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

 

 

 

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

Niji Entertainment’s Latest ‘Magica’ Re-Issue Will Appeal To RJD’s Most Devoted Audiences

Courtesy: Niji Entertainment

Ronnie James Dio’s classic concept album Magica has gotten the re-issue treatment again.  Originally released in 2000 through Spitfire Records, the 13-song concept album was re-issued again Feb. 21 through Niji Entertainment, as with its 2013 and 2018 re-issues.  Yes, the album has now been re-issued no less than four times since its original release, and each re-issue has presented something different for audiences.  That extra content on the album’s latest re-issue is one of its most important elements.  It will be discussed shortly.  The concept at the core of the original album is something well worth noting, too, and will be addressed a little later.  The sequencing of each portion of the re-issue rounds out its most important elements.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Magica another intriguing tribute to a true rock legend.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Ronnie James Dio’s 2000 album Magica is an intriguing presentation.  That is due in part to the bonus material that is featured with this latest re-issue of the album.  The bonus content featured with the album this time is the most important of the presentation’s elements.  In comparison to the album’s 2018 re-issue, that presentation was extremely limited on any bonus content.  It featured only live takes of the songs ‘Fever Dream’ and ‘Magica Theme.’ The 2007 re-issue included Dio’s 2002 album Killing The Dragon.  That album is also among Niji Entertainment’s latest round of Dio re-issues, and will be discussed another day.  Getting back to the latest re-issue of Magica, its 2013 re-issue was a bit heavier in the way of bonus content, featuring eight official bootlegs that were recorded during Dio’s 2000-2002 Magica World Tour.  This latest re-issue pulls from that tour again.  What is important to note though, is that the live material featured this time is not just a re-hashing of the live material featured in the album’s 2013 re-issue.  Rather, audiences get not eight, but 10 (yes, 10) of the 13 songs featured in the original recording.  The only difference here from the actual album is the omission of the songs ‘Turn To Stone,’ ‘As Long As It’s Not About Love’ and the album’s closer, the reprise of ‘Lord of the Last Day.’  Other than those omissions, what audiences get in this live recording is almost the entirety of Magica live in its original sequence.  This is crucial because of the general effect that it has for listeners.  This was an artist performing an album virtually in its entirety before it became the cool thing for acts to do.  What’s more getting to take in the album nearly in whole in a live setting makes the experience that much more special.  As any one can tell a person, live shows are special experiences for audiences.  So getting to experience the album in two different settings in nearly the same order makes for quite the extraordinary experience for audiences.

Now, keeping this in mind, the automatic rebuttal to this statement becomes why should one own the same album twice over just because the bonus content is different (I.E. the 2013 and 2020 re-issues).  The answer there is that while this latest re-issue may feature Magica almost in its entirety in its near exact sequencing both times, the album’s 2013 re-issue does feature the live take of ‘As Long As It’s Not About Love.’  Given, ‘Turn To Stone’ and the reprise of ‘Lord of the Last Day,’ it does feature a live version of the primary take of that song.  The 2013 re-issue also features a hint at what would have been Magica 2 & 3 in the form of the song ‘Electra.’  To that end, that content, along with a telling of the Magica story by RJD himself adds even more interest to that presentation.  So, keeping all of this in mind, the album’s 2013 and 2020 takes feature varying bonus content, the 2020 re-issue proves enjoyable in its own right for the most devoted RJD fans just as much as the album’s 2013 re-issue.  The 2007 and 2018 re-issues meanwhile prove less valuable and worth replacing among those listeners who may have one or both of those re-issues.

