles being fired, power plants spewing gases into the atmosphere and mushroom clouds, clear-cut forests and mounds of trash piled up in a landfill.  The images, coupled with the song’s intense lyrical message makes The Face of Fear a star wake-up call of what truly is fear-inducing.

The coupling of the song’s straight forward warning in its lyrical content and the visuals, which drive the song’s message home even more does plenty to make ‘The Face of Fear’ an important addition to The Face of Fear.  That is because of the clarity that they create together.  While they are obviously an important part of the song, they are not its only important elements.  The song’s musical arrangement is just as important to discuss as its lyrical theme.  Bastholm’s power metal vocal delivery style set against the song’s old school thrash arrangement creates an interesting dichotomy for which audiences have already shown their appreciation.  One could argue that juxtaposition harkens back to a style made popular by acts, such as Megadeth, Metallica and Anthrax in the early 1980s.  Keeping this in mind, the combination of the song’s musical arrangement, its lyrical content and even its visual content clearly shows why ‘The Face of Fear’ is an important to its namesake album.  It is just one of the examples of what makes the album in whole another successful offering from the band, too.  ‘Sworn Utopia,’ which comes a little later in the album’s run, is another example of the album’s strength.

‘Sworn Utopia’ stands out in its own way in the overall picture of The Face of Fear in part because of its own musical arrangement.  As with the album’s title track (and so many of the album’s other songs), Bastholm’s power metal vocal delivery style couples with the thrash style approach that is so prevalent throughout the album for another powerhouse arrangement.  The song’s bridge conjures clear thoughts of Megadeth while the verses and chorus add a touch of Judas Priest influence.  Again, that collection of musical influences, which throws listeners back to the heyday and thrash (and power) metal cannot be ignored in its importance.  It is only one part of what makes the song, though.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to discuss here as the song’s musical content.

The song starts off with the ringing of church bells before Bastholm and company launch into the song, with Bastholm singing, about altar confessions, priests’ celibacy, altar boys and faith put to the test.  He even goes so far as to directly indict the church (apparently the Catholic church) as he sings, “Your law’s religion/Dramatic and vile/Imprisonment…like a child/You must stay absent from glory and joy.”  Little doubt is left as to the song’s target, considering what can be deciphered from Bastholm’s rapid fire delivery.  If any doubt left at this point, his further statement of “For all I care/Make your peace/But don’t you take/It out on kids.”  At this point, there is no doubt left as to the song’s lyrical topic.  It is a full-on indictment of the Catholic church and the sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the church.  Given, it’s not the first time that a band ever took on any religious establishment, but considering the reality of the issue and its importance, it is another pressing matter.  To that end, the fashion through which Bastholm addresses the issue here is powerful in its own right.  The addition of the fury in the song’s musical arrangement helps to illustrate the urgency with which the issue must be addressed and the importance of the matter.  When both elements are considered together, they make the song another clear example of The Face of Fear’s strength.  Even with this in mind, ‘Sworn Utopia’ is still not the last example of what makes The Face of Fear another positive offering from Artillery.  ‘Preaching to the Converted’ shows just as much as ‘The Face of Fear’ and ‘Sworn Utopia’ The Face of Fear’s strength.

‘Preaching to the Converted’ is another full-throttle trash opus that fans of the genre will welcome with arms wide open.  Right from the song’s outset, the old school Megadeth and Metallica influences are on full display, as is even a touch of Exodus.  That is evident in the screaming guitar solos and solid time keeping from the drums.  Lyrically, the song comes across as a socio-political commentary of sorts.  This is inferred as Bastholm sings of people being “shackled” by politicians, those in positions of power “feeding lies” to the populous and mind control of sorts created, again, by those in power.  It is an interesting work that is certain to generate plenty of discussion if it has not already done so.  Discussions aside, it can be said with certainty that this is another work that indicts those in power for what they are doing to the masses.  That includes the world’s political leaders and maybe even military leaders.  Again, it is not the first time that a band has taken this road, but it is no less powerful here than in other acts’ presentations.  To that end, that message, coupled with the song’s full force musical presentation makes the song in whole yet another clear example of what makes The Face of Fear another welcome offering from Artillery.  It still is not the last song that can be cited in supporting that statement, either.  One could just as easily cite the seemingly tongue-in-cheek nature of ‘Dr. Evil,’ the direct discussion of what goes around comes around in ‘Crossroads To Conspiracy’ and the warning about the dangers of alcoholism in ‘Pain,’ the album’s strength becomes that much clearer.  The somewhat Dio-esque ‘Thirst For The Worst’ adds even more depth to the album as does the Metallica-esque sound of ‘New Rage’ and its seeming message about someone who has been wronged.  Between all of those songs and the works directly discussed here, the whole of The Face of Fear clearly shows itself to be another welcome offering from Artillery that shows this band still has plenty of ammunition.

