Dio - 'Dream Evil' Deluxe Edition (Universal) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Tuesday, 05 March 2013 03:05

diodreamdeluxeEarly in my fledgling teenage gig-going career I saw Dio on the band's 'Dream Evil' UK tour. Furnished with legendary tales of fire-breathing dragons and a spectacular stage show I stood and watched a B-movie mechanical spider lowered from the lighting rig to engage in a guitar solo battle with the band's (then) new guitarist Craig Goldy. As lasers flew around the stage I witnessed firsthand the apparent wane in interest that Dio, the band, was seemingly powerless to halt.


Sounds unbelievable nowadays as, invariably, when death comes a-calling the past is viewed through those rose-tinted spectacles. The facts, however, implied that the fans began to lose interest in the band when axe-wielding favourite Vivian Campbell left after falling out with Ronnie James Dio during the making of the band's previous album, 1985's 'Sacred Heart'. The mid-eighties, remember, stood teetering on the brink of both hair metal and guitar hero worship, epic heavy metal tales of wizards becoming as far from cool as you could get, and probably the reason why I stood watching Dio in a leisure centre rather than the arenas that the band had frequented on previous UK tours.


'Dream Evil' though, released in the summer of 1987, has something of a sentimental attraction even if the history books and units shifted tell a different story, popularity-wise. So, it was with great interest that I dipped a horned hand into this Deluxe Edition of the album. With the three Dio albums prior to this - 1983's 'Holy Diver', the following year's 'The Last In Line', and the aforementioned 'Sacred Heart' - all getting the deluxe reissue treatment a little under a year ago, it was only a matter of time until 'Dream Evil' got the same bonus-littered re-release. Please, hold back on "cash in" comments until the band's later albums are treated the same. 'Dream Evil' is, at least, from a period where the band battled valiantly for success, rather than against mythical beasts.


To be honest, there's plenty to enjoy in the realms of the 'Dream Evil' world: it is far from a nightmare, that's for sure. 'Night People' opened the album in frenetic style, guitars chugging and keys a-parping, with Craig Goldy given an extended solo break to endear himself to the fans via the shred, while the title track offered more of a time-honoured (over the course of more than just his solo band) RJD sound. 'Sunset Superman' had all the attributes of a great classic metal song, just maybe at the wrong time, while 'All The Fools Sailed Away' provided a memorable opportunity for a single release, even if the 7" shaved almost three minutes off the album track's grandiose running time. It's certainly a tune based on a sense of the grand, as typified by the jaunty prog keyboard break at its mid point. Those four songs made up Side One of the vinyl version of 'Dream Evil' that slept in my collection a quarter of a century ago.


'Naked In The Rain' and 'Overlove' hit plenty of spots as they ushered in Side Two, the latter giving Goldy more time to lay his frantic fingers on the ears of still-unsure fans. 'I Could Have Been A Dreamer' was the album's other single release and rightly so; a memorable lyric and a typically commercial '80s hook - what more could a then-label exec want? 'Faces In The Window' provided the basis for the album's cover (band mascot Murray returning to grace a piece of classic metal art that summed up the album's loose concept that centred around superstitions and fear of the dark and the night), while the album's closing track, 'When A Woman Cries', part-pushed every Dio fan's buttons: I say part pushed because that's how some of 'Dream Evil' feels. You can level the 'filler' tag at many an album from this time, especially when singles were still a massive deal, and there are certainly a few songs on this 1987 artefact that my mind had totally forgotten/blocked since spinning the vinyl as a teenager.


Times, yes, were changing, and parts of 'Dream Evil' remind me of 'Constrictor/Raise Your Fist And Yell' era Alice Cooper - a bonafide rock legend returning, churning out what he knew best without really tapping into what was happening in the rock world at that time. The Coop would, on the back of a tongue-in-cheek horror movie resurgence and a gear shift to a more (then) current sound, hit the heights of popularity once again. Ronnie James Dio, however, would see Craig Goldy leave after this one album - replaced by teen guitar wizard Rowan Robertson - and then the rest of the band leave in instalments, drummer Vinny Appice, bassist Jimmy Bain, and keyboard player Claude Schnell all sailing away. That Ronnie James Dio would persevere, and ultimately win, guarantees that his reputation as possessor of possibly the finest metal voice ever is a worthy one. The next time I saw Dio live, expecting an irony-laced entertainer of a set truth be told, I was blown away. The man is rightly remembered as a legend.


That is why the bonus content on this Deluxe Edition will possibly be the more attractive pull to would-be buyers, especially the time capsule that is the Dio set from the 1987 Monsters Of Rock festival. Back then there weren't 200 bands on the bill for the Donington Park set-piece, instead around half a dozen bands there on merit alone. The Dio set from that day featured a trio of songs from the just-released 'Dream Evil' - the opener of a title track, 'Naked In The Rain' and 'All The Fools Sailed Away' - alongside a host of timeless tunes from the RJD back catalogue: 'Holy Diver', 'Neon Nights', 'Rainbow In The Dark', 'Rock 'n' Roll Children', 'Man On A Silver Mountain', 'Heaven And Hell', 'The Last In Line' and 'Long Live Rock 'n' Roll' float your boat? They should.


The single edit of 'I Could Have Been A Dreamer' and 'The Dio EP' track 'Hide In The Rainbow' - recorded for the soundtrack of the movie Iron Eagle - round out the second disc of this Deluxe Edition, but the Donington show is worth the price of purchase for this new 2CD set on its own.


'Dream Evil' will never be regarded as highly as Dio's previous three albums but, in this Deluxe Edition, can still rub shoulders with them on your shelf, the runt of the litter that, however unpopular, still has enough to offer.




To pick up your copy of 'Dream Evil [Deluxe Edition]' - CLICK HERE