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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on December 28, 2003
Ronnie James Dio's 1985 effort, "Sacred Heart", is a bit too pop for me, a fan of "traditional" heavy metal (excluding "nu-metal"). However, please understand that I am hardest on my favorite artists. After his departure from Black Sabbath, Dio's first two solo albums were a success. I think he may have tried too hard to compete with his first two outings. The album does open with a rocker, "King of Rock and Roll", which I have heard is a begrudging tribute to Ozzy Osbourne. If there is an "epic" song on the album, it would be "Sacred Heart". The rest of the album is what I would call pop metal (I know that's hard to mention on a Dio review). I think Dio relied too much on Claude Schnell's keyboards and catchy hooks/choruses here, which is a requirement for any pop metal effort. Some of these choruses on the songs are, however, contagious, like "Hungry for Heaven", "Like the Beat of a Heart", & "Shoot Shoot". "Hungry for Heaven" was actually a single released to support the flop movie "Vision Quest" (a bad flick about Greco-Roman wrestling). Also, Jimmy Bain's bass is almost inaudible, and Vinnie Appice's drumming is rather reserved on most of the songs. Vivian Campbell, however, still shreds well on guitar for most of the album.
The album cover is a bit cheesy, and it reminds me too much of a Dio-era Rainbow album cover. Though I was too young to witness it, I have heard that the tour to support the album was amazing, complete with lasers, smoke, a huge mechanical dragon, armored knights, and wizards. Overall, "Sacred Heart" is definitely one of Dio's weaker albums, receiving the least critical attention, along with his 1994 "Strange Highways" album. But, it is an interesting departure from his traditional work and should not be ignored; If you bought this album, it would not be a complete waste of money.
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This the third Dio record is much weaker then the first two. With an addition of a keyboard player to the lineup the music seems to shift in that direction here. I still feel that in most cases in the 80's that keyboards just didn't work in metal because the sounds were all to thin. I feel it wasn't until NIN (I know they are not really metal but they are just as heavy) and groups like Opeth that were finally able to use Keyboards in Metal. The song writing has really dropped off here. It's not a horrible record but I think after hearing it you will agree that this one just isn't up there with the first two.
This one comes with a bonus disc as well but unlike the other two (Holy Diver, Last In Line) most of this was released as the live EP "Intermission" . There was one studio song on the EP and it's one of the worst Dio songs you will ever hear.
So over all not crap but if you can't pick all three up this is the one to skip!
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on August 7, 2003
Sure, you could argue that Dio's style has remained fairly constant and he does not have a tendency to "grow" stylistically. But I know one thing for sure: this is one guy who knows how to make metal. On Sacred Heart, he cranks out 9 great metal tunes, and he makes it seem easy. The truth is, while these songs do not shock you with stunning originality, they still rock you to the core. This music is not emotionally moving, but that's not the point!! The point is that it is hard rock, and it does just that: it rocks hard.
The best song on the album is definitely the title track, "Sacred Heart." It is in the vein of the title tracks of his last two albums, "Holy Diver" and "Last in Line." It is a slower, more epic composition, and it dominates!!! Other highlights are "King of Rock and Roll" and "Another Lie." However, there is not one bad track on here.
The band is in top form, as usual. The new keyboardist, Claude Schnell, is pretty cool; his sounds add a whole new element to the band's music. Sometimes they sound downright evil: check out the main riff to "Like the Beat of a Heart." And of course, Vivian Campbell tears it up on guitar.
Dio is one of the great voices of metal. His music, his lyrics, and his voice are almost definitive of the entire genre. Although he has better albums (Holy Diver, Killing the Dragon), it still seems that he can do no wrong.
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on November 29, 2002
From the intro from metal's Ed McMann {someone introduces Dio as "the king of Rock and Roll"} through the ultimate master work - the track "shoot Shot" in which Dio sings; "When someone points a gun at you just say shoot shoot, I don't care anymore" is worth the cash load alone. The above lyric never got Dio in legal trouble though it was out at the time of the Judas Priest hearings and the Ozzy controversies. I am a tenth level magic user & DM in D&D. At all D&D gatherings this record is played repeatedly. Many folks will comment that this record is not cool because of the line up but if one listens to the entire back Dio collection one will realize that it is Dio that is Jesus & not Ozzy or any week back up band of high school drop outs. Dio knows that good lyrics revolve around D&D, dragons, pixies, and magic. Dio never strays from this form, thank God. This record makes for perfect nights with the girlfriend of your dreams - if "magic" doesn't happen between a man & a woman with this record playing loudly in the backdrop then it's Viagra for you my comrade.
