Sound — 3
The most notable moment on Ronnie James Dio's 2004 release is unfortunately it's first. "One More For The Road" recalls the energy and immediacy of cuts like "Stand Up And Shout," but it's a painful admission of the fact that this is simply more of the same from the man who's name means "God" in his native Italian. After that follows a stream of mid tempo rockers that never quite get the same groove he mastered on such seminal releases as "Holy Diver." Perhaps it's hired gunslinger Craig Goldy's largely uninspired guitar work that never quite flows in a satisfying way. It's never been clear how much input RJD has had on the instrumental side of the enterprise.
Lyrics — 6
Thankfully, Dio has one of the best aged voices in classic metal. Experienced listeners will recognize the occasional melodic phrase that repeats earlier work, but that's to be expected from a man that has been so prolific. While the lyrics are typically generic (and at this point we're not really expecting any change) the subtly autobiographic "The Man Who Would Be King," adds a personal touch, describing the travails of a man who never stayed with one project quite long enough to get the success he deserved.
Overall Impression — 5
The fact that not a single track from this album features on the subsequent Evil or Divine live collection is testament to the confidence the band had in the songs. And while the production may be a little better than the older disks, since they're generally better known and more played, new fans would do better to begin with Holy Diver and Dream Evil, the band having already made it's definitive statements by this point. Still, with the limelight recently returning to RJD after recent events (such as his appearance in the Tenacious D film, the Heaven and Hell tour and the Killswitch Engage cover of Holy Diver), perhaps the time is right for Dio to make a comeback, if he can assemble a better band and some more interesting songs than featured here. Surely his fans deserve a better latter-day album than this.