Ronnie James Dio's biggest problem is that he started his solo career with two of the best straightforward Heavy Metal albums of all time. Where could he go from there? So with the inevitable decline (which still saw the release of some very good albums) Dio slowly faded from an Arena God to another trooper carrying the banner for Heavy Metal and playing large clubs and small theaters. All the while Dio fans hoped for (and many expected) another GREAT Dio album. Killing The Dragon is that album. With solid (and very memorable) melodies, and great riffs, Killing The Dragon sounds like a combination of Sacred Heart and Dream Evil with bits of The Last In Line and Lock Up The Wolves thrown in. New guitar player Doug Aldrich is a solid and sometimes flashy fret burner, and he adds a lot to the album. Jimmy Bain is solid, as usual, and he contributed as a songwriter to nine of the ten songs on the album. Bain has always been underrated and unappreciated as a songwriter, but Killing The Dragon is proof that he was a bigger part of the early Dio (the band) success than most fans knew. Simon Wright is solid as well, giving the album a very strong foundation. Some of the songs are among the best Dio has ever done, and even the weakest songs on the album are better than most of what Dio has done in the last decade (which hasn't been bad, it just wasn't as good as what he did earlier). Some of the songs on Killing The Dragon lean more towards Melodic Metal or Hard Rock, but there isn't really anything "wimpy" on the album. This is an album that fits in well with the first four DIO albums. If you've ever liked Dio then you should definitely get Killing The Dragon. Now. You won't be disappointed. BUY IT!
on January 6, 2003
When Killing the Dragon was released in May I was hearing about how there was going to be tour edition, so I decided to wait to purchase the album until the edition came out. Of course they wait ended up being quite long, and the album didn't penetrate stores around here for over a month after release. However in October I got a copy of Killing the Dragon Limited Edition. The album is great, it's not Holy Diver, but it's another great album from Dio. There are two bonus live tracks (featuring Ronnie with Deep Purple.) The two songs are "Fever Dreams" and of course "Rainbow in the Dark." I especially like the live version of "Rainbow in the Dark" but "Fever Dreams" is excellent also. The Limited Edition also includes a screen saver for your computer (which isn't too great, but still pretty neat) and the music video for "Push." "Push" is a decent song, and the video is pretty good, and if you want to see it you'll probably have to get it here, since MTV never plays good music. Anyways, it features Tenacious D in the beginning playing an acoustical parody of "Heaven and Hell" VERY funny, especially if you have heard their song about Dio. At the end they try to mimic the music video, also very funny.
If you already own Killing the Dragon, you should only pick up the Limited Edition if you really want to see the music video, or if you're a completist or big fan, you'll probably find it's worth it for the added goodies. It comes in a cardboard covering which is a close-up of the dragon, and then the jewel case features the same cover, and everything is pretty much identical except the CD says "Limited Edition" and the track listing on the back is different, the CD looks the same as the original, except a different tint, but nothing major.
1. Killing the Dragon - One of the best on here, hard rocking riff, great lyrics (anti computer, reminiscent of "Computer God" from Dehumanizer.) Excellent song! 100%
2. Along Comes a Spider- A decent song, pretty face paced. Good riff. 90%
3. Scream - Good song, love the chorus. 90%
4. Better In the Dark - Great song, "monsters always know it's better in the dark" - a song you'd expect from Dio, and he delivers! 95%
5. Rock and Roll - Ok be honest, this riff is almost identical to that found on Rage Against The Machine's song "Wake Up" (not the entire song, but a good chunk.) Anyways this song is really good, it's Dio's response to the music industry for banning him after September 11 on some stations (he found this out by calling to express his sympathy for victims and being told they weren't playing any Black Sabbath or Dio.) Anyways, this song is really great, but it doesn't get 100% because I have to wonder about the riff. 95%
6. Push - The single off Killing the Dragon, a good song, a little bit slower, but I don't see why some people don't like it, one of the better tracks on this album. 100%
7. Guilty - This song is alright, a good chorus, good lyrics. 90%
8. Throw Away Children - This song was supposed to feature guest musicians, but the record wouldn't allow it (something along the line the song would be too depressing.) Anyways it's a great heart-felt song about abused children. Dio supports the Children of the Night foundation, and that's what this song is for. 95%
9. Before the Fall - Decent enough, nothing spectacular though. 85%
10. Cold Feet - A different, slower, more keyboard-heavy song. It's not bad, not a typical Dio song. I like it though. 90%
11. Fever Dreams [Live] - Excellent, Dio sounds great! 95%
12. Rainbow in the Dark [Live] - One of the better live versions of this song I have heard. 95%
Overall if you don't have Killing the Dragon yet, be sure to get this one, and if you really want to see that music video, or hear the lives tracks, it's probably worth it to get this album again (if you're a big Dio fan!)
