Dio - Master of the Moon
Heavy Metal
10 songs (45:50)
Release year: 2004
Dio, Sanctuary
Reviewed by Jeff
Major event

The beginning of this review might sound more like an editorial at first, though that is not my intention. I will keep try to keep my points brief. However, they need to be noted in order to support my reveiw of "Master of the Moon". I hope they will make sense in the end.

There's no doubt that Ronnie James Dio is a metal icon, a forefather of a genre which he has influenced tremendously. Dio was born in 1949, so if you do the math, the guy is 55 years old! At this day and age, the many people from a few decades back could ask themselves if they would ever out grow heavy metal. Yeah, maybe some people cut the hair, lost the leather studs and spandex, etc, but still follow the very bands they grew up with. Heavy metal doesn't seem to have an expiration date. It's a style of music that is ageless and timeless, inspirational and invigorating. There really isn't any time limit as to when one should not listen to this sort of music anymore, let alone play it. For me personally, I listen to more heavy metal now than I did in college or high school. I listen to even more brutal and heavier sounding bands now than I ever did. Maybe I see it as a form of therapy or medicine to keep me young and sane. Maybe I still listen to it cause everything that's happened in life only seems like yesterday........

In Ronnie James Dio's case, age doesn't seem to be a factor that would limit his abilities. Dio is one of the few musicians from the first generation of hard rock/heavy metal that has continued to do what he loves doing; writing music and delivering it today almost like it was yesterday. I don't know of any other metal musicians who are in the age range of Dio that have retired or called it quits because of age. I still think this is yet to be seen. This man will probably go as long as he can until he croaks! I figured Ozzy is close to that point, yet he also continues on, as well as such artists like KISS, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Ted Nudgent, AC/DC, Rush, Saxon, Judas Priest, Motorhead, etc. As long arthritis, blindness and deafness don't set in and there are step walkers, wheel chairs and viagra, they will all still have a way to get on stage and perform.

When people put on a Dio album, I really don't think they realize this guy is 55! He sure doesn't sound like 55 and he has seemed to age pretty well. I don't think they even care because age is only a measurement and your only as old as you feel, though at some point the aging process will catch up to you where you can't do the same things anymore even though you feel you can.

I think one of the things that has to be difficult for any musician who has been in the business as long as a guy like Dio is the ability to still sound fresh and original. This always leaves fans wondering what to expect on a new release; something different or the same thing as before? Unless you drastically change your style and sound, one of those two things is bound to happen. Line up changes can sometimes make or break what an artist has done before. Unless you can adapt to change, your going to have a hard time reinventing yourself and sound repetitive and tired after a while...

For "Master of the Moon", Dio has recruited former guitarist (from Dio's "Dream Evil", "Intermission" and "Magica" albums), Craig Goldy (ex-Guiffria), drummer Simon Wright (ex-AC/DC), keyboardist Scott Warren and bassist Rudy Sarzo (ex-Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake). Once again, the new Dio album has some outstanding artwork. We get a cool looking cover of a demonic being holding a moon. "Master of the Moon" contains 10 songs that range from slow to mid-tempo. There are no "Stand Up and Shout", "I Speed At Night" or "We Rock" paced tracks here. Because of this, I feel the album falls just a bit short of being something really amazing. It lacks that extra edge that earlier Dio albums had. Dio can still carry a tune and still sounds incredible. But there's an energy that is missing from this album musically. There are some good songs, not great, but enough to make a respectable album. I feel there is an inconsistency in the flow of the album because of the speed of the songs. In fact, I don't remember any Dio albums where the majority of the songs are slow, yet heavy and driving. The tempos are more along the lines of Dio songs like "Hollywood Black", "Egypt" or "Like The Beat of A Heart" as well as the slower songs from his "Dehuminizer" and "Mob Rules" Sabbath days. The music seems darker and doomy in that aspect. There are even some touches of Rainbow at times. Nothing really grabbed me on the first listen and after the second I started to choose favorites. The guitar riffs are pretty basic; nothing flashy like what one would hear on "Holy Diver" or "Last In Line". Craig Goldy is probably the most melodic guitar player Dio has ever had. His guitar sound is not very distorted and clear enough to hear the notes being played, but it is not a dominating force in the overall mix. The same thing can be said about the keyboards, which seem to be used more for highlighting rather than a fifth instrument. They are somewhat underlying in the mix, unlike an album such as "Dream Evil" where keyboards are an ever present force. The vocals and drums are what seem to drive the music the most. The meaning within Dio's lyrics are still metaphorical, almost like he doesn't want to directly plead his point of view but make the listener interpret the meaning on their own. And there is no mention of the word "rainbow" anywhere.

It might be unfair to compare this album to his classics. Take "Master of the Moon" and mix it in with all of Dio's other releases to date, then have someone who has never heard a Dio song in his life try to put them in chronological order and they might have a hard time trying to figure out which songs were recorded before the others. It might even take a few listens before this album starts to grow on you. I would hope that those who listened to this once would give it a few more spins because the first impression could very well be the first mistake. I can tell you that after 5 listens, I'm beginning to like it more and more. The most up tempo tracks have to be "One More For The Road", a good song as far as openers are concerned and "Living The Lie". Probably the catchiest tracks are "I am" and "Death By Love". I think fans of his slower songs will really like this release as well.

You have to give Dio credit where credit is due. The man is still head banging at 55. I like almost everything Dio has done solo. Some albums are better than others, but he has released good albums throughout his career none the less. Don't be afraid to play this one loud. It's still a good album and better than what some of the other artists in his age range put out these days. However, be afraid if you are still banging your head while wearing Depends undergarments, singing with false teeth in your mouth, pants up to your chest, etc. I don't think I'd want to see my Grandpa or Grandma up on stage playing heavy metal if that were the case!

Killing Songs :
The End of the World, Master of the Moon, I am, Death By Love, In Dreams
Jeff quoted 78 / 100
Jay quoted 50 / 100
Jason quoted 60 / 100
Marty quoted 72 / 100
Mike quoted 60 / 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 - Lock Up the Wolves reviewed by Alex and quoted 81 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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