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on July 6, 2002
Let me start things off by saying that this review is not by some music expert. I am an 80's metal fan, so maybe my opinion is biased by that fact. But take it from me, a 15 year old dude who hates so called "nu metal" and the other [stuff] they pass of for music these days...this albums rocks. If you are into real metal like me (Dokken, Ratt, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Dio, Yngwie Malmsteen, WASP, Stryper, Accept, Twisted Sister, Queensryche, Dio, AC/DC, Black Sabbath, ect...) then you will love this record. And of course, if you are Dio fan you SHOULD already own this CD. If not, go buy it immedietely if you like the Holy Diver/Last in Line style because this CD is just a continuation of that sound. It rocks!
Many metal fans (besides Dio's hardcore fans) don't seem to know what happened to Dio after 'Last in Line' was released. Many Dio albums after the exceptional Holy Diver and Last in Line were quickly forgotten. You don't hear too much about Dio after his first 2 albums, which is unfortunate because he had some really great albums after those 2. This is one of them.
Sacred Heart picks up right where Last in Line left off...a crushing rhythm section to back up Vivian Campbells monsterous riff and leads and Ronnie James Dio's emotional and intense vocals. On top of all this, lush keyboards add a sense of depth to the sound of the band. Speaking of the keyboards, the reason alot of people don't like this album is because there are more keyboards on this album than on the 2 previous albums. There's nothing wrong with this. I guess it's a matter of opinion. But this albums still rocks...and rocks hard.
Things kick off with 'King of Rock and Roll', which is the "anthemic" track. The 1st track on Holy Diver and Last in Line were those kind of tracks (stand up and shout....we rock). Great track. Next, following the pattern of HD and LIL, comes the title track, "Sacred Heart". This is a slower, crunchy metal tune that sounds similar to 'Holy Diver' but has a unique "mystical" sound to it. After this, Dio and crew rock through 7 more melodic heavy metal tunes. All complete with memorable melodies, pounding drums, solid bass, crushing guitar riffs and shreddin' solos. Sound good? Well, this description should be no suprise if you have listened to Dio before.
Alot of people think "Holy Diver" was the band's greatest album and it all went downhill from there. I only half agree with that. "Holy Diver" was and is their greatest album, but the albums that's followed weren't worse than...they continued making great albums that were of the same quality as "Holy Diver". The only difference was the sound of the band changed a bit. They added more keyboards, more songs were faster, more melodies, ect...I really don't understand the bad reviews this album has recieved from reviewers on this site. They claim "Holy Diver" is the best and this album [disappoints]. Well, despite adding more keyboards the style of the band has remained the same. Strong songwriting, awesome riffs, good solos, memorable melodies, ect...those things were very evident on Holy Diver, Last in Line, and they are still very evident on Sacred Heart.
If you into REAL (aka: 80's) metal, then I can't recommend this CD enough. It's just a good, solid piece of mid 80's heavy metal. If you are a Dio fan and you don't own this record I'd highly recommend you buy it. If you are not into 80's metal or Dio, I'd recommend a psychiatrist because there is something seriously wrong with you.
Bottom line: it it
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on January 21, 2002
Like any Dio album, this is chock full of mystical lyrics, operatic vocals, and burning guitar work. In fact, all of these elements are top notch in Sacred Heart. Ronnie Dio's vocals are inspired, Bain and Appice's rhythm section is as strong as ever, and Vivian Campbell's guitar work is fast and furious. These things do much to help the record, but there are scores of other things that weigh it down.
First of all, this album has the most clinkers of any other early-lineup Dio recording. While cuts like "King of Rock and Roll" and "Rock and Roll Children" are invigorating, they are lost in the horrid songwriting of "Hungry for Heaven" and "Shoot Shoot." This is not to say that all of Dio's early work is flawless, but it is much more consistent than this offering. Also, Dio seemed to know his limits a little better before, since he has traded once concise song structures for longer, more complex pieces that simply fall flat on their face. "Last In Line" was not a short song, but at least it didn't lag along like the title track does here.
Generally, this is an album that is best appreciated by Dio's core audience. As a result, casual metal fans may want to forsake Sacred Heart in favor of Dio's first two efforts, Holy Diver and The Last In Line.
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on December 13, 2000
Anybody know about that reviewer Johnny S. Geddes? If you've read his profile, you'll know that he is a new-age horror fiction writer. While lacking in personal contact, we have coincidentally reviewed many of the same items, and I cannot think of a single album upon which we have agreed. If you happen to find one, feel free to tell me about it...
