PAUL GILBERT – The Dio Album

Paul Gilbert - The Dio Album cover art
  • 7.6/10
    PAUL GILBERT - The Dio Album - 7.6/10


Label: Music Theories / Mascot Label Group
Release Date: April 7th, 2023

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Guitarist Paul Gilbert, who wowed Heavy Metal fans in the 80s with his mega talented band Racer X, and who also was the mastermind behind Mr. Big has brought to us a labor of love in his new solo release The Dio Album. Who among us wouldn’t love to create a tribute to the late, great Ronnie James Dio? Though he’s gone, he will live on in hearts and minds for all time. On the album, Paul Gilbert has played all of the instruments, with the exception of the drum work by Bill Ray. The Dio Album gives us 12 songs that span Ronnie’s mid to later career (Dio played pop music for the first half of hi musical career, and also did fabulous work in the band Elf).

About the Album

As Paul Gilbert tells it, he saw a Dio hat in the back window of a car, and was inspired/reminded of the power and genius of Dio, thus inspiring him to create this album. In his own words, Paul talks about how he approached presenting Dio’s vocal lines in guitar form:

“I wanted to go deep into the details of Ronnie’s melodies and style. So I did. On the songs on this album, I often went line by line. I slowed down the music, and soaked up every detail that I could hear and feel. Then I picked up my guitar, and tried to get close. This was time well spent. Ronnie performances contain a wealth of style and emotion. I’m hoping that some of his style rubs off on my playing, and I can have a little more of Ronnie James Dio’s spirit in my ears, hands, and heart.”

Gilbert adds as to the production: “I had the skilled and artistic assistance of Zach Bloomstein. Zach recorded every note, and kept track of all the tracks. Zach was fast enough to capture my solo on “Kill the King” in one take, and he was patient enough to listen to me play about 27 solos in “Neon Knights” as I struggled to keep up with the tempo and the chord changes! Zach mixed the album as well, and created clear and powerful mixes that I know you will enjoy.”

Final Notes

One negative about the album is the backing tracks trying to be almost identical to the original recordings/performances, giving it a karaoke like feel. Though Paul Gilbert does bring a lot of the nuances of Ronnie’s voice to the guitar, it starts to take on a sameness as the album progresses. When covering someone else’s music, one should try to bring something completely new to the arrangement, as Marilyn Manson did on the Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of These)”, or more recently as Udo Dirkschneider did on his cover of “We Will Rock You”. All of that said, it is a very good rendition of Dio’s music in instrumental form, so still worth a listen for Dio fans, guitar aficionados, and Metalheads who love instrumental music.

Paul Gilbert playing his Ibanez Iceman guitar.



  • Paul Gilbert – guitars, bass
  • Bill Ray – drums

The Dio Album – Tracklist

  1. Neon Knights
  2. Kill the King
  3. Stand Up and Shout
  4. Country Girl
  5. Man on the Silver Mountain
  6. Holy Diver
  7. Heaven and Hell
  8. Long Live Rock ‘N’ Roll
  9. Lady Evil
  10. Don’t Talk to Strangers
  11. Starstruck
  12. The Last in Line


  • Bryce Van Patten

    Bryce is an audio engineer and a graphic designer here at Metal Express Radio. From the day he purchased his first album (Machine Head by Deep Purple), he has had a passion for heavy music, which has influenced his whole life. Bryce is from the great Pacific Northwest in USA, and has played in metal bands like Babylon, Holy Terror, The Wild Dogs, Warhead and Egypt through the 80s. He had his first interview for the Portland, Oregon publication The Rock Rag with guitarist Paul Gilbert in his Racer X days. Then he was honored to get to have drinks, and talk for an hour with the legendary Dan McCafferty of Nazareth for his second interview. In 2013, he spent an amazing hour talking to Andi Deris of Helloween, which was the high point of his heavy metal journalism.   In the year 2001, he formed Man in Black Music Publishing. They released recordings by several local bands, and in the spirit of the old Metal Massacre compilations, he created a 2-album series called The Defenders of Metal. The albums featured classic styled Metal bands from all around the world, with bands from Australia to England, and from Argentina to Russia. Currently, he is the producer/creator/vocalist of the Metal band The Black Tuesdays.

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  1. Thanks for the kind words!
    As to the backing tracks being “so close to the original”, it was a decision I made in the drum chair to retain as much of the original drum parts as I could in order to honor those who originally performed them.

    Could I have stretched a bit and added my own flair? Sure! And there were a few takes where I did exactly that, but later recanted as to not be too ostentatious and self-aggrandizing.

    The album was a pleasure to make and being that RJD is one of my favorite artists, I have to say it was an honor to be entrusted to deliver a proper homage.

    I hope we do a “volume 2”!

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