American guitarist and solo artist Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big, Racer X) will be releasing an album celebrating Heavy Metal icon Dio with The Dio Album arriving on the 7th of April 2023 via Music Theories Recordings/Mascot Label Group. A preview has been released in the form of Gilbert’s take on “Holy Diver”.
It was “pure chance” that led Paul Gilbert to record the music heard on The Dio Album. The guitarist was in his car when he saw something that gave him a spark of joy, a baseball cap with the word ‘Dio’ emblazoned across the front. It struck him profoundly and gave him a plan as he drove home. He wanted to capture that joy on album of Dio’s tracks spanning his career. Gilbert is no stranger to instrumental music, but doing an entire album felt like new territory.
Ronnie James Dio’s voice is revered, so mimicking those vocal lines with guitar was a big challenge for Paul Gilbert. Gilbert feels it involved some “unlearning of technical precision” in order to succeed.
Gilbert also enjoyed paying tribute to three guitar legends with this project, Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, Ritchie Blackmore of Rainbow and Vivian Campbell from the Dio band, who has been a member of Def Leppard since 1992.
Playing all these metal riffs like “Stand Up And Shout”, “Neon Knights” and “Kill The King” gave me serious chills. The guitar parts of Ritchie, Tony and Vivian brought no small number of goosebumps. These amazing riffs are the steel girders of the songs, upon which everything else rests. It had been a while since I’d been this deep into metal rhythm guitar playing, and it felt like I was digging up gold nuggets of fire with a magic platinum shovel. All while wearing a star-covered wizard hat! The guitar solos in these songs came screaming from distant mountaintops. Ritchie, Tony, and Vivian set the standard breathtakingly high.