Metallica have unveilled their tribute to metal legend Ronnie James Dio, which has taken the form of an epic, nine-minute-long medley, combining four of the iconic singer’s tracks from his days in the mid-Seventies band Rainbow. The track, titled Ronnie Rising, will feature on the Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life tribute album, set for an April 1st release.
“Ronnie’s music, and what he was, was part of my life,” Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich told Rolling Stone. “[Dio’s] music is so much a part of what’s in Metallica’s DNA, the harder, edgier, blues-based hard rock from the Seventies,” he said. “It was fairly effortless to put this together, because it’s something that we were all reared on.”
The tribute album features a slew of metal legends, uniting to pay their respects to one of the genre’s greatest vocalists. Along with Metallica, acts such as Anthrax, Motorhead, Judas Priest, Slipknot and many others have joined forces for This is Your Life, covering tracks from Dio’s iconic bands Rainbow, Black Sabbath and his self-totled project, Dio.
Ulrich said the songs Metallica chose came from the period in Dio’s career that especially meant a lot him and his band. “I don’t recall sitting there in a band meeting or anything deciding what to play,” he told Rolling Stone. “Somebody starts playing Stargazer – which is sort of just like something that’s in our arsenal to jam – and then that whole period there, Tarot Woman, Kill the King, A Light in the Black – that’s just really effortless to jump into.”
The tribute is not only to pay respect to the singer, who died of stomach cancer in 2010, but also to raise money for cancer research. Proceeds from the record will go towards the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout cancer fund.
Of recording a cover song, Ulrich says the purpose is not to copy the artist but to show your respect for them. “You just try and do your own thing, respectfully, in the shadow of these legends,” the drummer said. “It becomes more of an homage and respect thing rather than trying to copy the song – it’s not even about outdoing them.”
Listen: Metallica – Ronnie Rising