Credited with making the ‘throwing horns’ (also known as ‘Devil’s horns’ or the ‘Il Cornuto’) a popular hand gesture in the heavy metal music community, Ronnie James Dio is considered a rock n’ roll ‘legend’– having worked with, collaborated, and inspired some of the most well-known of acts in the industry. Active in the music business since the late 1950’s, Dio passed away in 2010, and was commemorated on March 6, 2014 – posthumously awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for the SAMMYs ceremony in Syracuse, NY.
In related news…a tribute album featuring the likes of Metallica, Tenacious D, Halestorm, and Anthrax, continues to honor Dio, and accompanying artwork includes an array of disturbing imagery that includes Satanic symbolism, such as the ‘Devil horns’ that the musician is best known for.
The above artwork shows Dio’s name at the top with a ‘This is Your Life,’ written at the bottom. In between – a who’s who in heavy metal and rock are pictured, including members of groups such as Anthrax and Metallica. Nearly everyone in the illustration is holding some sort of weapon in their hands, such as swords, axes, spiked baseball bats, and even a chainsaw with a skull emblem.
In the background, a figure that appears as Dio is standing atop a rock in a god-like, leader pose – and is ‘throwing horns’ – his signature move. Further back, the setting of this chaos looks like an apocalyptic, Armageddon type of scene, where a Satanic-looking creature is moving through the crowd while swinging chains with connected spiked balls in the air.
The album, titled Ronnie James Dio: This Is Your Life, includes covers of Dio’s work that span his entire career. The scheduled release for the tribute album is on April 1, and will include “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” (performed by Doro); “Holy Diver” (performed by Killswitch Engage); and the “Ronnie Rising Medley” (featuring “A Light in the Black”, “Tarot Woman”, “Stargazer”, “Kill the King”) – performed by Metallica.
Although some will argue that Dio’s association or embrace of Satanic symbols and references were simply an advertising ploy for the music industry, there is no doubt that he has had a long history with inserting Satanic imagery and symbolism into the lyrics of his songs, and artwork associated within his music.
Whether or not his intentions were for marketing purposes, his music and song lyrics still possessed and spread a demonic tone of their own. For example, one of Dio’s most popular songs (Man On The Silver Mountain (1975) is noted by many as mocking God’s authority. Many album covers highlighted disturbing imagery, such as the artwork shown below for ‘Dream Evil’ (1985).
In the past, Dio performed with a self-titled band, as well as with Black Sabbath, Elf, Rainbow, and Heaven & Hell. He toured with bands across the world, and one of his last albums released was one released under the Heaven & Hell name – titled ‘The Devil You Know.” It was a commercial success and a hit with fans. Before his death, they planned to release a follow-up.