It's been four years since metal mainstay Ronnie James Dio delivered a studio album to stores, and some would argue that they've been waiting even longer than that for a "real Dio album."
"The last studio album we did was very confusing, especially to a lot of Dio fans," the singer explained to MTV News. "It was a little bit more of an attempt to be modern, to go a little bit farther to the left, and I think that didn't sit too well with the fans that we have. They kept saying to me, 'When are we going to get another album, I mean a real Dio album?'" [RealAudio]
Well fair metalheads, wait no longer. Dio's eponymous outfit delivered "Magica," its ninth studio effort, to stores last week, marking its first release of any kind since the 1998 live album "Inferno: Last in Live." The diminutive
rock icon will
pump the new album with a U.S. tour that kicks off this weekend on the west cost and runs through late April.
Having eschewed the experimentation he dabbled with on 1996's "Angry Machines," Dio says that his time around, "Magica" blends various elements from his past successes like "The Last In Line," Holy Diver," and his work with Rainbow and Black Sabbath. "Musically, we've given them what they wanted," Dio said.
From those potent musical ingredients, Dio crafted a sci-fi/fantasy concept album built on a short story the frontman penned himself, one that he hopes will be the first part of a novelized trilogy ("I have to stop doing this at some point," he says). "This was very easy because the story was already written," Dio noted. "It made the rest of it so easy. Because you just follow the story along and write the songs that way." The story that Dio has wrapped his latest work around involves the planet Magica, two dying suns, an ice age, and aliens among other odd topics.
The pacing and subject matter established in the story helped to make the writing of the album "the easiest one I've ever done in my life" Dio said.
Bringing that vision to the stage may be more of a challenge though. Balancing a career full of metal anthems and one long cohesive concept album in a way that pleases demanding fans won't be easy, but Dio's working on it.
"['Magica'] has to be all one piece, but you can't do just that," Dio acknowledged. "You have to do what got you there, the classic material that we did before." Dio noted that the band's set will begin with 30 minutes of his more well known songs, including nuggets he hasn't performed in 15 years. "We've done Dio's greatest hits for 15 years because it worked, but we realized how many songs we had from those same albums that we never touched upon."
After the opening dose of vintage Dio, the band plans to offer up a sizable (albeit abbreviated) version of "Magica" before delivering the band's best known hits.
"We have to do 'Holy Diver.' We have to do 'Rainbow in the Dark,'" Dio said. "They'd kill us if we didn't."
If that sounds like a plan to you, here's where you can catch Dio in support of "Magica":
- 3/31 - Yucaipa, CA @ Crossroads Bar & Grill
- 4/1 - Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues
- 4/2 - Viejas, CA @ Dream Catcher Showroom
- 4/3 - Phoenix, AZ @ Alice Cooperstown
- 4/4 - Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theater
- 4/6 - Albuquerque, NM @ Midnight Rodeo
- 4/7 - Colorado Springs, CO @ Colorado Music Hall
- 4/8 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theater
- 4/11 - Lubbock, TX @ The Library
- 4/12 - Amarillo, TX @ Midnight Rodeo
- 4/14 - Dallas, TX @ Bronco Bowl
- 4/15 - San Antonio, TX @ Sunken Garden Amph.
- 4/16 - Corpus Christi, TX @ Buckets Sports Bar
- 4/18 - Indianapolis, IN @ 8 Seconds Saloon
- 4/19 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave
- 4/21 - Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
- 4/22 - Detroit, MI @ Harpo¹s Concert Theater
- 4/23 - Cleveland, OH @ The Odeon
- 4/24 - Cincinnati,
OH @ Annie's
- 4/26 - Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon
- 4/27 - Old Bridge, NJ @ The Birch Hill
- 4/28 - Frederick, MD @ XHale
- 4/29 - New York City, NY @ Irving Plaza