Dio was a heavy metal band that lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio formed in 1982. He had originally been a member of Black Sabbath and wanted to form his own group. Dio took Black Sabbath’s drummer Vinny Appice with him. They chose to call the band Dio because Ronnie James Dio was already well known by his surname, so it made commercial sense. Over the years, the line-up of the band changed on multiple occasions, and Ronnie James Dio was the only constant member. Before they disbanded in 2010 following Ronnie James Dio’s death from Stomach cancer, Dio released ten studio albums. Here are the 10 best Dio albums ranked.
10. Angry Machines (1996)
Released in 1996, ‘Angry Machines’ was the seventh Dio studio album. Like many other heavy metal bands who had found popularity in the 1980s, Dio began edging their style towards grunge. It was not a popular change amongst their fans. The only decent track on the album was ‘This Is Your Life.’ Due to the album’s lack of popularity, many thought that Dio would soon come to an end. However, this album marked the beginning of a new era for Dio, and they went on to have three more albums.
9. Lock Up the Wolves (1990)
When Dio recorded ‘Lock Up the Wolves,’ their fifth studio album, Ronnie James Dio’s aim was to turn around the fortunes of the band, which had been affected by the decline of the heavy metal genre. However, the resulting music was so different from their usual style that their strong fanbase was disappointed with the album. The only track on the album that received good reviews was ‘My Eyes.’
8. Strange Highways (1993)
The title of Dio’s sixth studio album reflects the strange time that the band was going through. Not only had there been an ever-changing line-up within the band, but the popularity of heavy metal music was also in decline in the early 1990s. It was the first album to feature guitarist Tracy Grijalva. Many fans consider ‘Strange Highways’ Dio’s darkest and heaviest album. Highlights from the album include the title track, ‘Give Her the Gun,’ and ‘Bring Down the Rain.’
7. Master of the Moon (2004)
‘Master of the Moon’ combined castle metal lyrics with big melodies and epic riffs. It was the band’s 10th studio album, and it was the last to feature drummer Vinny Appice and keyboardist Claude Schnell. The two singles released from the album were ‘I Could Have Been a Dreamer’ and ‘All the Fools Sailed Away.’
6. Sacred Heart (1985)
‘Sacred Heart’ was Dio’s third album, and it was the first to face any major criticism. Many fans found the music uninspired, and there were inconsistencies in the quality of the music. Despite some tracks that can only be described as fillers, the saving grace of the album were the decent tracks, such as the title track, ‘Hungry for heaven,’ and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Children.’
5. Killing the Dragon (2002)
Fans believed that the hidden meaning behind ‘Killing the Dragon’ was the decline of heavy metal music. However, Dio claims that the title and the lyrics of the title song referred to technology. It was the band’s ninth album and followed on from some commercially unsuccessful albums. So, the success of ‘Killing the Dragon’ meant that it was, to an extent, a comeback album. The title track was one of the album’s best tracks, and other popular songs included ‘Along Comes a Spider’ and ‘Push.’
4. Dream Evil (1987)
The fourth album Dio released was ‘Dream Evil,’ and it was the first of their albums that featured guitarist Craig Goldy, who had replaced Vivian Campbell. While some fans were unsure whether Goldy was a worthy replacement, many changed their mind after listening to the album. It was one of Dio’s most varied albums in terms of style.
3. Magica (2000)
Sales of ‘Magica’ were modest, yet it has remained a favorite among die-hard Dio fans. The fans love this concept album because of the diversity of the music, ranging from moving power ballads to doom-laden tracks and catchy heavy rock. Originally, Dio planned to release a trilogy of ‘Magica’ albums, and the band’s later decision not to do so was to the regret of fans.
2. The Last in Line (1984)
‘The Last in Line’ was the second album released by Dio. The 1984 album included some excellent tracks, including the title track, ‘Mystery,’ and the album’s closing track, ‘Egypt (The Chains Are On.’ The album was a success in Europe, as it reached number four on the UK Albums Chart, number six on the Swedish Albums Chart, and number seven on the Norwegian Albums Chart. It was also a sign of the band’s growing American fanbase that they peaked at number 23 on the Billboard 200.
1. Holy Diver (1983)
According to Ultimate Classic Rock, the best Dio album was also their first, ‘Holy Diver.’ While it may have been the band’s first album, both critics and fans still argue that it was the best music Dio released. A possible reason for this is that it was Ronnie James Dio’s first opportunity to headline an act, and it was his chance to show off any creativity he may have suppressed in the past. Combined with his many years in the industry working alongside some of the best from the heavy metal genre, the tracks were fantastic. It did particularly well in the UK, reaching number 13 on the UK Albums Chart.