Dio – “Sacred Heart” (1985)

During the Sacred Heart recording sessions, Ronnie James Dio and Vivian Campbell were at odds.  In fact, this was to be the final Dio album with Campbell in Dio’s ranks.  Much later Vivian Campbell refered to the Sacred Heart album as a steaming pile of poo.  Strong words indeed.  I wouldn’t say the album deserves to be associated with fecal matter, but I will concede that Sacred Heart was a step back for Dio.  At fault?  I would have to blame Ronnie himself.  RJD simply ran out of ideas.  His lyrics were no more than a rehash of his previous material, and his melodramatic delivery had grown stale.  In the face of a new generation of metal (namely, thrash metal) Dio’s advanced age was really starting to show.  He seemed out of touch with metal fans and disconnected from his audience.  Dio’s lyrics were almost always in the third person, assuring that by album’s end fans knew nothing at all about Dio, as he in turn seemed to know little about them.  Incidentally, did RJD think that all his fan’s were runaways?  (Listen to his lyrics, and you should get my drift.)  In some ways, Dio’s lyrics didn’t give metal fans enough credit, stereotyping them only as misguided youths in need of his mystical rock star guidance.  Meanwhile thrash metal bands were one with the fans (much like the NWOBHM before it), this new breed of metal connected with the fans on a more peer-based level.  Fans looked up on stage and saw a version of themselves playing the instruments.  In contrast, RJD was from the old guard, an elder statesman from metal’s past.  Dio has always struck me as a very intelligent man who simply gave the “kids” what he thought they wanted to hear.  Not a crime, but just something that rubbed me wrong about ol’ RJD.  That’s my two cents at least.  My score: B-

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One thought on “Dio – “Sacred Heart” (1985)

  1. Quite right, it was a step back from the great albums of “Holy Diver” and “The Last in Line” but it wasn’t a bad album at all. The best part was the tour, even after 27 years and still am blown away by the dragon.

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