Spitfire Records
Produced by: Ronnie James Dio

Released: MARCH 21 / Website
Closest Relative: Rainbow, Sabbath
GENRE: Heavy Metal

  1. Discovery
  2. Magica Theme
  3. Lord Of The Last Day
  4. Fever Dreams
  5. Turn To Stone
  6. Feed My Head
  7. Eriel
  8. Challis
  9. As Long As It's Not About Love
  10. Losing My Insanity
  11. Otherworld
  12. Magica - Reprise
  13. Lord Of The Last Day - Reprise
  14. Magica - The Story

I am by no means a Ronnie James Dio expert. But I do have a couple of albums and I have heard a majority of the others. To be honest, the last couple I heard I hated, including the last Sabbath album to feature Dio on vocals.
I also felt that Ronnie had lost the plot with a couple of records that were just trying to be too heavy and almost a spoof of himself.
So a couple of years out of the loop and here is the new Dio album and no less than a 70 minute concept album. Possibly my worst nightmare of an album to review - dark, overly heavy and conceptual.
But you know what, this is a lot easier than I imagined. Mainly because this is a lot better than I imagined. Bloody good to be precise.
Dio seems to have totally regained control over his musical desires and this album shows that he is doing just as he wants to be doing.
Magica is a conceptual record, but the songs stand alone if you need to break it up a little. There is a little narration through the album and the final track is an extraordinary 18 minute mystical dialogue of the entire concept story.
The sound is heavy as expected, but more so the record sounds well produced and the feel is really tight, giving each instrument time to breathe. More importantly Dio's voice is in great shape and is also given room to shine.
Rather than scream his ass off, Dio has everything under full control and his voice sounds more powerful for it.
In fact, after a few listens the album isn't as heavy. There is some good variety in pace - not everything is pounding slow and heavy and not everything is 'pedal to the metal' flat out either.
On Magica, you will find plenty of solid vocals, good heavy guitar riffs, some symphonic keyboard / organ effects and a tight rhythm section.
BOTTOM LINE: Surprisingly restrained and very well orchestrated concept album that will no doubt delight any long time fans of Ronnie James and all things Dio.
Probably not a lot to convert new fans, but at this stage of any old rocker's career, holding the interest of the old fans is paramount and very hard to do properly. Dio should succeed doing that here.
ESSENTIAL FOR: All fans of Ronnie James Dio and some fans of Sabbath, Deep Purple & Rainbow