45527-2 Strange Highways
Produced by Mike Fraser
Released on 1993
US CHART POSITION #142
Find it at GEMM
45527-2 cover
[high resolution scan]

K ronomyth 7.0: DEUXMANIZER. This is essentially Dehumanizer Part Deux, in which Ronnie and Vinny take a sabbathical from overwrought 80s metal and plunge into the no-nonsense, neometal 90s. Although Jeff Pilson (Dokken) on bass is a great addition, the real upgrade is Tracy Grijalva (WW III) on guitar. There have been some cringeworthy axe replacements in the annals of metal, most of them the result of wanky hair metal one-upmanship. Tracy G is a revelation. In an age when most metal riffage might as well be plugged in by protools, Tracy G is in a constant state of fresh creation. He rarely overplays, reserves the lightning leads for short bursts of energy, lays down the molten riffs but also twists them into unique shapes through interesting sound choices. With such a stellar lineup behind him, Ronnie sounds recharged and takes more chances than usual with vocal effects. Let’s face it: Dio albums had run into a rut of late. The opening “Jesus, Mary & The Holy Ghost” shakes off the chains of sleep and enters a new era of metal without fear. Strange Highways is a darker album than Dio albums past; organized religion is rejected, but Dio doesn’t offer any alternatives. No rainbow in the dark this time, just bad things happening to bad people while Dio tries to save his own skin. The closing track sums it up as follows: “You always seem to find the light / But this time, the light is a fire / Bring down the rain.” I had the good fortune to see the Strange Highways tour in New York, and “loud” doesn’t begin to describe it. Although it’s an atypical album and thus polarizing among fans, I’d put this next in line after Diver and Last.

45527-2 back picture sleeve
45527-2 back picture sleeve

TRACK LISTING

  1. JESUS, MARY & THE HOLY GHOST    (Ronnie James Dio/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    4:13
  2. FIREHEAD    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    4:06
  3. STRANGE HIGHWAYS    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    6:54
  4. HOLLYWOOD BLACK    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva)    5:10
  5. EVILUTION    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    5:37
  6. PAIN    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva)    4:14
  7. ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    4:01
  8. GIVE HER THE GUN    (Ronnie James Dio/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    5:58
  9. BLOOD FROM A STONE    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    4:14
  10. HERE'S TO YOU    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    3:24
  11. BRING DOWN THE RAIN    (Ronnie James Dio/Vinny Appice/Tracy Grijalva/Jeff Pilson)    5:45

CREDITS

VINNY APPICE -- drums
RONNIE JAMES DIO -- vocals
TRACY G -- guitars
JEFF PILSON -- bass & keyboards
Mike Fraser -- engineer, mixing
Wil Rees -- illustration
John Harrell -- photography
Janet Levinson -- art director

return to DIO discography

REGION RELEASE DATE LABEL MEDIA ID NUMBER FEATURES
GER 1993 Vertigo CD 518 486  
JPN 1993 Vertigo CD PHCR-4298  
US February 1, 1994 Reprise CD/CS 45527  

 

A SITE BETTER

If you want to follow the Tracy G string to its logical conclusion, there's the Tracy G Offical Website. It contains a full discography, store, interviews, video... aw, just go visit it.

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