Anyway, "Sacred Heart" is neither the best nor the worst of Dio's albums. "Angry Machines" was horrible, and of course "Holy Diver" was leaps and bounds higher quality. The third album usually makes or breaks a band, and I feel that this release crushed the band's hopes of ever becoming legends instead of merely staying famous. When the keyboardist works more overtime than whomever strums the riffs, you know that the album will probably wither. Along with an overly atmospheric production, Dio was finally scraping bottom with his usual formula: First track--rock 'n' roll anthem; Second track--title track and epic fantasy; Third track--good rocker with a killer riff; and the rest of the songs range from cruddy to average to superb and back to a ballad.
First, the good--"Sacred Heart," "Another Lie," and "Rock and Roll Children." The mediocre--"King of Rock 'n' Roll," "Like the Beat of a Heart," and "Fallen Angels." Finally, the nauseating--"Hungry for Heaven," "Just Another Day," and "Shoot Shoot." Kudos to the gang for providing us with a wondrous assortment of quality, but the fact that Vivian Campbell soon left Dio after this album is a sad testament to this release, no matter what his reasons happened to be.
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on March 27, 2000
Album number three proved to be the lucky charm for Dio's career. 'Holy Diver' was a gust of fresh air but 'Last In Line' came across a little stale. 'Sacred Heart' finds the group still revelling in their occult-flavoured essence only this time more than enough of an effort is put in to present the songs with impressive zest and novel style.
Okay, so there's still the old formula present in both substance and sequence. 'King of Rock And Roll' is analogous to 'We Rock' and 'Stand Up And Shout'; 'Sacred Heart' is the 'Holy Diver' etc. but there's something new in the sound. More keyboard input is what it is. Claude Schnell's work adds a dimension to the album that makes its sound more grandiose, more album-cut oriented and certainly less accessible or identifiable as pop metal. 'Hungry For Heaven' is the exception to this, but even at that it's a wonderfully catchy track.
The best track has to be the title one. Six plus minutes of Dungeons and Dragonsesque imagery conjured by Dio's metapoetic lyrics and an anthemic rhythm provide 'Sacred Heart' with a quality unheard on any other Dio song. Other strong tracks include 'King of Rock And Roll', 'Rock 'N' Roll Children', 'Shoot Shoot' and the utterly electrifying 'Just Another Day'. Metal heads will still find a lot to enjoy in the remainder of the album, though. Appice beats out a path through Dio's fantasy land, leaving Campell's and Bain's axework to pave a yellow brick road of demons, spells and quasi mythology.
This is the only Dio album which can do no wrong. By 1985, the band had jelled with such strength that the cohesive forces at work noticeably augment the power of the music. 'Sacred Heart' represents a peak in, not just Dio's career, but in the genre. In the last year or so before pop/glam metal poisoned the whole scene, this is the definitive album to own: a great golden milestone at the end of a long and hard fought journey. The whole record is a portal to a realm of metaphysics and demonoloy because it's so vivid and otherworldly.
Buy it now and wonder how you made do beforehand.
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on March 13, 2000
The most underrated voice in rock, a stickler for top production and surrounded by top-flight session players at all times, Dio basically can't put out a "bad" album. But there's a wide range between "pretty decent" and "superb" and this is at the lowly decent side of things. A couple of standout songs are lost in a sea of keyboards and over-simplified radio-friendly riffing -- uncharacteriscally upbeat drivel, but it still sounds good. Just little to get excited about. The first two Dio albums are absolute classics of metal; Dream Evil is among the best guitar-oriented albums of the late 80s as well. Recently Dio's stylistic missteps have been to become too harsh and apocalyptic, but in the mid 80s it was trying too hard to score radio hits. Hopefully with Magica Dio is getting back to the Last In Line/Dream Evil style of which he is the undisputed master. Not bad, but not essential. Non-fans who want to check Dio out should start with Holy Diver, Dream Evil, Last In Line, or one of the import collections. Also Rainbow Rising, Rainbow On Stage, and Black Sabbath's Heaven and Hell...
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on June 23, 1999
I absolutly love this album. Most people talk about Dio's first two albums Holy Diver and Last in Line but Sacred Heart Is just as good if not better in my opinion. King of Rock n'roll is his best opener to date, the title track Sacred Heart is absolute magic right up there with Stargazer. Rock n'roll children and Hungry for Heaven are the other two stand out hits on this album. But Its no lie when I say that every single song on the album rocks. you can't say that about many albums but you can about this one. This album features Dio's best lyrics ever. They are so magical and Sung so powerfully it really moves the listener. If you have Holy Diver and Last in Line, you know how good they are, Trust me Sacred Heart continues the tradition of exellence
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