Out now on Niji Records

More than 20 years after the fact, someone has finally seen fit to release these two performances of Dio at the Monsters Of Rock festivals of 1983 and 1987 respectively. Why this material was never released before is a mystery. The 1987 show especially would have made a far better first Dio live album than the horrid “Inferno : Last In Live”.

For your money, you will receive a nicely packaged double CD. There’s a rather spartan booklet and two backstage pass replicas.

CD 1 features the 1983 gig. Holy Diver had just been released and Dio was out to make a name for himself as a solo artist. The set list consists of tracks from “Holy Diver” coupled with some Sabbath and Rainbow tracks. The band is the classic Dio lineup and delivers a rock solid performance. Ronnie himself  sounds driven. Aggressive, hungry and raw. Vivian Campbell by contrast disappoints. Was it stage fright?  A lot of what he plays is just gibberish. The mix is much in the “Holy Diver” style : unpolished and dry.

CD2 contains the 1987 MOR gig. Craig Goldy in the band, “Dream Evil” on the shelves.  Again a mix of Dio, Sabbath and Rainbow tunes. Ronnie sounds more at ease this time around, probably enjoying the status the band had established by then.  The much maligned Goldy delivers a cracking performance that puts Campbell’s fumbling misadventures to shame. Production is more polished. This really should have been released as a Dio live album back then.

What’s obvious on this release is that we get the unfiltered live performance, warts and all. There’s the odd bum note and off key backing vocal. It just goes to show what a tight live band Dio was at this point (and frankly always remained), and what an amazing singer Ronnie was.

Song selection on the other hand was never Dio’s strong point. He relied on the same couple of Rainbow and Sabbath tracks to fill out the set up until the time of his death. Often mixed up in some sort of contrived medley. Why? Plenty of killer Dio album tracks never got a live airing…

Minor niggles aside, this album comes highly recommended for all fans of Dio and quality metal in general.

Rating – 90%
Review by the always talking to strangers Sancho.



 13 September 2010

About The Interview
MindSplit is one of the hottest new progressive metal bands on the scene.  With their debut album “Charmed Human Art Of Significance” released this month on Lion Music we caught up with two of the bands main contributors vocalist HB Anderson and guitarist Mathias Holm to discuss the album in more detail.

Congratulations on the release of ‘Chaos’, it’s a fantastic debut and one you must be immensely proud of?
Mathias: – Thank you so much! Yes we are very proud of it and I’m also very happy to see that so many seems to like it too.

H.B. – Thanks! Yes I’m very proud that my “work of art” of a lifetime finally is finished and ready for a release. We’ve been working on this for a while and put down so much work and tenderness in it. I’m beyond proud…=)

How did the band come about forming and over what sort of timescale was the album written, recorded and produced?
Mathias: – HB Anderson and I was playing in two or three bands together at the end of the 80th century. But in the early 90’s we went our separate ways by myself more touched on to write and play instrumental music while HB Anderson continued to sing in other bands including Fatal Smile, Scudiero and Token. But then when one day we ran into each other again, I think it was the spring of 2003, we talked about start writing some songs together. We met again a few days later and HB told me that he had found some memos that he wanted to use as writing material for an album. I thought the idea was awesome and immediately began to develop some song ideas. During that time I and Conny Payne and Jon Skäre had recorded some songs for my second solo album. So for me it felt natural to take with Conny and Jon with me into the band because they also thought the idea with the notes were great and they also liked the ideas that I and HB already had recorded. HB already knew that Conny and Jon were great musicians so he hesitated not to include them in the band. Jonas, we met later on, I do not really know how, but when me and Jonas got together to record keyboard on some songs it felt really great and now he is our master behind the keyboard. This is the short story of the band MindSplit.

The subject matter of the album is a very interesting, built around real life therapy session notes. At what point did you know you had your subject matter for the album and how did you then go about condensing that and making a story out of it?
H.B. – When I got my hands on these memory notes and began to read them, I got scared at first but it slowly turned into curiousness and an urge to let the whole world know about it. To make music to it would be too hard to do by myself, so I took contact with my lifelong friend and the best guitar/songwriter I know Mathias Holm, and as you can hear he did a masterpiece out of it…

Can you give our readers an appraisal of the storyline?
H.B. – The concept is based on memory notes from Xerxes Anderson´s Artificial Universe (Prof. Xandau) and his therapy sessions in Europe and US. The concept involves 4 “characters” or “personalities” Prof. Xandau / The Mind / Demons / Karma and their battle, confusion, anger, sense to control or not control the human brain and human being. It’s breathtaking reading and it takes you from confusion and restlessness through insight and struggle to calm and no-happy ending…

What struck me most about the album was how original the sound was with the different musical elements and the great use of special effects. Where did the ideas come from for these different soundscapes?
Mathias: – For me it was because I wanted the disc would be cinematic. The listener should really feel that this CD is a story and not just mixed songs. And to enhance the feeling of that I thought it should be great to use these kinds of effects. Me and H.B has created almost all the ideas together. We had many funny moments together when we did the album, some times it tracked out and we laughed a lot, but many times it was also very good and some of that stuff you hear on the disc.

