Killing the Dragon



November 20th, 2006 | 11 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dio delivers exactly what the listener expects from him: HEAVY METAL! Horns up!

If you call yourself a fan of heavy metal, you're surely aware of Ronnie James Dio's importance, if not, school is now in session…

In the 80s, Ronnie James Dio fucking took over. Sure, he was in Elf and Rainbow in the 70s, blablabla, but when the 80s came ‘round, Dio showed us what he was capable of. He started the 80s with no small feat; he fucking saved Black Sabbath. He did the unthinkable. He made people, if only for a second, think "Ozzy who?" Then, four years later (that's 1984) he released one of the greatest metal albums of all time, the proto-power metal masterpiece Holy Diver.

Over 20 years later Dio still hasn't stopped…or grown. His voice, a voice more powerful than the man himself, has remained virtually the same. Ronnie James has also sort of become a point of comedy, yet somehow, that's just part of his appeal. This can't be anything new; those of you who have seen the video for Holy Diver will surely understand the man's comedic value. Nonetheless, Dio has more or less become an inside joke amongst metal fans, but they poke fun at him out of respect. Whether it be his brief appearance on South Park or the constant referral to his age and lyrical content by Tenacious D, it's pretty safe to say that these jokes have helped keep his name relevant. Rather than getting all offended, Dio plays up these jokers. Tenacious D wrote a song about the man aptly titled Dio, a song which poked fun at his ever-increasing age. Rather than throw a fit, Dio rewarded the D by putting them in the video for his song Push. He's an elf-like Italian man who likes to parade around in puffy shirts, carry swords and frequently flash the devil horns to the rhythm of his music; I don't think anyone is more aware of how silly this sounds than the man himself. Alas, that's essentially the story of a man and while named after a man, Dio is a band, so let's move on.

Killing the Dragon, Dio's 2002 release, is what fans have come to expect. It's heavy fucking metal- nothing more, nothing less. The album wastes no time re-introducing us to why we've come to love Dio's music; the listener is instantly introduced to both the power of his voice and the instrumental prowess of his band members, evoking memories of what made Holy Diver such a classic.

The album gives you exactly what you'd expect and want as a Dio fan, which is just as much of a pro as it is a con. While Killing the Dragon is certainly not Holy Diver Part 2, it's pretty damn close. Sure, Dio's voice has garnered some minor wear and tear and the guitars sound a little bit chunkier, but when push comes to shove this album gives off a sound fans of past Dio releases will instantly recognize. Better In The Dark is more or less a re-write of Stand Up And Shout, and the bassline in Scream is like a slightly sped-up cut and paste job of Holy Diver (the track). The only real oddball on the album is Rock & Roll, which fuses Led Zeppelin with 80s Arena Metal and an odd Meshuggah-like chug.

Honestly though, I can't complain. Sure it sounds like something you've heard before, but when that something is as strong as Holy Diver, who fucking cares? Obviously Killing the Dragon didn't have the same impact as the 1984 classic, but I don't think anyone expected it to. It's new material and it doesn't suck, that's all that matters to me. The music is great, the instrumentation is outstanding and Dio himself is as lyrically and vocally strong as ever. So, while I agree that Dio has rocked for a long, long time, I have to do the unthinkable and disagree with the D for just one moment… Dio, it is not time to pass the torch.

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Dio has since released Master of the Moon (2004) as well as two live releases ( Evil Or Divine: Live in New York City and Holy Diver Live). He is still touring despite the fact he is now in his late 50s/early 60s (his age has never been confirmed).

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user ratings (332)
other reviews of this album
Erratic (3.5)
Killing the Dragon is a great metal album full of fantastic guitar, soaring vocals, and great lyrics...

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 21st 2006


Good review think I will check this cd out.

November 21st 2006


Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. Killing the Dragon obviously doesn't break any new ground, so I would probably agree with your rating. But Throw away children is IMO a song that deserves special mention. It keeps the driving riffs going throughout, has an anthemic chorus line, an awesome solo interlude as well as genuinely moving lyrical content.

April 6th 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

just the name makes me laugh for some reason.

December 22nd 2009


Album Rating: 3.0

Good review, seems to be a good album (downloading now).

June 1st 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

great album!!


December 13th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

This one might just be his best album since Dream Evil and Doug Aldrich's performance is definitely a strong factor.

May 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 3.5

Tones down the epicness of the last album by quite a lot, in favour of a more straightforward heavy metal style. That's not too bad however, given how strong Dio's vocal still sound here. I'd say the second half isn't as strong as the first half, save for that brilliant keyboard solo in 'Before the Fall' (Rainbow memories ensue).

September 2nd 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

Underrated album imo

Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2022


Gonna jam.

May 26th 2022


Same, want & need to properly dig his solo work.

Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2022


Album Rating: 3.5

The t/t of this one is absolutely killer

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