For heavy metal fans, the legacy of singer Ronnie James Dio long outlasts his presence on this mortal plane. Next month, a pair of releases will celebrate his final works as the frontman of the band that bore his last name.
Niji Entertainment and BMG will release The Studio Albums 1996-2004 on September 22, featuring the final recordings Dio made before the singer's passing in 2010. It'll be available on CD as well as a limited edition vinyl set featuring color variations for each album: 1996's Angry Machines will be pressed on Halloween orange with black marble vinyl, the double-album Magica (2000) on transparent blood red/black smoke vinyl, 2002's Killing the Dragon on transparent yellow and black marbled vinyl, and the group's final album Master of the Moon (2004) on electric blue with milky clear marbled vinyl. Also exclusive to the vinyl box: a single sided cobalt blue 7" of the band's final single "Electra," issued months before Dio's passing.
Though each album was recorded by a different line-up of the group as led by Dio himself, they all feature members whose work was well-treasured by fans. After a brief return to fronting Black Sabbath in the early '90s, Dio revived the band in 1992 that featured, at various points, Holy Diver-era members Jimmy Bain and Vinny Appice, Dokken bassist Jeff Pilson and guitarist Tracy G. For Angry Machines, the group's first release off Reprise Records, Dio recruited Tracy G, Pilson and Appice with Scott Warren joining the group for a 1993-1994 tour and remaining a member throughout. Warren was indeed the only member to return for the concept album Magica in 2000, but he was joined by a mix of Dio alumni (Bain was back on bass and Dream Evil-era guitarist Craig Goldy also returned) and rock veterans (drummer Simon Wright, who kept time for AC/DC in the mid-to-late '80s). 2002's Killing the Dragon swapped Goldy for guitarist Doug Aldrich, a veteran of groups like Lion and Bad Moon Rising (and later a member of Whitesnake), while the group's final bow, Master of the Moon, featured the same line-up as its predecessor, save Bain being replaced yet again by Pilson. (Whew!)
This box isn't the only big Dio release next month: on September 29, the documentary Dreamers Never Die will be released on DVD and Blu-ray. The film, which premiered at SXSW in 2022 and subsequently aired on Showtime, chronicles Dio's unlikely journey through music, from his early days in vocal group Ronnie & The Rumblers to his heavy metal tenures as vocalists for Elf, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven and Hell.
Dio's widow Wendy also promised more work on her late husband's catalogue through BMG, with "some interesting surprises" promised in a press statement. In the meantime, you can pre-order Dio: The Studio Albums 1996-2004 below.
Dio: The Studio Albums 1996-2004 (Niji Entertainment/BMG, 2023)
CD/LP 1: Angry Machines (originally released as Mayhem Records 11104-2, 1996)
CD 2/LP 2-3: Magica (originally released as Spitfire Records SPT CD 15020, 2000)
CD 3/LP 4: Killing the Dragon (originally released as Spitfire Records SPT CD 15199, 2002)
CD 4/LP 5: Master of the Moon (originally released as Sanctuary 06076-84723-2, 2004)
7": Electra (released in Tournado - Limited Edition Box Set - Niji Entertainment DIO 1, 2010)