Artillery’s ninth new album The Face of Fear is a strong new statement from the veteran metal outfit.  It is a work that from start to end, shows this band can still hold its own with any of today’s up-and-coming metal acts.  This is evidenced right from the album’s outset in the warning to the world about what it is doing to the planet, its equally stark musical arrangement and accompanying video.  ‘Sworn Utopia’ serves to support that statement even more, as it takes on the atrocities committed by so many members of the Catholic Church.  The seeming indictment of the world’s political leaders through ‘Preaching to the Converted’ supports that statement of the album’s strength even more.  When it is considered along with the likes of ‘Crossroads to Conspiracy,’ ‘Thirst For The Worst,’ ‘Pain’ and the rest of the album’s works, the whole of the record shows that artillery still has plenty of ammunition, and can still hold its own against today’s younger, up-and-coming metal acts.  It is available now.  More information on The Face of Fear is available online now along with all of Artillery’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.artillery.dk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ARTILLERY.DK

Twitter: http://twitter.com/artillerymetal

 

 

 

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‘A Decade Of Dio: 1983 – 1993’ CD Box Set Available Now; Pre-Orders Open Now For Vinyl Box Set

Courtesy;  Rhino Records

Courtesy; Rhino Records

The wait is finally over, Dio fans.

A Decade of Dio: 1983 – 1993 is officially available now on CD box set.  The six-disc box set features Ronnie James Dio’s first six solo albums—Holy Diver (1983), The Last in Line (1984), Sacred Heart (1985), Dream Evil (1987), Lock Up The Wolves (1990), and Strange Highways (1993) in one complete collection.  It is retailing for $34.98.

Pre-orders for the collection’s vinyl platform, which is expected to retail for $99.98, are currently available now here.  Pre-orders can be placed here.  The vinyl collection will be available Friday, October 4th.   It will come with a bonus 7” vinyl single containing the original 1983 take of ‘Evil Eyes’ on one side and ‘Time To Burn’ on the other.  The take of ‘Evil Eyes’ that is presented in the vinyl set’s bonus 7” disc was originally released as the b-side to the title track from Holy Diver.  As an added note, it is completely different from the take presented in Dio’s 1984 album The Last in Line. ‘Time To Burn’ was the only studio track to be included in Dio’s 1986 live recording Intermission.

Both versions are presented in boxes featuring new artwork by Marc Sasso.  Sasso was the man behind the artwork on a number of Dio’s original albums.  More information on these upcoming box sets and other titles from Rhino Records is available online now at:

 

 

Websitehttp://www.rhino.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/RHINO

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

Eagle Rock Announces Release Date, Track Listing For New Dio Live Recording

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment/Eagle Vision/Eagle Records

Eagle Rock Entertainment has announced the details for its latest release.

Dio: Live in London Hammersmith Apollo 1993 will be available for the first time ever on Tuesday, May 13th. The archived concert will be made available to audiences on DVD, SD Blu-ray, 2CD and digital formats. Audiences can get a sneak peek at what can be expected from this long-awaited release online now via YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEFcFGJBQzA&list=UUp0uxdUViQ2LTAqRePby68g.

The upcoming release captures the final performance of Dio’s European tour in support of the band’s album Strange Highways. Dio was joined by band mates Vinny Appice (drums), Jeff Pilson (bass), Tracy G (guitar), and Scott Warren (keyboards) for the tour. The show covers Dio’s body of work from his days with Black Sabbath, Rainbow, and even in his own band. Those hits include: ‘Holy Diver’, ‘Rainbow in the Dark’, ‘Strange Highways’, ‘Stand Up An Shout’, ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’, ‘Heaven And Hell’, and ‘We Rock’ among others. The performance is presented in DTS Surround Sound, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Digital. The full track listing for the recording is listed below.

