This Is Your Life is the Tribute Album for the one and only Ronnie James DIO who lost his battle with stomach cancer on May 16, 2010. Produced by his longtime manager and wife Wendy Dio, the album includes contributions by such metal heavyweights as DORO, METALLICA, MOTORHEAD, SCORPIONS, ANTHRAX and Rob Halford, as well as appearances by many of the musicians who performed with DIO over the years. And I have to say that most of the performances are OUT-FUCKING-STANDING!! This album is EXACTLY what a tribute should be: Heavy Metal heavyweights singing the songs of DIO in honor of a fallen legend that is sorely missed every day.
Touching on Ronnie’s time in RAINBOW, BLACK SABBATH, and as a solo artist, the record is well-executed and the song selection is almost perfect. I say almost because there were a couple I would have liked to see swapped, but I’m not picky. ANTHRAX opens ‘er up in fine fashion with their balls-out rendition of “Neon Knights” and ADRENALINE MOB’S well-documented “The Mob Rules” keeps the DIO train rolling along nicely. One of the biggest surprises is how well Corey Taylor nails “Rainbow in the Dark”. I’m not surprised because I didn’t think he could pull it off, I knew he could; it just totally surpasses expectations in a big way.
Another absolute killer is HALESTORM’S “Straight Through the Heart”. Lzzy Hale rips shit up down and sideways and reminds you what a badass she is. On the RAINBOW front there are stellar versions of “Starstruck” from MOTORHEAD with SAXON’S Biff Byford, but more importantly, Rob Halford, The Metal God himself teams up with Vinny Appice, Doug Aldrich, Jeff Pilson, and Scott Warren for “The Man on the Silver Mountain.” Back to the solo era for the Metal Queen DORO’S phenomenal version of “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” , which I’ve been lucky enough to see live TWICE, and KILLSWITCH ENGAGE slaying “Holy Diver” (back when Howard Jones was in the band-best vocalist they ever had, sorry.)
We get a tasty dose of 1992 SABBATH with Oni Logan, Jimmy Bain, Rowan Robertson, and Brian Tichy (my favorite drummer right now!) performing “I” from Dehumanizer. Another RAINBOW highlight is SCORPIONS’ version of “Temple of the King’. But one of the things that really caught my attention was the METALLICA “Ronnie Rising” medley…“A Light In The Black,” “Tarot Woman,” “Stargazer,” and “Kill The King” are all featured, and replicated in complete kickass mode. Great job by the Bay Area Boys here. The album ends in a melancholy fashion as we hear Ronnie singing “This Is Your Life” from 1996’s Angry Machines album, reminding us that one of the greatest voices in music has been silenced.
I will not lie. It still hurts. I will never see DIO live again. My son will never feel what it’s like to see Ronnie and the boys do “The Mob Rules”, “We Rock”, or “The Sign of the Southern Cross” live. One of the greatest singers in heavy metal history is gone, but his music will live on forever. That is what I remind myself of constantly, and that is why EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU needs to go and buy this album today. The proceeds will help raise funds for the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund (diocancerfund.org). We ALL know someone who has been affected by this disease, so do everyone a favor, get the record, and let’s do our part to beat this thing! ‘Cuz WE ROCK!!