Dio
Magica


4.5
superb

Review

by James Honaker USER (7 Reviews)
November 25th, 2012 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dio's only concept album ends up being an excellent album, through and through.

Given the late Ronnie James Dio's fondness for fantastical lyrical content and bombast, it's a bit of a surprise that Magica was the first concept album he put out. By the time of Magica's release in 2000, Dio had fallen into a bit of a slump; Strange Highways and Angry Machines eschewed his usual musical focus in favor of a darker, more reality-inclined aesthetic, each one released to diminishing returns.

Magica is a return back to his favored aesthetic, by and large, and it ends up coming across as his most inspired and cohesive solo effort since Dream Evil. The underlying story is pretty standard fantasy fare, about a planet besieged by the forces of darkness and the attempts of a hero, Eriel, and his son, Challis, to turn back the tides of malfeasance. It's nothing earthshattering or groundbreaking (Operation: Mindcrime, it is not), but what matters more is the execution. And, frankly, the album is executed excellently.

The interlude segments that tend to run wild in concept albums are relegated to the start and the end of the album, but the songs don't need them to flow well. As a body of work, it's delightfully cohesive and varied, and none of the songs feel out of place or shoehorned in. The construction is pretty seamless, which is a pro for a concept album. Also, remarkably, none of the songs are "bad"; there are album highlights, like "Lord of the Last Day" (easily the best song on the album, with a sinister sound, doom-y feel, and sublime main riff), "Fever Dreams" (which has a faster, slicker tempo), and "Losing My Insanity" (with folk-y elements that don't wreck the song), but everything is good. Even the ballad of the album, "As Long as It's Not About Love", is good, which is always welcome. The album closes with an 18-minute telling of the story that runs through the album, and it's well-done, making what is typical-ish fantasy fare really come to life.

Musically, the band is in top form. The guitar work is excellent from Craig Goldy (with memorable riffs and delightful solos), and the rhythm section of Simon Wright and Jimmy Bain make the sound nice and full. Of course, the main draw of Dio is arguably the main man's voice, and it's in fine form here; Dio's powerful voice soars effortlessly and expressively, and it sounds stronger and more impactful than it had in previous albums. The music is also aided by a clean production that doesn't veer too loud or too murky, which gives the songs room to develop.

Magica is a very good album, and it stands as one of the highlights of Dio's latest works. Given how good this album ended up being, it's a pity that we'll never see Magica II or III (Dio was beginning work on the albums at the time of his passing). If you're a fan of well-executed metal albums or of the "classic" Dio albums (like Holy Diver), I strongly recommend giving this album a go.



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user ratings (154)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
wiraqocharasca
November 25th 2012


2 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It was a pity that this album didn't have a review before, so I figured I'd try to fill that void. Plus, I really like the album.

Rastapunk
November 25th 2012


736 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wanted to that one for a long time

Pos'd! Ncie review!

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2012


20672 Comments


Got this in a double CD set with Killing the Dragon. I much prefer Killing the Dragon but this is still pretty good from what I remember. I should probably give it another listen at some point.

Good review, pos'd.

Digging: Townes Van Zandt - Townes Van Zandt

dragoth
November 25th 2012


237 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

This is a brilliant album, Dio is amazing, this albums not quite as good as Holy Diver or Killing the Dragon, but still great.

Great review, have a pos.

ViperAces
November 25th 2012


12430 Comments


Nah its not as good...

RunOfTheMill
November 25th 2012


1462 Comments


Sweet review, pos.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2012


19756 Comments


Props for reviewing this Dio is the man

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

Cipieron
November 25th 2012


3508 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i could never really get into this album.. agreed with whoever said Killing the Dragon was better


but pos'd, good review

manosg
November 25th 2012


6091 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Really good album indeed. Props for writing a review for this one.

Digging: John Coltrane - Ballads

zaruyache
November 25th 2012


6462 Comments


When did this hit 3.8/4? Coulda sworn it'd been like 3.4 forever.

Digging: Alpha Male Tea Party - Droids

ViperAces
November 25th 2012


12430 Comments


pretty sure this was never 3.4 but whatever

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2012


20672 Comments


I'm kinda surprised to see this has a higher average than Killing the Dragon.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
November 25th 2012


16023 Comments


need to listen, only got his first 4, nice review

Digging: iamthemorning - Belighted

PsychicChris
November 25th 2012


211 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pos'd so goddamned hard. I really wish Magica II and III could've been made...

zaruyache
November 25th 2012


6462 Comments


Holy Diver, you've been down too long in the midnight sea. Please come back.

zaruyache
November 25th 2012


6462 Comments


Holy Diver, you've been down too long in the midnight sea. Please come back.

deslad
May 21st 2014


358 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Much better than Angry Machines but still...

Digging: Nina Simone - Pastel Blues



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