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"Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life" (CD)

Adrenaline Mob - "Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life" CD cover image

"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

Reviewed by on September 22, 2014

"At its best, 'Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life' is an effective tribute to one of metal's finest frontmen."

If one were grading for good intent, "Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life" would merit an automatic five skulls. It's a heartfelt tribute to one of the great voices of metal -- and the proceeds go to help fight cancer. Grading it purely musically, it's much more of a mixed bag.

Things get off to a superb start with Anthrax's take on Black Sabbath's "Neon Knights." Joey Belladonna manages to convey the same level of power that Ronnie gave the track without resorting to an out-and-out impersonation of Dio. Just as they did with AC/DC's "TNT" on the superb "Anthems" EP, the band adds enough of its trademark crunch at the end to make the tune their own.

Then, Tenacious D offers up a take on "The Last In Line" that perfectly straddles the line between their more acoustic style and the Dio original. Are Jack Black's vocals a little over the top? Sure, but that's part of the fun.

Another highlight of the disc is the Scorpions' take on the Rainbow chestnut "The Temple Of The King." Turning an acoustic tune electric pays off -- and the tune really begins to feel more like the Scorps than Rainbow, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Metallica's "Ronnie Rising Medley" is a sheer delight from beginning to end, especially when the band launches into "Kill The King." Those expecting that James Hetfield's vocals would fall short of the mark will be quite pleasantly surprised with how well he acquits himself here.

Also, I have to say that having Ronnie put the capper on things with the piano ballad title track (which was originally on the "Angry Machines" album) is a nice touch.

On the downside, there are a few tracks that just plain miss the mark. Most surprising is the misfire delivered by Rob Halford on "Man On The Silver Mountain." The Judas Priest frontman delivers what will likely go down as one of his most boring vocals.

No one expects a Dio-level vocal performance from Lemmy Kilmister, but bringing in Saxon's Biff Byford on Motorhead's take on the groupie anthem "Starstruck" fails to pay off. Corey Taylor's take on "Rainbow In The Dark" is also not all that impressive.

At its best, "Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life" is an effective tribute to one of metal's finest frontmen. A handful of lesser performances do detract somewhat from the disc, bit the cause is just and the hearts are definitely in the right place.

Highs: Great outings by Anthrax, Metallica and the Scorpions.

Lows: Rob Halford's worst vocals ever.

Bottom line: A mostly great tribute, dragged down by some poor performances

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)