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Dio - "Killing The Dragon"
Spitfire Records 2002

With "Killing The Dragon" Ronnie James Dio succeeded exactly in what it was asked from him. He brought the lost ghost of "Holy Diver" back alive. Everything that had to be done was to move the tempo of "Magica" to the upper gear. In line-up with the legend Jimmy Bain on bass guitar and Simon Wright (drums) was firstly made a reservation for Craig Goldy on guitar. But during the recording sessions he was replaced with ex-Lion/Bad Moon Rising/House Of Lords guitarist Doug Aldritch. By the way, Dio had in sight Doug for "Lock Up The Wolves" record. Well, anyway after more than ten years Doug finally found a place in the band.

Even Dio himself admitted that he couldn't find a better solution in taking a new man on guitar in his line-up. Doug is really showing his great talents. Diverse solos and bridges that are perfectly fitted into songs and great powerful riffing. Everything is done with great balls. And for that kind of music you have to find a brave man, because guitar always plays the most important role here. And I'm sure that Doug is the right guy for that. I'm very enthusiastic about seeing Doug with Dio live. This will be a hellish night to remember.

From the first strike of the opener "Killing The Dragon" you are taken into golden eighties legacy of Ronald Padavona. Especially "Along Comes A Spider", "Better In The Dark" (that reminds me a little of Rainbow's "Long Live Rock'n'roll"), "Rock & Roll", "Push" or "Before The Fall" will confirm you that. "Scream" as a third piece on the record is a midtempo song. And what kind of rhythm line was used in prechorus? "Heaven And Hell's" with well known fat bass guitar line and drums in front. A little Black Sabbath intermezzo. But pieces that I like the most are "Rock & Roll" and "Throw Away The Children". Another recognizable meterman's masterpieces.

Dio is singing again as only Dio can sing. But I got the impression that he likes to sing on "Killing The Dragon" with a little "dirtier" approach. I mean that his vocal lines are not so crystal clear as somebody would expect. But this little guy still explodes like hell and his alive singing raises a great atmosphere through entire record. He pushes his vocals to the limits especially in choruses which are highlights of all songs. And Dio's vocal line is very well combined with keyboards and back vocals. All instruments are balanced. Production is in the same direction of "Magica", but musically as I mentioned before "Killing The Dragon" is more powerful and alive release than the previous one.

Well Dio's new creation is what we wanted to be. But unstoppable 60 year old legend is full of new ideas making the new plans in future. He says that his further goal is to make a "Magica pt II." and that will be followed by "Magica pt III" So? I think that this is a good reason for all of us to "Stand Up And Shout"!

Author:   Aleš

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