Lock up the Wolves



by Priestmetal USER (20 Reviews)
August 3rd, 2005 | 18 replies

Release Date: 1990 | Tracklist

Most of you probably know Dio because he was the front man for Black Sabbath from 1979 to 1982 and then again from 1991 to 1993. But in fact, Ronnie James Dio was an active musician far beofre. In 1972, while in a band called Elf, Roger Glover and Ian Paice of Deep Purple offered to produce one of their albums. Because of this, later, Ritchie Blackmore formed the band Rainbow with Dio in 1975, which would last until 1978. Then a year later, he was recruited by Black Sabbath. Now, fastforward to 1990. By this time, Dio had already released four albums and one EP with his solo career band called simply Dio. This album, Lock up the Wolves, is his fifth and was released May 15, 1990.

The band:

Ronnie James Dio: Vocals
Rowan Robertson: Guitars
Jens Johansson: Keyboards
Simon Wright: Drums
Teddy Cook: Bass

This album posseses an unusual sound. the riffs, for the most part, are pretty basic heavy metal riffs but that have a very epic and noble sound, similarly to riffs found in power metal. Yet, there is only one guitarist and although he does do some nice lead work, its nothing like the lead work in power metal. Moreover, its visible that the main focus of this band is Dio's powwerful voice and intersting lyrics. In other words, there are no instrumental songs, no long instrumental sections, and no long guitar or any instrument solos. That being said, I do believe it works quite well. For those of you who have never heard Dio sing, he has a very melodic voice and can sing relativly high. Higher than Ozzy Osbourne, but not higher than Rob Halford or Bruce Dickenson. His melodic voice along with the epic guitar riffs and just present enough drums make a grand combination. A combination unique. The only probelm is the unaudible bass. But hey, lots of albums have that problem.

As I mentioned earlier, Dio's lyrics are quite interesting and eclectic.On this album, they range from love, to wild youths, to rocking out, to life experiences. But most of his lyrics are more poetic and abstract. For example "There's a crack in the rainbow, there's a hole in the sky. You belived in something, now its just a lie", or, "Smile at the animals, they should be the one's in the cages". Never is there really a song where you would say "Hmm... the lyrics are kinda cheesy". Its strong, probably meaningful, and defenetly poetic lyrics all around. Probably one of the best metal Lyricists.

The guitarist, Rowan Robertson, started playing guitar when he was five years old. Being eighteen years of age when this album came out, he had been playing for 13 years. Therfore, his technique is exquisit. You can really hear it in the solo's and fills. In addition, he co-wrote every song on this album. His style of playing complements Dio's style very well. Unfortunetly I don't think his performance on this album showcases his real talent due to the focus on Dio himslef. I hope that after he left Dio (whenever that was) he started a solo career or joined another respectable band because one can tell he is one solid metal guitar player.

Although only audible on some tracks there is a keyboard player by the name of Jens Johansson. According to the inner sleave of the CD he was rated in the top 5 keyboard polls at the time. If so, he defently doesnt show his musical prowess because as I said he is only audible for brief moments and what he plays doesn't seem too brilliant. Just a few chords or reinforcing a melody here and there. He did co-writte a few songs though.

The rythme section is quite weak in my opinion. The bass is turned very low in the mix so Im assuming he never does any good fills or plays any interesting lines. Just pure root riding. The drumer, Simon Wright was a former member of AC/DC according to the inner sleave. Strangely I think it shows in his playing. He plays fairly simple beats with an occasional cool fill. Just like AC/DC. I think Dio should have chosen a more metal oriented drumer. Double pedal beats and more powerful playing would of made the feel to some songs more in your face and heavy.

The songs all have that Dio, epic sound. Yet, fortunately they don't all sound rigorously identical. There are upbeat somgs like Wild one, Night Music, Walk on water and Twisted; More serious and emotional songs like Between Two Hearts, and My Eyes. Also there are darker, more mysterious tracks such as Evil on Queen Street and Lock up the Wolves. All in all every track is pretty strong in one way or another. Every song and I meen EVERY song is very melodic and catchy. This is in no way noise.

Standout tracks: Wild one, Born on the Sun, Night Music, Lock up the Wolves, My Eyes.

Bottom line: Strong album with nice, catchy melodies, pretty heavy riffs, good vocals, and exellent lyrics. 4/5

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user ratings (311)
other reviews of this album
StanDupp (3)
It's another solid album by Dio. A different group of musicians backed Ronnie this time but like alw...

Comments:Add a Comment 
August 3rd 2005


Good review. Somehow you managed to get round doing a simple track by track review and its still very good. havent heard this album, but I've got a few of Dio's stuff, and he's good. Has the guitarist you mentioned done any other Dio albums, or was this his only one?

August 3rd 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

The guitarist, Rowan Robertson, left Dio as soon as Dio himself rejoined Black Sabbath in 1991. In other words he was only on for this album.

August 3rd 2005


Great, refreshingly original review.

Hah, Dio was in a band called Elf...band name matches his height perfectly. =P

I don't have any Dio, but I've heard a few songs by him...he's got some pretty great stuff.

August 4th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Rainbow in the Dark is probably the best song ive heard by him. This Message Edited On 08.04.05

October 11th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

i would agree, it is probally there best song

January 23rd 2006


i like a lot of dio, it's very scarce when i get my hands on a dio cd anymore, but hey, it was my favorite band in 2004

January 23rd 2006


seemed like dio never had a stable lineup neither?

December 5th 2006


Well, Vivian Campbell got a long with him pretty long. And Vinny Appice is ofcourse always there as far as I know. I think Lock Up the Wolves is an amazing SONG, check my list!

December 5th 2006


Album Rating: 2.5

Thanks for the review. I actually have all of Dio's studio albums - I've been a fan for years - and I've always thought this was one of his weaker albums - so I gave this a 2.5 rating a while ago. Anyhow I'm relistening to it. Hey angel is playing at the moment and it has quite a cool riff. Maybe I will up my rating . . . I'll see. Egypt (the chains are on) - from "last in line" is my fave Dio song.

February 8th 2007


fuck yead DIO rocks much better than OZZY

July 16th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Except from the title track and Wild One this is a relatively average album.

The end of the golden era for Mr. Ronnie James Dio (RIP).

Still worth buying.

Digging: Humanity's Last Breath - Abyssal

July 17th 2011


Maybe it was the end of his golden era, but after this he went and did Dehumanizer, so that's always a plus.

October 29th 2011


Album Rating: 2.5

After a couple of listens, I am not too fond of this. Dio is great as always, but the riffing is mostly pretty boring and unoriginal. Wild One is the best of the bunch for me, it has a nice Speed Metal-vibe to it.

October 29th 2011


Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Title track is great

Staff Reviewer
September 21st 2012


only one review for this, where's the love for Dio?

Digging: Off With Their Heads - Be Good

Staff Reviewer
September 5th 2013


Album Rating: 3.0

This is very generic but I can't give it less than a 3. First part of the album is definitely better than the second.

Digging: Estas Tonne - Internal Flight

January 6th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

I couldn't agree more.

Contributing Reviewer
April 29th 2014


Album Rating: 3.0

This is in my opinion where the band started to sound uninspired both musically and conceptually. It still tries hard to deliver the goods, but this album simply left me wanting so much more.

Digging: Finsterforst - Zerfall

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