After the success of The Very Beast Of Vol. 1, it was only a matter of time before we saw the second part of this compilation series chronicaling the solo band career of the late metal vocal legend Ronnie James Dio. While the first set took us from the beginnings of 1983's Holy Diver up to 1993's Strange Highways, this latest release starts off with 1996's underrated Angry Machines and includes tracks from that album as well as Magica, Killing the Dragon, and Master of the Moon, plus a few other surprises. Sure, as any Dio fan knows, this wasn't the most fertile period of the Dio band, as some of the material was lackluster and the band was constantly shifting personnel, but there was still some solid heavy metal to be found among these albums.
Such veteran players as Craig Goldy, Jimmy Bain, Simon Wright, Jeff Pilson, Doug Aldrich, Vinny Appice, Rudy Sarzo, Scott Warren, Tracy G, and others floated in and out of the Dio band during this time period, so you know the musicianship was always going to be rock solid. Numerous hot tracks here, such as "Killing the Dragon", "Along Comes a Spider", "Push", "Lord of the Last Day", but the real gems are "Electra" (single from the Tournado Box Set) and the absolutely crushing "Hunter of the Heart", which was originally released on 1998's Inferno: Last in Live. "Metal Will Never Die" was actually the last thing Ronnie ever recorded, as he guested on his cousin David "Rock" Feinstein's album Bitten by the Beast in 2010. Even with some of these enjoyable tracks, there are also some clunkers here, like the odd sounding "The Eyes", the heavy but lunk headed "Black", and the sappy "As Long As It's Not About Love" and "This Is Your Life".
All in all, some fun stuff here from the latter stages of the Dio band, but ultimately of course it doesn't hold a candle to some of the classic Dio material, but for all those folks who gave up on this band by the early '90s, here's a chance to get a sampling of what you missed out on.
. Killing the Dragon
. The Eyes
. Along Comes A Spider
. Better In The Dark
. Fever Dreams
. Feed My Head
. Hunter Of The Heart (live)
. One More For The Road
. Lord Of The Last Day
. Electra (bonus track)
. As Long As It's Not About Love
. This Is Your Life
16. Metal Will Never Die (bonus track)
17. Prisoner Of Paradise (bonus track)