Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Killing The Dragon” — Dio (2002)

Silence, we hunt for the queen
Sign of the cross
And pray in-between
Look by the light of the day
She’s hiding till dark
Waiting to play hey-hey
Something’s taken a child
And it all must end
Time to be killing the dragon again…

It’ll be a cold, cold, COLD day in Hell before I let any annual Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs list go by without even a hint of Ronnie James Dio.

Ronnie passed away in May of 2010 from stomach cancer, but his legions of devoted fans knew for a fact he secretly gave his life to protect our world from the destructive ravages of a Giant Cosmic Space Dragon, and why not? The vocalist and songwriter behind so many fantastical classics from Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, and of course his namesake band Dio might have been tiny in stature but lorded over his fans like the benevolent cosmic entity he was. And is!

Which brings us to today’s Halloween playlist addition, the title track from his 2002 album Killing The Dragon. A premonition of how Ronnie would exit this world, transitioning into the next cosmic adventure? Perhaps. It’s like combing the White Album for backwards tracks and the Sgt. Pepper cover for proof positive, folks.

Nah but seriously, RJD was going beyond the usual fantasy tropes with which he often engaged in his songcraft. Yes, Killing The Dragon┬ábegins with the local villagers gearing up for battle, as a Dragon Queen has killed or kidnapped a local child, and it’s time to kick scaley ass and chew bubblegum. The howling wind, menacing orchestrations and haunted house-like organ that open the track really set the mood perfectly. Then we’re off on a dragon hunt.

But there’s more. Ronnie was drawing parallels between the menace and greed of the mythical dragon with that of a feudal baron, who abuses his vassals and servants, taking more from them than he returns. Revolution comes lurking from the moorish mists. Wolves at the door, as it were.

The final injustice, the last cruelty Ronnie rages against, is technology, our new overlords; computers and instant entertainment and shock judgment to enslave and intoxicate. All this in 2002. Man was he good.

So. Killing The Dragon.┬áRIP Ronnie. Whatever adventures you’re on out there in the Undiscovered Country, I bet they make one hell of a Buttkickin’ collection.

Kneel and behold your new king
Digital dreams
And wonderful things to tease you

Small gods with electrical hearts
And it all will end
Time to be killing the dragon…

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