Sorcerer Premieres Ozzy Osbourne Cover, Companion Video

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Sorcerer has taken on a classic Ozzy Osbourne song for its latest single and video.

The band premiered its take on Osbourne’s ‘Waiting For Darkness’ for its latest single. The group premiered the song and its video Friday. It is just the latest of the covers the the band has premiered. The collective most recently took on Saxon’s ‘Crusader‘ last month and accompanied the song with a companion video.

The premiere of that song and video followed the premieres of the band’s cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘When Death Calls‘ in October and its cover of Rainbow’s ‘Gates of Babylon‘ in September.’

All four songs make up the body of the band’s new EP, Reverence. The record is available through all digital platforms.

Sorcerer’s take on ‘Waiting For Darkness’ is in line with its source material in terms of its run time. The original song runs five minutes, 17 seconds. Sorcerer’s cover is only four seconds longer, clocking in at five minutes, 21 seconds. In terms of the stylistic approach and sound, the two songs are just as closely similar.

The most notable difference between the two renditions is in the songs’ bridges. The bridge in the original composition bears more of a classic rock sense with what almost feels like a semi-orchestral sound. The bridge in Sorcerer’s take bears more of a full-on metal sound and style.

Sorcerer’s take on ‘Crusader’ is available now through all digital outlets. More information on Sorcerer’s take on ‘Crusader’ is available along with all of Sorcerer’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.sorcererdoom.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sorcererdoom

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

Blackmore’s Night’s ‘Winter Carols’ Re-Issue Is A Positive Addition To 2021’s Holiday Music Offerings Field

Courtesy: earMUSIC

Veteran guitarist Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple, Rainbow) and singer Candice Night are doing their part to help audiences get into the holiday spirit.  The duo is doing so by re-issuing its 2006 holiday music compilation, Winter Carols.  The two-disc collection is scheduled for re-issue Friday through earMUSIC.  The record’s re-issue, which will come less than a year after the release of the act’s latest album, Nature’s Light, is anchored by the addition of four previously unreleased songs, all of which are covers of well-known holiday standards – ‘It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,’ ‘Here We Come A-Caroling,’ ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and ‘Silent Night.’  Additionally, a remastered take of the duo’s Christmas single, ‘Christmas Eve’ is featured as part of this record’s new presentation.  That song in question is one of the most notable of the re-issue’s additions and will be examined shortly.  The duo’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is also of note.  It will be examined a little later.  The duo’s take of ‘Silent Night’ is just as notable as the other songs noted here and will also be discussed later.  When it and those noted songs are considered along with the rest of the record’s featured songs, the whole makes Winter Carols another holiday music collection that lovers of the noted genre will enjoy.

Blackmore’s Night’s forthcoming re-issue of its 2006 compilation record, Winter Carols, is a presentation that audiences will agree is just as interesting in its new presentation as in its original release.  Its interest comes in part through the addition of the duo’s original song, ‘Christmas Eve.’  Originally released in 2013, there is a clear difference between the song’s new, updated take and its original take.  The most notable difference comes in the inclusion of a distinct electronic element to the updated take not originally featured in the original song.  The synthesized bells alongside the upbeat danceable beat added to the mix give the song something of an 80s new wave vibe.  By comparison, the song’s 2013 take has more of a pure, celebratory, holiday sense what with the use of the horns and tambourine alongside the layered vocals.  It really gives the song a full, holiday sense.  Needless to say, the comparison of the two takes is certain to divide audiences, again making clear why this addition to the record is so important to examine.  It is just one of the notable additions to the compilation’s new presentation, too.  The duo’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is another interesting added work.