on January 7, 2015
Having just got this, and now having listened to the album in its entirety, coupled with the fact that I am a die-hard fan of anything with the mighty Ronnie James Dio in it, my two cents on this album are a 100% must.
Ronnie himself showcases his supreme vocal range on just about every track from start to finish, all the while living up to the consistency in the sheer level of emotion and richness for which his voice is known, even at a relatively advanced age. Apparently, his age never meant anything to him whenever it came to his vocal abilities. With him, it is unnecessary to get into a song-by-song analysis on this album (or any other album he has been on for that matter). Anything with his name on it – You CANNOT LOSE!
Setting aside the hype for the band’s namesake singer, I have to say that each and every song flows perfectly and gives the listener anything that they could want in any classic hard rock/heavy metal album. The title track has the perfect info, with its creepy noises that lead right into the thundering pulse of guitars and drums that carry the song throughout. I have to say that the manner in which I first heard the title track was rather interesting. It was the accompanying music track to a clip from the 1992 movie “Ferngully: The Last Rainforest,” which featured the demise of the antagonist, Hexxus, the spirit of destruction.
Here is the link to that very video on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpm2Dt3o6O4
Although the song “Along Comes a Spider” can easily be interpreted as a reference to the famous children’s nursery rhyme “Little Miss Muffet,” I am willing to bet that it has a far deeper meaning than what would come to mind for most young people, especially in America. After all, this is NOT the type of music/lyrics that was ever made for those people who just prefer dumbed-down, simplistic lyrics with which just anyone can instantly click.
The song “Rock and Roll,” as generic of a title as it might have, really does give the listener that overwhelming sense of empowerment and indestructibility in the face of all the mindless, talentless, non-artistic trash (dance-pop, rap/hip-hop, techno, dubstep, etc.) that pollutes the airwaves and is being slammed through our heads on a day to day basis. After all, Ronnie, along with the rest of his namesake band, and anyone else he has ever worked with, has made music that was made to last throughout the ages, and will continue to do so, even long after his death from stomach cancer.
For those of you not in the know, the word “Dio” is Italian for “God” or “Deity” and Ronnie had every right to name himself as such for his sheer brilliance, not only as a singer and lyricist, but also as an intellectual and a simply a man who knew how to relate to the world around him. Throughout his life, and forever thereafter, he has and always will touch the hearts of millions the world over who know what great music is all about – Heart, soul, talent, dedication, and being creative and unique. May he rest in peace and keep on rocking away in the afterlife for all of eternity.
ROCK ON DIO!!! FOR NOW, AND FOR ALL OF ETERNITY!!! HEAVY METAL WILL NEVER DIE!!! \M/\M/
on August 10, 2002
DIO shows he is still one of the best, if not the best, hard rock vocalists around with several of his latest releases such as "Last In Line: Live", MAGICA, and this one following a little slump in the early 90s. "Killing the Dragon" is a solid hard rock collection and any of Dio's fans will enjoy it.
I don't think it has the power, emotion, and artistry of MAGICA which included such killer tracks as "Fever Dreams", "Challis", "As Long As It's Not About Love", and "Losing My Insanity" (some of the best pure hard rock tunes of the last ten years by Dio or anyone else); however, "Killing the Dragon" is still a good CD. Keep up the good work, Ronnie !!!
on April 18, 2016
I am not sure why, but for some reason I never picked up this album when it came out. After the death of Jimmy Bain a few months ago, I decided to re-explore some of the Dio albums that I did not have and added this one to my collection. Overall I would say this is a good, but not great Dio album. I really enjoyed the previous album to this one “Magica” which in my opinion may be the most underrated album of Dio’s career. Where “Magica” was adventurous and experimental, “Dragon” segues back to Dio’s patented formula of heavy rockers with fantasy laden lyrics. It is a throwback in many ways to his classic albums of the 80’s. That being said, I don’t think it is quite on the same level, but there are some good tracks here and overall it is a decent addition to my Dio collection.
on December 26, 2002
I am a 36 year old former metal maniac that, for whatever reason, has been revisiting the genre in the last year after a long absence.
