Dio - Killing The Dragon
Spitfire Records
Heavy Metal
10 songs (45:01)
Release year: 2002
Dio, Spitfire Records
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

For over 30 years now Ronnie James Dio has been providing fans with quality music. Whether he was with Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath or solo, Dio has continued to be an influence and innovator in the metal community. The saying "things get better with age" has never been more true when it comes to his latest release, "Killing the Dragon". Fans of earlier Dio releases like "Holy Diver" and "The Last In Line" are going to love this album. In fact, this album could have easily been Dio's third record. The style and sound of the songs are similar to those of earlier works. It's nice to see Dio reach back into his roots and still be able to create something original. "Killing the Dragon" is a much more straightforward release compared to his last conceptual effort, "Magica". The lyrical content on "Killing The Dragon" doesn't necessarily follow that of the titles. The titles and lyrics are metaphorical in nature. Now to give a quick overview of some of the songs.

The album starts off with "Killing the Dragon". A soft sounding spooky keyboard preludes a sudden burst of guitar, bass and drums to be followed by a very strong vocal performance. Based on the title, you'd think that Dio would be singing about a knight going to slay a winged beast. In fantasy, dragons were known for stealing children and feeding them to their own offspring. However, this song really refers to those people that commit injustices and what others in the world are doing to stop them. It's time to rebel against them and "kill the dragon". I can bet when Dio tours this summer with Deep Purple and The Scorpions, "Killing the Dragon" will be the opening track.

"Along Came A Spider" is straight forward and up beat tempo track that's about guys who believe they have gotten over a relationship with a woman only to be pulled right back into it. Female spiders are known for eating their young and their mates.

"Scream" almost sounds like "Holy Diver". It has those breaks where Dio sings over the bass and drum only to then be followed by guitars. Lyrically, it deals with our false perception of celebrities. On the outside, they all seem to have the life that any ordinary person would want. But behind the fake smiles of happiness, there is pain. They scream.

The song "Rock & Roll" was inspired by the tragic events of September 11th. Dio is a native New Yorker who was devastated by the terrorist attacks. He was outraged when radio stations pulled songs like "Holy Diver" and other Black Sabbath songs from the airwaves. Dio didn't think it was right for "them" to take our music away. It's like being singled out for something he didn't do because of some other asshole. We won't let them take our freedom, so why let them take our music? It's a statement that Dio wanted to make clear.

A track that has a place close to Dio's heart is "Throw Away Children". The song was originally composed for The Children of the Night, a charity Dio is closely associated with. Dio expresses his sad emotions, portraying the fact that children are being pimped, getting addicted to drugs and dying of AIDS. Dio used the King's Harbor Church Children's Choir, adding a haunting feeling of innocence lost.

A nice surprise to the album is "Before The Fall". This song has a Rainbow sound and feel to it. It's very rock and roll. There's an excellent Hammond Organ keyboard solo in this track.

New guitarist Doug Aldrich shines throughout the album. His style and sound is not that much different from Craig Goldy or Vivian Campbell. And it's nice to see ex Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain providing a strong backbone with ex AC/DC drummer Simon Wright's steady power drumming. As for Dio, he can still carry a tune. Sure, he's older but you wouldn't know if unless someone told you otherwise. Dio has as much energy, drive and determination now as he did 30 years ago. And I love the cover of this album. It has the medieval metal look of a fire breathing dragon being tied down by numerous slayers.

Oh, and I must mention that there is not one song on the album with the word rainbow in it!

BUY THIS ALBUM! It will be worth every cent! From start to finish this album rocks! You will familiarize yourself with all of the tracks after only a few listens. It's great to see that some legends will never die. All hail the little elf man with a giant's voice!

Killing Songs :
Killing The Dragon, Along Came A Spider, Scream, Better In the Dark, Push, Before The Fall
Jeff quoted 96 / 100
Other albums by Dio that we have reviewed:
Dio - Sacred Heart reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Dio - The Last In Line reviewed by Goat and quoted CLASSIC
Dio - Dream Evil reviewed by Thomas and quoted 93 / 100
Dio - Holy Diver Live reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
Dio - Master of the Moon reviewed by Jeff and quoted 78 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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