Friday, December 1, 2023

Paul Gilbert & The Dio Album

Paul Gilbert celebrates one of heavy metal’s greatest icons when he releases The Dio Album through Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group, on 7th April, and ahead of that comes the guitarist’s version of Rainbow classic, ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’ as single and video.

Talking about the song Gilbert said. “’Man On The Silver Mountain’ has one of my favorite Ritchie Blackmore plucked guitar riffs. And of course, Ronnie James Dio’s vocal shines throughout. To me, the lyrics seem more metaphorical than literal, and playing them on guitar rides these metaphors further into the realms of imagination. I imagine Ronnie, transported 3000 years ago in history, running great distances to deliver a message of great importance to the ears of the great desert pharaoh. The message can only be sung. The wise king listens. The kingdom is saved. Ronnie takes his leave, and leads a song of celebration at the great feast! Great heroic music, for sure!”

Gilbert has previously revealed his take on Holy Diver. It was pure chance that led Paul Gilbert to recording the music heard on latest release The Dio Album. The American guitar virtuoso, best known for his masterful fretwork in chart-topping hard rockers Mr. Big and high-octane trailblazers Racer X – as well as numerous solo records – was in his car when he saw something that made his heart start beating faster in a moment of unexpected, unadulterated joy. This was not a high value item of interest or even particularly rare, simply a baseball cap with the word “Dio” emblazoned across the front. Sometimes, even for the biggest of guitar legends, it’s the little things that hit us in the most profound ways.

It would be fair to say human voices don’t come much more magical than Ronnie James Dio’s. He was a man who brought a sense of classical finesse to loud and heavy music, ultimately laying down the blueprint for generations and generations of rock singers to come. Taking on the daunting challenge of mimicking those distinguished vocal lines down to a tee – each legendary performance decorated with its own idiosyncrasies and nuances – actually involved unlearning some of the technical precision that turned Gilbert into a household name for guitar players in the first place.

The Dio Album consists of 10 standout and career-defining tracks, from ‘Neon Knights’ and ‘Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll’ to ‘Holy Diver’ and ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’. As well as analysing Ronnie James Dio’s electrifying vocal melodies, Gilbert also enjoyed paying tribute to three incredibly talented guitar legends – Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore of Rainbow and Vivian Campbell from the Dio band, and has been a member of British stadium rockers Def Leppard since 1992.

Engineered by Zach Bloomstein with Gilbert handling all of the instrumentation, save for Bill Ray’s inspired drum work, The Dio Album is most likely the most sonically accurate tribute to the songs that made Ronnie James Dio a bona fide rock and roll legend. In order to truly hone in on the late singer’s essence, Paul Gilbert dissected many of the melodies line by line, throwing every inch of himself into the music. It was the only way to capture every ounce of the energy and emotion.

You can pre-order the album here and check out the videos here at RAMzine.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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