Wow, these Dio album reviews are going by fast because we’re already on album number three. If you haven’t read my review for The Last in Line, feel free to check it out. For now, we’re moving onto Sacred Heart (1985), the last Dio album to feature Vivian Campbell on guitar. First things first, I’m not a fan of the album cover with the orangey yellow and brownish purple colors, and I think the hands holding the ball with the dragon looks stupid, but we’ll see if the music is any better than the cover!
The crowd noises on “King of Rock and Roll” were not necessary because I feel like the band was trying too hard, especially with the title. Like seriously, what’s with these bands wanting to write songs with “rock and roll” in the title, unless you’re AC/DC! Other than that, it’s a fun opening track. The title track, “Sacred Heart” is killer because it’s got those dark chords that I’ve been longing for, it’s just a loud and aggressive headbanger. Ronnie James Dio sounds mean and tough, and Campbell releases his inner demon on the guitar solo.
Campbell’s solo on “Another Lie” is tremendous because he just shrieks a whole bunch of chords I didn’t even know existed. I’m not a fan of the key change before the last chorus because I liked the lower tuning, but I can’t complain too much when Vinny Appice is pounding hard on those drums. Again with “rock and roll” in the title, Dio gave us “Rock ‘n’ Roll Children,” and it’s quite good. I felt like the chorus was stronger than the verses, but that’s my personal opinion as I’ve been giving the band a hard time for their lyrics on these past couple reviews.
“Hungry for Heaven” is a heavy metal dance song, and while the chorus is annoying as heck, I still dig Campbell’s playing on this track; like I said before, he is shrieking away on chords I never even knew existed. “Like the Beat of a Heart” is another killer track, and if you listen closely, you’ll hear a thumping bass line from Jimmy Bain. Dio’s vocals are excellent on this track, and I love the emphasis and little screams he did for some of the lyrics like “There’s a beast that lives inside you / And it’s screaming to get out.” The next track, “Just Another Day” is a fun tune to blast in your car cruising down the highway because of that chugging riff.
“Fallen Angels” kicks a**! Dio sings every word like he means it, Appice delivers with heart-pounding drums, and Campbell’s playing is heartfelt and tasteful. The lyrics that stood out to me were these ones, “Hey, it’s a criminal world / And we all get to play / You’re a criminal, yeah / Sins of the children never get washed away,” because it’s so bada**, right? Unfortunately, the album doesn’t end on a good note. Dio’s vocals on the last track are aggressive as ever, but I can’t take the song seriously because the chorus is cheesy as heck. I mean look at this: “So the next time someone / Points a gun at you say / Shoot shoot / I don’t care / Shoot shoot / Shoot shoot / Anywhere / Shoot shoot,” can you guess what the song is called?
Despite the dreadful last track, Sacred Heart was a huge improvement from The Last in Line. Dio’s vocals went full beast mode on this album, Campbell went out with a bang (literally, as he got the boot midway through the album’s tour), and Appice’s pounding drums made these songs even better. I liked the lower tuning for some of these songs because it gave them a darker tone, versus sounding like stuff I hear in a club. The synthesizer and keyboard bugged me on a few tracks, like the title track, but not enough for me to hate them entirely. Overall, I’d give Sacred Heart a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
What is your favorite song from Sacred Heart? Let me know in the comments below!
Take care and see ya real soon!