The bonus content featured in the new 2020 re-issue of Magica is clearly important in its own way to the re-issue’s overall presentation.  It is just one of the re-issue’s key elements.  Looking at the concept behind the album itself, that item is well worth discussing.  Dio actually discussed the album’s concept prior to his death.  He pointed  out in an interview that the album focused on a standard battle between good and evil.  The twist is that while so many stories of good and evil are told from the vantage point of the heroes, this story was told from the vantage point of the villain; something which is rarely if ever past and present.  He pointed out during the noted interview that he left the album ending how he did because “evil always exists, good doesn’t always triumph, and that’s the universal balance.”  Given, LucasFilm’s Star Wars franchise did have some chapters in which the bad guys won.  That was a movie, though.  In the real world, we are seeing daily that evil does win considering who is running America today in the form of a crooked businessman who is also a xenophobe, homophobe, misogynist and racist.  So while the concept at the center of Magica might still be very rare to this day in the world of music and entertainment in general, it is something that is very much real in the real world.  Now, Dio was not advocating for the bad guys to win in making the noted statement.  That needs to be clarified here.  Rather, he was pointing out that the concept that the good guys always win is not a reality.  For that reason, RJD is to be commended highly for taking what was then and is still today, the road less traveled.  Keeping this in mind with the bonus content featured with the album’s re-issue, the two elements go a long way toward making this latest re-issue of Magica a welcome addition to the libraries of the most devoted RJD fans.  They are not the album’s only notable entries.  The production and mixing of the bonus live content is worth its own mention.

The production is important to note because of the resultant sound quality of the live material.  The term bootleg is used for these recordings, but the production and mixing used in these official live bootlegs has left the sound just as clear, engaging and entertaining as any other act’s live recording past or present.  The guitars, the symphonic elements, the drums, everything is balanced so well throughout each performance.  RJD’s vocals are perfectly clear, too.  In other words, while the recordings may be marketed as “official bootlegs,” they are anything but bootleg.  If any one thing can be said of the bonus content, it would be that to this day, RJD’s 2000-2002 “Magica World Tour” has  seemingly never has received one full live recording either on CD or on DVD or even Blu-ray.  If Niji Entertainment wants to truly impress RJD’s fans, that would be a wise choice.  Again, going back to the previous discussion on bonus content, Magica’s 2013 and new 2020 re-issues each features content from that tour, but it is all spread against two different recordings.  Why has no single recording been released featuring nothing but that performance content?  Officials at Niji Entertainment and other companies need to keep that in mind.  That aside, the production and mixing that went into the official live bootlegs featured in this recording – as with the album’s 2013 re-issue – resulted in a wonderful experience that will appease any rock fan pining for a live experience in this age of bacterial spread.  To that end, it proves its own importance to the recording’s latest presentation.  When it is considered along with the re-issue’s other elements, the whole of the re-issue proves to be its own positive presentation for the most devoted fans of Ronnie James Dio.

Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Ronnie James Dio’s 2000 album Magica is a presentation that is certain to appeal to the legendary performer’s most devoted fans.  That is proven in part through the re-issue’s bonus content, which is distinct from that of the album’s previous re-issues, as is noted here.  The very concept at the heart of the album is important in its own right to the presentation.  The production and mixing that went into the presentation of the re-issue’s bonus content is important in its own way to the whole of this re-issue, too.  Each item noted here is key in its own way to the whole of the set.  All things considered, they make Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Magica a work that the most devoted Dio fans will appreciated.  The record is available now.  More information on the album is available online along with all of the latest RJD-related news at:

 

Website: http://ronniejamesdio.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

 

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

Eagle Rock’s Mingus Montreux Show Shines In Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top New Live CDs List

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Going to live shows is neither easy nor inexpensive nowadays.  Between the collective cost of tickets — which is itself oftentimes bank-breaking — transportation, food, potential lodging and souvenirs, and of course planning around work and family schedules, getting out to live shows is not easy for anyone.

Those barriers make the availability of live recordings something critical for audiences everywhere, regardless of genre.  To that end, live CDs deserve their own consideration just as much as studio recordings, each year.  Keeping that in mind, Phil’s Picks has developed once again a list of the year’s Top 10 new live CDs.

