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’ To Start Publishing Worldwide Soon

Courtesy: Permuted Press

Audiences around the world will soon get to read Ronnie James Dio’s new autobiography.

According to information in a press release distributed Thursday, the book, Rainbow in the Dark, will start publishing in multiple languages starting Aug. 27 in Germany. Additionally, publications in Finnish, Bulgarian, Portugese (in Brazil), Japanese, Swedish, Italian, and Polish are coming, as well as in Hungarian in the first quarter of 2022, the document states.

Rainbow in the Dark originally published last month through Permuted Press in the United States and Canada, and through Constable in the United Kingdom. The autobiography collects Ronnie James Dio’s own notes that he wrote throughout his life for its story. The story starts in Dio’s childhood and runs up through his namesake band’s premiere at Madison Square Garden in 1987.

Co-written by music journalist Mick Wall and RJD’s wife Wendy, the book premiered at #12 on Publisher’s Weekly‘s Hard cover/Non-Fiction Best Sellers list last week.

More information on the book is available along with all of Dio’s latest news at:

Websitehttps://ronniejamesdio.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Twitterhttps://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.  

‘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.  

BMG, Niji Entertainment’s New Dio Live Re-Issues Will Appeal To Dio’s Most Devoted, Vinyl-Loving Fans

Courtesy: BMG/Niji Entertainment

Late last year, representatives with Niji Entertainment – the company responsible for many recent Dio re-issues – and BMG announced that the were partnering to launch a new series of re-issues of Dio’s archived live recordings.  That series launched Friday with the re-issues of his previously released live recordings Evil or Divine: Live in New York City and Holy Diver Live.  These two re-issues are presentations that will appeal to some audiences and at the same time, prove somewhat intriguing.  The recordings will prove appealing in part because of their expanded availability.  This will be discussed shortly.  The set lists featured in each set list makes them intriguing.  This will be discussed a little later.  The additional content featured with the re-issues will appeal to audiences, too, but only to a point.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of these first two re-issues in BMG and Niji Entertainment’s Dio live re-issues series.  All things considered, they make the recordings a presentation that will appeal primarily to Dio’s most devoted fans.

BMG and Niji Entertainment’s brand new re-issues of his live recordings Evil or DivineLive in New York City and Holy Diver Live are presentations that will find appeal among a specific audience group.  That group is the most devoted Dio fans.  That is due in part to the fact that the previously out-of-print recordings have been made available in this presentation on two separate platforms – CD and LP.  Evil or Divine: Live in New York City is now available on 2CD mediabook and 3LP set.  Specific details were not provided information presented about the recordings, so it has to be assumed in this case, the CDs in question contain the 15-song set from the original 2002 concert while the “book” features pictures and new liner notes about the concert.  The LP set contains the noted concert, too.  This will appeal to those audiences who are more fan vinyls than CDs. 

The re-issue of Holy Diver Live also features the original concert, which was recorded in 2005, on a 3LP set.  Once again, this will appeal mainly to vinyl aficionados as part of the ongoing to appeal to those audiences.  What’s more, the recording was pulled directly from the recording’s original 2006 presentation on CD, DVD and Blu-ray.  In other words, audiences get from this presentation the same concert that they got in the concert’s previous release here on each platform, just in an audio-only format instead of on a full audio-visual presentation.  On a similar note, the track listing of the Live in New York City is lifted from the concert’s 2003 DVD release rather than its 2005 CD release.  This leads into the recordings’ most intriguing and somewhat problematic issue, that of the track listings as they relate to the platforms on which they have been released here.

Courtesy: BMG/Niji Entertainment

It has been noted that the new re-issues of Dio’s live recordings Evil or Divine: Live in New York City and Holy Diver Live are positives for Dio’s most devoted fan base because in this case, BMG and Niji Entertainment have made them available on CD as well as vinyl sets.  Those vinyl sets even feature some bonus content, which will be discussed later.  While that is true, one also cannot help but wonder why the recordings were not also re-issued on Blu-ray in this case.  That is especially the case with Evil or Divine: Live in New York City.  The set list from that recording’s DVD release is what audiences get on the 2CD and 3LP set here.  It has yet to receive a Blu-ray re-issue, and considering that concerts are meant to be heard and seen, there is no denying that having the DVD set list re-issued exclusively on audio rather than also on audio-visual presentations is slightly disconcerting.  Even in the case of Holy Diver Live, knowing that the set list featured in the CD and LP platforms came direct from the concert’s previous releases, one cannot help but wonder why the concert was not re-issued here on DVD and Blu-ray as well complete with the bonus content featured in the vinyl set.  The end result here is that while it is good that these concerts have been re-issued, it becomes clear that these re-issues are being aimed primarily at Dio fans who are also vinyl fans more so than Dio fans in general.  Yes fans who prefer CDs to vinyl are rewarded, but fans who prefer experiencing concerts in full rather than those who would take them in on audio-only platforms are left out here.  So to that end, while the availability is expanded here, that expansion is still only to a point. It is not enough to make these re-issues failures, but that aside, it does still detract from the recordings’ presentations.

