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Monday, March 31, 2014 - 6:11pm

With the arrival of the long-anticipated Ronnie James Dio tribute album, This Is Your Life, finally hitting stores tomorrow, it seems an apropos time to look back at the life of the man who’s getting this impressive tribute and remember what he was all about.

Dio – born Ronald James Padavona – actually started his music career in the late 1950s, first as a member of the Vegas Kings, a band which changed its name numerous times in their relatively short career, also going by Ronnie & The Rumblers, Ronnie and the Redcaps, and Ronnie Dio and the Prophets before evolving into the Electric Elves, the Elves, and finally Elf. After three Elf albums, much of the band’s lineup was recruited to join Ritchie Blackmore’s new endeavor, Rainbow, and the rest – at least for Dio – is history.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 - 12:41pm

Show the world you can slay like Pantera. Grab your guitars and crank it up to 11 on any Pantera song of your choice (unique takes & instruments are also welcome!) Upload your covers to YouTube, tag them #panteracoversfromhell and invite your friends to like your video on YouTube. 10 of the most popular videos will make it to our exclusive heavy metal showdown on Pantera.com beginning Friday, April 18.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 5:24pm

Now available on iTunes...

Belfegore, Belfegore: For the longest time, virtually the only Americans who were familiar with the German band Belfegore either grew up in the ‘80s or grew up in Europe, and that’s fair enough: they released a sum total of two albums during their brief existence, and only one of them – their 1984 self-titled effort – ever saw release in the States. Belfegore got a highly belated boost to their profile in 2011, however, thanks to David Fincher using their lone U.S. single, “All That I Wanted,” as the soundtrack to a scene in his film The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Was that what led to the remastering and expanding of Belfegore to include an additional half-dozen remixes and alternate versions of songs, or was it just a general celebration of the album’s 30th anniversary? Either way, if you’re a fan of ’80s goth rock and you’ve never heard it before, you’re sure to get a kick out of it.

Buck 65, Secret House Against the World: If your knowledge of Buck 65 (real name Richard Terfry) was limited to the opening line of his Wikipedia entry, then you’d think of him solely as a Canadian alternative hip-hop artist, and while there’s nothing inherently wrong with being Canadian – we all have our crosses to bear – the diverse sounds he produces on his albums are no more alternative hip-hop than Beck. In fact, Beck’s not a bad point of reference for describing the feel of 2005’s Secret House Against the World. If you care about critics’ opinions, Robert Christgau gave the album a B+ and said that Buck 65 and his occasional collaborators Tortoise and D-Styles, “reclaim the sonic legacy of Serge Gainsbourg.” Intrigued? Give “Devil’s Eyes” a listen and see how it grabs you.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 4:45pm

Early last month, Rhino kicked off the first phase of its 180-gram vinyl reissue campaign for Depeche Mode’s back catalog, which put fresh new copies of Some Great Reward, Black Celebration, Music for the Masses, and Songs of Faith and Devotion onto DM fans’ turntables, and if you’re one of the folks who invested in that quartet of classic albums, then you know just how great they sound.

In case you haven’t already heard, yesterday marked the kickoff of the second phase of that campaign, which adds the following four albums to the mix:

Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 5:07pm

On March 22, 1994, Pantera released Far Beyond Driven, an album which conclusively proved that, although grunge might’ve helped put to rest the musical scourge known as hair metal a few years earlier, real heavy metal was alive, well, and not going anywhere.

Not only did Far Beyond Driven debut at the top of the Billboard album charts, making it the fastest-selling album of Pantera’s career and their second consecutive platinum album, but it also helped shape the definition of heavy metal for a new generation, thanks to songs like “I’m Broken,” “Five Minutes Alone,” and its opening track, “Strength.” Is it the band’s best album? That’s all a matter of opinion. But it’s certainly a landmark album by just about anyone’s definition of the phrase.

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of this seminal release, we here at Rhino have taken great pains to remaster the material and make sure that it sounds as clean, crisp, and kick-ass as possible, but we’ve done more than that: we’ve also added a bonus disc, Far Beyond Bootleg – Live from Donington ’94, which features Pantera’s full 40-minute set from the Monsters of Rock Festival in Donington, England, including “Use My Third Arm,” “Strength Beyond Strength,” “Walk, “Mouth for War,” “This Love,” “Cowboys from Hell,” and a medley of “Domination” and “Hollow.”