It's been over two years since the little man with the big voice departed this world for the Heaven above but his music lives on with the legions of Metal fans worldwide.
Keeping his music alive in the live venues are Dio Disciples featuring three members who were right there in the last line-up of the band, playing on Dio's 2004 release, 'Master Of The Moon', and were due to be in the touring line-up before the last dates were cancelled due to Ronnie's illness.
Having missed out on Dio Disciples last time round I was looking forward to seeing them very much having heard good reports from the previous year.
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Many were in the door at an early time to catch rising London based rockers Monument, who were promoting the release of their debut EP 'Rock The Night'.
Featuring former White Wizzard singer Peter Ellis on vocals, Monument delivered an authentic set of traditional Metal harking back to the glory days of the NWOBHM birth with a real earthy Iron Maiden sound complete with galloping bass lines and a swirling twin lead guitar attack with a modern feel.
'Fatal Attack', 'Carry On' and 'Midnight Queen' all have a fist in the air approach and Peter Ellis is maturing into a very commanding frontman. Monument will be getting the column space they deserve very soon.
More aggressive were Hostile from the Black Country who sound like Judas Priest overdosed on Pantera which may come as no surprise as KK Downing produced the debut, 'Eve Of Destruction', and the last member of the band to join is Alex Hill, son of Ian Hill from Priest on the bass.
Jay Mills led his band through a brutal set of cranium crashing tunes such as the monstrous 'Fuelled By Hate' and 'Dig Up The Power'. 'Addiction' is a darker slower song in line with Alice In Chains. 'I Don't Give A Fuck' is lyrically a little nu-Metal for me but Hostile showed angry and hungry promise. Fucking Hostile indeed.
With a 'Killing The Dragon' backdrop Dio Disciples exploded into 'Stand Up And Shout' with Craig Goldy cranking out the razor sharp riff and Simon Wright hitting the drums like the sound of bullets ricocheting off Metal.
Tim Owens has the difficult shoes to fill on the vocals and does a grand and enthusiastic job all night and is no stranger to singing the songs of Metal Gods, having ripped it up with Judas Priest and Iced Earth previously.
Tonight Owens was wearing a tight black leather jacket and baseball cap and if he wore some baggy trousers he could have been a doppelganger for Fred Durst of Limp Bizit.
The use of a second singer works very well, surprisingly, with Fastway/Little Angels singer Toby Jepson who came on for 'Egypt (The Chains Are On)'.
For most of the night Jepson sang the more mellow and dramatic introductions before the sound got beefed up with Tim Owens roaring in. They worked majestically together on the epics 'Stargazer' and 'Heaven And Hell', which ironically were not played in their entirety without the interruption of a drum solo when performed live by Dio.
The use of the two singers is an inspired move and reminds me a lot of watching 3 Inches Of Blood at the top of their game.
Keyboardist Scott Warren's parts are kept to a minimum but are still a very important and intriguing sound of Dio. There are many who stay at home and dispute the reasons behind Dio Disciples but the band find themselves in the very same boat as the guys from Thin Lizzy. Full of timeless classics that need to be heard for many generations to come.
This was a fine celebration and tribute to the legacy of the music of Dio. Ronnie James Dio would've been proud of his Rock 'N Roll Children.