While the limited expansion of Dio’s new live recordings definitely detracts from the re-issues’ success, the bonus content offered to those who can look past that issue will appeal in its own way to the noted targeted audiences.  The CD presentations of each re-issue offer those audiences what has to be assumed to be (again no details about the specifics of the mediabooks were released in the information about the re-issues) extra photos and possible liner notes for the concerts.  While maybe not a whole lot, those possible photos will make up slightly for the concerts not being re-issued on DVD and/or Blu-ray.  They will help give audiences at least a glimpse into the concerts.  The vinyls feature their own bonuses.  The Live in New York City vinyl offers audiences four songs total from Dio’s albums, Angry Machines, Magica, Killing the Dragon, and Master of the Moon.  BMG and Niji Entertainment, by the way, re-issued all four of those albums on CD last year.  The Holy Diver Live brings in the same bonus content that was featured in its original release so long ago.  So in all, audiences who purchase the vinyl re-issues of the recordings will get their own bonus content, as will fans who get the CD re-issues.  It is just that those who buy the vinyl re-issues will get even more out of those re-issues than those who buy the CD re-issues.  To that end, the bonus content featured in these recordings’ re-issues, on each available platform, but it is a limited positive.  That is because audiences who get the vinyls really get more albeit slightly more, than those who buy the recordings’ CD re-issues.  Keeping this in mind along with everything else discussed here, it becomes clear that while audiences will appreciate having these previously out-of-print recordings in their music libraries, those who do will be a more targeted audience than all of Dio’s fans.

BMG and Niji Entertainment’s new re-issues of his live recordings Evil or Divine: Live in New York City and Holy Diver Live are interesting presentations.  They give audiences who might not have otherwise had the recordings on any of the platforms from their previous releases something to appreciate.  That is due to the somewhat expanded availability of the recordings here.  Fans of vinyl and those of CDs will both be able to take in the concerts on the respective platforms.  Of course while audiences are also somewhat punished because the recordings were not re-issued on DVD or Blu-ray whereas their predecessors were.  That is going to limit the appeal for these recordings.  The bonus content featured with the recordings offers its own appeal for audiences. Though considering the information provided did not lay out as directly, the bonus content featured in the CD platforms as the vinyl re-issues, one cannot help but feel that the vinyl re-issues offer more to appreciate in terms of bonus content than the CD re-issues.  Keeping all of this in mind, BMG and Niji Entertainment’s new re-issues of Evil or Divine: Live in New York City and Holy Diver Live will appeal to a Dio’s most devoted fans, especially those who prefer vinyl to any other platform.  These re-issues are available now.

More information on BMG and Niji Entertainment’s new live Dio re-issues is available along with all of the latest Ronnie James Dio news at:

Websitehttps://ronniejamesdio.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/OfficialRonnieJamesDio

Twitterhttps://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.

Rhino Records To Re-issue Two Classic Black Sabbath Albums

Courtesy: Rhino Records

Two classic Black Sabbath albums will get the re-issue treatment this winter.

Heaven and Hell (1980) and Mob Rules (1981) are scheduled for re-issue March 5 through Rhino Records. The albums were the only Black Sabbath records recorded with Ronnie James Dio during what would be his first stint with the band. Dio’s second stint in 1992 was shorter, resulting in the album Dehumanizer.

The forthcoming re-issues of Heaven and Hell and Mob Rules will release on separate 2CD sets and 2LP sets. The 2CD sets will retail for MSRP of $19.98 and the 2LP sets for $31.98. The vinyl sets will feature the same bonus content that is featured in the 2CD sets.

The full track listing for the CD and LP sets is noted below. Audiences can download a live take of the song ‘Heaven and Hell‘ and a previously unreleased live version of the song ‘The Mob Rules‘ as digital singles now.

HEAVEN AND HELL: DELUXE EDITION
2-CD Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
1.       “Neon Knights”
2.       “Children Of The Sea”
3.       “Lady Evil”
4.       “Heaven And Hell”
5.       “Wishing Well”
6.       “Die Young”
7.       “Walk Away”
8.       “Lonely Is The Word”
 
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
3.       “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
Hartford Civic Center, Hartford, CT (August 10, 1980)
4.       “Neon Knights” *
5.       “Children Of The Sea” *
6.       “Heaven And Hell” *
7.       “Die Young” *
Hammersmith Odeon, London (Dec 31, 1981- Jan 2, 1982)
8.      “E5150”
9.      “Neon Knights”
10.    “Children Of The Sea”
11.    “Heaven And Hell”
 
