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You say anarchy, I say government you say temporary, I say permanent You say disillusionment, I say wonder You say talented, I say neverhundred.
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Ronnie James Dio was a part of the metal scene when it really began to take form in the seventies. He was in such notable bands of Elf and Rainbow in the seventies. Both names are fitting since he kind of looks like a leprechaun. In the eighties he became the lead singer of Black Sabbath. Personally I don't care for Black Sabbath and my feelings toward that band won't change regardless of whether the frontman of the band is Ozzy or Ronnie. That being said, in the eighties Dio just started releasing albums as Dio. And the first album he released was his best, Holy Diver. I owned this album, I thought it was the greatest thing. To be fair, I went through an eighties metal phase when I was a teenager. But it's still a great album, Holy Diver, Don't Talk to Strangers and of course Rainbow in the Dark.
Killswitch Engage is a metalcore band. Whatever that means, as far as I can tell metalcore is overly polished, over produced garbage. But Killswitch Engage has been around since the nineties, technically 1999 is still the nineties. Killswitch engage covered this song for a compilation album of covers by several bands of several bands. This cover was Killswitch Engage's first big hit, they had a music video and released it several times. That's my justification for talking about it.
The Original: Ronnie James Dio
The original has this long intro with this wind blowing sound effect and some synth build up. And then it crashes into the galloping guitar. Well, galloping might not be the right word, it's not as fast as something off of an Iron Maiden album, but it's the same rhythm which is complimented by some excellent percussive work. Dio has one of the greatest voices in eighties, second only to Adrian Smith. I'm drawing a lot of comparisons between Iron Maiden and Dio, it's hard not to. Iron Maiden just takes things to the next level, but often feels over produced. Iron Maiden came out with what I consider to be their peak this same year that Ronnie James Dio released his Holy Diver EP, his most celebrated album. So I have to focus on Dio here, his voice can his the high notes as well as Smith, it has more of a roughness to it.
Another great aspect on this song and through out the album is the lead guitar work. It's fantastic here, I love the solos and the melodies. It's grade A stuff.
The Cover: Killswitch Engage.
Here's an amazingly well polished and produced metal song. You have your guitars screaming, shredding and grinding along. The vocalist here is Howard Jones, he's very talented. This is a popular voice for metalcore electric guitars, when it gets that squealing at times, that annoys me a little bit. I'm not sure where it originated but I'm putting the blame on Zakk Wylde. And there is some screaming that I never really cared for, but it's pretty minimal. But I really can't complain, they are not bad at playing their instrument. Nobody here is. The dueling guitar solos kick some major ass. If this s your style of music, you'll love it. But if you love the classic metal than I can't help but think you'd feel like it's patronizing. This cover feels like a parody, but that's alright, they're just having fun and I know Dio didn't mind. Pat Boone covered this song, with Dio backing. My point is Dio was could poke fun at himself and I don't think he minded a little parody. I have no doubt that Killswitch Engage are huge fans of Dio, and they parody out of love.
Obviously I ice the original as the better song. Even though I'm not offended by parody, sometimes it's tricky. Eighties metal is easy to parody. It's over the top, theatrical, excessive all around it's the most ridiculous thing. But the beauty is that it's genuinely outrageous and cheesy. Many newer bands are aware of how ridiculous it is and have fun with it. But when the band's self aware, is it as entertaining? It certainly isn't as sincere or genuine. Aside from that newer metal bands are so precise and technical. Metal has always been on the more technical side when it comes to the music, how it's written and performed. But in the eighties there were still several guitarists that had a healthy balance of heart and skill. Somewhere in the early to mid nineties that was lost in the genre. I guess I can respect these musicians for their technical skill but it will never really hold my attention due to it's lack of soul.
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