Overall Score: 8.5/10 Quality of songs: 10/10 Familiarity of songs: 6/10 Bonus features: 7/10 Pros: Good overview of period | Stuffed full of fantastic songs | Some rare bonus tracks add appeal to established fans Cons: Could have put more effort into bonus features to appeal to the existing fanbase
‘The Very Beast of Dio – Volume Two’ is a compilation of the late Ronnie James Dio’s work from the second half of his solo career. The better known section of his solo work is, indisputably contained in the first volume. This then, makes Volume Two an interesting listen as it lacks the familiarity of more well-known songs such as ‘Stand up and Shout’ and, of course, the timeless heavy metal classic – ‘Holy Diver.’ Yet, this lack of such songs is no disadvantage. Indeed, it allows the rest of the anthology to “breathe” helping ‘Volume Two’ showcase just what an extraordinary legacy Dio has left behind.
Even in the era of his work that is, arguably, least appreciated, songs such as ‘Killing the Dragon’ and ‘The Eyes’ still churn out magnificent, rousing choruses and fist-pumping riffs with an ease rare in any metal band even at the height of its career – let alone a solo project near the end of its life.
To the hardcore fan, who already owns every single Dio release, ‘Volume Two’ still, offers several gems. Three “bonus tracks” are included towards the end of Volume Two, something that might make the album more attractive to dedicated fans. For the most part though, this is a compilation for the uninitiated in this section of Dio’s career.
Ultimately, if you’re looking to take a properly in-depth look at the latter half of Dio’s solo career it may be better to go out and buy all of the albums individually. What Volume Two does offer is a decent, and frequently entertaining enough snapshot of this most overlooked of periods.