TRACK LISTING:

1) Stand Up And Shout

2) Strange Highways

3) Don’t Talk To Strangers

4) Evilution

5) Pain

6) The Mob Rules

7) Children Of The Sea

8) Holy Diver

9) Heaven And Hell

10) Man On The Silver Mountain

11) Drum Solo

12) Heaven And Hell (reprise)

13) Jesus, Mary & The Holy Ghost

14) Hollywood Black

15) The Last In Line

16) Rainbow In The Dark

17) We Rock

18) Here’s To You

 

As an added bonus for audiences, the DVD and SD Blu-ray presentations offer a special Behind-The-Scenes feature titled ‘Hangin’ With The Band.’

More information on this and other releases from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt and http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Hard Rock Supergroup’s Sophomore Record A Solid Second Effort

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media Records

Kill Devil Hill released in its second full length album last year, what proved to be one of 2013’s best Hard Rock/Metal albums.  The hard rock supergroup’s sophomore album is, as the old adage states, all killer and no filler.  What really makes this album so enjoyable for any purist metal head and hard rocker is that it is another of those albums that both new audiences and those that are more familiar with the band’s music will enjoy.  It is one of those albums that eventually will lead listeners to find their own favorite songs over time.  And over time, none of the eleven tracks from which listeners are offered ever lose their luster.  This is obvious right from the album’s opener, ‘No Way Out,’

‘No Way Out’ opens Kill Devil Hill’s second full length studio effort.  This song is a straight forward radio-ready rock song that any open-minded radio programmer will appreciate.  Guitarist Mark Zavon and drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, Heaven & Hell) drive the song with their full throttle attack.  And bassist Rex Brown’s (Down, Pantera) grinding bass line late in the song gives the song even more depth.  It gives it more of a punch for lack of better wording.  Vocalist Dewey Bragg (Pissing Razors) can’t be ignored here, either.   His vocal style could easily be compared to a number of other well-known rock vocalists as he sings, “Infected by the power of corruption/Put out your fires with gasoline/No respect for the trust you’ve betrayed/You’re headed for the end of the line/Step by step…Justice will be served/The house of cards comes crashing down/Salvation at the end of the line.”  Bragg and company make no bones as to the message being sent here.  Here, audiences get a song about those that let power get the better of themselves.  This is made increasingly clear as Bragg sings in the song’s first verse, “Blinded by the fog of deception/Can’t you see that they’re selling you lies/Getting rich off the profits of others/Freedom’s well runs dry.”  This illustrates even more the topic covered in this song.  And it’s only the beginning from Kill Devil Hill on this album, too.

Another of the interesting points of Revolution Rise comes in the form of ‘Long Way From Home.’  This semi-acoustic song bears quite the Black Label Society.  As a matter of fact, it sounds like it could have come from the recording sessions for Hangover Music Vol. VI.  It obviously didn’t.  But its more reserved sound and introspective lyrics make for a welcome momentary break from the rest of the high octane songs that precede it on this record.  Bragg sings on this song, “Seems like only yesterday/How did I drift so far away/A prisoner of the distant sands of time/The damage done from days gone by/A tangled knot/We can’t untie/Memories we left so far behind/I’m a long way from home now/I’ve been gone so long/Will I ever find a way back to where I belong.” The song crafted here is obviously one of looking back on the past.  This is increasingly obvious in the song’s second verse as he sings, “Would the past forgive me now/If I could travel back somehow/Across the miles/Down that old familiar road/Chasing the stars with no regret/A darkened heart I still can’t forget/The little things we loved so long ago.”  There are those that might instantly say of this song that it’s just a standard song of self-loathing.  But the reality is that everybody has had a moment quite similar to the one (or ones) portrayed in this song.  Some will deny it.  But we have all had at least one such moment.  That ability of the song to reach so many listeners makes it one more of the many great songs that make up Revolution Rise.

