It’s been almost 13 years since the passing of vocalist and metal visionary Ronnie James Dio, yet his essence looms large in the minds of fans and bands around the world, many of whom continue to pay homage to his genius. One such fan is guitarist Paul Gilbert, best known for his work with Mr. Big, Racer X, and on boatloads of solo albums.
The Dio Album is Gilbert’s instrumental homage to Ronnie’s tenure with Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and the solo albums that made him a metal legend. The 10 tracks also pay side-tribute to Dio’s guitar partners, like Tony Iommi, Ritchie Blackmore, and Vivian Campbell. Gilbert meticulously crafts vocal lines with a compressed guitar tone while overdubbing keyboard parts and heavy-duty guitar riffs. The overall effect is impressive and heartfelt – though perhaps pointless.
As Gilbert is gifted with astounding guitar technique, he pours on the heat over classics like “Don’t Talk To Strangers,” “Man On A Silver Mountain,” and “Heaven And Hell.” Gilbert wails particularly well over “The Last In Line” and “Stand Up And Shout.”
The Dio Album isn’t essential, but the guitar ace has never disappointed when it comes to melting faces with molten-note density.
This article originally appeared in VG’s May 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.