“Don’t get emotional but we’re out of time
The melody’s gone
And fools have got the sunshine
If I’m mistaken and I see you again
Don’t leave me alone
Could be the end of the world“
– “The End Of The World“
I hadn’t planned on writing this retrospective until I heard a recent podcast ignoring this criminally overlooked album and praising the inferior Heaven and Hell record, which annoyed me greatly. This collection is a magical bookend to a distinguished history for the band, full of superb songs and a huge amount of emotion.
Master of the Moon is the tenth and final studio album by Dio. The album was released in 2004 and was produced by Ronnie James Dio. It smokes big time, with a great line-up delivering on all fronts. Craig Goldy produces one last bit of guitar wizardry with a performance that shows how underrated he is (back to his best on the new Resurrection Kings long player). Jeff Pilson (Dokken, Foreigner etc) is solid on bass and Simon Wright plays his best drums on a Dio record – far better than the dire Lock Up The Wolves, which plodded beyond tedium. Rounding off the band is Scott Warren, who adds subtle textures to the songs with his keyboards. Ronnie leads by example, with some of his very best vocals from the starting gun of “One More For The Road” to the final hurrah of “In Dreams“. His delivery throughout is operatic, bold and surprisingly moving.
There are lots of reasons to admire this work, but I really like the freshness of the production and the emotion that is woven into songs such as “Master Of The Moon” or “End Of The World“; it is almost as if Ronnie knew that this would be his last Dio release and left it all out on the field.
Standout tracks include the title track and “The Man Who Would Be King“, both of which take a musical walk through dark streets covered in pain and longing. As mentioned earlier, the guitar work of Goldy is outstanding with power chords twisting into angry (and soulful) solos, casting aside the notion that Craig was only ever a technical player without feeling.
For me, “The Eyes” is a great tune also – the groove is amazing, with Simon Wright giving Vinny Appice a run for his money in the rock steady department.
Overall, I am astounded that this record didn’t register more highly with rock fans and it certainly is a forgotten gem, which should be given its proper due.
Any fans of hard rock will know Holy Diver or Last In Line, but give this a spin and tell me that it’s not an awesome end to the Dio band’s studio catalogue. And those who don’t agree, can go and listen to Adele!