• 6.8/10
    RESURRECTION KINGS - Skygazer - 6.8/10


Record Label: Frontier
Release date: July 16, 2021

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There are many people who simply are too iconic, not just in the world of music. For instance, even people who are not into football whatsoever know who Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are. Surely no article in a sports magazine starts with an introduction along the lines of “Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most successful footballers ever…” since everyone who digs football just knows that. And it cannot be any other way in this instance since this review concerns Ronnie James Dio (though not directly). Everyone who loves Rock and Metal knows who Ronnie James Dio was and if they don’t… then they should look into the mirror and ask themselves if they really know what they expect from life.

The album being reviewed here is the second release by a band called Resurrection Kings and it features multiple musicians who are known for having played with Ronnie James Dio. And by the way, this album is titled Skygazer. If it is somehow not obvious yet that this is going to be very Dio-like then it might be a wise move to listen to the whole Rising by Rainbow and get back to this article. No sarcasm.

Now that many decades have passed since the iconic albums of the 70s saw the daylight, it is becoming harder and harder to come up with something original. There are plenty of bands that could easily add “A tribute to *insert the band name*” to their name simply because they all they do is rip off legendary bands, be it Led Zeppelin, Motörhead or Iron Maiden. But Resurrection Kings are not a rip-off, quite anything but for that matter. With no one other than Craig Goldy (who, apart from Dio, also played with Dokken for a while) on guitar and Vinny Appice on drums, this is just letting the Dio legacy live on and reach younger audiences too.

The first song, being the title track, kicks in and there is no surprise there: it was the legendary “Stargazer” that was the main inspiration for sure. These effects in the intro, even the drums bring the anthem of 70s Hard Rock to mind. Yes it is very Rainbow-like, but also with a touch of modern stuff to it, which is a blessing because as much as Rainbow with Dio on vocals were one of the most amazing bands out there, most people don’t like microwaved Kobe beef from yesterday’s dinner. A freshly fried steak will always taste more exciting, even if it costs one tenth of the Kobe price. Resurrection Kings are no such microwaved Kobe steak for sure. The album carries on and already the next song World’s on Fire” has less of that Dio sound to it.

It’s much more towards the early NWOBHM bands such as Saxon or Tank. But it seems to be beyond doubt that Cozy Powell is one of the drummers the drummer of Resurrection Kings gets his inspiration from and that can be heard particularly well in the third track called “Tears”. It is also worth mentioning that the bass sound is very much spot-on which is not to be found on just any album. The album goes on and more influences – Black Sabbath, Psycho Circus era KISS or Iced Earth – can be heard there. As the album is getting near the end, the intros are getting more and more out of this world; clearly setting off for a celestial journey was on the composers’ mind. That concerns the last three songs and the final one called “Calling All Angels” is probably the best song on the record. That 80s Hard Rock spirit combined with these amazing synths and deep solos is something Ronnie James Dio himself would surely have approved of.

Like said before, despite not being anything fully new, Skygazer is certainly not a microwaved Kobe beef steak. It is something that might have been done by Rainbow or the Dio era Black Sabbath if they were still active. It also is something that may make some tears run down Metalhead’s faces a decade or two from now. Because most of the Rock and Metal fans born in the 70s will have grandchildren by then. And if one day those grandchildren happen to have just discovered Skygazer… and announce it proudly to their grandparents… there will be a slow nod followed by a nostalgic smile on their face. Because here’s what they may just have to say: “You call it old? It only came out fifteen years ago. You know… when I was your age, I stumbled upon a song titled “Stargazer”… and then I just had to discover more… and the person who sung it was no one but Ronnie James Dio…” and if the grandchild happens to love their music, they may get sad and say “But Ronnie James Dio died before I was even born…” to which the nostalgic grandparent will reply with: “He only died officially. His legacy lives forever and you can hear it in the music by “Resurrection Kings” even though it was made long after his passing. So like I went to see Dio when I was your age, you go see Resurrection Kings when you get a chance…” the kid will just stand listening to the story in awe and then the proud grandparent will do the devil’s horns and chuck in yet another word of advice: “Remember… every time you do this very gesture, Ronnie James Dio awakens in you”.


  • Miłosz Mikołaj Nizioł

    Miłosz is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born somewhere in Europe and now lives elsewhere in Europe. Miłosz is a writer and it has always been his passion. Aside from that, Miłosz is also a bass player - back in his UK days he played in various bands, some of which made it to have their place in the history of Metal; this includes an English high speed Thrash Metal act Rager that got mentioned in Contract in Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal (Glasper, I., 2018).   When enjoying live music as a member of the audience, Milosz never says no to circle pits and a good wall of death. Besides Metal, Milosz has a very wide range of interests that don't need to be specified here since they're not about Metal. One of them can be, actually: Milosz LOVES coming up with parodies of various songs lyrics.   Milosz's Top 25 bands (in the following order) are: The Beatles Deep Purple & Black Sabbath Queen ]v[ E G A D E T ]-[ (until 24.05.2021, but still) Judas Priest Iron Maiden (first three albums mostly) Twisted Sister Mötley Crüe KISS (preferably with Ace and Peter) Exodus Overkill Pantera Rainbow (and DIO of course) Savatage Running Wild Testament Pink Floyd ABBA Red Hot Chili Peppers Death Dire Straits Alestorm Motörhead

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