This year has been an interesting one for live CDs.  Some notable live CDs were featured as part of bigger bundles (E.G. The Rolling Stones’ San Jose ’99 and Voodoo Lounge ’94 shows) while others, such as Alice Cooper’s A Paranormal Night @ The Olympia Paris and Marty Friedman’s One Bad M.F. Live were standalone offerings.

Some were standout offerings for all of the best reasons.  Others had some problems to note.  Keeping all of this in mind, this year’s crop of live CDs deserves just as much attention as the vast sea of studio recordings released throughout the year.

Topping this year’s list is yet another live CD from the people at Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of Charles Mingus’ classic 1975 Montreux Jazz Festival show.  This recording presents Mingus at one of his finest moments, and why his live performances were — and still are today — such powerful presentations.

Coming in second in this year’s list is the new Jimi Hendrix live CD, Live at the Hollywood Bowl.  This CD was released as part of the bigger Electric Ladyland box set, and stands out so strongly because of its set list, Hendrix and company’s performance and the production values.

Third place in this year’s list of the year’s best new live CDs goes to veteran viking metal outfit Amon Amarth.  The 30-song set list spans two nights and quite an expansive portion of the band’s catalog.  That set list is directly mirrored on its DVD and BD presentation, and sounds just as good.  Though because of the intensity of the show, it is still better appreciated being seen and heard and not just heard.  That’s not to say the CD presentation is bad, but audiences will agree that hearing it makes for far more appreciation for the concerts’ DVD and BD presentations.

Also featured in this year’s list of top new live CDs are those noted new offerings from Marty Friedman, Alice Cooper and The Rolling Stones alongside new offerings from Opeth, Devin Townsend and John 5 to name just a few more titles.  As always, this critic’s list features 10 of the year’s top new offerings plus five honorable mentions, which follow, for a total count of 15.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks’ 2018 Top 10 new Live CDs.

PHIL’S PICKS 2018 TOP 10 NEW LIVE CDs

  1. Charles Mingus — Live at Montreux 1975
  2. Jimi Hendrix — Live at the Hollywood BowlAug. 14, 1968
  3. Amon Amarth — The Pursuit of Vikings25 Years in the Eye of the Storm
  4. Devin Townsend Project — Ocean MachineLive at the Ancient Roman Theatre Plovdiv
  5. Opeth — Garden of the TitansLive at Red Rocks Amphitheatre
  6. The Rolling Stones — No SecuritySan Jose ’99
  7. The Rolling Stones — Voodoo Lounge Uncut
  8. John Mclaughlin & The 4th Dimension and Jimmy Herring & The Invisible Whip — Live in San Francisco
  9. Marty Friedman — One Bad M.F. Live
  10. Accept — Symphonic TerrorLive at Wacken 2017
  11. Alice Cooper — A Paranormal Night at The Olympia Paris
  12. Fates Warning — Live Over Europe
  13. Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow — Memories in Rock II
  14. John 5 and The Creatures — It’s Alive
  15. Overkill — Live in Overhausen

‘Memories In Rock II’ Is A Welcome “Sequel” To Its 2017 Predecessor

Courtesy: Minstrel Hall Music

Minstrel Hall Music has another archived concert on the way this spring from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Memories in Rock II is currently scheduled to be released Friday, April 6 on separate 2CD/DVD combo pack, vinyl and digital platforms. The 18-song set (technically 21 songs) pulls performances from the band’s 2017 UK performances.  As an added bonus, it also includes the band’s first studio recording since 1996.  That extensive collection of songs forms a solid foundation for the recording.  it will be discussed shortly.  Just as important to the recording’s presentation as the extensive set list is the bonus DVD that is included with the audio recording.  It will be discussed a little later, as it strengthens that foundation formed by the set list even more.  The recording’s companion booklet rounds out the most important of its elements.  Each element is important in its own way, as will be pointed out here.  All things considered, they make Memories in Rock II a live recording that will have no problem sticking in listeners’ memories.

