Review of Dream Evil by Dio
The instantly recognisable voice of Ronnie James Dio was taken from us in 2010, however his voice and music will forever live long. With an impressive back catalogue spanning 35 years, 2013 sees the re-release of the classic Dio album ‘Dream Evil‘ from Universal Records. Originally released in 1987 ‘Dream Evil‘ has all the hallmarks of a classic Dio release with its crunching riffs and roaring vocals, however contrary to previous efforts Dio added a much more melodic feel to their sound as well as adding more prominence to synths.
Lead-off track ‘Night People’ begins with a synthetic siren sounding and it’s not long till the guitars kick in and Dio’s unmistakeable legendary voice rises. A brisk heavy metal opener ‘Night People‘ bounces along at a pace perfectly suited for head banging, it’s classic Dio at their very best.
Next up is title track ‘Dream Evil‘ a classic foot-tapping hard rock song. Ronnie’s voice is the star of this track soaring over the chorus, along with the backdrop of a crunching guitar riff it’s a song which perfectly compliments the speedy opener.
Picking up the pace again is ‘Sunset Superman‘ which rips into a thrash-inspired riff before breaking down in to a stadium rock style chorus. A beast of an anthem ‘Sunset Superman‘ dominates the early exchanges on ‘Dream Evil‘ and surely stands out as an immediate favourite.
‘All The Fools Sailed Away‘ is where we see Dio depart from the more conventional hard rock/ metal sound and show a more melodic side, dare we say a more “power ballad” feel encompasses this song. Slowing things down and providing a more epic feel ‘All The Fools Sailed Away‘ sits perfectly positioned at the heart of ‘Dream Evil‘ and really provides the album with a keystone to build around. Again Ronnie’s vocals really are the essence of this song and for any prog-rock aficionados there’s a jazzy keyboard section to listen out for.
‘Naked in the Rain‘ returns us back to the more hard rock style in which we have become more accustomed with from Dio. The guitars seem to stalk Dio’s vocals here, stealthily lurking underneath another powerful vocal performance, with a big chorus to boot, this song is another example of Dio in all their pomp.
With it’s groovy guitar intro ‘Overlove’ bursts into life and speeds along. Reinvigorating the listener after the two previous slower tracks ‘Overlove’ is fast and furious with one of Ronnie’s classic one- line choruses.
‘I Could Have Been A Dreamer’ reprises the feel of a more melodic rock-ballad sound. With a huge inspirational chorus where the vocals are beautifully layered with an underlying synth, the lyrics are perhaps the most memorable on offer on ‘Dream Evil’. It’s a huge song with a lot of sentiment on offer, a perfect song for the live arena to showcase Dio’s willingness to combine heavy riffing with melody.
‘Faces in the Window’ is classic Dio. It’s what you expect from the band on every release, a hard- rocking, head-nodding, foot-tapping ballsy tune pure and simple.
The album closes with ‘When A Woman Cries’, another slower song driven by big power chords and mesmerising vocals it’s notable also for some excellent synth work. A perfect way to end an album which exemplifies the talent of Dio.
Released as a 2-disc deluxe set the second cd treats us to a live set from Donnington taken from 1987, here we get to sample Dio at their best, on stage and live. There are very few vocalists who can compare to Ronnie James Dio on stage, the man had no equals, only admirers. I was lucky enough to see him perform live before he passed and will never forget the sheer quality and strength of a voice that will never truly die. With a crystal clear yet still rough and ready sound the re-issued deluxe edition of ‘Dream Evil’ is a must have album for any rock fan, for Dio fans it’s an essential purchase for the Donnington set – a fitting way for the great man to be remembered.
Review by Will Campbell