Dio – Strange Highways (1994/2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 53:21 minutes | 1,21 GB | Genre: Rock, Metal
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: HDTracks | Front cover | © Reprise Records
Strange Highways is the sixth studio album by the American heavy metal band Dio. It’s also their first album since Ronnie James Dio and Vinny Appice’s reunion tour with Black Sabbath. The European release was on Vertigo, in October 1993; the U.S. release was on Reprise Records, in January 1994.
After the short-lived reunion with Black Sabbath for the recording of the album Dehumanizer (1992) and the subsequent tour, Dio and Appice returned to Dio’s solo group, hiring Tracy Grijalva as new guitarist. Former Dio bassist Jimmy Bain was to make a return to the band, but he was soon sacked by Dio and replaced by Jeff Pilson.
The final Warner Bros. release for Dio after an 11-year run of hard-edged post-Sabbath recordings, Strange Highways is almost a return to early ’80s form for a group that hadn’t done anything particularly inspiring since 1984’s Last in Line. Joining the band’s namesake vocalist Ronnie James Dio on this 1994 release is an all-star lineup, including long-time drumming cohort Vinny Appice, bassist Jeff Pilson (most notably of Dokken, and an nice addition to the group, especially live), and unknown guitarist Tracy G. Dio is in fine voice as usual, especially on “Hollywood Black” and the emotive opener “Jesus, Mary & the Holy Ghost.” G. provides a nice, generally staccato guitar flow that harkens back to the glory days when Vivian Campbell filled the six-string slot in the group’s finest lineup. Original drummer Appice seems to have lost some energy, tone, and sharpness by the time of this release, which is too bad considering that he had formerly personified all those qualities. As a unit, however, Dio prove they can lay down some deadly riffs, as songs like “Pain” and “Firehead” keep a nice momentum going throughout this return to solo work for Ronnie James Dio after a brief second tour of duty with Black Sabbath. Strange Highways is a solid effort with some of Dio’s better late-career material, powerful singing, and strong performances from G. and Pilson.
1 Jesus, Mary & The Holy Ghost 04:11
2 Firehead 04:06
3 Strange Highways 06:51
4 Hollywood Black 05:08
5 Evilution 05:35
6 Pain 04:11
7 One Foot in the Grave 04:01
8 Give Her the Gun 05:59
9 Blood from a Stone 04:14
10 Here’s to You 03:25
11 Bring Down the Rain 05:40
Ronnie James Dio – vocals
Tracy G – guitars
Jeff Pilson – bass, keyboards
Vinny Appice – drums