The early '80s finally saw singer Ronnie James Dio launch a solo career, after making a name for himself with such renowned metal bands as Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow and Black Sabbath. As a result, it shouldn't come as a surprise that his subsequent outfit, Dio, combined styles of both bands -- namely Rainbow's goth keyboards and Sabbath's meaty guitar riffs -- while Dio's powerful vocals and tales of "dungeons and dragons" were the main focal point. Many fans will agree that Dio's finest work occurred early on, when ol' Ronnie had a young hotshot guitarist to collaborate with, Vivian Campbell (later of Whitesnake and Def Leppard fame). And that just happens to be the era that the 14-track Anthology, focuses mostly on. Included are such expected Dio classics as "Holy Diver," "Rainbow in the Dark," "Last in Line," and "We Rock," but it skips the best tracks from 1985's Sacred Heart (Campbell's last album with Dio), and forwards to the "Craig Goldie era" ("All the Fools Sailed Away," "I Could Have Been a Dreamer"). Not the most complete Dio collection out there, but paired together with Anthology, Vol. 2 (which does include the better tracks from Sacred Heart), it makes for a pretty thorough overview.
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato