Ronnie James Dio: Deluxe Editions

Ronnie James Dio was one of heavy metal's most talented and instantly identifiable vocalists, and to celebrate his life and work, you can now get hold of exclusive deluxe editions of his legendary first three albums, Holy Diver, Last In Line, and Sacred Heart.

It seems like only yesterday that the world of Rock and Metal lost one of its most gifted musicians, but back in May 2010, the death of Ronnie James Dio shocked fans and friends alike. In his career, Dio held some of the highest ranking positions in Heavy Metal, including the lead vocalist for giants like Rainbow, Black Sabbath and of course his own eponymous band for almost three decades! Dio helped to create some of the most genre-defining works, with timeless classics like Holy Diver, representing and setting the standard for the future of Metal music.

The first of the three re-mastered deluxe editions is Dio's debut album, Holy Diver, which was released on May the 25th 1983. Hailed by critics as Dio's best work, the record became a staple in the genre of Heavy Metal and went on to attain a Silver certification in 1986 after selling 60,000 units. Although most of the tracks will be well known and loved by seasoned Dio fans, this new 2-CD deluxe edition features some fantastic live versions that were made at the time, either from various festivals, the King Biscuit Flower Hour (which was an American radio show that sported live performances from a lot of classic rock bands) or the Live Intermission EP, which is included on the second disc of Sacred Heart . A lot of the additional tracks are B-sides to singles, which as a lover of Dio are great to hear again, but for anyone who hasn't delved too deep into Ronnie's back catalogue - you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Watch Dio performing the classic song, Rainbow In The Dark on U.S. TV show, Rock Palace, from 1983.

The second studio album from Dio, Last In Line, was released on the 13th of July 1984. It saw huge success, reaching number four in the charts and achieving Platinum certification. Featuring classic head-banging tracks like We Rock, I Speed At Night and the seven-minute epic, Egypt (The Chains Are On), the astounding quality and attention to detail in these new editions really is worth a listen. This is Dio in his prime; a great historic legacy captured with sound and production conditions as if it was recorded yesterday.

To round-up this exclusive release, we come to Dio's third album, Sacred Heart. Released in 1985, this record took the next step up and achieved Gold status, a huge acknowledgement and climax for Dio. One of Dio's most well-known albums with tracks such as Rock N Roll Children and Hungry For Heaven at the forefront of it's success. Featured on this re-issue are never before released Intermission tracks, as well as various B-sides. Sacred Heart was the last Dio album to include guitarist, Vivian Campbell, who went on to join several other bands, most notably, Def Leppard, Riverdogs, Whitesnake and Thin Lizzy. Famous for it's album artwork, Sacred Heart features a latin inscription around the boarder which, when translated, means:

"I learned of your goals through dreams: a sacred heart, a wizard, a golden door.

I'm always a bit wary When it comes to the release of deluxe edition re-issues. I mean, what's the point if you already own all of the recordings? Well, this time is different. Having listened to all three albums, I am pleasantly surprised. The sound on each record has clearly been touched up and improved to a noticeable extent; crisp, bright tones to Dio's vocals and full-sounding guitars and drums - something you definitely don't want to miss out on with a Dio record!

Even the live recordings that have been dug up from old archives sound really impressive. The balance is spot on and the addition of the live crowd interation is produced brilliantly, presenting listeners with a (as close as possible) reproduction of the energy, charisma and talent of Dio's renowned live performances.

However, this collection of classic albums only stands to prove one thing; that Dio's music has most definitely stood the test of time! The deluxe editions are out NOW!