Blackmore and Night’s take of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’ is important to note because of its differences from the renditions that audiences know.  When audiences think of this song, they think of a gentle, quiet song.  That arrangement is meant to reflect the happiness and serenity of that Christmas night when Jesus Christ was born.  It really echoes the child’s innocence and that of that night.  Night and Blackmore’s take on the song is starkly different.  It is a far more upbeat take by comparison.  In place of the lullabye-esque approach of the original song is a guitar-driven composition accompanied by layered vocals and tambourine that runs somewhere in the range of about 125 beats per minute if not faster.  What’s more, the noted combination and production gives the song a decidedly almost pop type sense while also conjuring thoughts of another timeless song – ‘Simple Gifts’ – than anything Christmas related.  It is a completely different take on the song, simply put, that is just as certain to divide audiences as the duo’s updated take of its own original song, ‘Christmas Eve.’  That the duo took the road clearly far less traveled here was brave.  It gives audiences something new apart from that run of the mill approach that so many artists out there churn out in the sense of this song.  So again, regardless of which side audiences take on this one (and audiences are certain to take sides just as much in this case as in the other examined song), Blackmore and Night are to be commended for taking the chance and giving audiences something unique from such a well-known song.  It is just one more of the most notable of the new additions to the collection’s re-issue.  Blackmore and Night’s take of the equally well-known carol, ‘Silent Night’ is just as worth discussing as the other songs already examined here.

Blackmore and Night’s take on ‘Silent Night’ starts out just as gentle and flowing as the original song and so many of the multitude of its covers from across the musical universe.  Night’s vocals against the airy effect in the keyboards and choral/layered backing vocals makes the song so moving in the simplicity and richness therein.  As the song progresses though, things change and get more interesting.  Blackmore joins in with a light, simple guitar line that enhances the arrangement even more.  The subtle ‘Jingle Bells’ tribute that Blackmore adds in the song’s final bar helps the song leave listeners with even more of a smile on their faces.  What is so interesting about this rendition is that it is actually fitting, considering that the very first arrangement, composed by Franz Gruber in 1818, was guitar based, as per the request of Father Joseph Mohr, who actually penned the original poem, ‘Stille Nacht’ (or ‘Silent Night’).  Given, Gruber’s rendition is likely a far cry from what audiences get in Blackmore and Night’s take on the song, but the duo’s performance here is still at least somewhat true to its source material, just picked up a little bit in the approach here.  On a side note, there is a wonderful documentary from PBS titled, The First Silent Night that tells the history of how the original song came to be.  It is well worth watching.  It is that in-depth and moving.  Getting back on the subject at hand, this rendition of ‘Silent Night,’ that of ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem,’ and the updated take of the duo’s original song, ‘Christmas Eve,’ are all key additions to the new re-issue of Winter Carols.  When they are considered along with the rest of the record’s entries, the whole becomes a work that audiences will agree is a welcome re-issue of Winter Carols and an equally interesting addition to this year’s field of holiday music releases, even being a re-issue.

Blackmore’s Night’s forthcoming re-issue of its 2006 holiday music collection, Winter Carols, is an interesting presentation.  Its interest comes mainly through the new additions to the record this time out.  The added songs are definitely unique from their source material from one to the next.  That they are so unique is what makes them interesting.  Yes, they will divide audiences between purists and others, but that Blackmore and Night took the chance and made such unique takes on the examined songs is to be applauded.  The same applies with the rest of the record’s songs.  All things considered, the record proves itself a welcome addition to any holiday music fans’ library of the noted style sounds.

Winter Carols is scheduled for release Friday. More information on the re-issue is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.Blackmoresnight.com

Facbeookhttps://www.facebook.com/blackmoresnightofficial

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/TruCandiceNight

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

Sorcerer Takes On Saxon Classic For Its Latest Single

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

For the third time in as many months, Sorcerer is taking on a classic rock song for its latest single.

The band premiered its take of Saxon’s ‘Crusader‘ Friday along with a companion video. The song’s premiere follows premieres of the band’s cover of Black Sabbath’s ‘When Death Calls‘ last month and its cover of Rainbow’s ‘Gates of Babylon‘ in September.’

Front man Anders Engberg had high praise for Saxon as he talked about the band during a recent interview.

“For me, Saxon, they have always been there, ever since I started listening to heavy metal, and I had the luck to tour with these guys with my old band, Lion’s Share,” he said.

Drummer Richard Evensand expanded on Engberg’s statements during the interview.

“It [Saxon] was the first band I started to really follow as a teenager and it still is one of my favorite bands today,” said Evensand. “For me Saxon equals energy and long tom rolls… in fact more than long tom rolls; mega tom rolls perhaps.”