Kill Devil Hill offers its fans plenty of reasons to be happy on its new album.  That has already been evidenced in just two examples of the album’s tracks.  For all of its commentary and personal, even Kill Devil Hill isn’t exempt from the standard songs based in issues of personal relationships.  In ‘Endless Static’, Bragg seemingly sings about the kind of lying backstabber that so many listeners have encountered at one point or another in life.  Again, here audiences get another song to which they can easily relate.  And the song’s energy only makes it that much more hard-hitting.  He sings, “Lately I’ve been hearing/You’ve been talkin’ smack/And smilin’ to my face all the while/You’re tellin’ stories like a common crook/As if it all rings true/But I see right through it/Screaming is so dramatic/Dreaming is in the static/All this make-believing makes me laugh out loud/Hiding behind your smile/Drowning in sweet denial…Why can’t you find the guts to say it to my face/Instead of hiding out behind the lies/The truth is I don’t even give a damn/The face of your deception/It’s your reflection.”  No one can deny that they have ever encountered such a person as the one described here.  And everyone can agree that they, too have felt the same kind of anger and aggression toward said person that is presented here.  It’s one more of so many songs that make Revolution Rise a record that any purist hard rock fan will appreciate.

Kill Devil Hill recently finished off a busy tour to finish off 2013.  But fans can always keep up with the latest tour announcements, news, and more from the band on its official website, http://www.killdevilhillmusic.com.  Fans can also go here to order the band’s new album while they wait on the next announcement of new tour dates from the band.  Fans can also get the latest tour dates, news, and more from the band on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/killdevilhillmusic.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.comm.

Eagle Rock’s Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert Re-Issue An Amazing Way To Finish Off The Year

Courtesy:  Eagle Rock Entertainment

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Freddie Mercury, the late front man of the legendary rock band Queen, was in his time one of the single most charismatic vocalists in the music industry.  Many vocalists have tried to emulate the legendary singer’s energy and style.  Few if any have succeeded.  Sadly, Freddy Mercury was taken from the world in 1991, one of so many victims of the then emerging AIDS epidemic.  The music world paid tribute to his legacy and memory in 1992 with a special live tribute concert.  The concert, held at London’s Wembley Stadium has become one of the biggest and most  powerful live concert events of the Twentieth Century, even after more than two decades since it was originally held.  The only concert event that could compare to this event is Woodstock ’94.  And now thanks to Eagle Rock Entertainment, the legacy of Freddie Mercury lives on once again thanks to the Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  While this SD Blu-ray release of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is not the first time that the concert has been released to the masses, this release is the concert’s best yet.    There is so much to be said of this latest re-issue.  The best place to start is the overall audio and video presentation.  Those charged with resurrecting the original footage are to be commended as the concert is presented here in its full original glory.  Audiences get to see the show as it looked in its original recording.  The audio sounds just as good.  This is especially the case for those with home theater systems.  The cinematography is incredible to say the least.  The crowd shots and shots of the crowd from the stage are collectively the epitome of the adage that a picture is worth a thousand words.  And of course, there is also the show’s set list and list of performers.  Both by themselves and collectively, they make a bold statement that puts the finishing touch on this incredible latest re-issue from Eagle Rock Entertainment.

The first and most obvious factor to investigate in Eagle Rock’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is the audio and video mix.  This concert was recorded almost twenty-two years ago.  April 20th, 2014 will mark the twenty-second anniversary of this landmark concert.  Being that high definition recording was still years away when this concert was recorded, it’s obvious that the quality of the footage would not be crystal clear in this presentation.  But Eagle Rock openly noted on the recording’s case that this presentation is a Standard Definition Blu-ray.  That means that Eagle Rock openly notes that the presentation contained therein is a standard definition recording.  Those expecting pure 1080 quality video have only misled themselves.  Eagle Rock Entertainment is not to blame here.  That the footage still looks as good as it does over two decades later is a testament to those charged with maintaining and resurrecting it.  And having the option to set one’s TV to “Cinema” to gain the full concert video experience only serves to make it even better.

The quality of the concert’s video footage is impressive to say the very least.  It is presented in its original 4:3 aspect ratio.  Though, with the advent of high definition televisions, most viewers can set their monitors to present the concert in full “Cinema” mode.  That mode shows better than any how well the footage has stood the test of time.  The audio mix is just as impressive as the video in terms of its quality.  Every riff, every beat, and every chorus from the crowd of thousands is enhanced on this re-issue.  In comparison to the concert’s previous releases, the audio mix has never sounded better.  It has been enhanced so much that at times, the echoes of Brian May’s voice as he talked will make audiences think they are actually there in person.  It has been mixed that well.  That is quite the testament to those charged with restoring this concert to its former glory.  And along with the footage, it is one part of a very strong cornerstone of this recording.

