Metal Review: Various Artists: Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life (2014)

Ronnie James Dio This Is Your Life

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There are few people in metal and rock that were as legendary as the late Ronnie James Dio. I doubt that there are many people out the that would dispute this with me. Outside of the constant debate of who was better with Black Sabbath (of course it was Ronnie), Dio was one of the most polarizing figures in metal. For someone who’s stature was minuscule, his footprint left in music is epic.

This is Your Life” was a release that I was looking forward to. It is not that I like these tribute albums, because I rarely enjoy a tribute album in its entirety, but there are normally a few songs that are worth the value of the album alone. Even some of my favorite tribute albums have a handful of songs that I hate on them.

With “This is Your Life,” there are so many facets to the album that are so cool. Rowan Robertson playing Dio songs again, Corey Taylor taking on vocals for Rainbow in the Dark, Rob Halford covering a Dio track. I could go on and on. All album proceeds are targeted for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund created after his passing in 2010 from stomach cancer. We will always miss you Ronnie.

As far as how the finished product goes, it is exactly what I expected – a few high points and a bunch of low points. As far as low goes, none could be worse than Tenacious D covering The Last in Line. This is basically a comedy band that has no business in such a serious album. It was a horrible idea. That is all that I will say on that.

Halestorm’s rendition of Straight Through the Heart is atrocious. The riff is off, and that is one of Dio’s best riffs. The song went south from the opening and never recovered.

On a brighter note, Anthrax’s cover of Neon Knights is adequate. As is normal with Anthrax, the low point is normally the vocals. I miss Bush.

Adrenaline Mob’s cover of The Mob Rules is adequate and makes for a fun listening. Corey Taylor does a nice job on vocals for Rainbow in the Dark. Even with a voice as strong as his, you can still not help but miss Ronnie on vocals.

Starstruck is covered by Motorhead with Biff Byford, and if there was ever a Dio song that Motorhead should cover, this was it. It fits their style so well.

Scorpions perform a nice cover of The Temple of the King. Scorpion is such an underrated band that will never get enough love.

Doro covers Egypt (The Chains Are On) and this cover is not new to most folks as is Killswitch Engage’s cover of Holy Diver.

The cover of Black Sabbath’s I is quite interesting mainly because of this being the song with Rowan Robertson. I always felt that he disappeared too quickly from the scene after his brief tenure with the legend. That boy could always just play and has such a warm tone. He has always been my favorite Dio guitarist from his solo work. You would have to see them on the Lock Up the Wolves tour to understand how good he is.

The all-star line-up for Man on the Silver Mountain is led by Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford. The metal god does Ronnie justice by reeling it in a little with his vocals and singing the song as it was meant to be sung. As much as I love Rob going off with the high pitches (he has not totally lost it by the way), he really performed this song well.

The track that everyone got all giddy for was Metallica’s medley of Ronnie songs, which is decent, but not one of the best on the album. As much as I used to love Metallica’s cover songs, they have had a lot of misses with their more recent cover songs. Kudos to them for chipping in though.

Of course, “This is Your Life” closes with Dio’s rendition of This is Your Life from “Angry Machines,” which is strong enough to bring a tear to anyone’s eye.

Overall, this is a must-add for any metal fan. Sadly, there are too many metal fans who thought that is was not cool to like Ronnie, but the man is a legend in rock and metal and that will stand forever. Horns up to the man who made it cool to put the horns up.