Added Evensand, “Nigel Glockner has really influenced my play as a drummer. You can imagine that I was immediately in favor of making a Sorcerer rendition of “Crusader”. It’s the most powerful song there is on this planet! Peter Hallgren did an excellent job on the arrangement. We hope everyone loves our version as much as we loved making it!”

Coming in at approximately seven minutes in length, Sorcerer’s rendition of ‘Crusader’ is shorter than its source material by almost a full minute. That is likely due to the fact that Sorcerer’s take on the song does not feature the sounds of battle featured in the original composition. Those sounds take up approximately one minute five seconds of the song’s original one minute, 40 second run time.

There are also some other sound effects thrown in along with some other items that change things up between the two versions. Among the most notable of the other differences is the richness in the sound from Sorcerer’s take. It is much more full whereas the production of the original conjures thoughts of Anthrax and Metallica from that era.

Sorcerer’s take on ‘Crusader’ is available now through all digital outlets. More information on Sorcerer’s take on ‘Crusader’ is available along with all of Sorcerer’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.sorcererdoom.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sorcererdoom

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

Sorcerer Covers Black Sabbath Hit For Its Latest Single

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Sorcerer premiered its take of a classic Black Sabbath song this week.

The band premiered its take on Black Sabbath’s ‘When Death Calls‘ along with a companion video Friday. The song’s premiere comes almost a month after the band debuted its cover of Rainbow’s ‘Gates of Babylon‘ along with a companion video.

Sorcerer’s take on ‘When Death Calls’ largely stays true to its source material both in terms of sound and stylistic approach. The one difference between the two takes is the production. Sorcerer’s cover gives the original a richer sound, even in the more subtle, contemplative verses. It brings the 80s rock sound of the original into the 21st century but still pays tribute to its source material. Keeping that in mind, Sorcerer’s update will impress audiences just as much as the original.

Front man Anders Enberg talked about Sorcerer’s update of ‘When Death Calls’ in a prepared statement.

 “You can hear it in the early Sorcerer songs, that we are a lot about Black Sabbath,” he said. “Maybe we tend to mix in the more melodic parts – more like the Dio and Tony Martin era albums – in the music we make today. For me ‘When Death Calls’ is one of the strongest songs I think they have written. A really doomy song, which in my opinion sounds a lot like the music we create in Sorcerer. After having a blast recording ‘Gates of Babylon’, we decided to give covering another spin. ‘When Death Calls’ was unanimously chosen as the track to go for!”

Guitarist Peter Hallgren echoed Enberg’s comments.

“Black Sabbath is an endless source of inspiration for writing good music in whatever style of hard rock and metal,” he said.

More information on Sorcerer’s take on ‘When Death Calls’ is available along with all of Sorcerer’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://www.sorcererdoom.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/sorcererdoom

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

Sorcerer Premieres Cover Of Rainbow’s ‘Gates Of Babylon’

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

Sorcerer is taking on a Rainbow classic for its latest single.

The band premiered its take on Rainbow’s classic song ‘Gates of Babylon‘ Friday along with a companion video to boot. The band’s take on the original song (which is featured in Rainbow’s 1978 album, Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll) stays largely true to its source material, save for a few variances.

The primary difference between the two takes is that Sorcerer’s take on the song is much heavier and darker than the original. Also, the keyboard intro in the original is absent in Sorcerer’s rendition. Front man Anders Engberg, meanwhile, does well as he works to honor the performance of the late great Ronnie James Dio in the band’s performance here.

Guitarist Kristian Niemann talked about the band’s take on the classic song in a prepared statement.

“When trying to come up with a way to arrange ‘Gates Of Babylon’ and give it a different spin, I tried to imagine what it would’ve sounded like if Tony Iommi wrote it instead of Ritchie Blackmore,” he said. “It probably would’ve been slower and heavier, possibly down-tuned a bit. We skipped the keyboard intro because it would be impossible to capture the magic of the original. We had a great time recording this single at SolnaSound Studios, and overall we are very happy with how it turned out. We hope our fans will dig it too.”

The video for Sorcerer’s performance of ‘Gates of Babylon’ is a simple presentation. It features the band recording the single in studio at SolnaSound Studios. The various camera angles work with the performance to heighten the engagement and entertainment.

