Dio

Intermission

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For some mysterious reason, live EPs were all the rage among heavy metal acts in the mid-'80s, and journeyman vocalist Ronnie James Dio -- then riding the crest of a successful solo career built upon his previous associations with Rainbow and Black Sabbath -- joined the fray with 1986's Intermission. Largely recorded during Dio's high-profile headlining tour of the previous year (new track "Time to Burn" was cut to break in new guitarist Craig Goldy), the EP was positioned, for all intents and purposes, as a celebration of the group's largely successful career thus far, but it may actually have been a desperate ploy to spur the fading sales of its third effort, Sacred Heart. Whatever its true intentions, Intermission featured three cuts from the lukewarm Sacred Heart -- "King of Rock and Roll," the title song, and a medley combining "Rock 'n' Roll Children" with the Rainbow evergreen "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" -- but only one track each from Dio's superior first two albums: the storming "We Rock" and hit single "Rainbow in the Dark." In other words, this is hardly an essential release, but if nothing else, the EP's cover served to immortalize the cruelly nicknamed "Denzel the Dragon" stage prop -- surely one of the most memorable and mocked monuments to on-stage heavy metal hubris ever conceived -- which the diminutive Dio would slay with his sword on a nightly basis.

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