Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. 24 years ago today, Ronnie James Dio released Lock up the Wolves.
In my opinion, this is the worst album of any of Dio’s three most successful bands (the others being Rainbow and Sabbath.) And yes, I actually think this one is worse than Angry Machines too. But, for the good, Dio’s voice sounds powerful as always, and guitarist Rowan Robertson can sometimes crank out a really good riff. There are some good choruses, like “Between Two Hearts,” and in the song “My Eyes,” Dio pays homage to many of his songs throughout his career previous to this. Other that, I’m afraid I don’t have much good to say about this one.
The album is extremely boring. The songwriting is the biggest problem. It’s an album that was trying to live in the past, and it sounds extremely tired. There’s nothing really original about it, and besides a few tracks like “Wild One,” it doesn’t even have the energy that Dio was known for at the time. It’s an uninspired album, and while it doesn’t have bad performances, there is really none that shine through either. And then, to add icing on the cake, this album has Jens Johansson on keyboards, and he barely does anything. Dio was able to get one of the greatest metal keyboard players of all time, and he BARELY utilizes him at all. And I know Dio was never going to use Jens like Strato went on to use him, but he should have still done more than he did.
Favorite Tracks: “Between Two Hearts,” “My Eyes,” “Evil on Queen Street.”
I love Dio. He’s my favorite artist. But this album is an easily skip-able one in his discography. I think that even Dio diehards will only be able to find a handful of good things about this album. Other than that, it’s a lot of tired material that is trying to keep Dio’s days in the 80’s alive. Luckily, Dio would bounce back from this album to still make greater work, but this is a pale spot on his otherwise awesome track record.