More information on Sorcerer’s take on ‘Gates of Babylon’ is available along with all of Sorcerer’s latest news at:

Website: https://www.sorcererdoom.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sorcererdoom

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

‘Rainbow In The Dark’ Leaves Readers Wanting More In The Best Way Possible

Courtesy: Permuted Press

Ronnie James Dio is one of the most prolific figures in the modern history of music.  That goes without saying.  Dio fronted not one, not two, but three of the most famous and respected acts in the history of rock in Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and his own band.  While not a physically large figure on stage, his persona more than made up for that.  As his forthcoming autobiography, Rainbow in the Dark shows, his time with those bands are only a thumbnail of what is a much bigger overall career and life.  Set for release July 27 through Permuted Press, the 244-page autobiography is a rich look at the first part of Dio’s life.  The story featured therein serves as the book’s foundation and will be discussed shortly.  The story’s transitions add to the story’s appeal and will be addressed a little later.  The pictures that are incorporated into the story add a nice aesthetic element to the whole and round out the book’s most important elements.  Each item noted is important in its own right to the whole of the book.  All things considered, they make this book a welcome personal recounting of Ronnie James Dio’s life.  It will leave audiences hoping that his widow, who compiled Dio’s writings for the book, will eventually release a follow-up that completes his story.

Permuted Press’ forthcoming Ronnie James Dio biography, Rainbow in the Dark is a book that every rock and hard rock fan will enjoy.  Given, it is hardly the only biography or even autobiography ever released from any rock act, but is still fully enjoyable in its own right.  Its engagement and entertainment comes in large part through its story.  The story is told through Dio’s own words and starts in his childhood living in upstate New York.  Right from the outset, audiences learn that ultimately, Dio’s grandparents are really to thank for him becoming a musician and performer.  As he reveals here early on, they made Dio’s father and his siblings learn to play an instrument.  His own father did the same to him, too, repeating history.  If not for that, it is possible that Dio might have otherwise pursued a career in baseball.  It was this fateful event that would set Dio on a lifelong course that would eventually see him and his band mates in Elf record for Deep Purple’s own Purple Records.  Those recordings and tours with Deep Purple would eventually lead to the biggest part of his career.  The stories that Dio shares along the way are, at times laugh-inspiring in the best way possible, and at other times so dramatic.  Case in point is Dio’s recollection of the fateful night in which a crash involving a drunk driver claimed the life of one of his then band mates in Ronnie Dio and the Prophets and put his own life and that of another in jeopardy.    One of the funnier recollections shared along the way comes as Dio shares how he used his stage name (as it turns out, Dio is not his real name.  This will be left for audiences to learn for themselves.  He was in fact Italian by direct descent) at a gig during his formative years and almost got himself tied up in the mob.  Even later in the story, Dio shares another funny and albeit short anecdote about how he and Wendy Dio got used to living out of their suitcases while Dio was a member of Rainbow.  Again it is only a short statement, but still will leave plenty of people laughing.  Speaking of Wendy, she points out in the books preface that the story presented here culminates in her late, great husband debuting with his own band at Madison Square Garden in 1987.  It also opens at that point before going back to Ronnie’s childhood.  The whole story is so easy to read from start to finish because at no point do Ronnie’s notes try to be flowery.  He uses simple language that is accessible to everybody.  The result is that the story, which again spans 244 pages, can be finished in a day or two at the most.  That accessibility and the equally engaging and entertaining stories do a lot to make this (hopefully first) part of RJD’s life and career so enthralling.  The transitions that are used in telling his story play their own part in the story’s appeal.

The transitions that are used to help tell Ronnie James Dio’s story are so important because they are so clear and solid throughout the book.  That is thanks to the way that Ronnie started and ended each of his writings.  Those points perfectly connect the chapters.  Add in clear division points that involve blank pages and pictures, and the whole makes the story progress that much more smoothly.  Those blank pages and pictures are important because they feel almost like virtual commercial breaks within the story.  They, together with the solid wording connecting the stories, completely ensure readers’ maintained engagement and entertainment, showing completely, the importance of the story’s transitions.  Keeping all of this in mind, there is a lot for readers to alike about this story of Ronnie James Dio’s life and career.  It still is just a portion of what makes the story so appealing.  The noted pictures used between the chapters round out the story’s most important elements.