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow’s new live recording Memories in Rock II, the follow-up to 2016’s Memories in Rockwhich documented a trio of European Rainbow shows from 2016, is a nice follow-up to that recording.  That is despite it missing one item in its presentation.  That item is part of what also makes the recording enjoyable, its set list.  The recording’s 18 (technically 21) song set list will appeal to fans of Blackmore’s work with Rainbow and Deep Purple.  Over the course of its 136-minute (2-hour, 16-minute) run time, the set list features 11 classic Rainbow songs on which Blackmore took part recording as well as eight Deep Purple songs and one more recent work from Blackmore’s Night — ‘Carry On Jon.’  The whole thing opens with the band’s own take on the classic Wizard of Oz tune ‘Over The Rainbow,’ originally composed by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg.  What’s interesting about the Rainbow song selection is that it is pulled from five of Rainbow’s eight total albums.  Blackmore took part on each of those albums.  Of course, since he wanted to reach fans of his work with Deep Purple, there was no way to feature work from those other three Rainbow records.  Keeping that in mind, being that the set list features only three more Rainbow songs than Deep Purple songs, it is clear a lot of thought was put into reaching as many fans as possible.  The same can be said about the set list’s sequence.  Throughout the course of the concert, Blackmore and company keep things interesting, switching back and forth between Rainbow and Deep Purple throughout rather than staying on one or the other too long.  this insures listeners’ engagement even more.  The one downside to the whole thing is that the concert here is limited entirely to CD.  Memories in Rock, its predecessor, which chronicled Rainbow’s 2016 European shows, was presented on separate CD and CD/DVD/BD platform.  Of course Live in Birmingham, a partner recording to Memories in Rock was presented only on CD.  To that end, while not having a DVD or BD presentation here takes away at least a little from the presentation, it can’t be criticized too badly.  It just would have been nice to have that option.  Keeping that in mind, one might ask what is on the DVD that is included in this presentation.  What is included on the DVD is a series of interviews with Blackmore, his band mates and even some of those behind the scenes.  It’s another of the recording’s strong points.

Blackmore’s interview is the longest of the interviews included in the bonus DVD, clocking in at a little more than half an hour.  Ronnie Romero gets his own roughly 10-minute interview while Blackmore’s wife Candice Night and fellow back-up singer Lady Lynn get their own moment in the limelight.  The topics covered throughout the collective interviews is just as diverse as the recording’s set list.  Blackmore talks about the difference between playing Deep Purple and Rainbow songs and those from Blackmore’s Night.  His mention of having to keep his fingernails trimmed for the latter  and of course his mentality on stage is interesting to say the least.  His very frank response to whether or not he wants to play with his former Deep Purple band mates is just as interesting.  Rather than ramble on aimlessly, he raises the issue of management and money being obstacles, but that he would like to play at least once so that fans would know the past is the past.  It is its own interesting discussion.  His light-hearted discussion on his wife’s role in Ronnie Romero’s inclusion in the band will put a smile on anyone’s face.  Speaking of Romero, audiences will enjoy his discussions, too.  He shares, through his discussions, a brief look at his professional resume while also discussing his love for Deep Purple and Rainbow.  Drummer David Keith’s interview, while not overly long, offers its own interest for his fellow drummers.  He openly admits that coming into Rainbow, his knowledge was more to that of Neil Peart (Rush) and others.  Obviously he settled in nicely to his position with Rainbow.  Between these discussions, the talks by Rainbow’s tour manager (yes, even the tour manager), and everyone else involved, audiences get plenty of extra insight and entertainment through the featured interviews.  When that insight and entertainment is set against the recording’s set list, the two elements together show even more clearly why this recording is another enjoyable offering from Rainbow.  It still is not the last of the elements to prove this, either.  The recording’s companion booklet rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements.

