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Dio - Live In London Hammersmith Apollo 1993

Label: Eagle Rock
Format: DVD/CD
Released: 2014
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 8/ 10


1993 is one of the many transitional points in Heavy Metal history during the 90s. Traditional, thrash, doom, death/black, glam metal, and hard rock, all the bands played on Headbangers Ball, were (unfortunately) slowly being pushed to the side by labels and radio for the Grunge trend. In the next few years, Maiden and Priest will have changed singers, Metallica will think abandoning thrash and getting short hair cuts is a good idea, several bands will (unsuccessfully) try something new and jump on the 90s bandwagon, while many others will go into hibernation. Dio, thankfully, stayed true to the game.

 

Filmed on the “Strange Highways” tour, again, Ronnie Dio has assembled a new group of musicians for the album/tour. None of the players from the “Lock Up The Wolves” album make the cut. Following his recent departure (second time) from Black Sabbath, Dio takes (again) with him long time Dio/Sabbath (with Dio singing), drummer Vinny Appice. Appice is joined by Jeff Pilson (Dokken) on bass (both have music writing credit on the “Strange Highways” album), and new comer Tracy G on guitar, for a heavy album that is more energized by Sabbath than Dio’s work with Rainbow, or his previous solo albums. “Strange Highways” is strong (the mediocre follow up “Angry Machines” not so much), and one of my favorites in the Dio catalogue.

At the time, the Dio show is bare bones, no effects, props or fantasy elements, only Ronnie capturing the imagination with mysticism in the lyrics and how he brings emphasis to lyrics and points to the heavens (or Hell). Picture and sound are excellent, and this grouping of players are real tight. Tracy has often not been a preferred pairing for Dio and his music by fans, and I agree but only in a live setting when it comes to his interpretation of the solos for the classics. Riffs and rhythms he is fine. Regardless, his contribution to Dio’s catalogue with songs like 'Jesus Mary & The Holy Ghost', ‘Evilution’, ‘Pain’, and the “Strange Highways” title track should be respected and not in question.

An underrated and overlooked period to hopefully now be rediscovered with this release. Next, how about something live from the “Lock Up The Wolves” tour?...talking about overlooked.

 
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