The pictures that are presented throughout Rainbow in the Dark are important because they honestly help to tell the story in their own right.  Case in point is an early picture of Ronnie as a boy with his parents.  Readers will note that Ronnie’s father is in a military uniform.  That might help to explain the sense that Ronnie explains he got of his father.  That sense in question is a determination to make sure one is one’s best self possible.  That is a value that the military does in fact instill in its personnel young and old alike.  A later picture of Ronnie with his band mates in Elf during the 1970s made them comparable to the look of bands, such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, and others.  Ronnie explains in the story that follows the story, a laugh-inducing anecdote about not wanting to cut those long locks, but seemingly having to in order to help market the band.  It is another way in which the pictures tie in to the story to help enrich the reading experience.  On another note, there is also a picture of Ronnie with Ritchie Blackmore in the early days of Rainbow backstage before a show.  It helps to bridge two other chapters in which Ronnie talks about that part of his career.  It is such a casual picture, clearly not staged.  Together with his own words, it showed how happy Ronnie was at that time.  Between these pictures and so many others, the pictures prove to tell the story here just as much as the story itself.  Keeping this in mind along with the impact of the smooth transitions, the whole of these noted items makes Rainbow in the Dark a fully immersive, engaging and entertaining story of one of rock’s greatest figures.

Permuted Press’ forthcoming presentation of Rainbow in the Dark is a wonderfully engaging and entertaining look into the life and career of Ronnie James Dio.  The story itself is told through Ronnie’s own words on pages up on pages of collected notes.  The stories are at times laugh-inspiring and at others heartbreaking.  Through it all, the stories are told simply, making the story fully accessible for readers.  This is in itself, reason enough for audiences to read this story.  The transitions that are used between the story[s chapters build on the appeal established by the story.  That is because of their fluidity.  The manner in which Ronnie ends and begins each story is the biggest part of that fluidity.  The blank pages and pictures used between the chapters also play into that fluidity.  That is because they allow readers a moment to take in everything before moving on to each chapter.  Speaking of the pictures, they do well as visual aids, helping to tell the story just as much as Ronnie’s own words.  In some cases, they add even more to the story.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this book.  All things considered, they make Rainbow in the Dark a story that will appeal to a wide range of readers.  The book is scheduled for release next Friday, July 27, through Permute Press.  More information on the book is available along with all of Dio’s latest news at:

Website: https://ronniejamesdio.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/OfficialRJDio

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to https://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.  

Dio Cancer Fund Marks Famed Front Man’s 78th Birthday With Special Video Presentation

Courtesy: Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund will mark what would have been the late, great rocker’s 78th birthday today.

The anniversary will be commemorated with a new video.  The video features a compilation of interviews with celebrity guests at past Dio Cancer Fund events, including this year’s 10th annual gala.  Among those featured in the video are fellow rockers, such as Rob Halford, Dave Grohl, and Glenn Hughes.

Highlights from this year’s event were compiled into a separate video that is streaming here.  Merchandise from the gala, such as posters, t-shirts, and programs is available to buy here.

The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  It was founded following Dio’s death in 2010 from gastric cancer.  In the now decade since its foundation, the fund has raised more than $2 million to fight gastric cancer.

In its early years, the RJD Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund committed funds to specific gastric cancer research at M.D. Cancer Center in Houston, where Dio was treated over the last six months of his life.  In the years since, the fund has also provided research funding to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN through the fund’s partnership with the T.J. Martell Foundation.  The partnership was established to research blood tests to detect gastric and esophageal cancers.

The partnership and research led to the acquisition of a multi-million-dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Donations to the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund can be made online here.

Over the course of his professional career, Ronnie James Dio fronted Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Heaven & Hell, and even his own band.

More information on the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund is available along with the organization’s latest news at:

 

Website: http://www.diocancerfund.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/DioCancerFund

 

All of the latest RJD news is available at:

 

 

 

Websitehttp://ronniejamesdio.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Twitterhttp://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 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

 

 

 

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 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

 

 

 

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 Pick blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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.