“Dio: Evil Or Divine” by Martin Popoff

Artist: Martin Popoff
Title: “Dio: Evil Or Divine”
Label: Metal Blade Records
Release Date:
Genre: Heavy Metal Biography
Rating: 4/5

Once again Martin Popoff has delivered a tome that becomes a required point of reference for the ardent fan of the performer being discussed. In “Dio: Evil Or Divine” he presents us with an album by album chronological history of the career of the one and only Ronnie James Dio. While Rob Halford may very well be “The Metal God”, I feel that it is truly safe to say that Dio is one of the most respected elder statesmen in the genre. To many fans his public career began with the band Elf and continued upward when he joined Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. However, it wasn’t until he formed the band Dio that he really came into his largest level prominence. The book lines out Ronnie’s early years in brief as its prime focus falls to the band that bears his name. Shoud you require deeper answers into his time with Rainbow and Elf you are advised to seek out a copy of Popoff’s Rainbow history book called “English Castle Magic” to get them.

Starting with the bands first album “Holy Diver”, we get a great look inside the formation of the group from Ronnie’s perspective and how he came to find the guys who would end up creating this historic piece of Metal music. To this day, “Holy Diver” remains one of the most powerful debut albums in the genres history and every tune from it goes over like gangbusters in concert whenever they are performed. As with all of Popoff’s books of this type, each of the artists albums are focused on by either the author of the members of the band based on interviews done at the time of the release. Some come well after it for historical looking back but for the most part if the album came out in 1990, then the comments surrounding it come from then as well. I would be lying if I said that I followed Dio for every single album that he did but I admit that I lost a little interest in the band after Vivian Campbell moved on. By the time that “Last In Line” and “Sacred Heart” had been released I was getting into different bands and heavier genre styles and Ronnie’s dragons and mysticism were no longer cutting it for me. Every once in awhile I would check out a tune and found that I often liked what I heard but I wasn’t really seeking it out in terms of something to listen to.

If you are one of those Metal fans who felt a little of the same thing happening in their life then this book is perfect in the aspect that it fills in the blanks on the parts that you missed out on. Popoff makes no bones about showing the band at their zenith and then eventual decline based on the ever-shifting music buying public terrain and it’s great to hear Dio’s own thoughts on this as well. We don’t only get his views of course but those of practically every person who ever performed with him and that makes the book very interesting reading since it gives you a number of sides to every story. Clearly Dio is the leader of the band in many different ways, but he does prove that he listens to those who work with him as each of his musical projects come to fruition. There is a difference in this volume from some of the others that Popoff has given us in that there are a few pages of photos to enjoy as opposed to only the album covers. They’re in black and white but there are a couple of cool images of merchandise from days long gone.

The book leaves us off with “Master Of The Moon” which at the time was the last studio effort to come from the band and since that time he has released another live video and CD entitled “Holy Diver Live”. Dio has also reunited with Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Vinny Appice to record new music as Heaven And Hell. The lineup released a hot concert CD and DVD and embarked on a world wide tour. Dio shows no sign of stopping any time soon so let’s raise those horns up to the man who seems to have been the first to toss them at the audiences in the first place.

Album Listing:
1. Holy Diver
2. The Last In Line
3. Sacred Heart
4. Intermission
5. Dream Evil
6. Lock Up The Wolves
7. Strange Highways
8. Angry Machines
9. Inferno: Last In Live
10. Magica
11. Killing The Dragon
12. Evil Or Divine: Live In New York City
13. Master Of The Moon

Official Website: www.martinpopoff.com
Official Website: www.ronniejamesdio.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.