After a several year "hiatus", Ronnie James Dio’s self monikered band has released a new album, "Magica". The cover art is shown below (from an autographed copy), and you can purchase the album right now from either CD-Now or from the graphics below. There was a short story on the back from the promotional copy of the disc I received to the right. That story goes like this:

Ronnie James Dio, arguably metal’s most enduring and well regarded heavy metal vocalist returns with his first new work in four years, a concept album which is surprisingly his first in 35 years as a recording musician. But don’t expect a concept record in the standard sense of the word. Having seen many attempts amongst his metal compatriots through the years, Dio has something special in store. As is begetting his proven literary stature, the critical mass of the album itself is cloaked in allegory and metaphor, abstraction to the point where little of the plot can be ascertained within the flow of the songs. Such illumination is left for the booklet, as well as the 20 minute narration from Ronnie that caps and brackets the record. Ronnie explains: "Not ever having done this before, and wanting to take some time with it, I didn’t want to be foolish about it. These things can turn out pretty strange. It has its peaks and valleys of course, but it has to tell a story. I didn’t want to do it all in verse. So it tells the story in music as well, with logs of high relief, share and light. It’s much more involved than the things we’ve done before, but again, it retains the character of Dio music. As well, the songs can be removed from the whole process and stand on their own, so much so, that I’ve provided the narration. I’m trying to tell as much as I can in the music, but I want to tell something extra. But in essence, it’s a journey that should be consumed beginning to end."

Musically, Ronnie’s band has turned in a regal, self-assured timeless performance as befits their veteran status within metal’s upper echelons. On guitar and co-writer, Dio welcomes back Dream Evil axeman Craig Goldy. Simon Wright also returns to the fold, having pounded the skins for 1990’s Lock up the Wolves. And last but definitely not least Magica marks the return of bass legend Jimmy Bain, having worked with Ronnie during Rainbow’s golden era. So everything points to a return: a reunion of personnel, a reinvigoration back to the roots of Dio’s creative high points (Ronnie feels the record specifically invokes the spirit of Holy Diver, Mob Rules, & Long Live Rock & Roll) and, given the weighty grooves enclosed, a return to the critical and commercial statue Ronnie commanded through much of the 1980’s. Magica awaits…

This is a concept album – something different for Ronnie. Several people have already called it his best album ever – if you haven’t already ordered it, why not click on one of the links here to order your own copy? Both CDNow & Amazon have some sound samples from the album. The Official site of the record company Ronnie’s with now (Spitfire) has an MP3 download available of the entire track "Fever Dreams". Check that out, too.