The first domestically available Dio anthology (following the 1994 German import Diamonds), Rhino's The Very Beast of Dio is jam-packed with 16 tracks taken from the band's seven Warner and Reprise albums (spanning the years 1983-1994). Which is to say, it's an excellent overview of the band's career, especially given the unevenness of some of their albums. Ronnie James Dio honed his metal chops singing lead in both Rainbow and Black Sabbath, and his own band is sort of a reflection of both: the sinister, medievally gothic elegance of the former, and the crushingly heavy, doom-laden riffs of the latter. That combination, plus solid songwriting, made Dio's best work some of the most invigorating British metal of the '80s, and those qualities are best concentrated here.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey