A ticking clock sounds in the distance.
Suddenly it starts to get more pronounced as the speed starts to increase.
It’s time for something to happen but what.
Then a syncopated guitar, drums and bass riff kicks in. And there is a pause. It happens again. And another pause.
And that my friends is how “Lock Up The Wolves” starts off. This song, doesn’t get the notice it should.
It’s 1990 and after going through thousands of guitar tapes, Dio settled on unknown guitarist Rowan Robertson and dropped this beauty on a record buying public that became slaves to MTV and slick anthems.
So it’s no surprise, this release doesn’t get the notice it should. Maybe because it was up against “Painkiller” from Judas Priest and “Rust In Peace” From Megadeth for people’s Metal attention. Maybe because MTV kept playing his older stuff over the newer stuff.
Maybe Dio fans expected more. As a solo artist, Dio delivered four huge albums and when you combine the Sabbath and Rainbow albums to that list, you can see it’s a brilliant body of work, spanning 14 years.
I always wondered what the song is about. And the way Dio writes is always open to interpretation. It’s written by Dio, Rowan Robertson and Jimmy Bain. But bass on the album is played by Teddy Cook.
At first I thought it was about the inner struggles people have and to not let those inner Wolves get the better of you.
But the Wolves can be politicians, bad people, drugs/addictions or any other dangers in your life. There is a lyric line which states;
Don’t you let em get away
Lock up the Wolves before you play or it’s over
Because if you do, there is only a front door to hell waiting for you.
To me this song is a masterpiece. The riff is simple and effective. The lead break is bluesy and full of emotion. Simon Wright holds a dirgy tempo on the drums as good as Ward and the Appice brothers. Teddy Cook grinds away on the bass recreating Bain’s parts.
If you haven’t checked it out, do so. YouTube has various videos with combined view counts over 2 million. Spotify has it. It’s one of Dio’s best but