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The Record Vault: Dio – Sacred Heart

“Sacred Heart” is album number three.

By know Vivian Campbell was an unhappy camper. From his point of view he was promised a larger piece of the pie and that wasn’t forthcoming. Plus he had an issue with the publishing. So it’s no surprise that this is the last album to include Vivian Campbell, who Dio fired midway through the tour, replacing him with Craig Goldy.

Released on August 13, 1985, almost a year after “The Last In Line”, it wasn’t just competing against all the other new releases from other artists, it was competing against the previous two Dio albums. It wasn’t a smart decision from Warner Bros.

The band for the album is the classic line up, known as Ronnie James Dio on lead vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass, Claude Schnell on keyboards and Vinny Appice on drums.

The King Of Rock And Roll

How can you not like this song, fake crowd noise or not?

Campbell’s riffs are excellent to play, Dio’s melodies rock, Bain rumbles and Vinny Appice powers all over this.

Bad boy always on the cover gettin’ the story told

It could have been about anyone in the rock business. By 1985, a lot of bad boys graced the cover of magazines.

He’s got the midnight madness / he’s got a soul
’cause he’s the king of rock and roll / king of rock and roll

I used to keep my own book of rhymes before I realised that a rhyming dictionary existed. Well, Dio albums and most hard rock and metal albums provided plenty of source material.

Sacred Heart

The riff sounds epic on this and the keys from Schnell enhance it. But its Vinny Appice on the drums that turns this song into a powerhouse. The mix is perfect and I’m drawn to the groove of the drums.

Plus the lead break from Campbell is different from his earlier albums, better phrasing.

Oh running into nowhere turning like a wheel and a year becomes a day

Truth right there. Without a plan, the days just slip away.

Whenever you dream you’re holding the key it opens the door to let you be free yeah

Infinite possibilities when you let your imagination run wild. Why do you think mindfulness and meditation is so massive?

Another Lie

Its more blues rock but Campbell decorates a simple blues groove with pedal points and diads and suddenly it sounds like heavy metal.

Rock ‘N’ Roll Children

Does anything else think that “Shot In The Dark” from Ozzy sounds like this?

Anyway, it’s a melodic rock anthem with a killer Campbell lead break.

Rock ‘N’ Roll children alone again
Rock ‘N’ Roll children without a friend but they got rock’n’roll

Damn right.

As much as rock and roll lyrics are about parties, most fans of the music spent a lot of time alone with it, and the music was a form of escapism.

Hungry For Heaven

The solo break from Campbell on this is excellent.

So just hold on
You can make it happen for you
Reach for the stars and you will fly

It’s the same message as in other songs. You are responsible for your success, so what are you waiting for.

Like The Beat Of A Heart

It’s an inferior re-write of “One Night In The City” but still a good listen, especially the outro riff and groove.

There’s a beast that lives inside you and it’s screaming to get out

Just Another Day

Its “King Of Rock And Roll” part 2, and I like it. The riffs are excellent, while Bain and Appice hammer out an energetic foundation.

The guitar arpeggios after the solo.

Fallen Angels

The blues rock riffs on this just don’t get the credit they deserve.

Remember that the evil will rule / it’s waiting outside / bringing’ pain / for you fallen angels

Shoot Shoot

An AC/DC style cut.

Yes you know the feeling all alone your back to the wall
And all the doorways are starting to close in front of you

It’s more of the same that we are responsible for our own journey and that it all starts with us.

The high points on the album are definitely “Sacred Heart”, “King Of Rock And Roll”, “Rock N Roll Children” and “Hungry For Heaven”.

But like all Dio albums there is a little bit of everything in the other songs.


13 thoughts on “The Record Vault: Dio – Sacred Heart

  1. It sucks Vivian was canned as he was really awesome here. I really do need to get these first three albums (well as you know I have one of them so only two to get). These are the only Dio albums I know.

  2. Destroyer, great highlights about each track. One the cassettes I reached for most in my high school years. Rock and Roll Children was my fave track at that time because of the lonely feel with the silver lining you identified. Yes to the Shot In The Dark comparison, too! Sacred Heart, the title track’s lyrics are resonating for me. Like that slumbering drum groove, too.

    Question about The King of Rock and Roll. Dio Sings:

    He makes a special magic
    And you’ve got control
    You are the King of Rock and Roll

    How did the listener become the K o R and R?

    Dio earlier in the song is singing about the Rock and Roll bad boys giving the fever to the listeners. Here, towards the end of the track, he flips the objective lens to include “You are the King of Rock and Roll.”

    I like it, don’t get me wrong. The rigour doesn’t fit, is what I’m getting at. Is being King such a shallow unqualified experience? To become the K o R and R is to be a dreamer and buy the album, listen to it and ….voila, the listener becomes King?

    • Hey
      Call me Peter.

      Good point on the change in vibe in lyrics. I do believe it’s okay exactly as you say that to become the King, the music transforms you from listener to the King.

      Dio is a hard one to decipher lyrically.

      Some songs are understood easily and some are just difficult.

      • Thanks for the the reply, Peter. Agreed, some Dio songs easier than others to decipher lyrically.
        Love the post images btw. You are a juggernaut of quality. The studded fist sticker is a cool addition to the Lp.

  3. I picked this up a few years back on vinyl and I liked it. There is a reason they call it the music business and not music friends! lol
    I need to fire up the turntable and play this along with the other 50 albums I’m behind. Sorry meant to say 51 albums I’m behind lol

  4. Holen says:

    Easily the worst of the first three, but still pretty good. Really awful production though. I think I might prefer Dream Evil overall.

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