Rhino Classic Albums Collection [f.y.e. Exclusive]

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It would be difficult to find a heavy metallist that doesn't agree that Ronnie James Dio was one of the genre's all-time great vocalists. After all, few other singers possessed a voice as instantly identifiable and powerful as Mr. Dio (let alone his instantly identifiable lyrics, as well, which often dealt with dungeons, dragons, knights, etc.). Just a few months before Dio's untimely passing in May of 2010, a multi-disc Dio collection was released as an FYE exclusive, titled Rhino Classic Albums Collection. On the three discs, you'll find three complete Dio releases -- 2000's The Very Beast of Dio, 1983's Holy Diver, and 1987's Dream Evil. As evidenced by its title, The Very Beast of Dio is a smartly assembled "best-of" collection, which focuses solely on Dio's solo years, spanning 1983 through 1994 (in other words, no Elf-, Rainbow-, or Black Sabbath-era tracks are included). Still, you'll find quite a few all-time metal anthems, including "Holy Diver," "Rainbow in the Dark," "The Last in Line," and "We Rock," as well as lesser-known (but just as rocking) tracks such as "Stand Up and Shout," "King of Rock and Roll," and "Lock Up the Wolves." Out of several Dio collections released over the years, The Very Beast of Dio remains the beast...rather, best. Holy Diver (which was Dio's solo debut) captures Dio and company in an inspired mode, as Ronnie was obviously out to prove to the world that his parting from Black Sabbath was not going to bring him down -- as evidenced by such aforementioned standouts as the title track, "Rainbow in the Dark," and "Don't Talk to Strangers." And lastly, Dream Evil is a bit of an odd choice to be included here, as there are certainly other Dio releases that are stronger (namely, 1984's The Last in Line). But still, Dio admirably stuck to his stylistic path in an era of rampant hairspray and spandex, as heard on such standouts as "All the Fools Sailed Away" (which was surprisingly not included on The Very Beast of Dio) and "I Could Have Been a Dreamer." If you're a newcomer to the medieval-tinged metallic magic of Ronnie James Dio, then this edition of the Rhino Classic Albums Collection will provide you with the keys to the Dio kingdom (swords and metal body armor not included, however).

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