2-LP Track Listing
Side One
1.       “Neon Knights”
2.       “Children Of The Sea”
3.       “Lady Evil”
4.       “Heaven And Hell”
 
Side Two
1.       “Wishing Well”
2.       “Die Young”
3.       “Walk Away”
4.       “Lonely Is The Word”
 
Side Thee
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live B-Side Of “Neon Knights” *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live B-Side Of “Die Young” *
3.       “Lady Evil” – 7” Mono Edit (unreleased on CD)
4.       “Neon Knights” – Live 1980 *

Side Four
1.       “Children Of The Sea” – Live 1980 *
2.       “Heaven And Hell” – Live 1980 *
3.       “Die Young” – Live 1980 *
 
MOB RULES: DELUXE EDITION
2-CD Track Listing

Disc One: Original Album (2021 Remaster)
1.       “Turn Up The Night”
2.       “Voodoo”
3.       “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
4.       “E5150”
5.       “The Mob Rules”
6.       “Country Girl”
7.       “Slipping Away”
8.       “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
9.       “Over And Over”

Bonus Tracks
10.    “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
11.    “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
12.    “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)
13.    “Country Girl”
14.    “Slipping Away” 
15.    “The Mob Rules”
16.    “Voodoo”
Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982 
17.    Intro **
18.    “Neon Knights” **
 
Disc Two: Bonus Tracks
Live At Portland Memorial Coliseum, Portland, OR, April 22, 1982
1.       “N.I.B.” **
2.       “Children Of The Sea” **
3.       “Voodoo” **
4.       “Black Sabbath” **
5.       “War Pigs” **
6.       Drum Solo **
7.       “Iron Man” **
8.       “The Mob Rules” **
9.       “Heaven And Hell” **
10.    Guitar Solo **
11.    “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
12.    “Paranoid” **
13.    “Children Of The Grave” **
 
2-LP Track Listing
Side One
1.       “Turn Up The Night”
2.       “Voodoo”
3.       “The Sign Of The Southern Cross”
4.       “E5150”
5.       “The Mob Rules”
 
Side Two
1.       “Country Girl”
2.       “Slipping Away”
3.       “Falling Off The Edge Of The World”
4.       “Over And Over”
 
Side Three
1.       “The Mob Rules” – Heavy Metal Soundtrack Version
2.       “Die Young” – Live B-Side Of “Mob Rules” 7” *
3.       “The Mob Rules” – New 2021 Mix **
4.       “Sign Of The Southern Cross/Heaven And Hell” – Reprise **
 
Side Four
Live At The Hammersmith Odeon London (31/12/81 – 2/1/82)
1.       “Country Girl”
2.       “Slipping Away” 
3.       “The Mob Rules”
4.       “Voodoo”
 
* previously unreleased in North America
** previously unreleased 

More information on this and other titles from Rhino Records is available online at:

Website: http://www.rhino.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Rhino_Records

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

Classic Dio Album Getting Its Own Graphic Novel

Courtesy: Z2 Comics

Comic publisher Z2 is paying tribute to rock legend Ronnie James Dio.

The music-based comics company is scheduled to publish a new graphic novel centered on Dio’s album Holy Diver next year.  Writer Steve Niles will write the graphic novel’s story, which is based on the album’s cover art.  Scott Hampton will take on the project’s artwork.

Niles was humble as he talked about writing the graphic novel’s story.

“I’m so excited to be writing this book,” he said. “I hope I do Ronnie James Dio justice.”

RJD’s widow Wendy explained the concept behind the 120-page story in a recent interview.

“Steve Niles tells the story behind the album cover ‘Holy Diver,’ a story about how you can’t judge a picture by the way it appears, which is what Ronnie wrote many times in his songs; that you have to see inside the person and not judge them by the way they look or by what they wear,” says Wendy Dio. “Together with Scott Hampton’s amazing artwork they tell the story of ‘Holy Diver,’and I know Ronnie would have given his stamp of approval on this great graphic novel.”

Z2 Publisher Josh Frankel said in his own comments, he was looking forward to the publication of the graphic novel.

“We have managed to work with some of the greatest legends in both comics and music, and a Dio graphic novel with a cover by the great Bill Sienkiewicz perhaps sums that up best,” said Frankel. “This is one of the most iconic heavy metal album covers in history. We are honored to pay tribute to the originator of the universal sign of the music that he has inspired since he first took the stage with Black Sabbath 40 years ago. Working with Wendy Dio directly to ensure it is true to his vision is the next best thing to working with Ronnie James Dio himself, and we have hit a new high note with this one!”

Pre-orders are open now for Dio: Holy Diver.

More information on Dio: Holy Diver is available along with all of the latest Ronnie James Dio news 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.

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

 

 

 

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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.