Dio - 'Magica Deluxe' Hot

Added by James Gaden     August 22, 2013    
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As deluxe reissues go, this is definitely one worth adding to your collection!

In its 40 odd year tenure, the ever bountiful world of hard rock and heavy metal (and its myriad of offshoots) has produced some world class vocalists, but you could probably count on the fingers of one hand those of whom it could truly be said that they defined the very essence of what it was all about … Ronnie James Dio however would without doubt make it onto any such list, regardless of the author.

Born in New Hampshire in the early 1940’s, he first found fame in the early 70’s with Elf; but it was with Rainbow and then Black Sabbath that his impeccable credentials became embedded in the very fabric of rock ‘n’ roll folklore. When his position in Black Sabbath became untenable in 1982, Ronnie decided that the time was right to become master of his own destiny ... and so his namesake band Dio was born. And, for much of the next quarter of a century or so until his passing in 2010 (a loss that leaves us all that much poorer), Dio were one of the most respected bands on the circuit.

In their later years they may not quite have had the same pulling power as they did back in the ‘Holy Diver’ days, but they continued to release a steady stream of high quality albums that capitalised on Ronnie’s strengths as both vocalist and storyteller extraordinaire. Considered by many to be his last great masterwork, ‘Magica’ – the only official concept album in the Dio canon – was originally released in February 2000. Long out of print, the album has now been reissued as a deluxe, two disc package via Niji Entertainment (the label set up by Ronnie and his wife Wendy a few years ago).

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Fully remastered and lavishly repackaged (the artwork seems sharper, and the expanded booklet includes the musings of respected journalist Mick Wall as well as tour dates, set lists, pictures, etc.), it presents the original ‘Magica’ epic in its entirety and adds a raft of bonus material. Time and space preclude me from dwelling too long on ‘Magica’ itself, but as long standing Dio fans already know tracks such as ‘Lord Of The Last Day’, the brilliant ‘Eriel’ and ‘As Long As It’s Not About Love’ need little introduction – epic magnificence personified!

Good as the original album is however, hard-core Dio collectors will be much more interested in the contents of disc two. For starters there’s the sprawling ‘Annica’ (which was only available on the Japanese version of the album), and the previously unheard ‘Elektra’, a brooding behemoth which was scheduled for ‘Magica 2 and 3’ and was one of the last things Ronnie worked on prior to his death. Finally, the rest of the disc is given over to smoking live performances of tracks like ‘Losing My Insanity’, ‘Fever Dreams’ and ‘Feed My Head’.

As deluxe reissues go, this is definitely one worth adding to your collection!

Dave Cockett

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Franco Cerchiari said:

I have never been a huge fan of "deluxe editions with bonus tracks." It always seemed to me that it a was way for the label to charge more for stuff we really don't need. "Acoustic versions," "rehearsal versions," "early versions," "instrumental versions," "acapella versions," "vocal mix versions," and on and on. But this one is different. Perhaps it is because of the fact that this CD in it's own way celebrates the life and majesty that is Ronnie James Dio. It's a fact that some rock deaths seem to happen and not much is said about it. Can you remember when The Knack's drummer Bruce Gary passed away? Not to say that one death is less meaningful than another, but when Ronnie James Dio died an entire part of heavy metal died as well. His voice, his larger than life persona as the one who brought us the "devil horns" and the sound which he gave to The Vegas Kings, (which featured Ronnie as the bass player,) The Rumblers, The Prophets, Elf, Rainbow, Sabbath, Heaven and Hell and on to his solo project Dio is what made us latch on to those releases, and when he passed those releases seemed to become even more personal.

Which brings me to the CD here. A concept album, it tells the story of how another world is invaded by dark forces and turns people of that world into pure evil. What becomes evident quickly is how the songs here are darker, and have a depth not heard on earlier releases like the masterpieces Holy Diver, The Last In Line, and Dream Evil. This is darker tone is truly tangible on "Feed My Head," "Eriel," and "As Long As It's Not About Love."

Back on board with this release is guitar god Craig Goldy, keyboard wizard Scott Warren (ex-Warrant and ex-Keel,) and long time Dio bassist Jimmy Bain (ex-Gary Moore, ex-Wild Horses, and who was offered the bassist slot in the classic rock band, The Babys.) Adding to those tracks heard on the regular release are live versions of several tracks and lasting almost 19 minutes is the story of Magica told by Ronnie James Dio himself.

I'm going to miss Ronnie James Dio. His voice will never be completely silenced, for we have his CDs to remind us all of how truly inspirational he was to a whole other generation of vocalists. Thank you for the music Ronnie, we will never forget you. Devil horns up forever.
September 15, 2013
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