The companion booklet that comes with Memories in Rock II is its own integral addition to this recording because of the back story that it offers on the band’s 2017 concerts.  That history is presented by Stathis N. Panagiotopoulos, a member of the Deep Purple Appreciation Society, Greece. Panagiotopoulos directly mentions the band’s 2016 European shows in his liner notes while also noting that the lineup presented in this recording is the longest-running Rainbow lineup since the release of the band’s debut album way back in 1975.  He even touches on the set list featured here, noting that this set list came about most likely due to discontent from audiences that the band’s 2016 shows were weighed down by Deep Purple songs.  This is an interesting nugget of information considering that this set list features eight Deep Purple Songs to 11 Rainbow classics.  Basically put, there is still a solid Deep Purple presence here, but there is even more Rainbow presence, and the two are ultimately well-balanced from start to finish.  These notes and others included in the booklet’s liner notes do plenty to add to the recording’s enjoyment.  When they are collectively set alongside the recording’s set list and the bonus interviews, the whole will keep audiences engaged and entertained for hours both literally and figuratively speaking.  That being the case, it proves in whole to be a work that will stay in audiences’ minds for a long time.

Memories in Rock II, the follow-up to Rainbow’s 2017 recording Memories in Rock, is another nice addition to Rainbow’s overall body of work and another enjoyable live recording from the veteran rock band.  It is a work that is certain to stay in audiences’ minds for a long time.  As noted here, that is due in part to the recording’s well-balanced, extensive set list.  The recording’s bonus DVD, loaded with almost two hours of insightful and entertaining interview footage adds to its enjoyment.  The information provided in the liner notes of the companion booklet put the finishing touch to the recording.  Each element is important in its own right.  All things considered, they make Memories in Rock II potentially one of this year’s top new live recordings overall.  It will be available Friday, April 6 via Minstrel Hall Music.  More information on Memories in Rock II is available online now along with all of Ritchie Blackmore’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.ritchieblackmore.com

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

 

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

Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow To Release New Live Recording This Spring

Courtesy: Minstrel Hall Music

Minstrel Hall Music has another archived concert on the way this spring from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow.

Memories in Rock II is currently scheduled to be released Friday, April 6 on separate 2CD/DVD combo pack, vinyl and digital platforms.  The 18-song set pulls performances from the band’s 2017 UK performances.  It features songs that Blackmore recorded with Rainbow and Deep Purple including but not limited to: ‘Spotlight Kid,’ ‘I Surrender,’ ‘Mistreated,’ ‘Man on The Silver Mountain/Women From Tokyo,’ Perfect Stranger,’ ‘Black Night,’ Smoke on the Water’ and much more.

Along with those classics, the brand new Rainbow studio song ‘Waiting For A Sign’ is also included in this recording.  The song, which features Ronnie Romero on vocals, is the band’s first new song since 1996.  It will be released digitally March 16.  The recording’s full track listing is noted below.

TRACK LISTING:

CD1:
Over The Rainbow
Spotlight Kid
I Surrender
Mistreated
Since You’ve Been Gone
Man On The Silver Mountain / Woman From Tokyo
16th Century Greensleeves
Soldier Of Fortune
Perfect Strangers
Difficult To Cure
All Night Long
Child In Time

CD2:
Stargazer
Long Live Rock’n’Roll / Lazy
Catch The Rainbow
Black Night
Carry On Jon
Temple Of The King

Smoke On The Water
Waiting For A Sign (brand new song)

The DVD that accompanies the live material on the two CDs features extensive interviews with Blackmore as well as his new band mates — Jens Johannson (keyboards), Bob Nouveau (bass), Dave Keith (drums), Lady Lynn and Candice Night (backup vocals) and the previously noted Ronnie Romero (vocals).  Night also serves as vocalist for Blackmore’s other band, Blackmore’s Night.

As if the noted interviews are not enough, there are also interviews with the crew as an added bonus. Audiences can check out a preview of the interviews online now here.

More information on Memories in Rock II is available online now along with all of Ritchie Blackmore’s latest news and more at http://www.facebook.com/ritchieblackmore.  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.