Thats what led me to see Dio when he came thru Portland, Oregon on the opening night of the tour to support this record.
The show absolutely rocked. Dio and band were tight, and obviously enjoying themselves. What a treat to see one of my favorite bands from the 80's for the first time in a small venue. . .
Anyway, I bought this album in the aftermath of that show and have been listening to it quite a bit ever since. One thing an audiophile will appreciate is how awesome the production is, vis a vis the old stuff. There are GREAT guitar tones on this record, and everything is so crisp. This is not another day at the office for Ronnie: he puts his heart and soul into the vocals on this record. Listen as he belts 'wolves at the door, hooooooooowling for more' in the title track. Another major highlight of this record is the guitar playing of Doug Aldrich. His licks are very reminiscent of the classic Dio records, but he puts a fresh new twist that makes it relevant. Some folks in this forum have said Simon Wright is no Vinnie Appice, yet I love the drumming on this record. Absolutely rock solid.
Also, be sure to get the special 'limited edition', if you can, as it includes the 'Push' video with a hilarious intro by Tenacious D. I fully respect Ronnie for embracing Tenacious D- it showcases a sense of self deprecation that is refreshing in an age where artists take themselves way too seriously.
Four and a half stars. (1/2 point off for having 'Dark' in the title of a song)
on February 27, 2015
Another great DIO album, but then again does DIO ever disappoint? My only complaint was that they put a video on the limited edition version that I had purchased. The video is great except for the fact that they decided to open the video with Tenacious D and that stupid talentless fart stain, Jack Black. Never understood how that guy Forest Gumped his way into movies and music in the first place.
on October 8, 2015
Not the greatest Dio album but still better than most other hard rockers. You still have Dio's great vocals and a band that supports him well enough. I am most happy when Ronnie is singing with Black Sabbath or Rainbow but this will do in a pinch. The bonus songs with Deep Purple were pretty cool although the guitarist didn't impress me with his rendition of what is one of my favorite Dio tunes.
on May 21, 2002
With the release of Killing the Dragon, Ronnie James Dio captures the catchy hook of his Holy Diver and Last In Line heyday and blends it with the rich musical tapestry of his vastly under-appreciated opus Magica.
Doug Aldrich joins the group and establishes a middle ground between the blistering fretwork of Vivian Campbell (Holy Diver, Last in Line Sacred Heart) and the heavier crunching riffs of Craig Goldy (Dream Evil, Magica).
The songs are also a blend. "Better in the Dark" would be perfectly at home on Last in Line and if "Push" doesn't receive a great deal of airplay, it will be a travesty.
Other songs capitalize on Ronnie's mastery of the language and weave rich lyrical pictures. On "Throw Away the Children", he tell the story of a runaway (Ronnie is a vocal supporter of Children of the Night, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving children from the ravages of street life and prostitution).
All in all, this album has a lot more hits than misses. Of the 10 songs on the disc, eight are definite pleasers and the other two - "Before the Fall" and "Cold Feet" - are still highly listenable.
If you're a fan of Ronnie or of metal icons in general, this disc would be a fine addition to your collection.
on December 20, 2004
This is not a good as Holy Diver or the cd released prior to this one (Magica), but it is still a 4 star release. Okay, I know what you are saying, Why did you give it 5 stars then? Because this was released in 2002. When it comes to 2002 and after, what classic metal artist have made good records? Ozzy? too busy swearing at the kids and the dog on a really bad MTV show and hasn't put out a good disc since 1991's No More Tears. Alice Cooper? Too busy playing golf and tring to be a good guy and still has not put out anything really worth listening to since 1994's Last Temptation. Savatage, a great underground metal band? Has sold-out to playing Christmas carols. Aerosmith?, not since they were on drugs. AC/DC? 1991's Razor's Edge, everything else is garbage. Guns and Roses? com'n, they had one good album. Are you still thinking?
KISS?, give me a break, not since 92'. We all know about Metallica. So if you call yourself a fan of metal, go out and get this one. The opening track is the best and it leads itself into just a great rocking thunderous album. It is rare that every song on a record is worht listening to. This is the one. By the way, what has Def Leppard and Iron Maiden put out of late?