MAGIC/A TRIBUTE TO RONNIE JAMES DIO – This compilation of songs, paying tribute to the late and forever legendary Ronnie James Dio, was released on July 20, 2010, on Magic Circle Music. The executive producer for this album is Joey DeMaio, bass guitarist and founding member of Metal legends… MANOWAR. Joey is also the founder and man-in-charge of Magic Circle Music, starting this record label back in 2005. HolyHell, Feinstein and Jack Starr’s Burning Starr are just a few of the many bands under the Magic Circle Music label and appearing on this tribute album as well.
The assemblage of Metal Bands heard on this Ronnie James Dio Tribute album gives it more added appeal, these are bands that are not vying for position at any Hollywood plastic awards shows, which brings a huge sigh of relief to me. Sincerity in Metal is key, especially when it comes to a tribute album for such a legend as Ronnie James Dio. In other words, you won’t hear any “club mix” or “flavor of the month” band here. It’s all real, especially when “The Kings Of Metal” themselves, are included on this album – MANOWAR. Their presence alone solidifies and justifies all the more reason to buy, listen to and enjoy this Ronnie James Dio Tribute. This album contains cover songs from Ronnie James Dio’s career with Rainbow and Black Sabbath, songs in which Ronnie not only sung his heart out on but cowrote as well.
There are two songs that are the exception here and are not covers, they are – Far Beyond by Feinstein and Never More by Neoclassical guitarist Dean Cascione. Far Beyond is from the debut album by Feinstein – Third Wish. David “Rock” Feinstein, (original guitarist for Elf and later guitarist/vocalist for the influential Heavy Metal Band – The Rods), can play some lean & mean Metal guitar. He displays his guitar prowess on Far Beyond, making for a fabulous salute to his cousin and former Elf band mate, Ronnie James Dio. Whoa, is this song melodic and John West on vocals is an absolute Metal treat to thine ears.
Dean Cascione showcases his guitar skills in a moving and emotional instrumental that is Never More. If Dean’s guitar could speak, it would be saying… thank you Ronnie, you are so missed. That is exactly how I interpret this guitar instrumental, with having it’s rightful place amongst the other songs on this album. Straight Through The Heart covered by Harlet just flat out Rocks. Todd Michael Hall on vocals is excellent… as he gives this DIO classic it’s just revered due.
MANOWAR cuts loose with the first song, a cover of the revered – Heaven And Hell. MANOWAR unleashes their very own thunder strike of Metal into Heaven And Hell, all the while adhering to this song’s original tempo and mystically dark mood. The bass of Joey DeMaio is heavily prominent in this cover, just as Geezer Butler’s bass is in the original. What a tremendous way to get this Ronnie James Dio Tribute album moving!
HolyHell covers Holy Diver, it’s a live recording done somewhere in Norway. Maria Breon on vocals brings another listening dimension to this ultra classic DIO song. Maria’s eloquent vocal style combined with the Power Metal of HolyHell comes recommended by Stone. I really enjoy listening to this cover and to this band. MetalForce covers The Last In Line. This Power Metal version is a mighty listen with Tristan Visser on guitar leaving quite a Metal impression on me, he takes on the solo with fearless Metal fury. Tarek Maghary on vocals gives The Last In Line the Old School emotion it so deserves.
Now, let’s talk about Jack Starr’s Burning Starr… unreal is the cover version of Catch The Rainbow by this legendary guitarist and his band. Todd Michael Hall on vocals is brilliant. Catch The Rainbow is without question, the most soothing Hard Rock song I have ever listened to… both the Rainbow original and this cover version as well. I’d have to pick this song along with the Heaven And Hell cover from Manowar as the two best songs on this album.
For those who may not know, Jack Starr was the founder and guitarist for the highly influential and renowned 1980′s Power Metal Band from New York – Virgin Steele. After the Virgin Steele era, Jack Starr continued onward with Burning Starr, his solo career, revisiting his love for the blues and having a stake in a few other bands. I could continue on and on with the history of Jack Starr… we’ll just leave that for another post in the future. After Burning Starr’s two decade absence of an album, Defiance was released in 2009 on Magic Circle Music. Defiance marks the fifth studio album release from Jack Starr’s… Burning Starr.
Joey DeMaio and all of these bands mentioned, have delivered quite the Old School and well deserved tribute to the late/great Ronnie James Dio with this compilation album. The historical Heavy Metal linkage associated with this tribute album is a thrill in and of itself! Combine this history with a few younger Metal bands that appear here and Magic – A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio truly bridges the gap between generations of Metal Bands and fans. Even the liner notes seem to glisten with that “days of Metal yesteryear” image. The four pages of photo’s celebrating Ronnie James Dio, within the liner notes, show him as a member of The Electric Elves, Rainbow and Black Sabbath.
I guess my Metal enthusiasm has essentially spilled over on writing about this tribute album to Ronnie James Dio. What I walk away with, after listening to all of the songs on this album and realizing the history behind the music, is that the Heavy Metal genre is very much a diverse and well connected family tree. And this family tree I will continue to climb, love and explore for the rest of my Metal life.
* The very cool & Metal album cover illustration is by – Ken Kelly.
* For more info on the bands involved in this great tribute album to Ronnie James Dio, just click on the helpful links below:
Track Listing For MAGIC – A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio:
Heaven And Hell – Manowar
Holy Diver (Live In Norway) – HolyHell
The Last In Line - Metalforce
Long Live Rock ‘n’ Roll - Magic Circle All Star Band
I Speed At Night - Awaken
A Light In The Black - Crosswind
Never More - Dean Cascione
Far Beyond – Feinstein
Straight Through The Heart – Harlet
Catch The Rainbow – Jack Starr’s Burning Starr
* A Metal Roll Call To The Bands Heard On Magic – A Tribute To Ronnie James Dio:
Eric Adams – vocals
Donnie Hamzik – drums
Karl Logan – guitar
Joey DeMaio – bass
Maria Breon - vocals
Joe Stump – guitar
Francisco Palomo – keyboards
Jay Rigney - bass
Rhino - drums
Tarek Maghary - vocals
Tristan Visser – guitar
Jan Raddaatz – drums
Magic Circle All Star Band:
Sammy “Shmoulik” Avigal – vocals
Joe Stump – guitar
Jack Starr – guitar
Glenn DaGrossa – vocals
Artie Dillon – guitar & vocals
Joe Todaro – guitar
Freddy Villano – bass
Nick D’Alessandro – drums
Kyriakos Vasdokas – vocals & guitar
Leon Tsorbatzoglou – guitar
Vasilis Mitsaris – drums
Guest Musician: Yiannis Papadopoulos – backing vocals
DEAN CASCIONE - guitar
David “Rock” Feinstein – guitar
John West – vocals
Jeff Howell – bass
Nate Horton - drums
Bob Twining – keyboards
Todd Michael Hall - vocals
Tod Walraven – guitar
Jon Hall – bass
Doug Julian – drums
JACK STARR’S BURNING STARR:
Jack Starr - guitar
Todd Michael Hall - vocals
Ned Michael Meloni – bass
Guest Musician: Rhino – drums
LONG LIVE THE MUSIC OF RONNIE JAMES DIO.
REST IN PEACE, RONNIE JAMES DIO.