RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Various Artists - Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life
Rhino Records

Rating: B+

In 2010, Ronnie James Dio lost his battle to stomach cancer.  Before he passed away, Ronnie worked with his manager and wife, Wendy Dio, to set up his cancer fund, as well as to plan ways to keep his musical legacy alive once he was gone.

Ronnie’s legacy would have lived on regardless, as he left a mark on heavy metal that will never be forgotten.  Near the top, or at the top, of any list of best metal vocalists of all time, Dio was also a very giving person.  He put his heart and soul into making his musical visions realities and his family, friends and fans were always at the forefront of his efforts. 

With the bands Rainbow and Black Sabbath, as well as with his own band, DIO, Ronnie created numerous masterpieces, many of which are included on This is Your Life, a tribute to Ronnie James Dio.  When you draw a cast of characters that includes Anthrax, Halestorm, Rob Halford, Metallica, Motorhead, Scorpions, Corey Taylor, And Tenacious D among others, then it is obvious how respected, beloved and missed Ronnie is among his friends and peers. 

A few of the songs included have appeared before, but most are newly recorded tributes of some of his best songs including “Neon Knights” by Anthrax, “The Last in Line” by Tenacious D, “Rainbow in the Dark” by Corey Taylor and others, “Straight Through the Heart” by Halestorm, “Starstruck” by Motorhead with Saxon’s Biff Byford on vocals and the Scorpions perform “The Temple of the King.” 

Proceeds of the album will go to benefit The Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, co-founded by Wendy Dio. The fund is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable fund dedicated to supporting cancer-prevention research while raising awareness and educating the public about the vital importance of early detection and prevention when dealing with this deadly disease.

Ronnie James Dio’’s music and vocals encapsulated the true spirit of heavy metal.  It is fantastical, at times spooky, yet always fun, energetic and enlightening.  It has energy and its own life force and its own spirit.  Ronnie was metal.  His spirit lives in the wind and in his music.

The final song on the album is Ronnie’’s song “This is Your Life” from the album Angry Machines, originally released in 1996.  The songs lyrics are haunting as Ronnie sings of mortality.  The songs arrangement features only Ronnie’’s voice, accompanied by Scott Warren on piano.  It is a powerful way to end the disc.  One walks away from this song in reverence for Ronnie, who, while resting in peace, lives on forever inside of each of us.

Learn more about the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund here www.diocancerfund.org.

RONNIE JAMES DIO: This Is Your Life Track Listing:
1.      “Neon Knights” – Anthrax*
2.      “The Last In Line” – Tenacious D*
3.      “The Mob Rules” – Adrenaline Mob
4.      “Rainbow In The Dark” – Corey Taylor, Roy Mayorga, Satchel, Christian Martucci, Jason Christopher*
5.      “Straight Through The Heart” – Halestorm*
6.      “Starstruck” – Motörhead with Biff Byford*
7.      “The Temple Of The King” – Scorpions*
8.      “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” – Doro
9.      “Holy Diver” – Killswitch Engage
10.  “Catch The Rainbow” – Glenn Hughes, Simon Wright, Craig Goldy, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren*
11.  “I” – Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, Brian Tichy*
12.  “Man On The Silver Mountain” – Rob Halford, Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, Scott Warren*
13.  “Ronnie Rising Medley (Featuring A Light In The Black, Tarot Woman, Stargazer, Kill The King)” – Metallica*
14.  “This Is Your Life” – Dio

* Previously unreleased

By Jeb Wright