By Tapio Keihänen, August 20th, 2004
Warning to our readers: You are reading a review written by someone who has been listening to Dio for quite a while already. You are reading a review written by someone who is the first to admit that he'd love it if Ronnie was just singing through the Helsinki phonebook without any backing music. You are reading a review written by someone who has been more or less a fundamental Dioist for nearly twenty years already.
After the initial warning, back to the scheduled business. I was thinking about typing in this review twice, first after the very first listening thru the Master Of The Moon album and then after a week or two, meaning some 20+ listenings. I again learnt that I'm too lazy to do that, so I rather decided to do it (in my opinion) in the only real way - do not judge the album after just one listening. This was a good decision, as the album grows on you, it simply gets better and better the more you listen to it! The first listening does not give the full picture of the CD for sure.
The album starts with a fast tempo song, One More For The Road. I wouldn't be surprised to hear this opening the Dio show at some point of the tour - or perhaps to be the first song in the encore? Certainly a good choice for the first song of the album - reminds me a bit Stand Up And Shout off the Holy Diver album, although this is done in quite different style.
The title track is the second track - check out your Dio collection and you'll surely notice this as a trend there ;) In my opinion this is one of the best tracks on this album, excellent song with excellent lyrics. I'm quite sure there will be many interpretations of this song, the lyrics can reflect many different things. The song starts as very dark, very doomy, at least I feel like a huge weight hits me. However when the song proceeds, it lifts the weight off you. Just about each time I've been listening to this song, I've found myself pounding my fist on the table, throwing evil eye signs in the air and so forth - my colleagues at work certainly think I must be crazy ;)
The End Of The World comes next. Lyrically this could come from Angry Machines, I'd say, although musically certainly not. To me at least this song talks about the state of everything around us - money has talked over the nature and now we've got some trouble to sort out. Dark song, with Ac/Dc inluences - Simon, do you have anything to do with this? - the beginning of the song has certainly very Ac/Dcish guitar and drum sound. One of my favorites on this album.
Shivers - interesting song, about someone who makes you really shiver, someone really, really evil or nasty. Each time I listen to this song, it brings some certain people in my mind - not many of those, just two or three who certainly made me shiver in the past. Got over that by now but I'm just hoping they get to hear this song and listen to it with a thought. If one song (in my opinion) should be dropped off from the album, it would be this - but please don't get me wrong: The song is good with good lyrics, it just almost makes me shiver again. By the way, as I was listening to this at work, my colleague (one of those who know - and not just think - I'm crazy) pointed out that parts of this sound very much like the chorus of Hungry For Heaven off Sacred Heart. I wonder who Ronnie was thinking about when he wrote this song?
The Man Who Would Be King is the fifth song. This song has been discussed already quite a lot by the Dio fans all around, as it is certainly tied to this day, to one certain individual who has been given the power to change the world. Unfortunately the world is not changing to good, but to evil. This is certainly my favorite song off the album, the perfect song with the perfect theme. Is the devil just the man who would be king?
The Eyes - The world is coming more and more like what Orwell predicted in his book 1984. The Eyes are watching you, the places where you can hide can't get much smaller any more. You're being monitored 24/7. I work on the data security field and I certainly start to feel like this. In many, many ways your privacy is not actually yours any more. This song sounds much like something that could've been also included on Magica with some lyrical changes here and there. This song is very heavy, although it was even heavier when Dio played this on the Master Of The Moon European tour in July-August.
Living The Lie is one of the faster songs on the album, if not the fastest. Again this song can be seen in many lights - I find myself thinking about some people who try to live in a fantasy world, not realizing everyone else sees through their lies and that they'd be living a much better life if they could admit the truth to themselves as well.
I Am is a story of someone who has a really strong self confidence. This song tells you not to try to fight against this guy whoever this is about.. Or is it about the listener? This starts slow but then becomes faster as it proceeds. At first I didn't care much about this song, but then it started to grow and now it is certainly one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Death By Love sounds almost like a Motörhead title... but the song is certainly Dio. And despite the title, this is not a love song, quite the opposite - this follows the "evil woman" song trend Dio has had on most of the albums. One of the faster songs again on this album. Lots of references to the earlier Dio songs built in to this song!
In Dreams brings the conclusion to the album - Craig's playing brings Tony Iommi on Dehumanizer to my mind. This song is a bit slower and very, very heavy. Just like Master Of The Moon, this makes me pound the table with my fists ;)
As a conclusion - musically I'd classify Master Of The Moon as kind of Dream Evil, Magica and Dehumanizer combined. It has lots of heavy riffs with mid-tempo songs - there are not many fast songs on this album. Lyrically this is more difficult to compare with any other Dio album as a whole. This has very up-to-date lyrics talking about today; no dragons or rainbows this time.
After the initial listening I liked The End Of The World and The Man Who Would Be King the most. However, after listening this through a few times, Master Of The Moon and I Am started to grow on me a lot!
Magic numbers - I really cannot give rating to this album, just like I cannot give rating to any other Dio album either. It is slightly difficult to give stars to your god. However, I can honestly say that this album is certainly among my favorite Dio albums, and by far, currently the most often played album in my CD player. I've listened through this at least 50 times now, starting each morning with it at work and giving it a few spins during the day too. This is an excellent way to continue where Killing The Dragon left - some songs on Killing The Dragon could well be here too, such as Rock 'N' Roll. This album is one of those albusm that really grow on you - at least I couldn't tell my opinion after the first listening, I had to listen to this more.
This album will be released on August 30th here in Europe and September 7th in the US. The record stores are already taking preorders - I suggest you go and get this one. I don't believe you'll be disappointed.
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