The video and audio mixes serve collectively as a solid base for The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.  The concert’s cinematography adds an extra element of enjoyment to the recording, too.  Much as was the case with Eagle Rock’s release of The Rolling Stones’ Hyde Park Live this Fall, the camera shots obtained over the course of this concert are extraordinary.  There is something to be said about an entire stadium full of people singing in unison, arms high in the air, clapping in time. The visual effect both from the stage and from high above the sea of bodies is something that cannot be put into words.  It is something that must be seen to be fully appreciated.  Even seeing the shots in question from one’s own sofa, bed, etc. is awe inspiring.  They collectively go to show the love that so many people had for Freddie Mercury and for Queen.  While the concert’s audio and video mixes are the foundation on which the concert rests, the shots obtained by the camera crews give the show its shape.  And what a shape those crews give the concert.

As one should be able to tell from everything noted already, there is much to like about Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new re-issue of The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert on SD Blu-ray.  Much has already been examined with this latest release from the leader in live recordings.  But it would not be complete without making mention of the concert’s set list and its equally diverse lineup of performers.  The show itself is set up into two separate segments.  The first of those segments is the “Opening Acts” segment.  This segment allows some of the acts tapped to perform at the concert to perform their own music and warm up the crowd at the same time.  This segment runs the gamut to say the very least.  It opens with a trio of songs from Metallica and follows that up with a medley of Queen hits courtesy of Extreme.  Guns N’ Roses (the original Guns N’ Roses) closes out the opening acts segments.  Def Leppard is also one of the opening acts.  Their front man, Joe Elliot, joins Elton John, George Michael, David Bowie, Annie Lennox, and so many other acts from across the music industry for the “Main Show” segment of the recording.  Having such a wide array of artists covering the music of one band is a bold statement.  It shows the impact that Queen had on them as bands and artists.  It also goes to show the respect that those bands and artists had for Freddie Mercury.  It goes to show the kind of person he was and how important he was to so many around him.  Keeping that in mind while watching the incredible shots, and hearing the equally incredible song selections is sure to bring a smile and maybe even a tear to some viewers’ faces.  If it does one, the other, or both, then it has most certainly done its job.  It means that Eagle Rock is that much more justified in once again unearthing this important piece of music history.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other live recordings from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at http://www.eaglerockent.com and http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Kill Devil Hill Announce First Wave Of Dates For Fall/Winter Tour

Courtesy:  Century Media/Century Media Records

Courtesy: Century Media/Century Media Records

Hard rock supergroup Kill Devil Hill is hitting the road in support of its second full length studio release, Revolution Rise.  The band—Rex Brown (bass), Vinny Appice (drums), Dewey Bragg (vocals), Mark Zavon (guitar)–kicks off its Fall/Winter tour Saturday, October 26th in Ramona, California.  The kickoff comes only three days before the official release of the band’s new record, which will be released via Century Media Records.  The majority of the band’s tour will take the band down the west coast and into the Southwest.  However, the last six current dates on the band’s itinerary will take the band into the Midwest.  A full listing of the band’s most current tour dates is available below.

KILL DEVIL HILL 

(with EYES SET TO KILL, GIRL ON FIRE & BLACK WATER RISING):

OCTOBER:

26: Ramona, CA – Ramona Mainstage * / **

27: Fullerton, CA – Slidebar **

28: Chico, CA – Lost On Main **

29: West Hollywood, CA – Roxy Theatre **

31: Tucson, AZ – The Rock **

NOVEMBER

01: Tempe, AZ – Club Red * / **

02: Las Vegas, NV – LVCS ***

03: Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue

05: Seattle, WA – El Corazon

06: Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theater

07: Walnut Creek, CA – Red House Live ***

10: Flagstaff, AZ – Orpheum Theatre ***

11: Gallup, NM – Gallup Community Center ***

13: Austin, TX – Dirty Dog ***

14: Houston, TX – Scout Bar

17: Oklahoma City, OK – The Chameleon Room ***

19: Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theater ***

20: Appleton, WI – Luna Lounge ***

21: Battle Creek, MI – Planet Rock ***

22: Mentor On The Lake, OH – Tequila Jaxx ***

23: Steger, IL – Another Hole In The Wall

 

* no EYES SET TO KILL

** no GIRL ON FIRE

*** no BLACK WATER RISING

 

More tour dates will be announced as the tour progresses.  Fans can keep up with those tour dates and all the latest from the band online at http://www.killdevilhillmusic.com/tourdates, http://www.killdevilhillmusic, http://www.facebook.com/killdevilhillmusic, and http://twitter.com/klldvlhll.