H.B. – Yeah, we had a blast doing it and we really got to fulfill our dreams making an album like this. We also got real good help and support making the sound like we wanted by Fredrik Folkare & Johan Dereborn.

The band is signed to Lion Music. How did the deal come about?
Mathias: – I know Lars Eric Mattsson since I released my first solo album. He helped me with some great contacts etc. I have much respect of Lars and think he is a very nice guy. He/Lion Music has through the years released some really good albums both by himself and other bands. So when we started to look after a label I thought Lars-Eric/Lion Music would be great for MindSplit. And when he heard our material he liked our stuff and gave us a deal that we thought was good and so he signed us to the Lion Music label. We are very proud of being under the wings of Lion Music.

The band has produced a video for “NMe – Myself and I” and I believe there is a second video on the way, can you give us some more details?
Mathias: – I got in contact with Long Shot Productions through the band SUBWAY, a band I also play guitar with. They have done some videos for SUBWAY and I told them about MindSplit and let them hear a few songs. The really liked our music and thought it would be great to do a video with us. Since MindSplit’s video shall be their 25th video they thought they should do something special and I can say that the video is looking really great! I’m sure you will like it too. We will release it on the same day as we release the album “Charmed Human Art Of Significance”.

Mathias, your guitar work is superb, aside from some YouTube videos and an out of print instrumental album I couldn’t find out too much info on you so where have you been hiding?
Mathias: – Thank you very much! I’m happy to hear that you enjoy my style of playing.   I’ve been hiding out in the woods hehe. I started to play guitar in 1985 or something like that… In the year of 1996 I released a instrumental guitar oriented album on my own called “Pictures of a dream”. Then in 1998 I lost inspiration for music totally and layed down the guitar… I never sold my instruments because I knew/hoped that the inspiration should come back. And huhhh… in 2003 the inspiration came back. Since that year I have been writing on the MindSplit album. Arranging and recording six songs for the OSV Project – “Mission One” album (an instrumental album released in 2007). I have also arranged and recorded guitars for the “Lola’s Themes” album (release 8th october 2010 through a sub-label to Sony BMG) with the German band called SUBWAY (Francis Soto on vocals). And I have also been writing on my second solo album. Please check www.myspace.com/mathiasholm or www.MathiasHolm.se for more info.

What gear did you use for the great tones on the album?
Mathias: – I used three different electric guitars on the MindSplit album. Ibanez RGT320QRBB, GODIN Artisan ST and a Fender Stratocaster. The Ibanez is the mostly used guitar and I can’t say other then, I love that guitar!!! When bending the high frets I got so beautiful “over tones”. The guitar was well worth the money!  As I got three young children home in the house where my studio is, I can’t play as loud as I want to do when I’m recording, so I used a VOX Tonelab first edition direct connected into my computers soundcard. It took me a few years to get the sound I really like but now I’m very pleased with the sound. The delay and the reverb is from the sound mixing tools in the ending mix. I hope VOX will read this because I think they should be proud of their products sound hehe… And hey VOX! Give me a new model hahaha The pick I use is a Jim Dunlop Jazz Three. I prefer DADDARIO strings.

HB, your vocal style is quite unique, indeed quite theatrical, who are your influences and do you like the fact you are different to the norm in this genre?
H.B. – Yes, I like the fact that I´m different to the norm of every genre I sing, and that´s why this band is unique because our influences is everything from smooth jazz to extreme death metal. My personal favourites (vocally /entertainment) are Frank Sinatra, Göran Edman, Frank Ådahl, Glenn Hughes, James Hetfield, Jorn Lande, and Ronnie James Dio etc…In this genre my top three is; Russell Allen (Symphony X), Geoff Tate (Queensryche) and Tommy Karevik (Seventh Wonder).

I believe you work in a lot of different musical areas – is this correct?
Mathias – I’ve worked as mentioned earlier with his solo albums and several projects abroad in Germany and US. HB. has worked in several bands like Fatal Smile, Scudiero and Token, he also works as a freelance singer in Sweden.  Conny has a past in bands like Madison and Alien, he is also involved in Mathias projects and freelance as a bass player in several cover bands such as ZZ Rock & Lobster. Jonas is a multi artist with his own studio, when he’s not a producer/technician to other artists’ he’s a singer/bass/guitar/piano player in different collaborations such as country band Ofärne Hicks, punk band Sug En Snut etc. Jon play drums 24h a day, when he not teach youngster how to play he also work fulltime in a hardworking/touring cover band Happymakers. Jon is also a high respected death metal drummer in the band Oof Expain.

How do you the band view the album now it’s ready for release?
H.B. – It´s a blessing to see the birth of a child…=)

Mathias: – It feels so good that we are ready with the album. It has been so fun working with it but now I’m hungry of start to write songs for the next album.

Is there any promo plans in place in regards to playing live – or anything else arranged?
H.B – We have plans for that, but we want to wait and see how the album is received and if we get any proposals for a tour in any case…

Anything else you’d like to add?
Mathias: – I hope you all will enjoy our album C.H.A.O.S as much as I enjoyed writing the music for it! Please support us by buying a copy and tell friends about us.

H.B. – God bless you all and take care of your Mind…

Mathias and H.B. Many thanks for your time.

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