by John Kindred
– Publisher –
Niji Entertainment Group, the record label started by the late Ronnie James Dio and Wendy Dio, continue to revisit the Dio catalog. This go around Niji has re-released the studio album Magica which was originally released in 2000. This two-CD deluxe edition of Magica features the original music remastered, the songs “Annica” and “Electra,” along with five official live bootlegs from the Magica tour during 2000 and 2001. The deluxe edition also contains a 20-page booklet, Dio collector postcard, new liner notes and photos. The Magica tour dates and set list are printed on the inside of the digipak.
Magica the deluxe edition was re-mastered by Wyn Davis (Dokken, Foreigner, Heaven & Hell). In its two-CD presentation the original music tracks comprise the first CD, while the spoken narrative track, “The Magica Story,” opens disc two. There are two bonus tracks included: “Annica” a Japanese bonus track and “Electra” which was to appear on either Magica 2 or 3. Disc 2 ends with the official live bootlegs.
Magica was Dio’s first true concept album. With Dio taking over the roles as producer, Craig Goldy returned to the band and the duo crafted the musical framework for the album. After a 10-year hiatus original bassist Jimmy Bain, alongside drummer Simon Wright, also rejoined the group. The 14-song opus, while grounded in the storyline penned by Dio, features songs that sonically can stand on their own. For fans unfamiliar with Magica songs like “Lord of the Last Day” and “Fever Dreams” should be known as they appear subsequent compilation’s and live releases.
Magica represents Dios multi-faceted approach to heavy compositions and arrangements. Every song on the album is unique in its own right and shows the band’s dynamic approach. Although the storyline unites each track, it’s Dio and Goldy’s masterful ability to compose and arrange the music that provides the strong foundations for the vocal melodies. While the musical part of the album unfolds on CD 1 the “The Magica Story,” the first track on the second CD which is narrated by Ronnie James Dio, lays itself out for the listener to take in, helping to explain the meaning of the lyrics.
Magica has a little bit of everything for Dio fans, from the heavy and brooding “Lord of the Last Day” to the anti-ballad “As Long As It’s Not About Love.” “Annica” the additional bonus track from the Japanese release is a cool addition. “Elcetra” gives insight to where the next chapter in the musical story was headed. The additional live bootleg tracks are less than desirable, professionally recorded live songs would have been a better addition to the deluxe edition.
At the end of the day Ronnie James Dio’s legacy is one that has defined the landscape of hard rock and metal through his lyrics and music. It is great to see older material retouched and re-released for fans to continue to enjoy for years to come.
Genre: Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Ronnie James Dio – vocals, keyboards
Craig Goldy – guitars, keyboards
Jimmy Bain – bass
Simon Wright – drums
Scott Warren – keyboards
02. Magica Theme
03. Lord Of The Last Day
04. Fever Dreams
05. Turn To Stone
06. Feed My Head
09. As Long As It’s Not About Love
10. Losing My Insanity
12. Magica- Reprise
13. Lord Of The Last Day – Reprise
01. The Magica Story (narrated by Ronnie James Dio)
02. Annica (Japanese-only bonus track)
03. Electra (recorded for “Magica 2″ & “3”)
04. Feed My Head (official live bootleg)
05. Fever Dreams (official live bootleg)
06. Turn To Stone (official live bootleg)
07. Lord Of The Last Day (official live bootleg)
08. As Long As It’s Not About Love (official live bootleg)
09. Losing My Insanity (official live bootleg)
Label: Niji Entertainment Group
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.9/10