Exclusive VIP packages are available now.  The packages include early admission to soundcheck, the show, a meet and greet with the band, a VIP laminate, t-shirt and autographed 8X10 of the band.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Dio Re-Issue A Hard Rocking Tribute To A Rock Legend

Courtesy:  Niji Entertainment

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

Concept albums are typically reserved for the realm of rock music that is progressive rock.  Bands the likes of Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, and The Flower Kings have been largely linked to concept albums through rock’s history.  Apparently during his lifetime, nobody had sent this message to rock icon Ronnie James Dio; either that or he got the message and didn’t care.  Regardless of which argument holds more truth, the ultimate truth is that Dio proved that commonly held belief to be entirely untrue with the release of his groundbreaking album, Magica.  Now thanks to Niji Entertainment, Dio’s ever growing legion of fans can experience this work once more.

Over a decade has passed since Magica was originally released on Spitfire Records.  And three years have now passed since the world lost Ronnie James Dio.  In the time since RJD’s passing, a lot has changed in the music industry.  Thankfully, Niji Entertainment has re-issued this landmark album and reminded audiences that it is still possible for rock to be more than down-tuned guitars and indecipherable cookie monster growls.  It is a true treat for Dio fans of all ages.  The album’s new deluxe re-issue offers the original story of Magicka completely restored and sounding as good as ever.  The soaring string instrumentations that accompany the band add a beautiful counterpart to the band’s heaviness throughout the record.  And Dio’s vocals were in prime form on this record, as long-time fans will attest. 

The primary disc’s re-issue is outstanding to say the least.  But the real treat of Magica is the deluxe edition’s bonus disc.  The bonus disc is anchored by RJD himself reading ‘The Magica Story.’  Instead of the full on rock opera that is Magica audiences get Dio serving as storyteller.  The style with which he reads the story leaves listeners hanging on his every word.  It conjures thoughts of Trans Siberian Orchestra.  And being that this legendary singer is sadly no longer with us, hearing him personally reading the story is a wonderful memorial to Dio’s memory.  And since the story is printed out in the booklet included with the re-issue, they can even follow along as he reads the story verbatim.  There are no attempts at bad voices or any other over the top moves.  It is just RJD with a calm music bed as he reads the story.  The manner in which he recites the story’s final lines is wonderful.  He is about to start the next story but instantly cuts himself off, laughing as he says, “That’s another story.”  It makes the whole experience of listening to this record more personal for lack of better wording.  It is just part of what makes the re-issue’s second disc a true bonus.  For that matter, it makes one wonder what Magic 2 and 3 would have sounded like.  Luckily, listeners get a hint of that on the bonus track, ‘Electra’ that is also included on this re-issue.

The reading of ‘The Magica’ Story by Ronnie James Dio himself is a wonderful continuation from the musical story contained on the re-issue’s main disc.  The included bonus tracks and live bootlegs make the second disc even more of a bonus.  Considering that they are called “bootlegs”, the term bootleg should be taken very lightly.  This is a good thing in this case.  That is because the audio quality of the live “bootlegs” here far exceeds that of what one would think when one thinks of the term, “bootleg.”  The bonus studio tracks complete the package, musically speaking.  ‘Electra’ gives a pretty good hint at the later story that Dio references in this story.  It makes one wonder if he perhaps had some manuscripts tucked away somewhere that as is the case with certain late authors have yet to see the light of day.  It’s a nice heavy piece that continues the style established in Magica.  ‘Annica’ is equally intriguing in that it bears what some could argue to be Pink Floyd influences, in terms of the guitar parts.  That in itself is enough to make for even more discussion.  And it is that discussion that helps to make this record’s re-issue an even more completely enjoyable listen that will grow with each listen.  The record is available in stores and online now.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.